December 28, 2015


Christmas 2015 has come and gone hopefully with good memories to carry us through another year. My sincere thanks to Patsy Colbert who sent an email describing their memorable Christmas. Patsy said, “We had a wonderful fun filled Christmas celebration with all of our children and grandchildren on Christmas Eve! We made Memories at Meme’s making cupcakes and decorating them for Jesus’ birthday. We also decorated tea cakes to leave for Santa and spent the afternoon enjoying a game of croquet with the younger ones. The older grandkids came over early and we enjoyed visiting, napping and cooking together. We had traditional chicken and dressing because we cannot have a family meal without their favorite, PawPaw’s dumplings. We certainly enjoyed the Martha Washington balls, Oreo balls, chocolate cake and cream cheese cherry pies. The presents were opened with such excitement but the time spent with our family was priceless and there is nothing like a new baby to make everything perfect. We are blessed beyond measure and 2015 was a great year for the Colbert Family!”

To use one of Louis Lander’s favorite phase, the RT had a “Blast from the Past” when a young man came in with a photo of “The Fabulous Sonics”, a local rock and roll band in the 60’s. Rusty Harrell attended DHS a short time in the 60’s and became a part of this group when he heard them rehearsing in one of the bays at the Diboll Exxon station. In 1966. Paul Tucker owned the station at the time and his son, Bill Everett a DHS senior, played guitar and sang. Playing the drums was Ronnie Rector. Ronnie Emsoff was the lead singer. Rusty Harrell joined the band and played bass guitar. Little ‘UN (Hulen) Squyres played the organ. All of these members were documented on their business card that Rusty has kept through the years. This popular band played for sock hops and frequently played at the Backdoor Club in Lufkin and battled with another rock and roll band “The Annihilators”. Rusty couldn’t remember but two members of that band and they were David Wimp and Curtis Wayne Grimes.

We had a nice time visiting about “The Fabulous Sonics” with Rusty Harrell who lives in the Beaumont area and works for Gulf States Utilities. While in town he had plans to visit Bobby and Cozetta Watson and his cousin, Betty Jo Jarred.

One of our favorite people, Leroy Lazarine, was honored for his 16 years of faithful volunteering at the Joe W. Elliott house. Hospice-in-the-Pines had a reception to celebrate Leroy’s retirement at the end of 2015. Years ago, after Leroy retired from the Big Tin Barn, he wanted to be of help and assistance to those who were dealing with cancer or other terminal illnesses in return for those who helped him and his family during the time his beautiful wife, Georgia, lost her courageous battle with cancer in 1984. Every Wednesday since February 2000, Leroy has donated 4 hours of his time at the Joe W. Elliott house. He received a plaque honoring him for his faithful years of Exceptional Service. Attending, in addition to staff members from Hospice and the Elliott House, were members of Leroy’s family that included daughters; Allison Amason; Diana Roche and Lorraine Dorman and grandson, Clarke Dorman.

Mike Mathis took time to sit down at the RT and visit with us about the NRF, National Rodeo Finals, which were held in Las Vegas during December. Mike is an announcer and was nominated again this year as one of the Top 5 for the title of “Rodeo Announcer of the Year”. Mike says the rodeo in Las Vegas is an exciting production with all the lights and sound but it moves really fast. There are ten days of rodeo finals. The performances are televised and everything has to work precisely to get the show done in two hours. Only the top 15 contestants in each event make it to the finals. Having watched Mike at the Lufkin Rodeo for years, I asked him about his horse. Mike has been announcing for 30 years and has had several horses but his present one is named “Frog” and he is 10-12 years old. I also asked him about one of my favorite clowns, Liesel Harris who is from Collierville, TN. Liesel has received the honor of being “Clown of the Year” four times at the NRF. Before clowning professionally, Liesel was a regular performer on the “Hee Haw” TV show and has a picture to prove that at one time he played the drums with Elvis.

