March 30, 2015


Enjoyed visiting with former Dibollians, Rodney and Charlotte (Martin) Shelton who were here from Fayetteville, GA to attend the annual Shelton family reunion. The reunion was held at his uncle’s new venue, “Shelton’s”, whose owners are David and Lois Shelton on FM2108 near the intersection of FM58. When they lived in Diboll Rodney worked at the Fiberboard plant. They eventually moved to Tennessee for 20 years and in 2010 moved to Georgia. Charlotte’s parents were Joyce and John Martin who were our country neighbors years ago. Joyce lives in Carrolton, GA near her son Eric and is doing fine just a little bit slower as a lot of us are.

I know Rodney and Charlotte were both surprised at the blank look on my face when they told me their neighbor in Georgia was Zac Brown who was a college roommate of their son, Scott. Rodney and Charlotte are close friends of the Browns and their five children. Scott works with Zac and so does Charlotte who is convenient to baby sit. When Zac was getting his band started Charlotte’s dad, John Martin, made him a loan to buy musical equipment. That was a few years ago. Zac Brown is better known for the country song Chicken Fried which he wrote. His background in classical guitar and his interest in bluegrass, folk singing and song writing combined with the instrumental and vocals of the other band members have earned Zac Brown Band three Grammy awards and many other awards in the music industry. Scott Shelton is Zac’s “right hand” man and Charlotte spent three years in the marketing of band’s tee shirts, caps, etc. Rodney is also involved and appears as a preacher (which he is) in the Zac Brown Band video, “Sweet Annie”. The video is an outdoor wedding and it is easy to recognize Rodney as the preacher wearing overalls in the wedding scenes. Although Zac played at John Martin’s funeral, it was sad to learn that John passed away before he learned of Zac’s fame. Besides Scott who has two children, Rodney and Charlotte have two other children who live near them. Melissa has one daughter and teaches school and their son Jordan has two children. Jordan also works for Zac Brown and is a construction foreman for ZBB Furniture.

Some of you may remember how creative and successful Rodney is at making custom knives. Charlotte is talented at making custom sheaths to fit his knives. Rodney made a knife that was presented to the King of Jordan and if you watch the popular TV Show The Walking Dead (which got another blank look from me) he designed and made the Blood Diamond knife that the character “Darrel” uses. Where ever Rodney is and whatever he does, he tries not to miss an opportunity to let people know about Jesus Christ. Rodney’s latest venture is shopping for vintage industrial parts that can be converted into lamps. I saw pictures of unique lamps he has completed and he is indeed creative at that also.

Last weekend John Ralph and I attended four musical programs: Friday evening, His Life, an awesome Easter production at Harmony Hill Baptist Church; Saturday evening, several gospel groups who sang at a Relay for Life benefit at Calvary Baptist and two choirs at our church on Sunday. After leaving the church Saturday evening, we stopped at the Cracker Barrel to eat. While pausing to look in the gift shop I noticed a guy and recognized him as the bass singer in the quartet, Ransom, we had just heard. He was by himself and we insisted that he eat with us. Although Elton Fenley has been in this area for years graduating from Lufkin ISD and working 30 years for Lufkin Industries, we had never met him. Of course, it only took a few minutes for him and John Ralph to discover they had many mutual acquaintances. His wife, Theta, was out of town with a group of girls having fun antique shopping in the Round Top area. We were surprised to learn that she is the mother of Diboll police chief, Steve Baker. It’s a small world.

