July 25, 2016


Summertime and the living is easy! I love it when folks send me news about their vacations. I like it for two reasons: love to read about places to go and it makes writing this column so-o-o easy. The first trip is about Jan and Burlon Wilkerson.

Each summer we try to take our grandchildren on some sort of trip.  This year we went with Annabeth and Ryan to the Museum of Natural Science in Houston to the IMAX.  We watched a 3D movie about dinosaurs.  It was interesting and we all tried to reach out and touch one of the dinosaurs as it seemed to come out of the screen toward us. That night we went to Brenham and spent the night.  The next morning our 3 year old granddaughter, Neely, joined us for a trip to Newman’s Castle in Bellville.  Mike Newman owns the Newman Bakery in Bellville.  Several years ago he decided he wanted a castle, so he built one.  It is very impressive with guest rooms, a grand hall, bell tower, moat and draw bride, and a catapult!  Mike Newman–the Lord of the Castle, knighted all of the kids.  They then carried swords around with them as they visited the dungeon.  (Ryan was locked into a cage there.)  They climbed to the top of the bell tower and rung the bells, and had lunch in the castle.

Everyone was tired when the Wilkersons got back to Diboll and the next day was Jan’s birthday.  She and Burlon traveled to Webster to participate in a Murder Mystery.  “Murder by Chocolate” included a dessert bar that all the participants enjoyed before seeking out the clues to find the murderer.  It was a fun evening and they shopped all the way home on Sunday.

The Irvin McWilliams have taken a couple of trips recently. The first is about an Alaskan cruise and the second is a family vacation to Branson.

In June, Irvin and I traveled with good friends, Gary and Colleen Lacox, to Seattle, Washington for our cruise to Alaska.  We flew into Seattle a few days early so we could do some sightseeing.  We visited the Pike’s Market Place and also made a trip up to Mt. Rainier.  We were blessed with beautiful country sides, rivers, waterfalls and snow lingering from the winter.  After a few days, we departed from Seattle on the Carnival Legend to cruise to Alaska.  We visited and saw many sights and places while on the 7 day cruise.  We were able to see God’s handiwork at Glacier Bay and at the Edmonton Fjord.  The glaciers were beautiful and intriguing.  One of the days we took a boat out to the Tracy arm fjord to get a closer look at the glaciers and to see several humpback whales blowing and slapping in the water.  We watched as small ice bergs floated by us with seals and seal pups casually resting on them.  We saw breath taking views when we went into the Yukon Territory by bus to learn about the history of the days of the gold rush.  We visited the town of Skagway and then rode a train back to quaint picturesque town. Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska were also wonderful places to visit and see all the beauty of nature at every turn, from waterfalls, glaciers, humpback whales, bears, dolphins, sea lions, eagles, and so much more that nature has to offer!  After 7 days of cruising we headed home with wonderful memories of Alaska, wonderful friends and wonderful food.  We can’t wait to go back!

Also, we enjoyed a few days in Branson with our two daughters and their families!  The Nash’s, Williams’, and Irvin and I visited Branson, Missouri in early July.  The grandkids loved the many race tracks, pet shows and waterparks each day.  We visited Silver Dollar City and had to drag the kids out of the park that evening!  Many hours spent in the pool each night at the hotel after many activities of each day.  We took the kids to the Waterpark for the day and then visited the Baldknobbers show that evening. The kids absolutely loved the comedians that make the show so enjoyable! During the day we also took a tour of the Wax Museum and Ripley’s Believe it or not…the kids were in awe of the biggest roll of toilet paper, a Hulk made out of car parts and two-headed calves at Ripley’s and of course the many “famous” people they met at the wax museum.  It was such a fun time. We finished our trip by going to the Sight and Sound Theater to see the play, Moses.  It was a spectacular production of Moses’ life and God’s blessings complete with live animals, flying Angels and great acting, this show is a must see for sure.   The entire group of us were in awe of the show and grateful to have been able to see it!  The grandkids agreed it was their favorite place to visit and are ready to go back. Branson is a great get-away and is very family-friendly!

Owners of His & Hers Trade Days in Burke, David and Charlotte Carter, are becoming expert “pickers” and I love to hear about their latest “chachkies”. Here is their latest adventure.