Mike told us at the National Rodeo Finals this year that John Payne received for his 13th time, the Entertainer of the Year for a Dress Act and John Harris was Clown of the Year. He also said that Charlie Daniels preformed one night during the pre-rodeo show, singing the National Anthem and also an original song he had written for the occasion. Mike and his brother Peyton grew up in their dad’s feed store, Lufkin Farm Supply where “Red” Mathis taught them by example, to say, “Yes” mam. Their dad would say, “I don’t care what time you go to bed, be at work at 6:30 in the morning”. Mike announces about 42 rodeos a year and travels all over Texas and from Florida to Utah and feels lucky to do what he loves.

Boy, did the calories roll in this year. In addition to Andrea making pounds of peanut and pecan brittle, pralines, buckeyes, pies and cakes, Tina Jowell brought us large warm cinnamon rolls early one morning to go with our hot coffee. Kathy Parish sent Joe to the RT with a platter of homemade Reece’s peanut butter cookies and homemade fudge. Jimmy McCall brought us two cans of mixed nuts; Joyce and Earl Carr brought us a cheese ball; Peggy Burt brought a huge burlap bag full of a variety of popcorn. There were also all kinds of homemade cookies and Christmas desserts. Our creative friend, Margie Bass, brought us crochet scarfs and a handy pot scrubber which gets used almost daily. Our thanks to each and every one for every delicious calorie.

I was so disappointed to miss seeing Dick and Betty Albrecht when they stopped by to visit. They had driven from Florida where they live and had been to visit their son who lives in the Hemphill area and were on their way to visit their daughter Melissa in the Austin area. They did enjoy visiting with Andrea and J.D. and Sue Johnson at the RT.

Have a safe and Happy New Year and come see us…’round the table.

December 21, 2015


Fran McClain sent the following email about the successful Ladies Luncheon Bingo that was last week: We had another successful Ladies Christmas Luncheon Bingo. $570 was raised for Diboll Civic Club’s 2016 Christmas Blessings!!! Thank you to the ladies who joined us, making this possible. Thank you to the Family Literacy Center and Diboll Housing Authority. Of course we couldn’t do without our helpers: Sue Baker, Linda Cordell, Tina Jowell, Cathy Martz, Cecilia Mendoza, Jimmie Woodard, John McClain and Burlon Wilkerson. And the volunteers making sure we had a delicious lunch: Mona Adams, Allison Amason, Chasity Archer, Geneva Ard, Sue Baker, Justin Barkley, Theresa Burns, Peggy Burt, Betty Capps, Ginger Capps, Charlotte Carter, Cindi Clark, Patsy Colbert, Linda Cordell, Theresa Coria, Becky Donahoe, Daniel Dover, Dessia Fowler, Bessie Furgurson, Carol Gartman, Jo Ann Grigson, Margie Harrell & Housing Authority Ladies, Sandy Hendrick, Shirley Ivey, Tina Jowell, Nettie Mann, Clevette Mark, Cathy Martz, Linda Maxey, Melissa McCall, Carol Mettlen, Beryl Moses, Ruth Oates, Sarah Rios, Carolyn Schmidt, Hellen Schmidt, Susan Smith, Donya Stifle, Andrea Swor, Debbie Woodward & Kaye Wyatt.”

Also, a Big Thank you to the Businesses and Individuals who donated items for the bingo baskets and door prizes. KST Child Care, Diboll Free Press, Dessia Fowler, Phyllis Kirkland, Sue Baker, Fran McClain, Mary Hendry, Jimmie Woodard, His and Hers Trade Days, Sandra Pouland, Hal and Linda Cordell.
I can tell you I certainly enjoyed attending the Christmas Ladies Luncheon Bingo. The food was good and visiting with friends was great. I sat at the table with Carol Gartman, Becky Donahoe, Bessie Furgurson and her sister, Dorothy Barlow and Ruth Mullins who just happened to have photos of her newest red headed granddaughter who belongs to her son Ted. Ruth was excited she was able to spend Thanksgiving with Ted, his wife and three other daughters and looking forward to returning soon.

