December 26, 2016


Pouland’s The Everything Store was closed on Christmas Eve and all of us thoroughly enjoyed spending time away from this place although it is good to visit with customers when they come in shopping for something special. Anyway, JR and I drove to Dean’s Meat to pick up the main dish for our Christmas evening gathering at the Swor’s. The owner, Dean McMullen, got up and met us as we were going through the buffet for lunch. He wanted to let us know that his family wouldn’t have Christmas dinner because he was selling us the steaks he was saving for his family dinner. He later sat down with us as we ate to re-assure us he was teasing. He introduced us to his wife who works with him and said they would soon be married 55 years and neither is ready to retire. We told Dean we had learned he had ordered a new catering trailer through our computer guru, Bill Havard, who traveled with his state trooper son-in-law, Chad Wilson to Georgia to bring the trailer back to Dean’s in Huntington. Dean also shared that the meat market, the day before, had sliced over 9,000 slices of ham for the Dream Center which coordinated a plan to cook and deliver 7,500 meals on Christmas Eve. Lots of volunteers helped make the meal a reality. Sincere thanks and congratulations to everyone that had a part in making Christmas Merry for lots of folks.

Pastor of the Diboll Methodist Church David Goodwin, who bears a good resemblance to Santa somehow convinced Gary Gores to dress as an Elf and the two delivered Christmas greetings to folks in Trinity Mission and other shut-ins. The “elf” has the proof in dozens of photos taken including one of Becky, a manager at the Family Dollar store who was checking out someone buying candy in a red suit. We’ve also heard that one of our local policemen stopped Santa Claus for speeding and was totally surprised when he realized who was driving the car. In his defense, who would ever think Santa would be driving anything but a sleigh?

Don & Sandy Hendrick celebrated Christmas eve at candle light service at First United Methodist church and in their home with all their family Laurel & Bob Youngblood, Jennifer Hendrick, Jordan & Tyler Eldridge, Lindsey ( Harper) & Earl Morris, Jayla Finley, Aiden Morris, J.R. & Alaryca, Aniston Ray Youngblood, Brynn Maxwell.  Tissue paper, wrapping paper & bows were flying for several hours with all these people opening gifts. On Christmas day this family went to church to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas.  At 5 PM the family had dinner with special guests James, James Jr and Jarred Galuszka, Alicia Cruz, James Snarr, Jose Calderon, Stephen Baird, David, Melanie, Natalie and Katie Goodwin

Robert Ramsey stopped by the store to visit. We were talking about Christmas when he said his wife Nancy gave him a package which surprised him because they don’t exchange gifts. He anxiously opened it and was happy to see it was two cans of mixed nuts which Nancy immediately took from him and said she needed those to make Texas Trash.

If you haven’t completed your Christmas shopping or thinking about gifts for special occasions during 2017, you might want to contact Frank Farrow who is a very talented craftsman with wood. From wolmanized wood he has, for years, made gliders and hanging swings but has added coffee tables, hall tables, clocks and jewelry boxes made from cedar that was grown in Beulah. He also continues to take special orders to build bird houses and squirrel feeders. He also proudly shared that he and Teresa have been married 53 years as of December 21st. Congratulations! By the way, his number is 936-829-5040.

Enjoyed visiting with Harold and Donna Plath who recently returned from their second home in Walden, Colorado. They have been there since June where Donna has worked in the local bank for 12 years and Harold does maintenance in the oil field and for local ranchers. They told us Walden is 62 miles from Laramie, WY; 62 miles from Kremmling, CO; 62 miles from Gramby, CO and 62 miles from Steamboat Springs, CO and they experience living with snow every month of the year except June and July. Donna said she wore insulated clothes to the annual 4th of July celebration. Walden is the only town in the county of about 800 people of which 550-600 live in town. Donna got her banking experience while working at Lufkin Federal Savings and Loan almost 25 years. When they are in Texas, they live in Central and Harold works at his shop in Apple Springs. They also enjoy their hunting lease, Las Escobas, in El Sauz near Rio Grande City where Harold has hunted since he was 8 years old.

Dianne Gibson and Betty Capps enjoyed traveling with the Senior Circle from Woodland Heights to Natchitoches, Louisiana where they spent two nights enjoying the Christmas lights along the Cane River. The days were filled with touring homes decorated for Christmas, shopping and eating. Two special restaurants where they enjoyed eating were The Landing and The Mariner. These two highly recommend joining the Senior Circle for $15 per year that includes monthly informative meetings and several trips during the year.

You can support Project Celebration by buying fireworks at their stand in the parking lot of J.R.’s Barn this week until midnight on New Year’s Eve. They also still have $100 tickets for sale with the opportunity to win $10,000. Tickets are available at Pouland’s.

Our thanks to Bill Smith for the delicious meal of hot tamales with all the trimmings and also to Darlene Stephens for a whole tray packed with lots of goodies including cranberry bread, crockpot candy and fudge. So many people have brought so many goodies to the round table and for that we are thankful. I noticed several enjoyed tasting the good food at the round table. At one time I saw Skeeter Scarborough, Buddy Shipp, Mack Coward, Bill Dean Yates, Gary Jones, Mark Hafernik, J.D and Sue Johnson and Fran McGilvra.

The coffee is always on, please me of you join us…’round the table.

December 12, 2016


Congratulations to a longtime customer of ours, Sue Baker. Sue was all smiles telling about winning a book and gift card for completing a “reading challenge” at Temple Memorial Library. The challenge began in January and ended December 1. Forty books were selected by the library staff which also read the books. The purpose was to get people to read books they might not ever pick up to read on their own. Sue was one of five adults that completed the challenge and according to Justin Barkley, “A lot of adults were really close to completing the challenge.” Justin also said the library is working on another list of books to begin a new challenge in January.

Jack and Gayle Beene stopped by early Wednesday afternoon to visit and were disappointed they missed the annual Christmas dinner at the civic center. They live in Jack’s hometown of Mexia where they built a home on land that has been in his family for years. Jack enjoys rebuilding old tractors and Gayle volunteers helping others and enjoys her garden club and they are both active in their church. From here they drove to their old neighborhood in South Meadows and visited with former neighbors, Don and Dolly Whitaker.

Mark and Ann Hafernick hosted their grandson Gibson Hafernick’s 4th birthday party at their home. Gibson’s parents are Angela and Brian Hafernick. It was a farm party complete with plans for a hayride to the barn and an opportunity to feed chickens, goats, cows, horses and tractor rides were also on the agenda. Unfortunately, it rained 4”on that cold Saturday morning so the party was moved inside and original plans were substituted with lots of farm related games and activities. The children still had a wonderful time and left with homemade stick horses as their party favor!  The stick horses were made by Angela and members of the Caskey family at their Thanksgiving celebration. Attending were several of Gipson’s classmates from St. Cyprians, friends from church and cousins, Alex and Millie and their parents, Ron and Michelle Haney from Lufkin. Gibson’s maternal grandparents, Jim and Ann Caskey, also enjoyed the party which was lots of fun and turned out to be the best “indoor” farm birthday party ever!

