Beck Gipson's daddy Fred Gipson wrote "Old Yeller." We went to Mason where Fred, the book, and the legend it has created were honored with a statue.
P.O. Box 291754
Kerrville, TX 78029
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TCRbob
we've got some time constraints in that some of us has to be over there about 12:30 if some of you would take your seats they'll start taking orders but they won't just seated so they know where you are when they bring the plate back used to when I was a kid and we all lived in Mason and we had federal unions most of the time once a year at least it seems Beck Gibson's got his hands full he promised the restaurant there'd only be ten or twelve kinfolks for lunch now it's grown to about 50 in the backroom it Cevallos restaurant and Mason Texas is hardly the place you'd expect to find a gathering to honor a literary legend he was America's dog it was a heartwarming saga set in the Texas Hill Country that played to audiences all over the world from a best-selling novel written by Beth Gibson's daddy Fred Gibson but what do you do when someone says oh your dad wrote Old Yeller having grown up in that environment whenever I read read his work it's like it's like talking to [Music] Fred Gibson born raised and rooted in the granite hills of Central Texas through the struggles and hard times of growing up along the Llano River came a stream of classic tales that captured the hearts of millions well Fred died back in 73 and still his most lasting legacy is a simple tale of two boys in a pioneer family and their best friend Old Yeller because it is a book that is read by young people it's quite likely that it may be the first book that they read that makes them cry it's been said the whole world wept when Old Yeller died for many it was a humbling discovery that for the first time words on a page could bring tears the book that you read that creates that kind of emotion is a kind of thing that can stick leave you forever it's been a long road but here we are today it's a glorious day I couldn't be happier and all of it came from a very tiny humble idea that Gibson's little family reunion has just gotten a little out of hand out in front of the Mason library a crowd has gathered you see today they're going to erect a bronze monument to Old Yeller everybody from the county judge to the first lady of Texas is here I was sitting next to my mother and the other side of me was garden weeks an old friend who we hadn't seen in many years but who ended up being the sculptor in this project Western artist garland weeks has worked months sculpting a dog that never really existed but what was supposed to be a simple unveiling became an outpouring of emotions that probably would have embarrassed the quiet Fred Gibson and I did share Oh Yeller with my fourth graders and when we got to the sad part I don't know who started crying first them or me I think one of the things is dismissed if it hit me pretty hard is it it was revisiting someone I loved very much in this I mean you know I love my father and here's a here's a whole day dedicated to memories about him so congratulations to the citizens of Mason County on the occasion of this unveiling and congratulations especially to the Gibson's and to garland week's for doing such a fine job of bringing home Travis and Old Yeller let me compose myself just a moment that was a very nice talk door thank you very much I I was sitting here looking at this crowd and and it just reminded me of something that my dad didn't watch in his in his latter years he didn't write all that much but it took great pleasure in in making speaking engagements and talking to people he said you know those kind of events they're really flattering your ego but it's wonderful everyone's small to go around the post office and pick up a little Chad okay and I know that may not relate to to you people but as a family everybody else sees my dad is the man who wrote Old Yeller I've seen if my father how do you talk to an audience like that garland wakes the sculptor of O Yeller and Travis I got the sense from my correspondence in telephone calls regarding that you felt very privileged to work on that project I think it's something that really meant a lot to him to be able to work on it I can't do this I must confess that I am so emotionally wrapped up into this old yeller project that I have asked Jerry to read my further comments for the first time in many years Beck Gibson is faced with the reality of what Old Yeller means to the world how much emotion can be tied to a simple story about a lovable dog and when I found Old Yeller in the library and Wichita Falls I was captivated at that time I had no clue as to how or why books were written I just knew they were they were there and that I could read them all of a sudden I wanted to meet Fred Gibson how could he make me cry with just words it was a bittersweet tough mixture of a lot of memories a single yellow bedsheet easily slides away revealing a frozen and cherished moment in American literature Travis and Old Yeller together on the banks of birdsong [Music] and for the first time people could reach out touch even pet the beloved mongrel that stole everyone's heart I think it's important for people to understand how important reading is at a young age and now this is common knowledge and everybody says this but one of the things that they don't say is give them something worth a damn to read and I think he think you did that [Music] what it means to America I don't know I think it means that America loves a good story [Music]