Clevette Mark was the winner of the huge basket of goodies given away by the alumni association. The proceeds benefit their scholarship fund.
Sandra Lee is married to Keith Lee and works at The Campbell Group. When she came in for pecans she told me about her father-in-law, Leighton Lee, who owned Lee’s Grocery years ago at the same location where we are today. I can’t believe it, but Leighton is 92 and up until last April drove himself to the mall every day to walk for exercise. He had a quadruple bypass in April and is doing pretty good. Keith is a policeman for the city of Nacogdoches. He and Sandra have two children and three grandsons: Gunnar, age 10; Max, age 8 and Tucker, age 3.

Longtime friends from Diboll High School, Ima (Riley) Weisinger and Mary (Telford) Sheffield came in to visit for a few minutes. Mary lives in Port Neches (I think) and drove to Diboll to spend the night with Ima and attend the retirement party for Robert Telford of Advanced Financial. The party was held at the Museum of East Texas and Mary and Ima both couldn’t believe the 133 decorated Christmas trees on display. That night at Ima’s these two talked themselves to sleep trying to catch up on everything since their last visit. The next day they drove from place to place reminiscing about the good times they had growing up here. Mary’s parents, Milton “Bill” Telford and her mother Mary lived at the south end of First Street in Diboll. The girls drove by the old home place, Ryan Chapel church and the Pine Valley area.

Sam Baker came in for some of our gourmet foods and bought preserves and jelly for the “cat head” biscuits he planned to make that evening. Andy Jarvis came in with his dog, P.J., who was rescued from the pound to be his wife’s dog but P. J. has bonded with Andy and they are inseparable. P. J. takes every step Andy does and rides in his lap while driving. He loves to take a shower and has his own soap and shampoo. P. J. is very well behaved and responds to Andy’s commands to sit, stay and sing. Yes, Andy and P. J. sang a “howling” duet and on some evenings P.J. attends choir practice and lays at Andy’s feet while he plays the piano at Keltys Baptist Church.

It always warms my heart when I learn that people love Diboll and East Texas as much as I do. One of our loyal customers, Dwain Brown, told me how he got here from upstate New York. Dwain was born in Ohio and learned the construction industry. He and his wife Cynthia had two sons, John Dustin and Jason Allen. The last winter they lived in Brockport NY area they had 190” of snow! That‘s when Dwain decided to move. Early in 1991 they borrowed his parents’ motor home and spent three weeks “exploring” through Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, East and West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma and Missouri. When they returned home, he asked his wife, “Where do you want to live?” She replied, “East Texas”.

Dwain headed for East Texas in June of 1991 he stopped in the Marshall area but his travels brought him south on 59 to Diboll where he stopped in at the Temple Inland office and applied for a job and was hired within the week. The family rented a house at first but eventually bought a house on FM 1818 in Shawnee Prairie with enough land to fulfill his childhood dream of raising cattle. Dwaine said this area and the great state of Texas have been good to him and his family. Both of his boys graduated from Huntington and college. John “Dusty” graduated from SFA with a BS in Music and attended UT at Arlington to work on a Master’s in music. He is presently teaching music in the Tomball ISD and plays in the Houston Community Band and other small groups. While in high school, Dusty was invited to play, two different times, with students from all over the US at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Jason graduated from Texas A&M with a BA in Agriculture Systems, spent four years in the Air Force and spent time in Germany and Afghanistan. After completing his active duty, Jason attended Sam Houston and received a BS in Accounting, moved to Denver, CO to attend Colorado University and is graduating this month with a Master’s in Accounting and also a Master’s in Tax. His plans are to receive a Doctorate in Accounting. Cynthia passed away in 2009. In 2011 Dwain met Susan a Texas lady and airline attendant from San Antonio. They started a new life but continue to raise cattle and Susan is raising Foundation Bred Performance Quarter horses for reining, cutting and roping. They are blessed and thankful to live in such a wonderful place as East Texas.

If you receive the Free Press in time and still need a Christmas gift. We have autographed copies of Tom Perini’s TEXAS COWBOY COOKING. The foreword is written by his friend, Robert Duvall. The cost is $24.95.

The store plans to close at 1PM on Christmas Eve and will be closed on Christmas Day and also the following Saturday and of course, Sunday. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year.
Come see us…’round the table.

