Delight thyself in the law of the Lord (Part Two)

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
In a recent column, I shared reflections about some of my professional experiences in Southeast Texas writing for The Examiner. I was honored with writing hard news for several years, being in the founding group for the Living section of the newspaper, doing many feature and personal profiles, covering entertainment, faith, medical, volunteers, doing stories for Vital Signs, and the Summer Fun Time series.

Because Don Dodd gambled on a little old grandmother from Georgia, I had the time of my life meeting and getting to know some of the very best people on earth, the Texans about whom I wrote.

I met way too many to name, but some are forever etched on my heart and mind. And, I was fortunate to meet, interview, watch performances, and write about some of the biggest names in the entertainment world when they performed in Texas and Louisiana.

Glen Campbell, Willie, Merle Haggard, George Jones and his sister, Mark Chesnut and his mom, Tracy Byrd, Miranda Lambert, Gretchen Wilson, the Music Mafia, Richard Simmons, Loretta Lynn, Cher, the Oaks, and so many more. I interviewed Willie the last time on board the Honeysuckle Rose and the Molly Ivins interviews were some of my favorites.

Along with celebrities, authors, politicians, medical personnel, and people of faith, I met folks whose lives are the fabric of Texas life. One of the greatest gifts I was able to give my late husband, Ted, came by way of Chad Cooper, sports editor of The Examiner. He asked me to attempt to land an interview with the famed Bum Phillips.

I got the interview scheduled and then Bum became ill and had emergency heart surgery. I just knew in my heart the interview was off, but I called Debbie, Bum’s wife, three weeks after the surgery, and she said, “No, Brenda, please come on and do the interview. He’s driving me crazy trying to make him obey the doctor.” So, Ted and I drove to their ranch and spent the entire day with Bum and Debbie. He taught me more Texas history in that one day than I had learned in years, and made us promise to go tour Goliad the next day. We did and I learned the deep significance of “Remember the Alamo and Goliad.”

We laughed till tears ran down our faces at Bum stories and cried when he spoke of his faith and work in prison ministries.

I will never forget another story Chad gave me and that was on one of the last genuine Texas cowboys named Curly who lived in Orange on a working ranch. He and his wife were fascinating people and again, I learned so much from them. Curly died not long after the interview and I am so grateful I got his story before he died.

Icky Schroader, a genuine Texas cowboy and Triple S rodeo founder

Perhaps near the top of my favorite stories ever is My Heroes have always been Cowboys, where I met, got to know, and fell in love with three generations of pioneering rodeo people and bullriders, the Schroader family. Icky Schroader founded the Triple S Rodeo on a ranch in Southeast Texas, and by way of that ranch, taught and turned out more young bullriders than anyone in Texas.

His son, Punkie, and grandson, Beau, are champion bullriders and have many titles under their belts. It was on this ranch that I got up close and personal with 2,200 pound bucking bulls. I love these people like family and cried much when Icky and Edythe passed away.

God has been very good to me in Texas and I will forever be a Texan at heart.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or
[email protected]


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2 Responses to “Delight thyself in the law of the Lord (Part Two)”

  1. Paula lee says:


  2. Love this, Brenda! What a delightful story and a delightful career. I look forward to following you adventures in your new cottage.

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