World-class sportswriter Blackie Sherrod described columnist George Dolan thusly: “Before God made George, He broke the mold.”
In those few words, Sherrod pegged the late columnist whose 30 years of daily columns in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram are legendary.
Maybe the broken mold was used again later when another inimitable communicator was born. His name is Bob Lewis, but he’s known by that moniker mostly by kinfolks, closest friends and Rotary buddies.
The rest of us know him as Tumbleweed Smith. He’s now in his sixth decade regaling us with rich stories on his daily radio show, The Sound of Texas, and in his weekly newspaper column. His work is featured by dozens of Texas radio stations and newspapers; it invariably makes us smile….
Likenesses common to both Dolan and Smith are many.
Suffice it to say both learned much from life’s school called “hard knocks,” but Tumbleweed has impressive academic credentials as well. He holds degrees from Baylor and the University of Missouri, with additional work at Drake University Law School and language study in two foreign countries.
“Every man” fits ‘em both. They both put Overalls ahead of tuxedos.
Lewis, as was Dolan, is a great listener, letting interviewees “tell their stories.”….
Nearly everything interests him and Susan, his wife of 49 years. She provides technical assistance at speaking engagements and is alongside for travels that measure some two million miles to date on Texas highways and byways.
In 1969, a narrow-minded radio boss in Big Spring gave Tumbleweed the heave-ho, one reason given was disapproval of Tumbleweed’s mustache.
Bob, rich in experience in all areas of radio, had 23 job offers. Instead, he began The Sound of Texas, juggling it with 34 years of teaching at UT-Permian Basin. His instruction – like his radio productions – have garnered more than 120 awards at state, regional and national levels.
His website (tumbleweedsmith.com) is rich with Texas characters. A few weeks ago, for example, he interviewed an artist committed to “chicken art.” (Yep, chickens with paint applied to their feet cavort over canvas placed in chicken pens.)
Tumbleweed’s antenna is always on “high alert” for interesting stories, most of which are provided by bona fide characters. A skim of topics includes turtle wrestling, watermelon theft, radio station pranks, oatmeal and egg facials, oil patch humor, bobcat-kissing and air-conditioned hearses.
The year of Texas’ 150th birthday, he quit smoking and produced at least one radio program from each of the state’s 254 counties….
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