December 14, 2015


A few days ago, Don Hendrick treated his wife Sandy to a “Fab 5” trip to Grapevine to spend a night at the Gaylord Texan hotel. The “Fab 5” is a group of DHS graduates that includes: Rita (Hutto) Howard; Janie (Black) McCann; Margie (Welch) Ballard and Bernice (Arnold) Trimmell and Sandy (Black) Hendrick. These girls get together as often as they can to have fun. Bernice and Margie had other places to go so Allison (Lazarine) Amason and Laurel (Hendrick) Youngblood made up the Fab 5 for this trip; these two are also DHS graduates from a younger generation. Rita lives in the Dallas area and met all the others at the Gaylord for lunch. They also saw Clara, Jennie and Lizzie Ferguson in the lobby of the hotel.

Later that Thursday, the group went downtown Grapevine to watch the Parade of Lights and met up with Diana (Cook) and her husband Kevin Albrecht who live there. Their daughter, Haley is a star soccer player and rode on the soccer float in the parade. After the three-hour parade, Diana and Haley joined the Fab 5 for dinner back at the hotel.

On Friday the Fab 5 strolled through The Gaylord Texan’s magical indoor winter wonderland annual ICE Exhibit, featuring more than 2 million pounds of colorful, hand-carved sculptures. The 14,000-square-foot exhibit is filled with themed ice sculptures and kept at a numbing 9 degrees. Inside is 2 million pounds of ice, carved by more than 40 ice sculptors, into symbols of Christmas and well-known, holiday animated characters. There are also huge ice slides to ride down; Allison and Sandy were the only two that had the nerve to slide down. The ICE Exhibit also boasts one-and-a-half million twinkling lights, 12,000 ornaments, a 52-foot-tall rotating Christmas tree, and a life-sized gingerbread house. After all this excitement, the girls did some shopping and had dinner at Maguire’s restaurant in Dallas. All five of the girls spent the night at Rita’s fabulous new home at Highland Springs with lots of fun and laughter and reluctantly returned home on Saturday.

Dianne and Mike Gibson recently returned from a trip to Norfolk, VA. After serving in the US Navy during 1964-67, Mike enjoyed touring the historical Naticus Naval Museum which had on display the battleship Wisconsin. Dianne’s favorite part of the trip, other than shopping for souvenirs, was touring Williamsburg during the Christmas season. Mike enjoyed another museum in Yorktown learning more about the American Revolution. They took pictures of Myrtle Beach on the way to Charleston, SC to Patriot Point where Mike was able to visit “his” ship, the USS Yorktown where he worked as a machinist’s mate in the engine room while serving in the South China Sea, 12 miles off the coast of Viet Nam. He remembered the ship being very hot and the only AC was in the officers’ quarters. George H. W. Bush’s plane, the Avenger, is presently displayed on the flight deck. Mike was disappointed that he couldn’t tour the places he actually worked and bunked but admitted the ladders seem steeper and narrower than 50 years ago. It was another good trip for them but Mike had to get back home to put up the Christmas lights.

Jim McClain visited at the RT for the first time since he and Judy moved to Bastrop where he stays busy as the Service Manager of Covert Auto Group. They purchased a new home in Bastrop and Judy stays busy teaching college Education classes to teachers. Their daughter Allison continues to work in media relations at the University of Houston. Their son, Wes, and Will Griffin of Lufkin are in the process of moving to Dallas with plans to play lots of golf at the Dallas Athletic Club.
Melissa McCall came in and we learned that her mom, Betty McCall, quietly celebrated her 80th birthday at home on December 1st. All Betty wanted for her birthday was one egg roll from Diboll’s Jack-in-the Box and it got cold while she enjoyed talking on the phone with several members of her family in West Virginia and Ohio.

Sue Johnson was not with J. D. Johnson when he shared with me how and where they spent Thanksgiving. I hated to tell Sue when she asked me later that J.D. failed to mention that Thanksgiving Day this year was their 55th wedding anniversary. A belated “Happy Anniversary”.