Elton Fenley said his dad influenced him with the love of gospel singing growing up attending tri-state singing conventions and listening to quartets such as The Statesmen. Years later Elton sang bass in the church choir while his son David sang in children’s choirs. At home Elton taught David harmonies to all the “good” country songs on the radio and learned he had an aptitude for learning melodies and lyrics. David began writing songs at the age of 15 and at 18 taught himself how to play the guitar. It paid off. Two years ago Dave Fenley finished in the Top 20 as a singer and guitarist act from Season 8 of America’s Got Talent. He moved to Nashville and one night he and a fellow musician were asked to come up on stage and perform. It just so happen that Miranda Lambert was present and very impressed with Dave’s “beat box” and hired him. At the present time, if you attend one of her concerts, you will see Jukebox Mafia Dave Fenley and Josh Hoge performing and pumping up the crowd before she comes on stage. Elton shared that Dave just completed his second appearance at Radio City Music Hall in New York and has shared the stage with musical royalty like Dwight Yoakam, Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley. Dave Fenley lives in Nashville with his wife and is still writing songs and performing. His dad Elton is retired but continues to sing in the gospel quartet, Ransom, along with Andy Johnson, Ricky Buchannon and Smoky Davidson.

On March 7, 2014, Fran Rodriguez and family hosted a birthday party for hubby Louis Rodriguez, who turned 76 years old, on March 2, which is Texas Independence Day. He is always proud to announce that his birthday is on that historical day of Texas history. There were about 25 friends and family that helped Louis celebrate. Among the guests were their children, Angela Rodriguez of Houston and Jason Rodriguez of Bedford, Texas. There were other local and out-of-town guests from Houston, Tyler and even Michigan. The birthday cake was decorated with the State of Texas emblem, which was put on Facebook. Guests enjoyed a bountiful buffet of BBQ, potato salad and cole slaw with those special fried rolls from Lufkin Barbeque.

Keep Diboll Beautiful is celebrating The Great American Cleanup by hosting a “SHRED DAY!” Bring your unwanted documents to the parking lot at Dollar General (223 N Temple Drive Diboll) on Tuesday April 7, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to noon and Security Shredding will shred and recycle your documents. This event is free of charge to the community. Businesses are limited to 5 boxes. Help us celebrate The Great American Cleanup by cleaning out unwanted waste while knowing your confidential documents are being completely destroyed on site. Please contact Elvia Esteves-Garza with any questions 936 829-4757 or email
April 4th is the date for Angelina County 4H’s Super Bingo Bash at 6PM at the Extension office on the grounds of the Angelina County Farmers’ Market. This is a gift card Bingo with lots of food, door prizes and silent auction. The proceeds will benefit their scholarship fund and summer camp.

April 11th at 6PM is the date for Angelina County Go Texan’s $5,000 Steak Dinner. It will be at “Shelton’s” at 3603 FM 2108 (Airport Road). Tickets are $100 per couple and entitles you to a steak dinner with all the trimmings and a chance to win $5,000. The proceeds go to fund scholarships for students in Angelina County. For tickets or more information, you may call Andrea Swor at 829-4040.

April 18th is the date for Angelina County Benefit Rodeo Trail Ride. Riders and wagons will leave from Old Orchard Park in Diboll at 9AM. For more information, contact Jim Hightower at 632-5313. Pouland’s also has raffle tickets for the Dodge pickup that will be given away at the rodeo April 25th.

Earl Carr, a member of Fairview Baptist Church, is selling “Women of Faith” caps to raise money for another mission trip to Peru. We have some caps available here at Pouland’s for $15. Project Graduation for Diboll seniors is selling raffle tickets on a unique idea; a Crawfish Boil for 25 people. Tickets are $1 or 6 for $5 and available here or contact any graduating senior.

It is with sadness that another chair has been vacated at the round table by one of our longtime regular coffee drinkers, Frank Devereaux. Frank didn’t contribute much to the conversations at the table; he listened! When he spoke, it was with a soft voice and to the point, nothing rambling. He would let you know when his coffee cup was empty by scooting the empty styrofoam cup across the glass table top; something comparable to fingernails against a blackboard!! We miss him and send our sincere condolences to his wife, Johnnye.

Please remember this Sunday is Easter, the most important day for Christians who believe Jesus Christ died, rose on the third day and HE LIVES in our hearts today!

