By Don Newbury
It’s an expression tossed about regularly. Calling it “trite” would be an understatement. The proverb originated in 12th century Germany and continues to apply.
Just as rivers still run downstream, hot air rises and cream comes to the top, blood remains as changed in the nine centuries since this proverb was coined, it remains true for many people.
It has applied to one Danny Andrews, a former longtime newspaper editor whose relocation to Burleson, Texas, after 68 years in Plainview, Texas, is understood by other grandparents who likewise know that “blood is thicker than water.”
Two of Danny and wife Carolyn’s three children now live in the Metroplex, where also abide four of their six grandchildren, and soon to be seven.
The couple had deep roots in Plainview. Except for his first nine months of life, Danny had lived only in Plainview; she moved there as a high school sophomore from Lamesa. They moved to the Metroplex almost four years ago.
Danny and the former Carolyn Fuson are both graduates of Plainview High School and attended Wayland Baptist University – he graduating in 1972 and she collecting three semesters before going to work to help the young couple “stay afloat.”
Until leaving Plainview, they were deeply involved with their church, WBU, schools and the community in general. She served in several capacities at First Baptist Church for 25 years, then 15 years as presidential assistant at WBU. Danny worked in the development office for a decade until their move to Burleson.
At the Plainview Daily Herald, Danny occupied the editor’s chair for 28 of his 39 years. Writing about 3,000 newspaper columns – plus thorny issues editors must deal with daily – have not soured him on the world. He’s has an unwavering “outward and upward” countenance, endearing himself to many along the way.
When the couple isn’t “lathered up” in grandchildren things, they continue to volunteer at church, where he teaches a Sunday School class and she volunteers in the office.
Further proof of friendships forged in the community they left behind is Danny’s willingness for returning to officiate at funerals for friends, calling for a 750-mile roundtrip trek each time. (He also works part time at a local funeral home.)
Throw in years of officiating basketball and baseball games, doing radio color or play-by-play for three sports and publishing a pre-season basketball magazine for 38 years produced fodder for much writing.
A fellow official – more familiar with game rules than elementary grammar – was the inspiration for a book Danny wrote in 2014 entitled “Things I Have Saw and Did.” The book offered 250 stories requiring 442 pages.
One of the best came from a Hale Center care facility, where a new resident soon would observe her 100th birthday.
Centurions always merited a story, and Danny this time was the interviewer. Seated next to her wheelchair, he asked, “Did you grow up around here?” Terse answer: “I don’t have to tell you anything.” Then, “Did you work in the public?” Retort: “That’s none of your business.” Finally: “Did you belong to a church?” Last straw: “I dang sure did,” and her emphasis was a shade stronger than “dang.”
Time to go, the administrator thought, fearing that “I think she’s about to hit you.”
The newspaper account of her birthday was brief..
One reader, chastising Danny for “defending George W. Bush” on an issue, called the editor “a rich, white elitist.” (Usually choosing not to respond to letters, Danny couldn’t resist, admitting only to “being white.”)
Another resident didn’t want his marriage license announcement in the paper. Danny explained that they printed ALL public records. “You could withhold it if you wanted to,” the man fumed.
“Well, I guess I don’t want to,” the editor answered, “You can try the Tulia Herald (25 miles away), but I doubt if they’ll withhold it either.”
Danny and Carolyn have been through life’s “thick and thin” since meeting in “Dummies Geometry” class in high school and getting hitched almost 52 years ago.
They’ve quickly become valued friends to Brenda and me.
For whatever it’s worth, I would have required the same remediation if our little school had offered the “dummies” class.
Dr. Newbury is a long-time public speaker and university president who writes weekly. Email: email@example.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Facebook: Don Newbury. Twitter: @donnewbury. This article appeared in the Brownwood Bulletin on March 30, 2021.
Danny’s book “Things I Saw and Did” can be ordered on Apple Books, Google Play Books and Barnes & Noble.