July 26, 2023–From time to time I tire of “real” news and turn my hand to “Not Newz.” It’s outrageous, obtuse, and yet, increasingly plausible.
Camels Return to Texas Hill Country
The U.S. Agricultural Research Station has received federal funding to reestablish camels in the Texas hill country.
As history buffs know, camels thrived in the central Texas region as recently as the Civil War, when they were used by the northern army to caravan supplies across the harsh west Texas desert. After the war the animals gradually disappeared, hunted to extinction for their humps and prominent front teeth, which reputedly had aphrodisiac qualities.
Zoologists have been breeding a base herd in San Antonio, using camels brought in from northern Morocco. Scientists have been successful in re-introducing original Texas camel DNA, acquired from artifacts sold at the Camp Verde General Store.
“We are very gratified to be able to restore a part of Texas history by reintroducing the camel,” said Dr. Om E. Dary, Chief Camel Breeder. “We look forward to the day the camel takes back its rightful place in the Texas pantheon of legendary creatures, right next to the Longhorn, the Horned Toad, and the Snowbird.”
The camel is known for its hardiness, its affinity for cactus, and its ability to live for long periods of time on little water, all qualities well suited to the Texas climate. Authorities are hopeful the herd will grow fast enough to re-open the traditional camel hunting season.
In other agricultural news, the Hill Country Master Gardeners have announced new workshops on establishing “camel proof” landscaping.
Cruise Ships Planned for Wine Country
With the growing recognition of Highway 290 Wine Trail, plans are negotiations are underway with Carnival Cruise Lines to add the Hill Country as a “port of call” on the company’s popular gulf cruise itinerary.
“We realize we are 230 miles inland,” said a spokesperson. “But the Pedernales River qualifies as a navigable river. We may not be able to handle the Queen Elizabeth, but we can certainly bring up the Carnival Ambivalence.”
The most logical location of the dock would be at Stonewall, adjacent to the LBJ Historic Site.
Not all local citizens are convinced the idea will work.
“The Hill Country as a cruise destination?” asked one ranch resident. “Yes, we have a navigable river, but I’m not sure we are ready to handle an influx of tourists who only want to drink wine, enjoy fine dining, shop, stay overnight, and visit interesting historic sites.”
Erna Fernwell spent an hour and a half going round in circles in Kerrville’s newest intersection on Tivy Street last Thursday.
The street department has installed a European -style “roundabout” intersection behind the golf course. This traffic control feature requires drivers to drive in a circular pattern until they arrive at the proper exit. For many long-time residents such as Fernwell, this is their first encounter with the concept.
Police were dispatched to the scene after neighbors reported seeing a teal Toyota stuck in the roundabout. After failing to apprehend the driver, the Kerrville Police Department requested assistance from Fredericksburg’s mounted bicycle unit, who shadowed the slowly-circling vehicle. Despite tapping on the window and gesturing emphatically, authorities were unable to convince Fernwell to enter any of the exits.
“We were going to wait until she ran out of gas,” said one police official. “But she was driving a Prius. That would have taken 16 hours.”
Instead, law enforcement deployed tire strips, which blew out the tires and brought the vehicle to a halt in a crape myrtle. Fernwell was then extricated from the vehicle using the “jaws of life.”
Thirty minutes after the incident, Fernwell, 78, remained unfazed, though still slightly dizzy.
“That was kind of fun, really,” she said.