Jimmie Woodard went with friends Dell and Jerry Sawyer to Durango’s Canyon outside of Mt. Enterprise and had a delicious meal at the Crater Restaurant and Club.  She reported that the food was good, but prices were a little high. The music was excellent and not so loud you couldn’t visit and enjoy your evening.  The ambiance of the outside surroundings was awesome.  The restaurant sits high and overlooks the crater and the Christmas decorations at the foot of the crater were pretty awesome. So, you might ask, “What’s the story on The Crater? “No one is certain. There is the legend that thousands of years ago a huge meteorite fell to earth and left this natural crater. One can find some interesting boulders which could possibly be meteorite debris. Then there are the stories that The Crater was formed by the Caddo Indians for their use. Arrowheads and Indian artifacts have pushed their way above the ground. Located on 120 acres, the restaurant sits on the rim of the Crater Amphitheater overlooking the stage at Durango’s Canyon and is open Wednesday through Saturday evenings.

          Two guys came in the store at the same time and I learned they both graduated from Diboll in 1992. Jose Hernandez, Jr. and Bobby Lee who both live in Diboll. Jose and his two brothers, Cesar and Juan had returned from Green Bay, WI where they watched the Packers win over the Houston Texans. Before that trip, Jose, his two sons, 9-year-old Trey and 11-year-old Santana and Chaundra Hawthorn attended the game between the Cowboys and Packers. In fact, they attend all the home games in Green Bay and have tickets on the 20-yard line.

          Bobby Lee, as a hobby, raises AKC Labrador Retrievers to run and compete in AKC field trials. After last week’s competition in Hillsboro, Bobby’s prize dog, “Jammer” who is only 16 months old is ranked #21 in the nation. He trained the dog for about a year but since then Jammer is being professionally handled and trained by Mike Johnson of Piney Creek Retrievers in Corrigan. Bobby also raises birds used in training dogs and presently has about 900 pheasants and ducks at his house.

          Two good friends who worked together for years and have hunted together for “too many years to remember”, Eugene May and John Wallace, truly enjoy hunting. They recently returned from a two-week trip to Montana and South Dakota.  They hunted for five days in Montana staying in the outfitters’ lodging. The temperatures broke records for being the hottest in years but these guys both got a mule deer before driving 300 miles to the area of the Badlands’ in South Dakota. Eugene had a picture of the 300 pound deer he bagged with four HUGE antlers that were extremely wide and tall. I was astounded but Eugene in his mild, quiet manner said it wasn’t much by SD standards. John Wallace amazed them all with his 4×4 mule deer he shot at 505 yards by carefully getting down on his bad knees, bracing and calculating the long distance shot. Before leaving home Eugene had already killed two nice 11 pointers; one in the Tower Club and one in the Dean Creek Club.

          Ramiro Perez came in just as Eugene was leaving and was very proud of the 14-point buck that he had gotten in the Tower Club. Ramiro said the thick rack scored 138 points and was 14-1/2” wide.

          The Diboll Lions Club met for their regular monthly meeting at the First Methodist church. The speaker was Drew (Andrew) Estrada, a senior at DHS and expected to be the Valedictorian of his 2017 graduating class. He told us about his freshman year when he planned to take a culinary class that filled up and he had to take an agriculture class. Getting injured and unable to play sports, he got involved in FFA and presently holds an area office that includes 89 school districts and 11,000 members. He has been accepted to Texas A&M and plans to major in Nutritional Science. He challenged the Lions Club to speak up and speak out for everyone in the community. This young man was a very impressive speaker.

          You missed a treat if you did not attend “Christmas in the Park”. It was a wonderful evening with singing and scriptures. After the program The Diboll Civic Club had the Christmas lights turned on in the park just in time for Santa to arrive on a firetruck. Please take time to drive through the park and see the many exhibits, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

          Please send me news and come see us…’round the table.





December 5, 2016


A very special Thanksgiving holiday was a joyous time in the home of Janet Kilgore. It was a great feeling, after five surgeries, three of them from cancer since 2009, for Janet to hear laughter, jokes and old stories shared about the good ole days when family and friends get together. All five of Janet’s sons were home which brought indescribable joy to her heart. Visiting the Kilgore household: Alberta Potts from Lake Fork; Brandon Hopp from Groveton; Jonnie, Teresa, Gracie and Wesley Kilgore from McMinnville, Oregon; Donnie Kilgore from Pearland; Ronnie, Stacy, Kraig and Kolton Kilgore; Lonnie and Tommie Kilgore, Gary, Landon and Lela Rector, all from Diboll.  Ruben Kilgore from Pineland; Rex and Tina Bankston from Conroe. Jonnie and family enjoyed the History Center where Louis Landers helped them trace old family names in Teresa’s history. Wesley enjoyed the train, especially ringing the bell and blowing the horn. After visiting old friends in this area, two weeks came to an end too quickly for them to fly back to Oregon.

Carmen (Grumbles) Miranda went on another RSVP bus trip to Branson MO returning on Saturday December 3 which was her 71st birthday! Some of the great shows she saw there were Puttin’ On The Ritz, Brett Family Show, Dublin’s Irish Tenors and the Celtic Ladies, The Million Dollar Quarter Show, 70’s Musical Celebration starring Barry Williams (Greg from the Brady Bunch) and The Hughes Brothers Christmas Show. Also had a three-course meal onboard the famous Showboat Branson Belle while enjoying Broadway-style entertainment. Shopping in historic downtown Branson especially Dick’s Old-time 5 & 10 was fun but unfortunately things were not five and ten cents! On return trip stopped at William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock AR.  Former Dibollians Earl and Joyce Carr were also on the bus.

Hunting buddies, Dennis Lenderman and Jerry Hemphill, took another opportunity to go hunting in West Texas. Arriving at the site they thought it a good idea to check their guns with a quick target practice. Almost instantly, two vehicles arrived on the spot and two game wardens got out of their pickup and others got out of a black suburban with cameras and begin filming the conversation. The game wardens asked Dennis and Jerry if they knew it was illegal to target practice. Of course they said “No” to which one of the game wardens pointed back toward a sign at the entrance that stated the rule. The game wardens noticed the two hunters had a side-by-side ATV and asked if they had a permit for it to which they both answered “No”. Dennis never said if any tickets were issued but afterwards the people with cameras approached them about signing a “release” which would allow Dennis and Jerry’s faces to be shown on the TV series, Texas Game Wardens, Lone Star Law. This TV series follows the men and women game wardens with Texas Parks and Wildlife as they patrol and protect our Lone Star state’s natural resources and police its 27 million citizens. I hate that I didn’t get Dennis’ autograph since he and Jerry may become TV celebrities.

It’s not often we see George Vinson from Chester since his retirement but he recently stopped by the round table and was tired from traveling and ready to get home. George is president of the Central Texas Beefmaster Breeder Association and had been to Nevada and California encouraging ranchers to buy Beefmaster bulls. While he was here Harold Maxwell came in and the two of them truly enjoyed talking about cattle and ranches. When Harold was about 15 his dad moved the family to Colorado where he managed a ranch in the areas of Simla and Lyman, Colorado near Matheson where Tom Lasater developed the Beefmaster breed. Harold and George mentioned too many names and places they both knew that I couldn’t keep up with them. I do remember Harold saying there were only 35 kids in the Agate high school where he played 6-man football and rode the school bus 25 miles.