A long time reader of the Diboll Free Press, Dan Davidson and his wife, Ing, visited at the round table for the first time. Dan discussed their ancestors as John Ralph’s grandmother was May Davidson. Dan told us his dad was a sharecropper where the Little Flock church is located today in the Homer area and attended Huntington schools. He served in the US Army 1958-64 and while in Germany picked up a pretty girl (Ing) who had missed her bus and a year later they were married. They have two children; Danita Houston who works at the Kelsey Seabold clinic in Houston and their son Tony who lives near them on Highway 103 and owns Davidson Motor Sports.

Many thanks to Bessie Furgurson and Dalana Hendrick who coordinated and organized another successful Christmas Blessings which was sponsored by the Diboll Civic Club. The final count was near 250 children that will have a better Christmas this year because of the many caring volunteers and donations that were given from merchants, members and residents of Diboll.

And many many thanks to Margie Harrell and the many volunteers working through the Diboll Housing Authority and Diboll Christian Outreach for another successful Christmas dinner and program for us senior citizens of Diboll. So many volunteers work days before preparing for the meal and an amazing number of volunteers show up to serve the people. The civic center was filled to capacity and all enjoyed a delicious meal of chicken and dressing with all the trimmings and a variety of entertainment, door prizes and everyone took home a bag of gifts. John and Mable (Nivens) Powers, who grew up in Diboll, but have not lived here in years attended the dinner for the first time and were amazed to see the large crowd of volunteers honoring hundreds of seniors. The Powers recently moved into Pine Crest and invited their neighbor, Laverne Ward, to ride with them to the big event.

If you have noticed in a few places around Diboll, there are three quart fruit jars with a picture taped to each one. The pictures are DHS Coach Blake Morrison, DHS Principal, John Clements and DISD Superintendent, Gary Martel. The objective is to decide which of these you would like to see “Kiss a Pig” because whichever one receives the most money is the lucky winner. On January 19 at the DHS varsity basketball game against Hudson, Charlie, the potbelly pig will be ready to receive a big kiss from one of these three guys. So, get your money out and go vote. Jars are located here at Pouland’s; Temple Credit Union; Diboll High School, Ace Hardware and the DISD Administration building.

Enjoy the Reason for the Season and come see us…’round the table.

December 7, 2015


The David McCall family spent an unforgettable Thanksgiving in New York City. David and Brenda and daughters, Datha and Bridgette, traveled along with their son, Brandon who is a member of the SFA band, to the Big Apple to watch the band march in Macy’s parade. Two chartered planes were met by seven buses to transport the 300+ group which arrived on Tuesday. Some of their time was spent seeing the sights of NYC that included the solemn Ground Zero, Times Square, Top of the Rock, Empire State building and a dinner cruise on the Spirit of New York with a beautiful view of Manhattan’s skyline. On Thanksgiving Day, band members had to be dressed in their uniforms at 1:30 in the morning for a 3AM rehearsal for the parade. After the rehearsal, the entire group ate Thanksgiving breakfast at Planet Hollywood and then back to the parade route that began at 10AM. The McCalls watched the parade standing at 6th Avenue and 55th streets. All the McCall family, along with the entire group, enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner at The Chart House. On Friday the group split for their own shopping and touring and had a choice of four Broadway shows that evening; the McCall family saw the fantastic production of Phantom of the Opera. The dream ended on Saturday with the flight home but it was the beginning of many memories that will last a lifetime.

The weekend after Thanksgiving, Louis and Fran Rodriguez came by to pick up some potting soil and pecans and reported that their children Angela and Jason had visited them for Thanksgiving. Son Jason brought his special friend Michelle and their furry grand dog named Deuce. They all enjoyed a pleasant sit-down Thanksgiving meal with other guests which included Fran’s brother and his wife, Alfred and Bertha Miranda. After their meal everyone went to Tom and Marty Harris’ home where a large family clan had gathered for a huge Thanksgiving meal and family get-to-gather. Fran laughingly disclosed that they were on their way to see one of the newer movies “The Good Dinosaur.” It’s strange as we become “older” some of us want to share some of the younger generation’s entertainment choices.

