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.

April 13, 2015


To err is human! I suppose it is good to know I am human because I really messed up in this column last week. Some of you certainly realized that Isabel Hardy is married to Wayne, not Frank! My apologies to Wayne and Isabel.

Wayne and Isabel will be spending time on the road this weekend near Tomball driving their award winning 1972 MGB Roadster. This is part of the Texas Tour made up of classic cars that are at least 25 years old. The tour will be all day Friday and part of Saturday and the awards will be on Sunday. Sure hope they come home with another trophy.

I also need to correct another error concerning what I wrote about Kathy Rodgers who was in town visiting with friends. Kathy has a big heart for helping people and I gave her credit for organizing Christmas Blessings which was actually the dream of three local United Methodist churches: Diboll, Burke and Ryan Chapel. It is a wonderful ministry that reaches hundreds in our communities.

The First Apostolic Church in the Burke area has a new project. Selling Bountiful Delight Cookbooks filled with delicious recipes. Cookbooks available here at Pouland’s and also at the Temple Library. The cost in $20. For more information contact Irma at 829-5760.

It was fun helping ex wrestler, Nick Mitchell, with selecting seeds for a garden that he and his grandfather, Glenn Shivers, are planting in Burke. Nick lives in The Woodlands and is very passionate about planting and eating organic foods. He realizes most of the food we eat is full of preservatives which are very unhealthy. He has learned to cook healthy meals, buying fresh food in quantity and preparing meals for friends who don’t have time or enjoy cooking. That’s why he is so interested in planting a garden and harvesting fresh food although he and Glenn debated the use of fertilizer. Nick works as a pharmaceutical salesman and is also very passionate about his prison ministry.

Nick, his brother Chad and mom, Sara, were in town for the wedding of their close friend, Joe L. After the wedding a group gathered at Glenn Shivers’ barn and enjoyed music until the wee hours of the morning. Good friends, Chris Wells and Chad Mitchell, provided most of the music that was enjoyed by Nick and Sara Mitchell, Mike and Rhonda Shivers, Glenn and others. Chad and his wife live in San Antonio where both of them are Financial Advisors for Merrell Lynch.

Most of our new customers can’t help but comment on the large double barrel shotgun that hangs behind the counter in our store. Glendyl “Rabbit” Griffith recognized the “shotgun” and said he made the trigger guard on it during the time he was a blacksmith at the paper mill. The gun was designed for a BBQ pit for the “Double Barrel Gang”. Creative carpenters made the stock and the barrels are PVC pipes. We are happy to have the conversation piece thanks to Thomas Anderson.

Our caladium bulbs have arrived. Mary Ingram is usually first to buy and gets a whole box. She told me most people plant caladium bulbs about Mother’s Day. Her dad used to start bulbs in the greenhouse for her so they would already be in bloom when she planted hers around Mother’s Day. Her neighbors, Joe Gage and Mark Hafernick, have also been in to buy caladiums. The hummingbirds have arrived and we have a selection of new feeders. The mosquitos are plentiful and we have the stuff to get rid of them. George DuVall along with lots of folks was been in buying garden seed. Skeeter Scarborough was looking over our selection of bedding plants and flowers. Polly Leavell was in buying local honey to help with the miseries of allergies.

For those of us born in Camden, Texas or lived in and around the thriving community, there is a Camden Homecoming, Saturday April 18th 10-4 at the Pine Grove Church on FM 62, near the site of Camden. Bring a picnic lunch and lawn chair and enjoy listening to the “good ole days, when…”

The Angelina County Extension office is presenting the “Do It Yourself” series on Home Orchards, Monday April 20th at 6:30 at the Extension office .Guest speaker will be Greg Grant, lecturer in the School of Horticulture at SFA. The cost is $10. For more information call 634-6414.

The Diboll Business Association and Diboll ISD is sponsoring the Red and White Scholarship Bingo on May 2nd 6:30 – 8:30 at the Lottie & Arthur Temple Civic Center. Concessions will be furnished by 2015 Project Graduation parents and students. 10 games valued at $100 each.

Diboll PTSA is having a “Fundraising at Panda” in Lufkin, April 22nd 4:30 – 8:30. The Panda Express is located near Sam’s Club in Lufkin.

J.R.’s Barn is open Thursday and Friday at 6 PM serving crawfish, fried and boiled shrimp, fried catfish and steaks. Come by and browse through Vintage Blooms’ gift shop, florist and antiques.

Don’t forget this Saturday, April 18th is the big day for Operation Clean-Sweep and the Texas Trash Off. The past events have made improvements on 88 homes with more than 1400 volunteers. Volunteers are needed to work. Contact Fran McClain 829-2779 or Elvia Esteves-Garza at 829-4757.

Come see us…’round the table.