George Vinson brought me up to date on his family. His nurse wife Gayle continues to do ultrasounds at the hospital in Woodville. Their son Shannon and his wife Lisa live in Huntington with Pierce, age 16; Parker, age 15 and Lana, age 10. Son Ryan and his wife Carrie live in The Woodlands with Abby, age 8; Chase, age 6 and Mollie, age 2. Daughter Robin and her husband, Tracson Stockton live in Warren where she teaches. Their children are Madison, age 8 and Garrison, age 5.

Ladies, don’t forget to attend the Christmas Luncheon and BINGO, Thursday, December 15th in the Family Education Center. Lunch is $5 and each card is $1. There will be five games of bingo with great prizes and one blackout game.

On Friday, take time to visit our awesome TLL Temple Library during the day and say “good bye” to Brenda Russell who is retiring. She has served the library for many years and has seen many changes and improvements. Do plan to go by for refreshments, visit with Brenda and see the 12 beautifully decorated Christmas trees inside. The outside is also very pretty at night.

Sunday, December 11th there will be an Open House at the brand new Ryan Chapel church, 2 – 4PM. The church, which originally was founded in 1865, burned about 18 months ago and everyone is happy that the construction is completed. Pastor Charles Weeks and members invite the public to come see the new building and celebrate this special event. Kathi (Weeks) Jordan is the organist and Mary Florence (Weeks) Hendry is the pianist. This congregation may be small but they are to be commended for completing the new building which is debt free. They invite anyone looking for a new church home to come worship with them. A formal dedication will be held later.  For folks that don’t know, the church is located at the intersection of FM304 and FM2497 about 2 miles east of Hwy. 59 on FM 2497.

Enjoy the season and remember the real reason. Come see us…’round the table.




November 28, 2016


Thanksgiving week was very busy for the Carter house in Burke. Early in the week, David and Charlotte (Morris) Carter were blessed to have his daughter Meredith Romine, her husband Chad, and their 4 year old son from Bedford, Indiana. “Carter” is the first name of the 4-year-old. They all enjoyed visiting the Festival of Trees at the Museum of East Texas and Carter’s love of trains took them to the Texas Forestry Museum the next day.  During their last visit to Diboll they went to the History Center and Papa Carter scared little Carter with the train horn so they skipped that this time!  On Wednesday the rest of the family came for Thanksgiving dinner.  David’s son, Jamie, from south Louisiana and his wife, Cheryl, and three children (Virginia, Ana, and Ethan) came and spent the night. His daughter Amanda Robertson, son-in-law Jason, and grandchildren Dixie Leigh and Jack Davis from Appleby came for dinner.  It was a very nice visit and lots of food was consumed!

Good friends, Thomas and Jean DuBose, traveled on Wednesday with their sons, Tommy and Larry, from Apple Springs to Oxford, Mississippi. Their granddaughter and Tommy’s daughter, Ashlan, lives there with her husband, Dr. Chris Glaze. Thanksgiving dinner was in their home with 13 guests including Ashland’s mother, Mary Frances, her husband, Jeff and younger brother Dre Espenosa from Frisco; her brother Adam and Allison, Jack and Reagan Dubose from Leander, Texas; and of course, Jean and Thomas; her dad Tommy from Austin and Larry Dubose from Belton. On Friday family photos were taken on the Ole Miss campus. After that the group traveled by a double decker bus to the square where activities included a carriage ride, tree lighting, shopping and singing. On Saturday, Thomas and Jean participated in their first Rebel tailgating party on the Grove at Ole Miss. The Grove is a large green space on the Ole Miss campus that transforms overnight into a sea of red, white and blue tents.  Tailgating in the Grove is not just a simple tailgate, there are strict rules and some tents are equipped with all the comforts of home. Most have TVs hooked up to Direct TV with a dozen or so lawn chairs surrounding them.  There are no open flames, gasoline, or propane allowed in the Grove. This eliminates the option of cooking burgers, hot dogs or any other grilled item that you would normally find at a tailgate. Chris took care of providing, cooking and delivering lots of good food to their tent. The temperature was freezing and the wind blowing but everyone enjoyed the experience but only the brave attended the ballgame. Returning to east Texas on Sunday was difficult with lots of traffic and construction but happy to say they all made it home safely.

Jimmy Woodard has been traveling again and sent the following news. I left on Saturday, Nov 19th with friends Karen Barringer, Tara and Addison Thompson and Leanne Hendrick on flight 1638 from IAH to Los Angeles to visit for a week. My luggage, however, traveled to Los Angeles on a different flight and arrived late that night at our hotel. I had a marvelous time visiting Griffith Observatory, reading, learning and watching interactive videos about the solar system and observing the valley, mountains and Los Angeles below us!  We went to La Brea Tarpits for an interesting adventure learning about digs for fossils and the cleaning process of the fossils getting them ready for assembly!  We had a wild, fun time at Universal Studios riding rides, eating and drinking and spent one day at Palm Springs where we ate at Pinocchio’s, a very interesting dining choice.  While in Palm Springs we had an awesome 2 1/2 mile ride on the Aerial Tramway from Valley Station to Mountain Station. The tramway car had a 360 degree rotating floor that allowed us to view the natural surroundings, wildlife and overlook Palm Springs. It was 36 degrees at the top and snow was on the ground.   The lodge-like facility at the top had a gift shop with several outdoor viewing areas and also a large area available for parties, weddings, etc.  The view was breathtaking!  A beautiful waterfall provided a relaxing sound as it flowed down the mountain.   There were hiking trails and even a ski slope; some folks hiked down the mountain, don’t know what their problem was (perhaps afraid of the ride down???????).   Our group returned to Texas on late Thursday night from a fantastic journey…and our luggage arrived at the same time!!

The Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving, the Sergio Zapata family was leaving Diboll for College Station to pick up their Aggie daughter, Karina. Sergio and his wife, Deyanet and Karina’s 9-year-old brother, Junior and 7-year-old sister, Katia were all anxious to see her but probably not as anxious as Karina was to see all of them. I’m sure they all had a grateful Thanksgiving.

Roy Smith was happy to share how excited his dad, Leroy, was about killing a deer this season. Leroy is only 87 years old. John Walter Cobb lives on acreage outside of Corrigan. He was outside working on trailer lights when he spotted a couple of deer walking in the edge of the woods. He didn’t get excited about that until he realized a really nice buck was following them. As most Texans, he reached in his pickup, got his rifle, and now has a nice 10 point trophy. John also shared how much he enjoyed seeing Tanya Tucker in Crockett recently. He was 14 the first time he saw her; a second time in 1976 in the Astrodome and this past August in Lake Charles, La. He said she packs the house and puts on an extremely good show.

Looking for Boston terrier puppies for Christmas? One of our customers, Emily Barton has AKC registered red and white six weeks old puppies; 2 girls and 2 boys. Her number is 903-478-2411. Billy and Judy Sessions drove all the way from Alto to get pecans last Friday not knowing the store was closed and drove all the way back on Saturday. It was good meeting and visiting with them as we had several mutual friends. Lynn Carranza has been driving from Houston several years to buy pecans…glad we were open.

