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Ben Online - typing, reading & reacting

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Several years ago I was standing by the receiving door behind the TEAM resale shop. I check every week or two for things that I can repair, restore or salvage for future use. A lady in a late model pickup truck came up the alley, backed up to the door, jumped out of the truck and asked if we wanted her patio table. I nodded in the affirmative. I could see 4 legs sticking up, one of which was about 8 inches shorter. She continued saying that she had paid a premium for the wrought iron table and chairs and now part of a leg was missing.

By this time the man who worked Receiving came, unhooked the tailgate of the truck, and I helped him set the table on some boxes. He then went to get a tax credit form. The woman continued talking. As we unloaded the table, not wrought iron but steel with an expanded metal top, I noticed the smell of urine on the short leg. When the lady paused to catch her breath I asked if she had a dog and she said yes. A house dog? Again, she said yes. I then told her what had happened to her table leg. When she let her dog out to “potty” he immediately looked for a place that smelled of urine and urinated there. Urine contains salt and the salt from frequent urinations caused the mild steel to rust away. I told her when she got a new table to ask her vet or pet supply store for suggestions. She took her receipt and without thanking me for the advice, roared off.

I took the table to my workshop, cleaned the area, made a new leg from scrap metal, painted it black to match, took it back to the resale shop and several weeks later noticed it had been sold. I was pleased that I had kept the table in use, had raised money for TEAM to help people in need, and that I was not a tobacco-spitting country hick but someone that has some skills to help the environment and make Tomball a slightly better place to live.

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Ben the Cook

Ben the Cook
Action shot from the 1970s



I recently made Tuna Helper, following the instructions on the box and adding margine, milk, etc. Priscilla and I had generous portions for lunch. When she asked about my recipe, I pointed to the kitchen table where the box was sitting...and only then noticed the unopened can of tuna sitting next to the empty box.

Well, we enjoyed our macaroni & cheese lunch and already have the tuna on hand to make another box of Helper.


I watched the TV news show "The Eyes of Texas" for years. When in the mid 1980s they announced the publication of a Texas cookbook I wrote down my grandmother's honey cookie recipe. I asked Priscilla to type it, and she mailed it along with several of her personal favorites.

When the book was published Priscilla's recipes were not included but mine was, with a special mention in the cookbook's introduction. I was invited to the signing in Houston, where I got all three of the main Eyes of Texas contributors to sign the front and while standing in line got a number of contributing cooks to sign their recipe pages.

Some might consider the description "somewhat chewy" an understatement. For those who are dentally impaired, I recommend soaking a cookie in milk or hot coffee before trying to chew it. The good news is, these cookies will keep indefinitely.

Eyes of Texas Cookbook introduction:
My great-grandparents August and Caroline Weiss operated the first cotton gin operated by steam, near Salem in Washington County, Texas. They were among the first German settlers in that area. Money was scarce; however, they always had bees and native pecans...consequently, this recipe was a favorite.

1 1/2 pints honey, warmed
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
Dash of salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans or other nuts
1 tsp. baking powder
Enough flour for a very stiff dough

Mix all ingredients well. Roll dough out on a floured board and cut with a cookie cutter, or drop the dough in a greased pan and flatten with a floured glass. Bake at 325 degrees until golden brown, with edges slightly darker. These cookies will be somewhat chewy.

Ben's Bio

I was born in Rose Hill, Texas in 1925 and at age 18 drafted into the Army. After my discharge I settled in Tomball, which although a small town had more opportunities than Rose Hill. I ran my own appliance installation and repair business for many years and in 1977 accepted a position as Plant Engineer and Director of Maintenance at Tomball Regional Hospital, where I worked until retirement in the late 1980s. In the 1970s I served two years on Tomball’s City Council, was elected mayor and served for six years during which major streets were paved and guttered, utility lines were extended, and a new jail and city hall were built. After retirement from the hospital I spent time on a genealogy project that included two trips to Germany to visit relatives and look up archival records. I have also gotten into writing, chronicling my WW II experiences and authoring Growing Up in Rose Hill, published by private press and sold as a fund-raiser for the Tomball Community Museum Center, where I have served as a volunteer, trustee and Chairman. I am still involved with the Tomball hospital as a weekly volunteer and serve as General Manager of Tomball Emergency Assistance Ministries (TEAM), a church-sponsored operation that provides food and other assistance to area families. I continue to be involved in writing about my childhood and personal interests, and I still enjoy woodworking and other handyman projects. My wife and I still live in Tomball and are not far from most of our 8 surviving children and 14 grandchildren.