New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 16, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 10A — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, September 16, 2000Paris’ friendship with president went to the dogs
By Ron Maloney Staff Writer
Few people got to know the Richard M. Nixon that John and Edna Paris knew.
To John and Edna, that s a shame.
In their New Braunfels home is a photo and a letter that tells of a yearlong relationship the Parises had with the former president long ago.
John, a veterinary technician who oversaw a “pet hotel,” cared for dogs that belonged to Nixon — a president whose political career was saved early in life by one of his dogs.
In John’s previous work in California, he came up with an idea for a “pet hotel.” It led to him meeting the U.S.
"We housed three dogs for the Nixons. We talked with him a number of times. We had a lot of fun."John Paris
President — and caring for the president’s dogs.
Nixon, embroiled in a money-related scandal in the 1950s when he was the candidate for vice president, saved his career in a now-classic speech in which he movingly spoke of a coat “cut from good Republican cloth” and a dog named “Checkers” that was a gift to his w ife, Patricia.
While John Paris never took care of Marine I, the helicopter that carries the and did.
Checkers, he cared for the then-First Dog, Nixon’s red Irish Setter named “King Timahoe” and dogs that belonged to Nixon’s daughters Tricia and Julie.
“We housed three dogs for the Nixons,” John said. “We talked with him a number of times. We had a lot of fun.” Whatever Nixon’s troubles were in the greater world, he and his family were dedicated to their pets, John recalled.
“One time the president called up from San Clemente and said ‘John, Eve got problems. That doggone red dog got away from the MPs and took off across the country on me. If that dog shows up, hold on to him and call me.’”
John said the president told him that
president and his family, had backfired and spooked the dog, which then ran away. Nixon called a little later and told him not to worry about the setter. Three jeeploads of MPs had found the first animal, none the worse for the wear.
“I guess they cornered it between them and took it back,” John said smiling.
Another time, Nixon had perhaps a bigger problem.
He was walking the dog along the beach, and it went to play in the surf— diving into oily muck left from a spill.
“Pat and my girls told me not to cut one hair on that dog’s coat,” Nixon told John Paris. “Can it be cleaned up?”
John told him he thought it could —
“Several times the president called over problems about that particular dog. We had a lot cf incidents with him,”
John said. He’d call up and say, ‘John, I’m in trouble...’”
“The poor guy was always in trouble,” Edna said.
The Parises are saddened that perhaps Nixon is best remembered for the scandals that consumed his presidency. They said detractors do not know what sort of man he really was when he was not on the world stage. “We had a lot of respect for him. Nobody can say anything bad about him around me,” John said. “I’m Irish, and Eve got a pretty good temper!” “That’s a bad temper, dear,” Edna said.COUPLE/From 1A
“We went out and started it up, it ran for IO minutes, then I cut it off. That thing just sat for months and months. I began to think, ‘What can we do with it? Its never going to do us any good.”
Holder had an answer.
“The sheriff said he could use it,” he said.
The Parises are members of Cross Lutheran Church and transplanted Californians who have lived in New Braunfels for 11 years.
Holder introduced the couple to commissioners, describing their valuable volunteer work and the gift of the generator. His department cannot budget the generator because there are other higher spending priorities,” he said.
“You don’t want to spend that kind of money and have it hang around,” Holder said.
“The generator gives us a power source we can use. If we have a situation out in the county' where we need light, it w ill be available to us,” Holder said.
Holder said the generator filled a valuable niche because it was s smaller than another one his department had that was trailer-fnounted.
“It’s more portable. We can put
it in the pack of a pickup and carry it to a crime scene or catastrophe,” Holder said.
“It’s not something you’re going to use a lot, but when you need it, you need it desperately.”
As for the volunteer work the Parises do, they allow sheriff’s employees to do other administrative work.
“John and Edna donate a considerable amount of time to the county,” Holder said. “I’m grateful for that.”
County Judge Danny Scheel told the Parises he was grateful, as well.
“We appreciate all you do for us,” Scheel said.
“It’s an honor,” John answered.
“And the sheriff’s great to be around,” Edna said.
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serves as the environmental director. Rob and Beth Watson, a husband and wife team, have served as executive directors for 12 years.
Activities and programs are wide-ranging. Rappelling, low-ropes courses, guided nature hikes, canoeing, star gazing are offered to conferences and retreats that fill the guest books each month.
The original stone ranch house has been revamped and sleeps 24 in three dorm style bedrooms.
The meeting-house was recently rebuilt and has room for IOO. Three fully heated and air conditioned cabins are divided into two rooms and each room sleeps six.
The 14 shelters with bunk beds and without air conditioning are
authentically rustic. “Kids love them and adults hate them,” Holmes said.
In the summer months the nonprofit organization offers day camp for ages 4 to 11 and resident camps for grades 3 to 12. Prices range from $90 for a four-day day camp, to $435 for a two-week residency.
Specialty camps include backpacking in Colorado, beach camp at Padre Island and sailing camp at Rockport.
“We think every child should come to camp,” Holmes said. “We have contributors who fund scholarships for camp fees.” Throughout the year visitors from hospice retreats, church retreats, leadership training programs, Girl Scouts, schools and
special programs find the outdoor experience is a positive in young lives. “It’s a great place for kids and for kids with problems. The place gives them a feeling of nature and the outside,” Holmes said. Six special camps are scheduled each year giving adopting families and children counseling. “It’s a respite for the parents while we do things with the kids,” Holmes said. Last June Hospice Austin held a three-day Camp Brave Heart for kids who have lost a loved one.
“We try to create an atmosphere of acceptance. The camp is a community. Groups live and sleep together. We really do affect children’s lives in a positive way. It’s one of the few times they can be themselves,” Holmes said.
As a Hays County Master Naturalist, Holmes uses his Texas land-management knowledge to teach children and adults about proper range and wildlife management.
He leads groups on educational tours where he points out fossils, plants like sideoats grama, the state grass of Texas, and trees native to the ranch land such as red oak, black walnut, and bald cypress. Visitors can hike four nature trails varying in length and endurance.
John Knox Ranch is located in far northwest Comal County. Take Ranch Road 32 to the intersection of Highway 3424 near Fischer. Turn on Mail Route Road and following the signs to the ranch and into the heart of the Hill Country.
• letting counties set “impact” fees;
• making the Southeast Trinity Groundwater Conservation District a permanent agency with full authority;
• creating a multi-county water district to protect the Trinity Aquifer; and
• increasing authority for water
district to manage groundwater.
• giving counties next to metropolitan areas authority to adopt orders to protect their water quality.
For his part, Dawson anticipates doing some serious arm-twisting in the 77th Texas Legislature.
“I’m going to support every one of them,” Dawson said Thursday. “We'll go through all the hoops —
send legislators letters and go to public hearings or committee hearings in Austin.
“We’ll meet with representatives and their staffs. We can't leave out the staffs — they’re an important part of getting anything done.”
Minikin said he would work to see that the county cooperated w ith other counties to pursue its aims
— and not in a scattergun fashion. He represents Comal County on the 31-member Conference of Urban Counties as well as on a 25-member group that plans for the future of groundwater management.
“I'm concerned about a shotgun approach,” Minikin said.
“Eve seen how the operation goes in Austin.”
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