Sherrel Fears has moved to Diboll on Burkhalter Hollow Road. I didn’t want to believe him when he said it not only rained but hailed one day about 11AM and several inches of the ice was still on the ground about 2PM. Sam Anderson came in after lunch and said he saw a bunch of “white stuff” beside the highway on FM 2497 and realized it was ice confirming Sherrel’s story.

The Ladies’ Christmas Luncheon, sponsored by the Diboll Civic Club, will probably be the last big Bingo of the year. It will be Thursday, December 15th.The lunch is $5 and each bingo card is $1. Because it is a luncheon, only 5 games with great prizes and 1 blackout game will be played plus you get to enjoy a delicious lunch and door prizes. The time is 11:30 until 1PM in the cafeteria at the Family Education Center. For more information call 829-2779 or 829-4817.

Earl Carr wants to invite everyone to his church, Fairview Baptist, this Sunday, December 4th to hear David Ring speak at both services, 11AM and 6PM. David Ring is a cerebral palsy victim who shares how he became a cerebral palsy VICTOR! The pastor, Gene Hazell and all the members extend a cordial invitation to this free event. For more information call 936-637-1466 or 676-5229. The church is located at 3742 FM 2108. (The intersection of the airport road and FM 58.)

Mark your calendars on Wednesday December 7th for Diboll’s Christmas in the Park at 6PM. There will be lots of music, readings, hot chocolate and the official lighting of the decorations in the park. Don’t forget, it’s getting bigger and better every year.

Come see us…’round the table.


November 21, 2016



George Washington had so miraculously survived war that he often was referred to as “Bullet Proof”. It was widely accepted that he was appointed by God to the role of our first President. His 1789 thanks-giving proclamation was a one-time event that was repeated as the need arose. “Both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

There is one young man I know that is surely “thankful” to be around to celebrate this Thanksgiving with family. Following is what happened the beautiful morning of November 12th as told by Allison (Lazarine) Amason about her adventurous husband, Matt. Two friends, Thomas Baker and Matt Amason were enjoying a fun bicycle ride in Livingston. “The Spirit Ride” is a 44 mile ride that benefits Polk County Crime Stoppers. On mile 35, Matt had a bad crash. While riding fast, his front tire went into a crack in the road bringing him to an abrupt STOP and throwing him over the handlebars. Matt never saw the crack, it happened so quickly and he hit the pavement so hard he thought he had been hit by a car! Matt said if he tried a million times he would not have been able to purposely hit that crack in the road. He was NINE miles from the finish line. In his upset, shook-up condition, he managed to change the tube in the tire and tried to continue the race but soon realized his tire was also cut! He was forced to get a ride from a SAG vehicle back to the start/finish. Matt was checked out by paramedics on the scene and two different free standing ER facilities. It was determined he has two breaks in his wrist; an AC joint separation in his shoulder (on the opposite side of the breaks); a dislocated finger; a slight concussion and terrible road rash but thankful for the helmet! Allison said even with all his aches and pains, he can hardly wait to get back on his bike. Good luck to Matt.

Good health is a blessing and something to be thankful for. One way to express that gratitude is to help someone else in need. Josh Shoffitt, an employee of B&J Excavating is fighting colon cancer (without insurance). A unique custom-built Texas Cowboy Cooker is being raffled to benefit Josh. The cooker has been displayed here at Pouland’s where tickets are available for $1 each. The drawing will be on December 10th. The group is also selling pork butts on that same day for $35. To order, call Jessica at 936-671-3644. On December 9th, an $8 chip beef sandwich lunch will be available at B&J Excavating on Hwy 69 N. Your prayers and support is greatly appreciated.

Enjoyed meeting and visiting with Hershel and Karen Lee who are both retired and have built a home in Coldspring. Karen worked with Richard Warner almost 25 years starting when he was a young, upcoming lawyer with Jimmy Cassels. She followed him to Temple Inland in Diboll and on to Austin when he was president of T/I.  She was also the manager of the T/I Foundation. While she and her husband were working in Austin, Hershel became the Travis County Fire Marshall even though they lived in Bastrop. They survived the terrible Bastrop fire that came within 600 feet of their home. The Lees have three children: Shelby, Ben and Beth. We met Shelby who is a DPS trooper in San Jacinto County and the only woman that works in “crash reconstruction”. Since retiring in 2012, Karen has taken up quilting and enjoys their five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Richard Warner came in later to buy deer corn and was disappointed to learn he missed seeing his former assistant, Karen Lee. Enjoyed a short visit with Melvin and Patsy Slusher when they came for pecans and learned the 19th was her birthday. I also learned that Pasty is an avid sports fan and loves college football more so than her husband. It was so good to visit with Bobbie Bartlett who came in with her son Bill to buy pecans. Bobbie and Geraldine Pouland were step sisters through Bob York and Effie Martin. Bill Bartlett continues to teach Government classes for Angelina College.

Jan and Jerry Morgan came in to buy pecans for their new neighbors, Morris and Betty (Hannah) Smith who moved from Beulah to Fairview Circle. The Morgans told us that Morris is always bringing them homemade rolls, biscuits, pralines, peanut patties or cinnamon rolls. They wanted to restock Morris’s supply of pecans and look forward to receiving more of his neighborly treats. Jerry and Jan were on their way to meet and eat with her sister Suzanne Bradford and Jesse. Jo Grimes also came in for pecans with specific orders from her grandson, Josh Mullins, to make him some peanut brittle. Her other grandchild specified fudge. Geneva Grimes came in to buy pecans as well as Gala Canada, Ken and Gwen Baker.

Sisters, Marie and Carmen (Miranda) Grumbles, had been “running the roads” when they came in for pecans. Carmen shared that her son, Jarrad, celebrated his 48th birthday on the 18th with a Caribbean cruise with his wife Gwen. Both are RNs. Jarrad at CHI and Gwen with Bethany Hospice. I know Jarrad has trouble keeping up with his mother as she loves to travel and “keep the roads hot”. Dave Martinez has been in a couple of times for pecans and was excited that Delores was baking for the holiday. Robert Gaitan admitted Baldimar was his brother and both of them now work at the particleboard plant. Their parents, Mr. & Mrs. Baldimar Gaitan, Sr. came in later for pecans.

What a delightful surprise to see Dick and Betty Albrecht walk in the store. They live in Riverview, Florida, near their daughter, Kelly and had plans to stay in this area a few days before driving on to their daughter’s, Melissa who lives and works in the Kyle ISD. Their son, Dick, Jr. lives in Pineland where he owns the pharmacy. Dick and Betty were happy to visit with Woody Ingram when he stopped by the round table. According to Dick, Melissa’s daughter, Katie is about to complete her first year in the US Army while Sarah is working and attending college.

What perfect timing for a friend to bring a loaf of fresh homemade bread right out of the oven just as we were about to eat lunch at the round table. It is almost daily that Donnie Jenkins bakes bread at home so we were so happy she chose to share a loaf with us. Thank you.

Be thankful for all our blessings and come see us…’round the table.


