This is the third time I saw this photo of this panther in this paper (“Mystery Photo Reveals Why We’re the Blanco Panthers,” April 25, 2012). I read the article and the latter part of a paragraph of Angeline Fulcher stating she was at that time the last living direct descendent of Sam Houston.
I lived in Houston twenty-two years. In the early ‘90s, Temple Houston III unveiled a statue of Sam Houston south of Huntsville on I-45. I saw that on the news, KHOU.
Temple looks exactly like his great-grandfather, only a foot shorter and heavier. Back in 1996 I was finishing a meal at Wendy’s on Bissonett and he was walking toward me from the counter. I thought, “Where have I seen him before?” His tray has a Frosty and his oval buckle has a Rangers badge centered on it. “I see you have a D. Kahn Texas Rangers badge on your buckle but your star has nothing on it,” I explained. He put his tray on another table and unhooked it to show me the other side with Deleno Kahn’s signature on it. He hooked it back and sat down.
I jokingly said, “Do you have any problems with the police wearing it?” He said, “Yeah, but when I show them this they pretty much leave me alone!” He pulled out a laminated card and handed it to me. It had a red circled star at the top and a red signature that read ‘Texas Rangers Association’ and ‘Sam Houston’ at the bottom. Then I read at the top in black ‘Temple Houston, III’.
I thought of the life-size still photo of Sam Houston I saw at the new library across the street from the Shell building on Capital Street. Thinking of those eyes in black and white and looking at Temple’s face in live color I said, “I be damned.” He smiled and I handed the card back...
He finished his ice cream and we went our own ways after byes. I’ll never forget it’s the next best thing to meeting Sam Houston himself.