April 27, 2015


I think everyone enjoys reading about vacations, at least I do. The following is JoAnn and Richard Rainwaters’ recent trip to Las Vegas.
Richard and Jo Ann Rainwater decided they had been homebound too long and decided to do a little vacationing on Thursday, April 16, to Las Vegas for a four-night stay at lavishly adorned The Venetian hotel, rendezvousing there with friends Chick and Lollie Bever from Tampa, FL.

The first night’s fine dining experience was authentic Italian cuisine in the hotel at Zeffirino’s. Zeffirino Belloni opened his restaurant in Genoa, Italy in 1939, and then his son carried on the tradition by having the first restaurant to be opened at The Venetian in the late 1990s. (The Rainwaters and Poulands had stayed at The Venetian the second week after it opened.) Entering the restaurant, diners are greeted by a 40-foot high handcrafted bar imported from Italy before ascending to the second floor dining room which overlooks the gondoliers singing to their passengers as they navigate the canal. The hotel atmosphere transports one to Italy without leaving the U.S.!

The next night’s dining experience was tableside around a private lagoon at Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at The Wynn led by two-time James Beard Foundation award-winning chef, Paul Bartolotta. His menu, created nightly, features fresh Mediterranean seafood and Italian coastal cuisine with house-made pastas and over forty varieties of fresh fish and shellfish flown in daily from Italian waters.

Saturday found the travelers on The Roller Coaster at New York-New York, ascending to a height of 203 feet, drops of 144 feet, and speeds up to 67 mph, sometimes upside down. Thank goodness, lunch was later at Greenberg’s Deli in a Greenwich Village-themed setting in New York-New York. From New York, the group went to the Paris hotel for the musical play, “Jersey Boys”. The music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons was nostalgic and very well done. Hopping a cab afterwards, it was off to dinner at Buddy V’s in The Venetian. Opened by Buddy Valastro, the internationally renowned baker known for his ebullient personality and intricate custom cakes, the “Cake Boss” on the TLC TV show has created a fun atmosphere with Italian pastas, appetizers and pizzas…and the cakes on display were masterpieces!

Sunday brunch in the hotel was followed by shopping for the ladies while the guys watched golf. It was a day to prop the feet up and pack for the Monday morning flight back as goodbyes were said. The Bevers continued their stay in the area in order to attend a Ron Fellows two-day driving school for Corvette owners, but the Rainwaters had to rush back to attend the highly entertaining “Million Dollar Quartet” presented by the Arts Alliance at the Temple Theater on Tuesday night. Jo Ann serves on the board and says the 15th Anniversary season will be a great one, with a jump start on June 5 by a special entertainer soon to be announced.

Lots of folks enjoyed visiting with Dale and Jill Rye while they were here for a few days from Renner, South Dakota. It was more than 20 years ago that they made their first trip to East Texas looking for a winter home for their honey bees and since then have made more friends because of their many beekeeping trips to East Texas. Dale retired from the bee business last year except for the 300 hives he keeps in insulated barns on their farm in SD. So, this trip was strictly fun for Dale but Jill is a full time RN and will soon complete her Doctorate in Nursing. She only lacks six credits and a senior project so she had homework everyday while Dale was free to do whatever.

As it has been an annual tradition when possible, they did attend the Angelina County Benefit Rodeo with us and Jack and Donnie Jenkins. Some other folks they got to visit with included: James Leftwich; Mary Lou Havard and daughters; Wayne & Janet Hodges; Marty and Tom Harris; Tom Squyres; Woody Ingram; Butch and Ruth Tidwell and the Beulah Store.

Back home in Renner, SD, Dale and Jill are members of the West Nidaros Lutheran Church, which was formed in 1868. The original Norwegian congregation was the first church in the Dakota Territory. The present building, built in 1911, has a pipe organ that has been rebuilt three times still using the original pipes. Jill is one of their organists. Members at Diboll First Baptist were treated to special music she played for both services last Sunday. (It was a treat that she invited me to play their pipe organ when we visited them in SD.)

Jonathan Jones was in the store with his dad Gary. Jonathan works for Exxon Mobile and is presently living in a condo on a beach in Oxnard, CA. He typically works 3 weeks on and 3 weeks off out of Port Hueneme, CA. He lives near a naval base and loves the picturesque scenery and perfect climate. If he tires of living on the beach he can be in the mountains in 15 minutes. He’s also 15 minutes from Cassita Springs, the hometown of his favorite performer, Johnny Cash. One of Jonathan’s friends treated him to an elegant meal at Hozy’s Grill & Restaurant in Santa Paula, CA. The owners’ main gig is a company that makes race car components but these food-loving owners wanted a nice but conveniently located restaurant close to their work. Hidden in an industrial park, they converted one of the bays in their garage into a posh restaurant. Sitting at the table next to Jonathan and casting a smile toward him was Meryl Streep. Jonathan also met a guy who owns Steve McQueen’s hanger which is filled with McQueen memorabilia. Jonathan is now the proud owner of two checker racing flags from races that Steve McQueen won. Jonathan enjoys his work for Exxon Mobile working in Rig Operations, Safety and Inventory and has lived in Canada, Colorado and Russia but I think he loves California best.

If you saw Garry and Kathy Martz you may wonder why they looked happy, but exhausted. For four days they kept their two granddaughters; 4-year-old Allison and 1-1/2 year old Taylor. Their parents are Kevin and Lindsey Martz of Ft. Worth. The girls enjoyed hitting golf balls at Neches Pines and attending Friday night’s performance of the Angelina County Benefit Rodeo and coming to the Round Table.

The Diboll Business Association which is made up of 50 hardworking businesses who hope you will shop locally, is sponsoring a Bingo that will benefit the Red & White Scholarship Fund for Diboll seniors. The scholarship is available to all DHS seniors who plan to continue their education and will complete a simple one page application. The money in the scholarship fund comes from donations, contributions, memorials, DISD payroll deductions and the proceeds from the Bingo sponsored by the Diboll Business Association. The balance in the fund will be equally divided by the number of applications. The more money in the Scholarship fund is more money for each Diboll senior. Project Graduation will be in charge of and benefit from the concessions. The Bingo will be May 2nd at the Lottie and Arthur Temple Civic Center. The doors will open at 5:30 and the games begin at 6:30. Each game has a value of $100 and the Blackout game is valued at $200. You can play 10 games for $1.00. The blackout game will cost you $2.00. What a bargain that will support a good cause!

Come see us…’round the table and don’t forget J.R.’s Barn is open Thursday and Fridays at 6PM for crawfish, seafood, steaks and hamburgers.