November 14, 2016


Our wonderful delicious Georgia pecans arrived a few days ago and it’s been busy but nice seeing our annual customers that come in one time a year to buy pecans. One of the first was Bonnie Donovan who bought pecans for her daughter Gina and also for Bonnie’s sister, Eva Gay, who lives in Zavalla. Bonnie has been “bird sitting” for Gina while she is working upstate. Bonnie at one time taught line dancing several times during the week but she has retired from that and is now practicing yoga two days a week. She and Carol Chalfant, who has also been in for pecans, both invited me to join them in taking yoga classes…maybe when I retire.

Terri Burgess came in wearing a big black gawky rehab boot just like the one I wore for five weeks. She doesn’t know when but the doctor said she has a sprained ankle and will be wearing the boot for several weeks. Terri stopped to buy pecans while on her way to watch a granddaughter play basketball at Diboll Junior High. She said they have four grandchildren playing basketball and will be watching one of them on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday nights if not more.

Master Gardener, Vickie Boren, came in with a message of “hello” from Tucker and Elizabeth Westerman. Vickie had baked brownies and delivered them to the Westermans on her way to Pouland’s for pecans. Vickie is a guru when it comes to growing tomatoes. She did her very best to teach me a couple of years ago and even shared her special tomato-growing recipe but it didn’t work for me.

We have also received two varieties of peanuts: Spanish and the large Tennessee Red. Wayne Forrest came in for pecans and peanuts and during his conversation shared he worked with several that sit at the round table from time to time: Thomas Anderson; J.T. Hambrick and Jimmy McCall, they all worked at the paper mill. Mr. Forrest even shared his perfect recipe for parching peanuts: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the peanuts in a pan and place in the oven for 12 minutes and turn the oven off. Let the peanuts cool down before removing from the oven.

Veda Jackson from Corrigan stopped in to buy pecans pieces for holiday cookies and pecan halves to put in her fruit cake. I also enjoyed visiting with another new resident from Corrigan, Jay Sargent. Jay worked for Shell Oil in Deer Park and spent years coming to Polk County to relax, hunt, fish and shoot. He retired after 33 years and decided to move and build a house on Striker Road in Corrigan. He was surprised I knew his pastor and neighbors, Buster and Judy Grigg. The Griggs purchased the First Baptist Church parsonage when he accepted the call to be their pastor.

Jerry Sue Williams, owner of Vintage & Vogue, came in with her daughter Dana and her song writer son, David who lives in Nashville. David did not attend the recent CMA (Country Music Association) Awards recently but has been on that stage when he received the songwriter award for “Movin’ On”.

Montez McNaughten is Jerry Sue’s sister who lives in Milam. She came in with her husband, Joe. Mrs. McNaughten taught school for a total of 34 years, 24 of them in the Hemphill ISD and some at Angelina College. The McNaughtens were proud to tell us they are Jace Murry’s grandparents. Joe McNaughten shared he worked 42 years for Temple in Pineland, some of that time was working for Sherrel Fears at the plywood mill.

Two elegant ladies who were dressed patriotically and looked as if they could have been sisters came from Pinecrest to buy pecans. They are some of our annual customers: Dorothy Owen and Eloise Richardson and her husband, Loyd. Mrs. Owen always asks Andrea about her husband, Kevin Swor, who she taught in the 5th grade. Eloise Richardson is considered the resident pianist and organist at Pinecrest where she plays for Sunday worship services. I believe the Richardsons lived in Wells at one time and spoke highly of their former minister, David Goodwin, who has since moved to Diboll First Methodist Church.

Some others in buying pecans included: Margie and Clarence Bass; Thomas Anderson; Tina (Wolf) Jowell; Mike Hales; Beryl Moses; Shana Breward; Carolyn Stover; Carolyn Tinkle; Carolyn Salas; Carolyn Schmidt; Sherri Yates; Ken Lambert; Debbie Woodward; Janie Lowery; Linda Miller; Robert Little; Sally Selman; Helen Lowery and Sarah Oliver just to name a few.

David Bowley, Jr. and his wife, Denise, stopped by Saturday morning shopping for a deep fry cooker. They made the decision to buy the popular Cajun Cooker we sell and said they were going home to try it out on fresh Red fish from Louisiana. They were also going by to wish his parents, Dave and Pam Bowley a happy 51st wedding anniversary.

Newt and Jeannene Courtney also came in on that beautiful Saturday morning to buy pecans as well as John and Sue Jasper. Pat Berry and Mary Jule Tatum who have been neighbors for 20 years came in together for pecans. Sisters-in-laws, Rita Cavazos and Blanca Cavazos came in together to buy pecans. Some of you will remember Rita from the Tamale Festival; she made 280 dozen hot tamales and sold out. Vicki and Bob Baccus made a quick stop for pecans but had to hurry on home to get work done in the yard.

Janie Flournoy came in with her adorable 2-1/2 year old blond hair blue eyes daughter, Amy. Janie was trying to get to her deer stand. Ernie Battle stopped by to return a book by Bob Bowman from J.R.’s library.

I have had two ladies that have commented how much they enjoyed shopping at Bella’s on the square in Crockett in case you are looking for a new boutique and gift shop.

Just want you to know that someone very special to us for many years celebrated her 95th birthday on November 10. Aline Stovall has always been an elegant, kind, thoughtful, good and sweet lady. She enjoyed having a quiet birthday at home.

The Diboll Civic Club cordially invites everyone to attend the annual Community Thanksgiving service this Sunday, November 20th at First Baptist Church at 6PM. It’s a great time to worship with believers from all churches and be thankful for our many blessings. A reception will follow in the fellowship building.

Come see us…’round the table.


November 7, 2016


Friday November 11th is Veteran’s Day. Take a moment to remember the sacrifices of the brave men and women who have valiantly fought to make America the greatest nation on Earth. John Ralph and I are blessed to know and have known many veterans who have served our country, some paid the ultimate sacrifice, while others live with war-torn memories.

John Powers is a good friend and veteran of WWII. He grew up in Diboll, married Mable Nivens. They are very active and now live in Pine Crest. Following is an excerpt from John Powers’ oral interview with Jonathan Gerland at the History Center. The setting is February 21, 1944, two days after the invasion of the island of Iwo Jima. John was a 17-year-old boy from Diboll who lied about his age to join the US Marines.

All night long and there was a number of boys got killed real close to me, but none ever hit me so I guess I was lucky. But the third day, that would be the 21st, I’ll never forget it. We were laying down on Airfield #1 near Suribachi, they were shooting above us. We should have already been on the other end of the island but we were still there on the airstrip. All of a sudden, I think every boat and there must have been a thousand or more boats there, but they all started blowing their darn horns, and you know, you think the war is over or something. But anyhow I looked back over my shoulder and saw US Marines raising the United States flag on Mount Suribachi.  I can say I was one of the people that saw the flag go up. We never went up Mount Suribachi, our object was going to the other end of the island. John Powers’ entire interview can be read on The History Center’s website but this five-week battle comprised some of the fiercest fighting of the war in the Pacific during WW II. The US flag was raised on the 5th day of the 36-day battle.  In 1954, the flag raising picture was later used by Felix de Weldon to sculpt the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial), located adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery.