Come see us…’round the table.

March 16, 2015


It usually doesn’t take but a few minutes talking with someone to know what their passion is in life; whether it is their faith, children, grandchildren, jobs, flowers, etc. In just a few minutes visiting with Kendal Martel you learn she has “found her niche” living in Africa working for the peace corp. She is a Forestry Extension Agent working with the L.I.F.E. program, “Linking Income, Food & the Environment” in the Ntekete village in the Mkushi District of Zambia. Her philosophy is giving them knowledge, not money. She works physically hard planting gardens with handmade tools to convince the farmers there are other profitable crops other than corn and tomatoes. She has introduced them to cantaloupes, melons, kale, spinach, dill, egg plants, broccoli and other plants. She speaks the Bemba language proficiently to teach workshops; going for days without speaking English. One of her favorite projects using perma cultural gardens in educating HIV patients with the importance of how orange sweet potatoes can provide for vitamin A deficiency.

Kendal lives near her “host” family, a hard working successful farmer with 8 children that include 3-4 orphans. She has her own two room grass hut with no heat, air or water. Living in the Texas heat has acclimated her to Africa’s heat. In June and July, the temperatures are their coolest, dipping into the 50’s. A nearby well and stream furnishes water for the village until the dry season when there is no water available. During that time she rides her bike, which is her only means of transportation, 30 to 40 minutes to carry water back to her hut. Most of the time she is barefoot or wears rubber boots. She carried overalls from Pouland’s back to Africa.

The village she lives in has about 1,000 people. There is a school with grades one through five and when school lets out at 1PM, the kids love to go work in the school gardens. Kendal said Africa may be financially poor but in terms of family, community, friends, they are very wealthy. In the evenings, whole families sit around a fire listening to folk tales and laughing a lot. She said, it is the hardest work she has ever done but it is also the most rewarding being surrounded by God’s creation. On weekends she enjoys the solitude of long walks in the bush. She has never felt frightened in this middle of nowhere and the villagers are very protective of her. Kendal’s trip to Texas was twofold; a homecoming to be with friends and family and also to be a part of her little sister’s wedding, Kayla Martel to Adam Mary in Waco. Kendal was a bit worried about having to wear heels. She said she did fine but slipped into “flip flops” soon after the wedding ceremony to enjoy dancing.

Andrea received a phone call from Patsy Kissee, a former Diboll resident, just wanting to find out how everyone is doing in Diboll and tell them “hello” from her home in Missouri. Michael Henley, another former Diboll resident, stopped by the store while in town visiting. He is the nephew of Willie and Bobbie Capps and cousin of Richard and Jason Capps. Upon completing his high school education he joined the US Army and has been around the world serving two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. He’s since retired as the result of an injury in Afghanistan. He was happy to be back in East Texas to enjoy some hog hunting. He and his wife Leah and two children; Ellie age 4 and Nick, age 1 live in Indiana Mound, TN where Michael is presently studying Mechanical Engineering Technology.

Retired Southern Baptist preacher, Doug Holtzclaw, from Goldthwaite enjoys gardening. He came in and bought Quik Pic purple hull pea seed and wanted to know if he could charge them on his brother-in-law’s account, Jesse Bradford. When Andrea hesitated, he decided to pay for the seeds. Poor Mike Gibson comes in everyday looking to see if we‘ve gotten in any new seeds. He buys seeds every time he comes in and is so anxious to plant but is so frustrated because he can’t do anything with all the mud in his garden.