Cooper Allen Johnston was born in the last five minutes of December 5th in Dallas, Texas. His parents are Lauren and Judd Johnston. Lauren is the daughter of Ann and Mark Hafernick of Diboll. Judd’s parents are Jerry & Tracy Johnson of Corpus Christi. All of them were present for the big event along with Lauren’s brother and sister-in-law, Brian and Angela Hafernick of Lufkin and her Aunt Becky Strahan. There were many pictures on Mark’s phone of him holding Cooper in his monogramed toboggan and a special “reindeer” cap. Lauren is an Event Planner for Sky Ranch Ministries and her husband Judd is a veterinarian. I thought it was interesting that his twin brother is also a veterinarian and the Hafernick’s son, Brian is a veterinarian and his wife Angela is a Family Medical doctor. Brian and Angela have a 3-year-old son, Gibson, who stayed with Angela’s sister and brother-in-law, Michelle and Ron Haney in Lufkin.

Mark and Ann Hafernick already had tickets to carry their grandson Gibson on the Polar Express train ride in Palestine Sunday evening. Baby Cooper’s arrival changed their plans some in that Ann stayed in Dallas while Mark, Brian and Angela drove to Palestine where they met Michelle and Ron Haney who brought Gipson in his pj’s and their two daughters, Alex and Millie, to ride the train. I can’t tell who had the most fun, Grandpa Hafernick or Gibson who enjoyed everything about the ride, especially when they picked up Santa at the North Pole.

A few weeks ago, John Ralph and I ate lunch in Livingston at My Place restaurant which recently moved into the building that was formally The Texas Pepper. It’s on the east side of highway 59 before Highway 190 (in fact, you have to turn onto 190 and make a U-turn to get to the restaurant. It is a country café atmosphere with antiques conveniently displayed and the day we were there, it was a full house. Our table was next to a couple that enjoyed meeting people as we do and we enjoyed visiting with them. This past week, that couple stopped by The Everything Store and we learned more about them. They are Harry and Julia Armitage, both are natives of Livingston, Texas and are now retired. Harry was in the business of constructing sawmills and Julia started the Whistle Stop Café and at one time, owned Julia’s Boutique. They have a daughter, DeeAnn whose husband, Tim Thompson, is the pastor of the Leggett Baptist Church where they attend. Their son, David Ray, is also retired and lives in Cleveland. After a short visit, Julia and Harry left with fresh pecans and some of Andrea’s pecan and peanut brittle.

Speaking of homemade baking, we must give a hearty “thank you” to Sue Crain who works with Eck Franks at First Bank and Trust on Frank Street. Sue sent us a delicious Rum Cake and a few days later, in a beautifully decorated Christmas box, some of her homemade iced tea cakes. She loves to bake and we can attest that she is very good at it.

Another “thank you” to First Bank and Trust in Diboll for the new colorful Christmas decorations they added this year. A bright red “Merry Christmas” and a colorful train moving down the track. The Diboll Civic Club encourages people to drive through Old Orchard Park in the evening to see the lighted decorations that will be there until after Christmas. Anyone is invited to add a scene to the several that are already there…it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! The Diboll Civic Club also invites you to attend the annual Christmas in the Park on Wednesday, December 16th at 6PM. On Tuesday, December 15th, there will be a Ladies Luncheon Bingo at 11:30 AM in the Family Education Center’s cafeteria on the old elementary campus. The food, prizes, fun and fellowship are always good.

Met Bridgette Krause when she came in the store. Bridgette moved to Huntington from Colorado about a year ago. She and her three children, ages six, three and one now live near her mother and 90-year-old grandmother. It’s interesting that Bridgette raises miniature jersey cows; they can’t be more than 42” high. At the present time, she has 11 cows in her herd and is very knowledgeable about the milk they give. A big percentage of jerseys produce A2A2 milk which researchers believe is beneficial to people who are lactose intolerant and have internal and external allergies and acne. If you interested, look on the Internet for “The Devil in the Milk”
Andrea wants to remind anyone that is looking for a good cookbook to give as a Christmas present, she has several copies of the Livingston FFA Cookbook for $10. Pouland’s also has fresh pecans and gourmet food items in addition to all the other “stuff” we sell.
Come see us…’round the table.