Billy Graham once said, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” When I see someone kneel during the singing of our National Anthem, it makes me sick even though I understand our constitution gives them the freedom to do so, they surely must not know that people died for that freedom!! May God have mercy on America!

The public is invited to attend a Veterans Day program on November 11th at 9:30 in the H. G. Temple gym (on Lumberjack Drive). All veterans are invited to attend and stay for a luncheon with the students.  On Saturday, the 12th, the First Methodist Church of Diboll is having a special breakfast at 8 AM to honor veterans. Pastor David Goodwin encourages all veterans to attend and bring any memorabilia to display. For more information, call the church office and talk with Shirley Harris, 829-4470.

A grateful Betty Windsor was the recipient of the funds raised by the city of Diboll during a month long campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness. Betty survived breast cancer for two years before it reoccurred as bone cancer stage 4 in her liver and leg. With the support of her family and friends she has made many trips to M. D. Anderson in Houston. Presently, she is weak but gaining strength and takes chemo injections. To convince Betty to go to the city hall, her mother Thelma Houston, told a fib that they needed to sign a petition. When Betty arrived with her mother and twin sister, Denna, Gary Boren opened a folder and gave a check to Betty who was so appreciative. Betty is married to Curtis Windsor and they have two children; 19 year-old AC student, Malinda and 5th grader, Joshua. There are many in our community that are fighting cancer and our hearts and prayers go with them as well as Betty Windsor. Many thanks to Loretta Christmas and others who helped with the month long campaign.

Vic Bass was invited to First Baptist Church Atlanta, Georgia, whose pastor is Dr. Charles Stanley. Although Dr. Stanley was out of town, Vic was the guest of Anthony George, Senior Associate Pastor, who preached in his absence. Vic and Anthony have been close since Vic introduced him to Jesus while both were living in Dallas, Texas. While in Atlanta, Vic got a tour of the church where he had his picture made on stage with Anthony and also toured the In Touch facilities.

We were pleased to meet Matt Courtney who stopped by the round table. We know his grandparents, Newt and Jeanene Courtney. Matt is a flight instructor with Courtney Aviation and a third generation of pilots: Newt, his dad, Chad and Matt. According to his grandparents, Matt is very entrepreneurial, organized and creative and true to that has started a new venture, T&C Gutters with Austin Thigpen. They installed seamless gutters and were in Diboll working on the new pizza place. Give them a call at 936-219-9155 when you need gutters.

Lynnwood Matchett was the lucky winner of the Diboll 4-H’s raffle for a Savage 17 WSM and Garrett Peck sold the winning ticket. Bill Dean Yates was in buying Liberty overalls. Larry Lucas was in for peanuts and syrup. Richard Warner came in to buy deer corn. Betty Kee was doing a little shopping while waiting for her neighbor, Tina Hannah, to get home from work so they could go eat at Golden Corral.

Our Georgia pecans have arrived and seem even better than the year before. Peanuts are also available.

Don’t forget to tell a veteran “Thank You” and come see us…’round the table.


October 31, 2016


Over 50 years ago, a young 17-year-old Mike Gibson from Angelina County enlisted in the US Navy and soon found himself aboard the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier below the water line deep inside the rear Engine Room learning about gauges, instruments, temperatures, etc. Mike was on his way to Viet Nam aboard the WW II’s famous “Fighting Lady” that eventually earned 5 battle stars. This past October, Mike and his wife Dianne drove to Charleston, SC to attend the 68th annual USS Yorktown Association Reunion. Hurricane Matthew arrived about the same time and discouraged a number of veterans from attending the annual event at Patriots Point, SC. Mike, the youngest to attend, met former crew members some who served in WW II. He was truly impressed with the spry 96-year-old Art Leach from Illinois who was one of the first pilots to land and take off from the flight deck in 1943, the year the Yorktown was commissioned. Mike was excited to visit his old work place even though it was not on the tour. When planners of the reunion learned that Mike worked in the Engine Room on the Yorktown, they took him there and videoed an interview with him about the propulsion system and how they managed to work in 100+ degree temperatures. They plan to use his video for educational tours. Mike Gibson was one of the veterans of the USS Yorktown anti-submarine aircraft carrier that was treated to several dinners aboard the ship. On one occasion, the veterans were invited to autograph pictures for tourists who came aboard.

When Mike and Dianne Gibson realized that the hurricane Matthew was headed toward the USS Yorktown, Dianne was a bit anxious about finding a safe place. Mike assured her there was no safer place to be in a storm than in that ship that weighed 30,000 tons. It’s hard to imagine that it’s surface was almost the length of NINE football fields! It is also famous for recovering the Apollo 8 astronauts and capsule in 1968. Those of you interested in Maritime museums might want to visit Patriots Point in Charleston, SC to not only see the USS Yorktown but also the USS Laffey Destroyer and the USS Clamagore Submarine.

On their way back to Texas, Mike and Dianne toured an antique Fire Museum, stopped in Savannah, GA, Pensacola FL and in Mobile, Alabama for Mike to tour the Battleship Alabama from WWII.

A large group of friends from this area traveled with their RVs to Waldron, Arkansas to attend the Turkey Track Bluegrass Festival. According to my reporter, Nettie Mann, they all enjoyed the music, playing dominoes, eating and most of all, the fellowship with old friends and making new friends. The highlight of their trip was seeing and hearing Rhonda Vincent and The Rage Band al Doyle Lawson and his Quick Silver Band. The group making this trip included: Bobby and Verna Mott; Marshall and Evelyn Crawford; Buddy and Becky Tims; Rolston and Dixie McDuffie; Gordon and Rita Craft; Freeman and Judy Thompson and Charlie and Nettie Mann. They are already looking forward to going back next year. From a “fact-check” Rhonda Vincent is “A firecracker of talent that powers one of the hottest shows in music.” Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver have multiple awards and nominations and are the reigning inspirational Country Music Association’s Vocal Group of the Year.

Received an email from Rosemary Berry that she and her husband John are traveling in their motorhome to Lake Livingston and enjoying a lot of rest and relaxation on their pontoon boat. About once a month after attending morning services at Burke Methodist Church (where she has played the organ/piano for 60 years) they load up in the motorhome and travel. Recently they made a trip to Memphis to enjoy Graceland and a paddle boat ride on the Mississippi River, spending the week playing like kids. During the summer they took a trip through the southern states, wading in the Atlantic Ocean and feeding 42 pair of beautiful white swans. Rosie said, “There’s a first time for everything.”

We did not recognize the tall handsome young man who came rolling in after closing one evening. He introduced himself as Hagen Spring and of course we immediately knew his grandparents, Vernon and Betty Burkhalter and Garner and Mary Lee Spring. Hagen was driving in from Houston on a Friday afternoon when Vernon called him and said, “Don’t speed but try to make it to Pouland’s in time to buy deer corn” Bless his heart, everyone had already left for the day and he had to load his own feed.

Earlier in the day I was introduced to Kenny Franklin who is married to Betty Burkhalter’s niece, Geralyn. They now live in Etoile but recently moved there after his wife, Dr. Geralyn McClure Franklin served as the Dean of Business at the United Arab Emirates University, College of Business and Economics. They were provided a 6,000 sq.ft. Villa with a gardener and Kenny enjoyed playing golf every day. They have one son, Tanner, a graduate of Texas A&M, Baylor school of law and is presently clerking for a federal judge in Beaumont.