John Ralph, Mark Hafernick and myself enjoyed visiting with John L. Strain when he came in to the round table. We learned that Mark coached John’s son, Jonathan, in T-Ball and we also discussed a lot of subjects and looked at lots of pictures on John L’s I-pad. To say “He loves to hunt” is an understatement! He recently sold two ‘hunting’ properties in Kansas to purchase one in Oklahoma which in only five hours from home. He and his wife Jackie love the new spacious retreat and the wooded acres with deer and turkeys and ponds stocked with bass. In his recent pictures everything was covered with snow. While hunting in New Zealand, where Jackie killed a red stag, John had pictures of them with another couple. John noticed the guy was wearing a Cabela’s shirt but it took two days of visiting with him to casually discover he was the “Mr. Cabela” who founded the original “Cabela’s”. John and Jackie have 3 grandchildren. 14-year-old Jillian, an active “extreme cheer” participant in statewide competition; her mom is Jayan. 4-1/2 year old Jaxson John and 2-year-old Corban Richard belong to Jonathan and Sarah Strain.

Speaking of celebrities, Mark and Ann Hafernick rubbed elbows with lots of them at the recent Cowboys and Cowboys Sky Ranch Gala in Dallas where their daughter, Lauren Johnston, is deeply involved as Development and Event Manager for this hugely successful million dollar fund raiser. SKY RANCH exists to provide people with a positive, recreational, fun, and memorable experience, while being exposed to the truths of the Word of God. Since 1955, Sky Ranch has made its mission to lead youth and families to know and follow Christ. Funds raised at the Cowboys and Cowboys Sky Ranch Gala support the ministry and the Scholarship Gift Program, which provide opportunities for children facing circumstances beyond their control to attend a life-changing week of Summer Camp. Three-time Super Bowl champion and five-time Pro Bowl selection, Darren Woodson was the Honorary Celebrity Chair Person for this year’s event and Celebrity Co Chairs were Walt Garrison and Rope Myers. Mark shared his photo taken with 1976 Heisman Trophy winner, Tony Dorsett, whose 12-year-old daughter impressed the crowd with the singing of our National Anthem. He also enjoyed visiting with Darren Woodson and Drew Pearson.

Don’t forget March 28th is the date for the annual plant sale by the Angelina County Master Gardeners at the Farmers’ Market. That same date at 6PM will the Annual Southern Gospel Concert at Calvary Baptist Church, benefiting “Relay for Life”. It’s free but a love offering will be taken for the American Cancer Society.

Come see us…’round the table.

March 8, 2015

9-year-old Halle Hawkins and her sister 14-year-old Gracie, came in Saturday with their dad and former DISD superintendent, Dr. Brent Hawkins. The middle sister, Hannah, was not with them. These three girls are active in 4H and participate in showing animals around the state of Texas. That day, Dr. Hawkins looked more like “farmer” Hawkins in his faded blue jeans. After picking up enough feed for 9 pigs and 2 lambs, they were on their way home to Livingston where Brent is presently serving as superintendent of Livingston ISD. Gracie recently did well with her pig at the San Antonio Stock Show placing 4th in her class. Gracie and Hannah both participated in the calf scramble there along with 22 others who chased after 12 calves. These girls are petite and Gracie explained that she simply caught, jumped on a calf and administered a choke hold until she could secure the halter around its neck. Both girls received an $800 certificate toward the purchase of a gilt hog and the opportunity to win a $10,000 scholarship next year.

Diboll has lost a longtime family, Jim and Judy McClain. Jim has lived in Diboll since he was a preschooler, the youngest child of George, Sr. and Dot McClain, who moved here from Mississippi to work with C. H. Shepherd in the Fiberboard plant. Jim and Judy have sold their two homes in Diboll and are living in Bastrop which is closer to Judy’s mom in Marble Falls and her sister in San Marcus. Jim is working with the Covert Auto Group and Judy does some substitute teaching. Their daughter Allison is the SID (Sports Information Director) at the University of Houston and Wes recently graduated from UH and is playing golf professionally. We miss y’all!!

Lewis and Shirley Ivy took time to visit at the Round Table. Shirley recently had a 6-1/2 hour heart surgery that included implanting a pace maker. Shirley says she feels better now than she has in a l-o-n-g time. She had read that a dose of honey before bedtime helps to sleep better. Before they left, Lewis purchased two quarts of local honey; His and Hers.