After a 2600 mile trip through the heart of America we came back home stacked and packed with treasures.  David has had many request for windmill blades so his primary purpose this trip was to find some!  We headed directly north toward Oklahoma and Kansas.  We asked around at a few farm stores and finally got a couple of leads.  We ended up in Alva Oklahoma at gentleman’s business who works with water wells and windmills.  He hooked us up with a good start and we know where to go now! After loading the windmill blades and tails we went on up to Hays, Kansas and visited with David’s niece, sister in law, and a friend of theirs. It was very hot there but they do have a constant wind that helps. They treated us to a really good meal in one of their local restaurants.  We left there the next morning heading to Huntingburg, Indiana to shop a place where we always find ‘good stuff.’ We made a couple of stops in route and found a few, as David says, ‘chachkies.’ We woke up in Huntingburg to a little thunder storm but it moved on so we shopped there and in Jasper, IN.  David’s daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live in Bedford, Indiana so we spent the evening and night with them.  We had a great time playing in the local park.  Saturday morning we all drove to Madison, Indiana where they were having a ‘Picker Weekend.’  None of us had ever been and it sounded like a fun thing to do.  Due to the heat I’m sure, not very many vendors were there!  David can find a needle in a hay stack though!  One of the vendors had our pick of the trip!  He was able to buy a Griswald Milk Box that they used to attach to the outside of the house for milk delivery. We enjoyed lunch with the family and then headed south toward Memphis.  Of course we did stop at a few sales along the way.  We had a great trip and were grateful to get home safe and sound AND in time to enjoy the rain! As I write this David is unloading and cleaning all of his treasures.

What great trips, thanks to all of you for sharing and let’s not forget to check out the latest at His & Hers Trade Days on Hwy 59 in Burke. They are open during the week and on weekends.

Come see us…’round the table.


July 18, 2016


Visitors traveling the furthest this week to Diboll would almost have to be the Bradley Stevens family from Auckland, New Zealand. It just so happens Bradley’s mother and little sister live in Diboll; Lianne (Mrs. David) Tate and 12-year-old Riley. It’s been 12 years since Bradley has been to Diboll but it’s a first for his wife, Samantha and their two children; 7-year-old Danille and 6-year-old Ayden. In our conversation, you can’t imagine how many times the word “Hot” was mentioned talking about Texas. But then they couldn’t believe all the wide open spaces especially driving to Tyler. The day I met this family they were on their way to see the Texas Forestry Museum after visiting our impressive History Center. They had three weeks to spend here and spent part of that time in Houston at an Astros game. They also drove to NASA which was very informative and impressive. In Kemah they rode in a speed boat named The Beast and Samantha enjoyed The Bullet roller coaster and the sting rays at The Aquarium. The day the group went shopping in The Woodlands was wildly unbelievable for Samantha with shop after shop after shop.

Robert Jones recently returned from two weeks in Hawaii seeing his only granddaughter for the first time. Adaline Grace Fite was born April 28th to Sarah and Jason Fite. She has two older brothers, 4-year-old John David and 2-year-old Matthew Henry. Their dad is in the Navy and 3rd in command of the USS John Paul Jones which requires him to be “at sea” the majority of the time. For this reason, great-grandparents, Sadie and John Thomas Jones of Burke, spent six weeks in Hawaii helping Sarah with the two little boys. They returned home when Adaline was two weeks old and was replaced by her grandmother Linda Jones who took leave from her job as a Biologist for the City of Lufkin to stay a couple of weeks. Grandpa Robert has worked 32 years at Lufkin Industries/GE, is a beekeeper and has been a bi-vocational pastor for 20 years at Moscow Baptist. He visited with his wife Linda in the airport a few minutes when she was returning from Hawaii and Robert was on his way there for two weeks.

Robert Jones sat at the Round Table one evening with us and shared some other interesting facts about his daughter Sarah and son-in-law, Jason Fite. These two met while attending the Bush Political Science School at Texas A&M and both were members of the Republican Club. After graduation, Jason’s plans included joining the Navy and he and Sarah were married after he completed boot camp. Sarah lived in Virginia Beach while he did two tours of duty in the Atlantic fleet. During some “land” time he was a ROTC instructor on the campus of Rice University. Their two sons were born while living in Houston and Jason completed his first masters’ degree from the Pasadena branch of Southwestern Theological Seminary. They moved to Rhode Island for Jason to attend 10 months of training at the Naval War College and then was assigned to the USS John Paul Jones. The rest is history except Jason has earned a 2nd masters’ degree and applied for the doctoral program.