For many years I did not know who owned the washteria in Diboll until he came into Pouland’s. Wayne Campbell is not only the owner of the one in Diboll but he also owns six others plus a car wash. One might say he is in the cleaning business! He was quick to tell us about his son and daughter-in-law, Justin and Kelli Campbell, who have purchased Ruben’s Chicken and Fish on Raguet Street. They use their own recipe for the batter. There is a small counter to eat inside but the facility is set up for drive-thru service.

Diboll Methodist minister, David Goodwin, announced at the round table that there will be a special breakfast at 8 AM on November 12th to honor veterans. He is encouraging all veterans to attend and bring any memorabilia to display. For more information, call the church office and talk with Shirley Harris, 829-4470.

Please send news to or come see us…round the table.

October 24, 2016


There was a special group that got together during Diboll Day that call themselves “The Park Street” kids. The majority of them came with their parents from Louisiana in the 50’s to work here in Diboll and they all became very close through the years. In the photo lower left to right: Elaine (Bunch) Pinkerton; Joe Johnson; Sill Bunch; Johnnie “Susie” (Fox) Stewart; JoNell (Vaught) Placker; Michele (Nelson) Fuller; Carol (Nelson) Shaw; Linda (Johnson) Cook; Mary Alice (Bunch) Shivers and “Babe” Johnson. Not present in the picture but still part of the group are: Glenn Price, John Estes and Kim (Placker) Chapman.

Fran McClain sent the following news. We (Fran and John McClain) had friends visiting last week for their annual Fall Trip to Diboll — Gerald & Katharine Nichols from Hoover, Alabama and Joe & Ann Pridgen from Monroeville, Alabama. The girls did a lot of relaxing and visiting and a little shopping while the guys played golf each day at Neches Pines.  While they were here they got to experience the good cooking of our locals: Linda Cordell’s Gumbo, Dwayne Stanford’s Smoked Brisket, Margie Harrell’s Chicken Spaghetti, Tina Jowell’s Cinnamon Rolls and Jalapeno Cheese Rolls, Red Tulip Catering’s Beef Stew & Arlis Havard’s Ribeye Sandwiches. They enjoyed a couple of Date Nights: Music by The Hit Men at the Pines Theater and Tomes Catering’s Couples Cooking Class.

My thanks to Jan Wilkerson for the news about their recent trip. We (Jan & Burlon Wilkerson) left Diboll on a Wednesday morning and had lunch at the Country Cupboard in Johnson City.  The first time we ate there was about 30 years ago.  It is a small hometown cafe with great food. We made Kerrville the “Home Base” for the trip.

Thursday we made a loop through the Hill Country and visited and shopped in Camp Verde, Bandera, Boerne, and Comfort. The drive was beautiful and we enjoyed lunch at Po Po’s in Welfare. Friday we visited the James Avery Store and Visitor Center.  After shopping there we enjoyed watching the deer play all across their property.  A trip up to the Ridge Nursery was a wonderful stop; the grounds were all decorated for fall and Halloween.  A walk through the nursery and all the native plants was a treat. From there we visited the “Empty Cross Prayer Gardens” set on a hill overlooking Kerrville.  We enjoyed our walk through there seeing all the beautiful statues displayed on the grounds.

Leaving Kerrville we drove to Medina to the Apple Store where we had lunch and bought jelly to bring home.  Our waitress told us we needed to make the “most beautiful drive in the Hill Country,” so we did.  The drive is from Medina to Leakey. The hills were beautiful with all the leaves changing colors.  This truly was the most beautiful drive we made. It was then time to head to Hondo for the largest Corn Maze is South Texas.  It really is a Maize maze.  The field is planted in maize each year.  Once the shoots are up, they pull them into the design for the year.  This year HEB was a sponsor and those letters were made into the design.  Several other activities are available on the grounds:  Burlon had to slide down the MatterCorn, a giant slide through a huge pipe and we both went on the hayride through the fields around the Maze.  While there three school buses of teenagers arrived for an evening of fun touring the maze in the dark. Deer were everywhere we went except we did not see any on the drive back from Hondo to Kerrville until we got into town and saw deer eating grass on the grounds of the bank. Saturday was spent in Fredricksburg where an October Fest was taking place and the town was filled with visitors.  We enjoyed a day of shopping! That afternoon we went to the “Chalk Fest” on the grounds of Petersen Plaza in Kerrville.  Sponsors purchase spaces and local artists come in and do chalk paintings on the sidewalks.  There were a variety of paintings ranging from simple designs to very intricate ones.  The designs were to stay in place for several days for people to enjoy. Sunday we had lunch in downtown Bastrop at Paw Paw’s Seafood. We highly recommend the catfish platter if you are ever in this area; it was wonderful. After lunch we left for home and ended our adventure eating frozen yogurt with our daughter, Krista, in College Station where she is a student in their veterinarian program.

Rosemary Berry of the Lufkin Chapter #382 of the Order of the Eastern Star brought information about a pie fundraiser they are having to take the stress out of baking for the holidays. The pies will be frozen so you will be able to use them for whatever occasion you want. They are $12 each and the variety includes: cherry, apple, pumpkin, pecan, peach and sweet potato. They must be picked up on November 18th between 10AM and 2PM. For more information, contact Rosemary at 635-9951.

Gloria Russell Ministries has not changed her mission in 38 years of reaching out to children through after-school Bible Clubs to learn scriptures and Bible stories. “Circle Clubs” are now in 14 schools in this area and meet one hour each week. Victory Camp is a Saturday camping experience for church groups, families and children where boys and girls enjoy swimming, fishing, horse-back rides, archery and other activities, along with a great time of learning under the big tent. These programs are funded by churches, businesses, and families who share the vision of Matthew 18:14, “It is not the will of your Father in Heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

On November 12, 6:00-7:30, a fund-raising Banquet called “Peculiar in Polka Dots”, will be held at the Lufkin Civic Center. It will provide an opportunity to learn more first-hand information about this missionary organization and to share in this outreach to children.  All funds raised at this banquet will provide monies needed for the 2016-2017 ministry needs. Call Gloria Russell at 936-634-2582, or email to reserve your tickets.  You can find more information at

This Saturday, October 29th beginning at 10AM in the parking lot at the Diboll Administration should be a memorable occasion to see guys “Be A Hero…Walk in Her Shoes”. Registration is $25 and can be paid at the event or contact Loretta Christmas at 829-4888 for more information. Prizes will be awarded for “Best Shoes” and “Best Legs”. The funds raised will go to a woman in Diboll who is currently going through cancer treatments.

Send news to or come see us…’round the table.



