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The $10 Program We invite organizations and individuals to sell new one-year Observer subscriptions. For each subscription the selling organization or individual will receive $10 commission. Like most publications, the Observer spends almost that obtaining a new subscription by mail. We prefer, however, that the money go to hard-working groups or individuals instead of to the post office and paper companies. Organizations and individuals authorized to sell subscriptions under the program will be provided with forms and sample copies. The only requirement is that individuals who wish to try this must have their own subscription paid up at the regular $20 rate. Commissions on subscriptions to be billed will be paid on receipt of the bill payment. Neither renewals nor subscriptions for a period shorter than a year receive commissions. If you want to take part in this program, contact the Observer at 600 W. 7th St., Austin, Tx. 78701, or phone 512-477-0746. No PAC’s or campaigns, please. Aikin Remembered Sen. A. M. Aikin, Jr., who died Oct. 24 in Paris, was a quiet, conservative man who spent 41 years in the Senate and deserves to be remembered for the landmark education bill he co-sponsored in 1949. Based on the principle of equal educational opportunity for all Texas children, the Gilmer-Aikin Bill established the minimum foundation program of state funding for public schools. Sen. Aikin will also be remembered for his integrity and his frugality. He accepted few campaign contributions, maintained no legislative office between sessions, and regularly returned expense money to the state treasury. When each legislative session ended, he went back to his law office in Paris and to working in his brother’s clothing store. He missed only two and a half days of service during his legislative career despite serious illnesses between sessions. A. M. Aikin, Jr., was an honorable man, a public servant in every sense of the word. OBSERVATIONS Aggie Beth Bernd I had a remarkable cousin, Aggie Beth Bernd. She and her sister Mary Jane were the first girls I knew about kissing from. We were horsing around, maybe seven or eight years old, in the front parlor of our Aunt Florence’s farmhouse at Zeuhl, Texas. I kissed one of them or one of them kissed me, I’ve never been sure which, or the same since. Aggie Beth had four children. In 1974 a doctor told her she would be dead of cancer in a couple of months, a year. Her mother, Aggie Herden, told me that Aggie Beth told the doctor, No. It would be six years before all her children graduated from high school, she told him, and she would stay alive to see them through. Whenever I saw her I couldn’t believe she was dying. All she ever did was make everybody feel good. She was beautiful, with prominent, milk-lit eyes and sharp cheekbones, and she was always giving happiness. I ran into her once on East Travis Street in San Antonio, and all we did was be happy. At the wake for her father Herman, she and I sat together on the couch talking gently, even then with a kind of happiness. I went to see her one day in her hospital room. All that happened was, she made me feel good. I didn’t do her a bit of good because she wouldn’t have it. Only to her sister Virginia did she say, early in the fall of 1980, “If there were just a few hours that I could be without pain.” She was just a mother and housewife, she could boast of little that cultivated people would call “attainments,” as far as I knew she had an ordinary number of friends. For her funeral St. Margaret Mary’s Church at South New Braunfels and Gevers and Goliad Road, a very big Catholic church, was filled, not a seat vacant, people standing at the back. Somehow this had spread, here was a Thanks to Gunter Thanks to the Observer and Pete Gunter for keeping Observer readers aware of Big Thicket conservation progress and issues since 1963. The control of the BTA by individuals with past histories of opposition to conservation required Big Thicket conservationists to reorganize themselves. We have formed a new organization, the Big Thicket Conservation Association \(P.O. Box 12032, venge or with a sense of joyful anticipation but rather with a sense of responsibility. For as Pete Gunter has pointed out, much is left to be done. Our new organization is growing and now includes virtually all of the leaders of the Big Thicket preservation movement of the last decade. We are seeking to involve and inform our members in our effort by distribution of our “Big Thicket Conservationist” newsletter. Already the BTCA has presented our group’s position opposing flood control projects which threaten the Big Thicket National Preserve to a recent Corps of Engineers hearing. We are urging our members to contact U.S. Representatives and Senators to seek adequate funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in order that land acquisition for the preserve, can continue in spite of opposition from the ReaganWatt administration. Our group has established formal association with the National Parks and Conservation Association and we are seeking to reinvolve other state and national conservation groups in the Big Thicket preservation effort. Already the Lone Star Sierra Club and Texas Committee on Natural Re person dying who was making all of us happy. Her four children, four high school graduates, were spoken for by one of them, Bill Biggs, who said, “She had a profound influence on our lives through the courage and example she set. Lessons of life that can be passed down through generations.” The priest said to us, “It was not like her to bring sadnes into anyone’s life, but rather the joy of life and love of the events of life.” At the end, racked with pain, she spoke of her fear and her faith in God, he said, and “never was she more beautiful, never was she more magnificent.” He read from one of Paul’s letters in the Epistles, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.” R.D. sources have formed Big Thicket task forces. I hope Observer readers will take heed of Pete Gunter’s call for action and involve themselves. Citizen action created the BTNP and only citizen action can insure its completion and permanent preservation. Joe Wells, 923 N. 20th, Corsicana, Tx. 75110 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3