I’ve never been much for comparisons, be it among people, events, eras or such things as cars, houses, dogs, horses or shoes.

Each person has likes and dislikes, so why try and change perceptions.

Be it genetic, or luck, or we’re good or we’re pushovers, my late father, Fred Hartman, and I had one definite trait in common. And I like this one.

Picking excellent and long-lasting associates was something we scored A+ on.

In 1951, when new owners took over The Baytown Sun from the Matherne family, Carmage Walls gave my dad, who had been managing editor of The Sun, a year to prove he should be the permanent editor and publisher.

With his new job came his new aide-de-camp, Beulah Mae Jackson, who had been Bob Matherne’s office manager for the previous decade.

My dad and Miss Jackson clicked like coffee and cream. She was Miss Jackson, and he was Mr. Hartman. Together they made a terrific team, and both were dedicated to The Sun.

Miss Jackson (I don’t think anyone in the world ever called her Beulah or Mae or even Beulah Mae) was a stately woman who was strict and to the point and a believer in punctuality and exactness. She didn’t suffer fools well.

She also wrote with green ink, which meant if you got something in green, read it because it was important.

A native of Mexia, Miss Jackson had long braided hair which she wore pulled tightly into a bun.

I may be one of the few who ever saw her hair unbraided, and that was only because I delivered a Christmas package to her home late one night.

Had it not been me, who she told people she half raised, I doubt she’d have opened the door. (P.S. Her hair was mid-back long.)

Her life was The Baytown Sun, the Thursday Forum of Professional Women and the First Presbyterian Church.

She taught me more about finance, bookkeeping, collections and the importance of records than most MBAs could possibly learn.

She and my dad had a 20-year partnership, and each valued the importance of the other.

After Miss Jackson’s retirement, it was my job to find a replacement to tend to my dad’s affairs. With a lot of coaxing, we convinced Mrs. Evelyn Bradbury to leave her 20-year job with a Baytown law firm and join us.

E-Brad even brought her “book” from the law firm, which had all the forms and data needed to handle any sort of legalese. She was home grown Baytown and could type about a thousand words a minute.

She and my dad had a 15-year working relationship that lasted several years after his “retirement.”

The best I can explain, the next chapter is that in 1985 fate put Bobbie Ann Tallas and me at the same intersection, and since neither of us would yield, we’ve been arguing and laughing and working together for 34 years.

Mrs. Tallas was born in Houston and lived in Conroe, Bay City, Florida and Houston, but calls El Campo and Sugar Land home. She graduated from El Campo High School and has lived in Sugar Land since 1975.

There’s a lot of Aggie on the family tree. Former husband Jim Tallas, son Jeff, daughter Vicki and her husband Ron Miller and Mrs. Tallas’ late step-father Alex McIver all graduated from Texas A&M.

Vickie and husband Ron Miller have two sons, Reid, 27, and Riley, 24, and live in suburban Dallas.

Jeff and wife Tracee also have two sons, Connor, 15, a freshman at George Ranch, and Lawson, 13, who attends Reading Junior High. They live in Greatwood.

Mrs. Tallas and Miss Jackson had a similar thread, though they never met. Both limited their outside interests to include friends and only a few hobbies.

BAT once was among the hierarchy of the Fort Bend Republican party, but spends her spare time now attending any event involving grandsons. And don’t get between her and a TV set if the Houston Rockets are playing. She’s whatever the word is beyond fanatic.

Miss Jackson, E-Brad and BAT, an unbeatable trio. They wrote the book on tending the ship, keeping it afloat for nigh on 68 years.

Reach BH at bhartman@hartmannews.com.

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