October 17, 2016


A vacation with cousins Charlotte Morris Carter and Selena Mitchell is never dull!  This is Charlotte’s perspective … We left early on a Sunday morning bound for the beautiful colorful Colorado with the sole purpose of enjoying the fall foliage. We spent the first night in Albuquerque, New Mexico, drove to Colorado the next morning and had lunch in Durango at the Diamond Belle Saloon.  The staff were adorned in old time saloon apparel and you literally felt like you had stepped back in time. Great food!   After lunch we enjoyed the scenic San Juan Skyway from Durango to Telluride, Ouray, and finally Silverton.  Miles and miles of fall colors, rippling creeks, and majestic mountains. We had reservations at the Wyman Hotel & Inn in Silverton.  This hotel is over 75 years old and was established by Louis Wyman who came to Silverton, like everyone else, for the silver.  The next morning we had a jeep rented so we skipped our gourmet breakfast and hit the mountains early. Our plan was to drive the Alpine Loop; I drove and Selena was the photographer and navigator, well was supposed to be the navigator! We were armed with a map and oral directions on where to go and not to go.  The drive was breathtaking!  However, at one point we missed a sign therefore missed a turn.  We had been told not to go the back road due to ice on the road.  Well, this jeep road (Engineer’s Pass) was pretty much one way and there was no turning around once you committed.  There was an occasional motorbike or side by side that would come our way but otherwise it was us. The road got higher, narrower, and there were a few puddles from melted snow.  At this point we said that we must be on the wrong road.  We rounded the side of the mountain and there it was, the bad area! The driver side was straight down the mountain and the passenger side was rock wall.  I had already told Selena if there was ice on the road she was going to get out and jump up and down on it until it defrosted because I was not driving on any ice, after all it was 32 degrees!   Fortunately the sun and the other traffic on the road had turned the ice into slush.  We slowly and carefully drove over this area and were able to stop and enjoy a beautiful view of the snowy mountain range.  Most of the drive was rocky but we made it to our halfway point and had lunch in Lake City at a restaurant called Southern Vittles.  We knew it was good because they had a Texas flag flying out front! We didn’t have time to tarry there to get the jeep back by five so we started back.  We had been forewarned by a nice couple on the other side of the mountain that they felt this side was the hardest drive so we were mentally prepared.  They were right.  The scenery was nice but the switchback curves (on Cinnamon Pass) were much worse. Several times we had to drive over boulders.  We had a great time but were glad to get back to Silverton.  We returned the jeep and had been told of a road outside of town that we could drive in our truck and possibly see wildlife toward the evening.  We weren’t disappointed and saw a beautiful moose and his cow that just stood there and posed for us. That night we ate at Silverton’s Handlebars Food and Saloon.  We loved Silverton but had to continue our trip toward South Fork the next morning.  We stopped between Silverton and Durango taking pictures of every colorful leaf imaginable. We met a photographer at one of the turn offs who told us about another scenic route and we followed him behind Purgatory to a gorgeous valley of color.  We left Durango after lunch and halfway between nowhere and nowhere we had a flat!  A very nice truck driver saw us as we were trying to get to a place to pull over that was level enough to change a tire and he changed our flat.  We then continued toward South Fork stopping at Treasure Falls and Wolf Creek Pass.  Our reservation was at the Spruce Lodge in South Fork.  With daylight still left we drove up to Creede for dinner at a little downtown diner.  On the way back we saw a huge mule deer and his doe. We left South Fork Thursday morning driving close to the Dallas area for the night so we could go by Canton on Friday.  It was a long day but we made it and enjoyed our last vacation day in Canton.  We traveled over 2800 miles and had a fantastic time!  #cnsadventures

Kevin and Andrea Swor from Diboll, Brent and Jennie Hawkins with their daughters, Gracie and Hannah from Livingston, all traveled to the Leona General Store & Steakhouse last Saturday to eat at one of the Top Ten Places to eat in Texas. There’s not much ambiance to the plain restaurant/former grocery store but there is a long line waiting to eat. This eatery is only open 3 days a week from 5:30 until 9PM. Fried Fish is served on Thursday evenings and on Friday and Saturday they serve steaks or grilled chicken. The menu is simple, you can select a 10, 12, 14 ounce or larger steak (or chicken) served with salad bar, mashed potatoes and homemade yeast rolls and award-winning pies and cobblers.  They average 300 steaks nightly so go early and hope to get a table. Leona, Texas is south of “big” Centerville on Highway 75.

Bettye Greer is a proud Great-Grandmother to baby girl, Scarlett Morgan Matlaga, who was born October 3rd in Camp Lejeune, NC. She was born at 6 AM and weighed 7 lbs. and 4 ozs and was 19-1/2” long. Scarlett’s grandmother is Jean (Greer) McCollum and that makes Michael her grandfather. Scarlett’s mother is their petit daughter, Kelly and her husband, John Matlaga. Jean and Michael have moved to Naples, Florida where they built a new home.

If you should see Jim Denman in and around First Bank & Trust, he will be very happy to tell you what time it is on his new I-watch. In addition to the time it just happens to have about 40 pictures of his and Lisa’s new granddaughter, Camille Elisabeth Ricks. The watch is synced to his phone so presently he has about 85 beautiful photos of Camille who was born September 7th. She already has Jim wrapped around her little finger because Jim chose to miss his annual fall trip to Colorado. Jim said he had always heard “grandchildren are the grandest thing” but he says, “It’s better than that”. By the way, her parents are Rachel and Jeremy Ricks of Nacogdoches and her paternal grandparents are Ray and Misty Ricks.

Raymond Baldwin and his wife Ruth will celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary November 20th. Raymond came in to pick up the Cajun Fish Fryer Ruth bought him for this special occasion. Geneva Ard came in for a new battery for her suburban and told us about celebrating her birthday on September 22. Larry Jansen was in getting a tractor tire repaired. Folks are still buying hunting and fishing licenses. Some of those included Eck Franks, Jose Mott, Gordon Craft, Joe Goins, Chad Harris, Brenda and Benny Dickens. Michael Posey came in with his 3-year-old daughter, Gracie, for licenses and vermiculate for his raised beds. I learned an interesting fact from Winston Hook that legally he has to have a hunting license to rid the pesky squirrels in his yard. Two years ago, he disposed of 27 squirrels who also wanted the pecans from his one tree in his yard. We love it when Andrea tries out new recipes and shares it with whomever is sitting at the round table. She recently made a fresh apple cake with glaze from Terri Burgess’ recipe. It’s called Apple Dapple cake and it was absolutely delicious!

Kitty Bounds sent the following invitation. Gipson Funeral Home LIFT ® (Living Information for Today®) 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. October 25th, at noon at Gipson Funeral Home is the next day the LIFT meeting will be held. The program will provide a free lunch and guests will be making Christmas ornaments to take home.  If you are interested in attending, call 634-4411 to add your name to the list to be called.

This Saturday, October 22, everyone is welcome to attend the Angelina Cowboy Fellowship Fall Festival at JR’s Barn in Diboll on Hwy 59. The fun begins at 2PM until everybody leaves. There will be lots of games and activities for the kids including pony rides, hay rides, stick horse rodeo, prizes and treats. Dominoes will be available for adults plus an exhibition of cowboy cooking by Delbert Compte. Chili, frito pies, hot dogs, homemade soup and desserts of all kinds plus live gospel music. Bring your family and tell your friends. Michael Britton is the pastor of Angelina Cowboy Fellowship which meets every other Sunday at 10:30 at JR’s Barn.

Come see us…’round the table.