I like movies. I like George Clooney, Matt Damon and John Goodman. I have mixed feelings about Bill Murray ("Groundhog Day" and "Ghostbusters," yes; "Rushmore," not so much). So I’m excited about "The Monuments Men," which opened Friday.

I like movies. I like George Clooney, Matt Damon and John Goodman. I have mixed feelings about Bill Murray ("Groundhog Day" and "Ghostbusters," yes; "Rushmore," not so much). So I’m excited about "The Monuments Men," which opened Friday.


The subject, a group of unlikely heroes on a mission to save priceless pieces of Western culture from the devastation of World War II, is something I have never thought about. Before I saw the trailer, I never wondered what was done to protect the art, architecture and documents spread throughout Europe. But it was clearly important to the real men and women of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Achieves section, most of whom volunteered. The group had orders from the president and the support of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, but they lacked vehicles, gasoline, typewriters and authority.


Perhaps this story holds some interest for me, as well, because there is a very loose local connection. If you know much local history, you know that a huge stash of stolen art was discovered in Whitewright. The art, which includes priceless medieval manuscripts, cultural artifacts and religious relics, was taken from Quedlinburg, Germany.


When American troops liberated the city, American soldiers, including Lt. Joe Meador, of Whitewright, were assigned to guard the cave where the treasure had been stashed for safekeeping. Meador apparently mailed the treasure home and stored it in a bank vault for years.


He died in 1980, and, when one of the missing items popped up on the market, German researcher, lawyer and historian Willi Konte and, later, New York Times reporter William Honan began connecting the dots. All, save two pieces, were returned to Germany in 1993.


In an article about Clooney’s movie, Bloomberg writer Catherine Hickley suggests that local story could be next for Hollywood. In fact, Quedlinburg is only 9 miles from Halberstadt where Clooney shot his film. Maybe he took a day trip.



Happy birthday Sunday to Katrina Beamon, Joshua Mayberry, Robert L. Hall Sr. and John Preston Arnold, all of Denison; Donny Matter of Longview; Gladys Morgan of Sherman; Shane Rolen and Boyd Garner, both of Bells; Cayden Wilks of Luella; Billy Melton of Sherman and his son, Matt Melton of Verona, Wis.; and Betty Emerson.


Happy anniversary Sunday to Albert and Karen Ellis of Luella, 23 years; Robert and Rebecca Hall of Denison, 18 years; Beau and Jen Blevins of Dallas, 2 years.