I have known Linda Campbell for a few years and enjoyed having time to visit with her at the Round Table and learned she had an interesting experience in her childhood. Linda’s parents were E. C. and Ruth Harris and they had four children: Martha, Linda, Richard and Eddie. Mr. Harris worked in construction and most of the time moved his family with him to different Brown & Root construction sites. He was part of the crew that built Angelina County hospital and Southland Paper. They had lived four years in Bowaters, Tennessee when Linda’s dad was transferred to Havana, Cuba and moved his family with him. It was 1959 and Linda remembers attending a big parade with lots of military equipment and jeeps. It was in honor of the new Prime Minister of Cuba, Fidel Castro. She was standing on the street only a few feet away when he came by with an ugly beard waving to the crowd. It was a very short time later as he began his dictatorship that, as Americans, her family was told to leave their home near Varadero Beach. Linda’s family enjoyed many good times on the beautiful beach and learned to appreciate their cultural foods especially the delicious pastries and lobster which was considered a staple. Because of the pleasant climate, there was no need for air conditioning and her mother had a maid to cook and clean their apartment. Mr. Harris sent his family back to Peavy Switch. Because he knew the language and looked “Cuban” he was able to stay and work but later had to “sneak” out of the country.

Linda Harris first met her husband-to-be, Don “Bubba” Campbell, when they were children then later as teenagers when he delivered the Houston Post. They, like a thousand other couples, hung out at Read’s Broil-a-Burger. They married in 1965 and had two children: Renae and Alan Ray; they have 6 grandchildren. All four of the grandsons have served or presently serving in the US military. They also have 3 great-grands and one on the way. Linda’s life changed instantly when Bubba was tragically killed coming home from a grandson’s wedding. She is still trying to cope with her loss and has moved with her daughter and two spoiled dogs to Nacogdoches.

It’s getting closer and if you haven’t already marked your calendar, now is the time to do so. Angelina County Master Gardeners’ Annual Plant Sale is March 28th at Angelina County Farmers’ Market. Gates will open at 8 AM and close when they sell out. Funds from this sale provide for programs and projects in Angelina County. All the plants are especially suited to our soil and climate and include annuals, perennials, native, fruits, roses and more.

The 4H Bingo Bash will be April 4th at the Angelina County Extension Office also located on the grounds of the Angelina County Farmers’ Market. This will be a gift card Bingo and there will also be a Silent Auction. The time is 6PM and money raised from this event helps with scholarships and summer camps. They need your support.

The Angelina County Go Texan Committee is having a $5,000 Steak Dinner April 11th at 6PM. The tickets are $100 per couple and will include a steak dinner with all the trimmings. This event will be held at “Shelton’s” at 3603 FM 2108 (Airport Road). Tickets are available here at Pouland’s, Ben Moore at 635-6061 or any Go Texan committee member. Proceeds will fund scholarships for students in Angelina County. Shelton’s is a new venue used for weddings, reunions, etc. Their website is

Come see us…’round the table.

March 2, 2015


Monday, February 23, marked the 70th anniversary of the iconic photo of U.S. Marines raising the American flag during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Prior to the flag raising, the major US objective was to capture airfields for emergency landings for our B-29 bombers. Just a small note in case you’ve forgotten your history, 74 days of US bombings before the invasion of Iwo Jima had little effect on the Japanese due to their intricate 11-mile tunnel system; it was almost impossible to penetrate the island. The US Marines and Navy corpsmen met heavy resistance but managed to take the island in 36 days. 6,800 U.S. soldiers were killed at Iwo Jima, 19,000 others injured in what became a major turning point in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

