Happy Birthday, Bilbo and Frodo

by HB Auld, Jr.

Today is September 22nd.  Happy birthday to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, cousins who are hobbits of the Shire in John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  

Tolkien is famous for his works of high fantasy.  He was born in South Africa, but grew up in England. 

As a youth, he and several cousins invented several “new” languages and alphabets. 

At the age of 16, he fell in love with childhood sweetheart Edith Mary Bratt, three years his senior.  He proposed to Mary, but was forbidden from marrying or communicating with Mary until his 21st birthday by his guardian, Father Morgan. On the evening of his 21st birthday, he wrote Mary a letter, again proposing.  She revealed she had become engaged to someone else, but his letter persuaded her to soon break off her engagement and accept his proposal.  They married in 1916 and remained married 55 years.  Their union produced four children, one of whom, Mary Ann Reuel who was born in 1929, is still living.

J. R. R. Tolkien is responsible for convincing his wife Edith to convert from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism, a move which enraged her guardian and resulted in her being asked to leave the home of guardian and family friend C. H. Jessop where she was living at the time. 

Tolkien’s Catholicism is credited with converting the famous writer C. S. Lewis from atheism to Christianity.   Tolkien was upset, however, that Lewis chose to join the Church of England and become a Protestant instead of a Roman Catholic.  Without Tolkien, it is quite possible we would have been denied the great Christian lay theologian writer Lewis’ Screwtape Letters and other great classics. 

J. R. R. Tolkien died September 2, 1973 at 81 years, two years after his beloved wife, Edith.

But today is the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo, according to Tolkien.  My older son, Scott, says that he always takes this day to begin re-reading the Tolkien classic, The Lord of the Rings.  And that seems like that’s a good way to celebrate this birthday.

Happy birthday, Bilbo and Frodo. 

Houston Police Officer is Fifth Officer Killed In Line of Duty

by HB Auld, Jr.

A 31-year veteran of the Houston Police Department was shot and killed and an accompanying Police Sergeant was critically injured as they executed two felony narcotics warrants Monday morning, September 20, 2021.

Houston Police Department Sergeant Michael Vance and Senior Officer Jeffrey were both transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where Officer Jeffrey was pronounced dead. Sergeant Vance remains hospitalized in stable condition and is expected to survive his injuries.

According to Houston Public Media: “The officers, members of the department’s major offenders division, were executing a high-level felony warrant around 7:30 a.m. at an apartment complex on Aeropark Drive near Bush Intercontinental Airport, Chief of Police Troy Finner said.

“The 30-year-old man’s wife or girlfriend opened the door, and as the officers spoke with her, he opened fire, Chief Finner said.

“You got a suspect, with a female girlfriend with small kids in that apartment complex and he still fired upon our officers,” he said.

“The officers returned fire, struck the man and killed him, Finner said.

“Chief Finner said he has known Officer Jeffrey for his entire career and considered him one of the department’s best officers. He said Officer Jeffrey’s wife, who was also a police officer, had just retired.”

Senior Police Officer Jeffrey is the fifth police officer killed in the line of duty in Houston in the past 16 months. Those four Houston Police Department officers are: Sergeant Sean Rios, Sergeant Harold Preston, Officer Jason Knox and Sergeant Christopher Brewster.

The dead suspect…had a rap sheet with seven prior felony convictions….


The dead suspect was identified as Deon Ledet, who had a a rap sheet with seven prior felony convictions, including two aggravated assaults with a deadly weapon and three evading arrest. In November 2020, he faced felony charges for possession with intent to deliver and one for possession and bond is set at more than $60,000.

Then, Ledet goes to court where the judge lowered the bond to $20,000. The next day he walked out of jail. In January, 2021, Ledet failed to show up for court and two felony Failure to Appear arrest warrants were issued for him. Sergeant Vance and Officer Jeffrey were serving those warrants Monday morning when Ledet opened fire, killing Officer Jeffrey and seriously injuring Sergeant Vance.

The Houston Police Union has called for the resignation of the judge who lowered Ledet’s bond from $60,000 to $20,000.

Senior Police Officer Bill Jeffrey’s daughter, Lacie, said she was heartbroken that her daughter will now grow up not knowing “Grandpa Bill.”