April 6, 2015


Diboll Christian Outreach’s former coordinator, Kathy Rodgers from Georgia, was in town last week to catch up with what’s been going on in Diboll. Kathy’s son Tim who lives in Dallas drove her to Tyler where she met Linda Maxey and Becky Donahoe. These three did some serious shopping for Christmas Blessings, an annual project that Kathy organized while she and Joe lived here. Kathy stayed in the home of Clyde and Linda Maxey where she and Linda spent two fun days of scrap-booking. One evening Kathy, Clyde and Linda, Milford Ruby and Charles Donahoe enjoyed visiting over a meal at the Cracker Barrel. After Methodist choir practice on Wednesday evening Kathy enjoyed visiting over a meal with Nita and Gary Hurley; Becky and Charles Donahoe; Delana and Gary Hendrick. The largest gathering of friends was on Thursday at Christian Outreach’s pot luck dinner where Kathy renewed old friendships and met new volunteers. It’s been almost a year that Joe and Kathy Rodgers bought a home in Georgia and Kathy has already gotten involved in a large charitable organization there while Joe works for his Canadian based company that has several plants in the southern US. Their two sons are doing well. Steve lives and works in San Antonio and Tim lives and works in Dallas.

Frank and Isabel Hardy have been longtime volunteers at Diboll Christian Outreach after retiring from T/I. The Hardys moved to Diboll from Evadale in 1980 for Frank to work in Temple Industries’ Environmental department. Sometime in the 70’s Frank first met Isabel’s dog in Silsbee while she was visiting from England. After he met Isabel, it was only a few months before they were married in China, Texas. Now they spend more time traveling around the country exhibiting their classic cars and are members of the CVAR Car Club, Corinthian Vintage Auto Racing. About six times a year these two work at the races. Frank is a flagman and sometimes works the “penalty” box while Isabel works in the control room where she keeps a running log of everything that is happening. Their 1972 MGB and 1958 MGZB sedan have won them 2-Best of Show; 2 First Places and a dozen Best of Class. They are looking forward to spending 2-1/2 days near Tomball attending the Texas Tour of old cars.

I had the pleasure of meeting the new pastor of Premier Iglesia Bautista in Diboll (formerly the Lakeview Baptist on Ryan Chapel Road). I first met Pedro Aviles in Los Jarritos on a Saturday evening when I stopped in there desperately needing someone to interpret Spanish. Bro. Aviles was standing at the counter checking out and graciously offered to help me. Bro. Pedro Aviles is from San Juan, Puerto Rico where he and his wife were missionaries for more than 30 years through the Southern Baptist Convention of Puerto Rico. They moved to Texas in 1984 where he studied at the Dallas Baptist University and at the same time pastored two churches. He and his wife have been married for 39 years and have four children. Delisse is a school principal in Grand Prairie; Yarlin is a 3rd grade teacher in Puerto Rico; their son Tony teaches Architecture in Dallas and their youngest daughter Andrea recently graduated from the University of Puerto Rico and plans to teach school in Dallas. They have five grandchildren: Caleb, Elisabeth, Naomi, Darell and Yarielis. Easter Sunday was Bro. Aviles’ first official day as pastor.

Last year J.D. and Sue Johnson told at the Round Table they had about a dozen unusual ducks at their house with long legs and bright orange-colored bills. Mark Hafernick overheard the conversation, went home to his shop and built a special wood duck box according to instructions from Wildlife Manager, Don Dietz. The Johnsons installed the box last year and this year they have anywhere from 24 to 36 more ducks. Mark would like to think it is because the ducks like their new home. The common name of these foul is Black Belly Whistling Tree duck. Folks that live around a field or pond might watch for these gaudy, noisy flocks that really do have a whistle for their call.

Kitty Bounds is the Program Coordinator for the support program, LIFT, Living Information for Today. It is sponsored by Gipson Funeral Home and is a social support program that helps widows and widowers adjust to the loss of a spouse by engaging them in educational, social and recreational activities. They meet on the last Tuesday of each month at noon and lunch is provided. The March program was Elaine Cameron, Master Gardener, who shared information about native plants. She also spoke about planting plants that take care of bees, butterflies and insects to maintain a healthy eco-system. Next month, at noon on April 28th, the guest speaker will be Scotty Nunn, of the Winnie Berry Animal Shelter. If you are a widow or widower and interested in attending this program, call Gipson Funeral Home at 634-4411. The program is free and if you like, someone will call to remind you of the meeting the last Tuesday of each month.

Sunday, April 12th at 10AM is the annual homecoming services at the Beulah Congregational Methodist Church. The founder and first pastor in 1892 was Allen Squyres. This year’s speaker is Trent Squyres, a 4th generation of the founder. Other early families included Weeks, Havard, Fairchild, Grimes, Strains, Wheelers and Scarboroughs. Another speaker will be Chet Strain, the youngest son of Thurman and Lila Strain. The message will be delivered by Pastor Trey Thompson who preached his first sermon at this church when he was 17. You are invited to attend the services and bring a covered dish for the noon meal.

Next Tuesday, April 14th, is the date for Angelina County 4-H’s Super Bingo Bash, 6PM at the Angelina County Extension Office. Proceeds benefit the scholarship fund and summer camps.

It’s never too late to participate in the Diboll Civic Club’s Operation Clean-Sweep which is April 18th. Past events have seen improvements made on 88 homes with more than 1400 volunteers. Again this year, volunteers are needed to work, provide tools, prepare food or make monetary or building material donations. Find more information on the Facebook pages “Diboll Civic Club” and “Operation Clean-Sweep 2015”.

That same day, April 18th, Diboll Beautiful Clean will sponsor the Texas Trash Off Day. Volunteers are needed to pick up litter around town. Contact Elvia Esteves-Garza at Diboll City Hall 829-4757 if you would like to volunteer. It is because of volunteers who care that makes Diboll the best place to live.

Come see us…’round the table.