Gary Borders

Host of "Borderline"

Gary Borders has been an East Texas journalist and editor for more than 40 years. He works now as a freelance writer, editor and photographer. You can see his work at garyborders.com. He has written for World Wildlife magazine, Texas Monthly, Texas Observer and Airstream Life.

During his career, Gary served as editor and publisher of newspapers in Longview, Lufkin, Nacogdoches, Mount Pleasant, San Augustine, Cedar Park and Junction City, Kansas. He also taught journalism at Kilgore College. He began writing a column in 1982 and has written at least once weekly since without fail, though there are quite a few he would like to retract. The New York Times News Service distributed his column nationally from 1995 through 2009. His pieces have been published in the Detroit Free Press, Miami Herald, Austin American-Statesman, Palm Beach Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and — his personal favorite — the Maui News.

Borders has published two collections of columns, the “Loblolly Chronicles” in 2010 and “Behind and Beyond the Pine Curtain” in 2005. The University of Texas Press published “A Hanging in Nacogdoches” in 2006, his account of a brutal murder in 1902 in the state’s oldest town, and the trial that followed. He is currently researching another book, which should be completed by the end of 2015. He is also threatening to release another collection of columns.

Borders and his wife, Dr. Julie Teel-Borders, a professor at LeTourneau University, live in Longview with their daughter, Abbie, a senior at Trinity School of Texas. He also has two grown daughters, about whom he has been writing columns since Ronald Reagan was president. They have long ceased to be embarrassed about it, though Abbie protests occasionally.

Ways to Connect

Today we mark a New Year. At my age, I’m never in a hurry for any of my allotted days to pass. But I can’t say I will miss 2015. Violence and misery cropped up far too often, both here and abroad. While I pray for a safer, more peaceful 2016, there is little reason right now to believe it will be. That is the sad truth.

And suddenly it is Christmas. It is rainy and will be in the 70s. Three years ago it snowed on Christmas Day, the first white Christmas here in many decades. This year, we will be wearing T-shirts and shorts. You never know what an East Texas winter will bring.

This can be a melancholy season. Many of us equate the Christmas season with tragedy and loss. We push through it and prevail. Everything usually turns out OK as families gather, a few empty seats at the table. But there is a tear in the fabric of our lives that cannot be mended.

Gary Borders

My nephew Connor reminded me of an obscure chess move I doubtless once knew but forgot in the passage of time. Connor, who is 10, learned to play chess recently and took to it so well that he took first place in a recent UIL contest among several rural East Texas schools.

I decided to add “You Are My Sunshine” to the repertoire of songs I can mangle on the guitar. So I found it with the OnSong app, uploaded and opened it. Most everybody knows the chorus to this tune, popularly believed to have been written by Jimmie Davis, who rode his fame singing that song all the way to the Louisiana governor’s mansion in 1944. Term limits kept him from running for re-election, but a decade or so later, Davis reprised the song and won another four-year term as governor.

The earnest young man at the admissions office of the University of Mississippi — Ole Miss — explained the origin of the town’s name. Oxford, named after the British university, was created in 1837 in order to persuade the Legislature to fund building a public university there. The boosters hoped the name would help. It took 11 years, but in 1848, Ole Miss accepted its first students. Today, Oxford remains a small town of roughly 21,000 residents. Ole Miss is modest in size as well, with about 18,000 students.

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