A 70th Anniversary Commemoration of the battle of Iwo Jima was held on the forward deck of the Battleship TEXAS at the San Jacinto Battleground on Sunday, February 22. Former Diboll resident, Corporal John Powers, a 3rd Marine Division veteran of the battle of Iwo Jima was present for this impressive ceremony. In January 1944 John lied about his age of 17 to join the US Marines and served 25 months and 25 days. After John and a fellow Marine saved the lives of many fellow soldiers, John was laying on an airfield when he looked back over his shoulder to see a group of soldiers raising an American flag high up on Mt. Suribachi. That photo has been immortalized in bronze. “The raising of the flag is a symbol of sacrifice that thousands of Marines gave for our freedom. The sacrifices they made then and now, are the reason we’re able to have our freedom.” Attending this commemoration with John was his wife, Mable (Nivens), their daughters Johnnica Edgerley of Farmers Branch and Belinda Stanley of Bedford. Also attending was John’s brother, Earl Powers and his wife, Doreen, of Pasadena.

How many remember the field trips to the San Jacinto Battle Ground to see the Battleship TEXAS? To a 4th grader living in Diboll in the 50’s, battleships didn’t mean much to me. It is interesting to learn that the Battleship TEXAS is the only surviving battleship to have fought in both world wars. At the beginning of WWII she was designated the flagship of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. She supported invasions of North Africa, Normandy, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. She is now designated a National Historic Landmark and also a National Engineering Landmark. It might be time for another visit to see her.

On Saturday evening before the Commemoration ceremonies on Sunday, several honorees and their families were having dinner together. John and Mable Powers’ daughter, Jonnica Edgerley, is a singer and does not hesitate when her dad asks her to do something. This is not the first time but because John loves the 4th verse of our national anthem, he ask Jonnica to sing it while visiting with other veterans and military dignitaries in a restaurant! Before she finished everyone was standing.

The lyrics to the 4th verse:
“Oh! Thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the Star – Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O’ver the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

“And this be our motto: In God is our trust.” That is part of our national anthem that we never hear. But if you will notice around town you may begin to see our motto being displayed in yards on small crosses that say, Jesus is LORD. These crosses are a statement of support for our Christian foundation. It started in the small town of Frankenmuth, Michigan, a town of less than 5,000, when someone questioned two crosses on a bridge in town. A person requested that they be removed and the town removed them. He then decided that the city shield should also be changed since it had a heart with a cross inside signifying the city’s Lutheran beginnings. At that point, residents decided they had had enough. Hundreds of residents made their opinions known by placing a small cross in their front yards. There are those who are trying to remove from our history and current lives any reference to God, prayer, or the fact that our country was founded on Christian principles. It is time to stand up and make a statement, a small, quiet but powerful statement. If you agree, place a small cross in your yard for all to see. A Christian business man in Angelina County is making the crosses and donating them to anyone that wants one. The crosses are presently available under the large sign at Faith Family Church on highway 59 in Burke. Stop and get one for your yard!

March 11th is the last day to order “tea cakes for a heart” fund raiser for 34-year-old David Ray Crunk who is waiting for a heart transplant. There is a sign up sheet to place your order here at Pouland’s , First United Methodist Church 829-4470 or Pam Burnette at 829-4631. Anyone wanting to help bake or donate supplies, please call Pam Burnette or First Methodist Church. Donations of sugar, flour or butter flavored Crisco will be greatly appreciated.
Rhonda Shivers is getting ready to go “on the road” with her Southern Pines Boutique. Rhonda has been selling fashionable clothes in her house on Tidwell Road but has purchased a trailer and fashioned it into a cute mobile boutique. Next Saturday, March 7th, she will have it parked at Diboll Motors and have it open for the Grand Launch Party, 10AM – 4PM.

One last thought. Most Texans are very proud to say we are from Texas. In remembrance of Texas’ Independence which is officially celebrated on March 2nd, take a pen and draw the shape of Texas on a piece of paper. Mine was awful!

Come see us…’round the table.