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Living large

Living large
Living large
Dr. Wayne Willis

James Hogg and his wife Sarah named their first child, born July 10, 1882, Ima.

It didn’t occur to the parents that the name Ima Hogg might give their newborn some problems growing up until her grandfather arrived a week after she was born and pointed that out. The parents told him it was too late because the baby had already been christened Ima.

Ima handled it well and became a famous philanthropist, art collector and preservationist, which just goes to show that the name with which parents saddle their children doesn’t necessarily script or handicap or make them unpopular or hold them back.

Schoolchildren in Texas still tell the story of Gov. Hogg’s two daughters, Ima and Ura (although Ura never existed).

“Big Jim” was already a Texas legend before he named his daughter. When he was 18, he was shot in the back and left for dead by a gang of outlaws. He somehow survived, but recovering with a bullet still in his back was slow and painful.

One day, deeply depressed, while walking alone in the woods, he heard the aggressive song of a mockingbird, a sound he took as a sign that he would fully recover. This story helped convince the Texas legislature in 1927 to name the mockingbird, “a fighter for the protection of its home,” their state bird.

Boss Hogg was a tall, imposing Texan. For much of the 20th century, his governing style served as a benchmark for governors who followed. Later in life, corpulent in excess of 300 pounds, he explained, “I have never been willing to stand by and see the spare-ribs, back-bones, sausages, chitlings and sauce spoil.”

In the midst of a scourge, we need to conjure up at least one smile or one chuckle per day.