Debbie and Lee Woodward enjoyed a few days vacationing to Colorado City, CO to visit with her brother. On the way they took time to walk around “Old Town” in Albuquerque, NM and spent some time in Santa Fe. They also rode the train from Durango to the historical mining town of Silverton, CO. They were happy for seats on the bus for the return trip because it had started to snow. While driving on the scenic highway 155 they discovered the road had caved in near the top of the mountain reducing the traffic to one lane and causing cars to drive very slow and carefully. They had a safe trip home and I bet they wish they could have brought the cooler weather with them.

James and Kathy Simms vacationed with their daughter Jamie Parker, her husband and most importantly, 6-year-old Wiley. The family group leisurely drove to Eureka Springs, Arkansas with the purpose of seeing one of the most attended outdoor dramas and passion play, “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. James said it must have been 30 years since he and Kathy had been there and it has grown tremendously. James was amazed that Wiley sat for two hours watching the play without using any electronic devices. (That’s better than some adults can do.) The Holy Land Tour has been added and is not like anything you have ever experienced. Walking through a life-sized replica of the Eastern Gate in Jerusalem into an authentic marketplace, you feel as if you are in the actual Holy Land talking with Biblical craftspeople and characters. Other sights around Eureka Springs include caves, a wildlife refuge, the beautiful Thorn crown Chapel and Christ of the Ozarks monumental sculpture on top of Magnetic Mountain. The group enjoyed the scenic drives and spent one day in Branson. The weather was perfect, the accommodations were great and hopefully, the memories will last forever.

Last Saturday, former Dibollians Allen and Amanda Farley and children who now live in Sequin spent the weekend in Bullard as guests of Kim and Derrell Chapman on their ranch. Kim and Amanda are “Placker” cousins. Allen and Amanda’s children are Aubree, age 13; Elijah, age 10 and Dax Nolan, age 5. They were in the area for Elijah to play in a baseball tournament, he’s the pitcher. On Sunday Allen’s parents, Tom and Janice Farley from Diboll, and his brother, Richard Farley and family from Huntington joined everyone for a cook-out before going to the last ballgame.

Stay cool and come see us…’round the table.


July 11, 2016


Sarah Wallace was playing the 5th hole at Neches Pines early Monday morning with Melba and Gary Gores. What was to happen is rare in the golfing world. Sarah hit her tee shot long and to the right and down into a creek to the right of the green. She unruffled, teed up another ball and hit a great shot right at the flag. When she arrived at the green she could not find her ball, it was not there. Sarah, an eternal optimist and with Gary watching, checked the cup … YIPPEE!!! The second ball landed in the cup. Sarah has NEVER hit a tee shot into the cup on any hole. Obviously she was excited and proud of a rare event in the golfing world. Par, or a hole-in-one, who cares? Sarah Wallace has had and will have many opportunities to play golf because she and Richard have lived next to Neches Pines Golf Course for many years. Monday was a unique experience by her and her playing partners and will be long remembered!

We enjoyed eating and visiting with Mike and Dana Amason last week. Mike grew up in Diboll and is the Flooring Department Manager at Lowes; Dana teaches 4th grade math at Etoile. They had returned that day from vacationing with his children, 12-year-old Michael Ryan and 17-year-old Mikayla. They had been to Lake Conroe at the LaTorretta Resort, Houston, Austin and floated the San Marcus River. Mike and Dana have almost completed their mission to eat at all of the Top 35 Best Burgers from Texas Monthly’s 2009 list. While in Austin they ate their 30th at the Mighty Fine Burger but admitted the Angelina County Airport could easily be in the Top Ten.

Earlier that day at the round table, we had visited with Peanut and Denise Mayo while they were getting new tires put on Denise’s truck. She is a mail carrier in Nacogdoches and Peanut works with Mike Amason at Lowe’s. Peanut and Mike are members of a band that has been playing Blues during Glenn Lenderman’s open mike at The Restoration Bar some Thursday evenings. Mike mentioned that Merrick Roche has played with them and is a very talented guitarist if you can get him to play.

Keith Dover is doing well after getting home from the Philmont Ranch in NM serving as an assistant scout master with troop 136 where his son, Jeffery, is a member. Steve Rayborn is the Scout Master for Troop 136 and Bill Wafer is the Scout Master for Troop 128 from Diboll who also participated in the 12 day Trek (hike). These two troops, each with a total of 11 members, joined 5,000 other scouts for this once in a lifetime adventure. They camped out, carried backpacks that weighed anywhere from 40 to 60 pounds and slept in pup tents. They hiked a total of 121 miles and reached the 12,241’ summit of “Baldy Mountain” and 9,000’ “Tooth of Time” summit. These scouts definitely earned their hiking badge, covering 18 miles one day. They carried prepacked meals for two but all leftovers and anything smellable had to go into “bear” bags; zip lock bags that were suspended in hopes of not attracting a bear. One day a cinnamon bear did come within a short distance of the group but turned and went a different direction. It was a good trip and the boys met other scouts from Hawaii and South Carolina. Keith lost some weight but Jeffery lost 25 pounds.

Cathy Lott from Zavalla stopped by for feed. Her 9-year-old daughter, Valerie, is excited about attending Sewing Camp at Bove Sewing Center and is having fun making a cape for her dog, Josie. Valerie is left handed and fortunate that her teacher, Lostra Burrow, is also left handed. During the school year, Lostra works as an Interventionist for the Diboll school district.

The ladies of the Deer Trace Bible Study group recently completed a study of the book of John. A great study of the life and deity of Jesus. To discuss a future study and for fun and fellowship they went to Mar-Tres Tea Room for lunch. Those going were: Lacy Chandler, the teacher, Dortha Jackson, Linda Miller, Billie Robison and Tellie Williams. Every one enjoyed the food and fellowship. They missed those who couldn’t make it and it was decided to study the book of James next. All ladies of Deer Trace are invited. Call Billie Robison for meeting place.  829-0327.

Bob Davis came in with his 10-year-old grandson Hunter. They had plans to go fishing the next day at Shirley Creek and see if they could do as well as the week before, catching 91 2-3lb. catfish in four hours. With Bob last week and going again were his cousin, Max McCormack, retired Ag teacher from New Summerfield, his brother and sister-in-law, Ron and Theta Davis from Lufkin and of course, Hunter.

I am thankful to Allison Amason for the following news. Parker Amason, along with parents Matt and Allison, celebrated his 17th birthday in Cozumel, Mexico.  They arrived the day of his birthday and were met with a tray of chocolate covered strawberries and a card from their resort.  They enjoyed a week of snorkeling, swimming, and relaxing in hammocks around the island.  One highlight was seeing countless (huge) Great Barracuda, among many other beautiful tropical fish.

Matt had a couple of mishaps early in the trip. He got a bad cut on the bottom of his foot from stepping on a sharp rock hidden in the sand.  He hobbled around the rest of the week!  On day 3, he was stung by something on his back (didn’t see what it was), and Parker had to remove the stinger that was still in his skin.  Around 2:00 A.M., he got really sick and was in bed the entire next day.  While he recuperated, Allison and Parker took the 45 minute ferry ride across to the mainland. They toured the Ancient Mayan Ruins in Tulum, and spotted many (some really big) iguanas who thrive in the hot, dry climate.  Some of the ruins are on high cliffs overlooking gorgeous beaches and water.  From there, they went snorkeling in fresh cool water in mangroves in Akuma.  It was rejuvenating after the extreme heat in Tulum.  After that, they went to Playa del Carmen for amazing shrimp tacos and shrimp cocktails, then enjoyed shopping and watching Mayans in full costume performing dances with the beautiful Caribbean Sea as a background.  When back at their resort, they found Matt still sick in bed.  He got up long enough for the room to be cleaned but by the next day he was feeling well enough to enjoy some beach time.  The next day they rented a jeep and rode all around the island, stopping to snorkel, eat, swim, and relax in hammocks.  It was a wonderful trip that was enjoyed by all.   Upon arriving in Houston and after all the wonderful seafood they had eaten, their first stop was Whataburger!

I received an email from Irma Guerrero and Justin Barley that the Temple Library will be selling enchilada plates THIS FRIDAY (July 15th). Plates are $7 and will include 3 enchiladas, rice, beans, and a bottle of water. This fundraiser will help light the library for Christmas this year, so pass this along to anyone you think might be interested!

Stay cool and come see us…’round the table.



July 4, 2016


Is it hot or not?  How did we ever survive without air conditioning? Somehow we did. My car’s 12-year-old air conditioner decided it was time to “give up” and quit working. For a few minutes I kept driving with the windows up but soon let them down. I tried opening the sun roof but the sun was just too hot. I got to Diboll Motors as quickly as possible but with the approaching holiday and needing parts, Mike said it would be after the 4th before he could “fix it”. In the meantime, that meant I would be riding with John Ralph in his red GMC pickup that I detest trying to gracefully get off the ground and into the front seat. We made it for a couple of days and then he decided I need to drive the pickup and follow him on his tractor. Of course that meant I had to re-adjust the seat forward, upward and bring the back toward the front. I didn’t know it would also alter the brake pedal and the accelerator. I thought, I’ll set my personal seat adjustment on number “2” of his fancy pick up and leave his on number “1”. Boy, was that a mistake! Tuesday morning when JR got into his pickup and turned the key on, everything started moving toward my number 2 setting and pressed him like a pancake against the steering wheel. I think it made him panic until someone else was able to reverse the situation. Needless to say, I’m banned from driving his pickup unless I can do so without changing anything! So, I caught a ride to work Tuesday morning only to discover the air conditioning in my office decided to quit working. As I write this, I am sitting in front of an oscillating fan that seems to be blowing hot air toward me and blowing all the papers off my desk. Hopefully, by the time you read this I should be riding and working in cool air conditioning and being ever so thankful for doing so.

Tuesday, Earl and Joyce Carr were at the round table getting their RV ready for another trip and being members of Fairview Baptist Church, told me they had another successful July 4th event at the church. In talking with the pastor, Gene Hazell, he confirmed it was a great success, their 12th annual event, but it was also the last. Gene said their first event twelve years ago started because Lufkin decided not to have their annual fireworks display at the zoo. Members of the church got together and planned a July 4th event and were happy with the 60 or so people that attended that year. They decided to do it the following year and had about 100; the third year about 200 and this year the event drew about 1200 to 1300 people including some from Livingston and Nacogdoches. The pastor said it is a big project that takes several days of preparation using volunteers plus help from the Angelina County Sheriff’s department inmates to assist in setting up and taking the huge tent. There is a 3-1/2 minute filming of the impressive fireworks taken from a drone operated under the technical direction of Logan Lair; it’s on You Tube if you want to see it.

While visiting with Pastor Gene Hazell he invited the public to come to Fairview Baptist Church (at the intersection of FM 58 and FM 2108) on Monday, July 11, at 7PM to hear evangelist and motivational speaker, David Ring. From his website I found the following. “Few individuals have felt the crushing blows that have besieged David Ring since birth. He was born to lose. On October 28th, 1953, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, David was born with Cerebral Palsy. Orphaned at age 14, he was cast about from family to family with nowhere to call home. He endured constant physical pain, humiliating public ridicule and constant discouragement. Yet in the face of these seemingly insurmountable obstacles, David emerged not victimized…but victorious! You’ve never heard a speaker quite like David Ring. Although difficult to understand at first, you will soon find yourself captured by his quick wit and warm personality. Mark your calendar and make plans to attend.

Thomas Anderson and Dr. Ed Domingue are both retired and members of the same Sunday school class at First Baptist in Lufkin. These two and other members of their class meet for breakfast at the airport every Wednesday morning then these two come to the round table and visit. Andrea volunteered to cook their breakfast the following Wednesday at the round table. Present for homemade biscuits, eggs, bacon and sausage the next week were Larry Ross, Roy Cates, Jerry Hennington, Thomas and Dr. Domingue. Woody Ingram who drinks coffee every morning before leaving to “fire the boilers” also enjoyed eating and visiting with the guys. They were all complimentary of Andrea’s “cathead” biscuits.

A group of ladies who gather for lunch every Thursday drove to Woodville to enjoy a family style meal at The Pickett House. Enjoying the ride was JoNell Placker, Joyce Carlton, Mary Lou Havard and their designated driver, Kathreen Chuke. JoNell and Joyce stopped by the round table for coffee later in the afternoon. I owe JoNell an apology for a note I found about her cousin, Sue Liles, who was in town visiting her. Sue grew up in Alto but now lives in Port Charlotte, FL and has taught school in six different states. Sue only spent one night with JoNell because she was unable to sleep with the train coming through during the night.

We thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet and visit with Ernie and Peggy Battle when they stopped “just to look around”. They live in the South Bend subdivision off FM58 across from “The Lot” that is shared between Sandra and Joe Varga and the Larry Choates. It looks more like a park, beautifully landscaped and where the Battles were invited to celebrate the 4th of July with neighbors. Ernie and Peggy are relatively new to this area and John Ralph tried to tell them everything he could about Diboll and the surrounding area. In fact, Ernie borrowed one of Bob Bowman’s books from our mini library to learn more history about this area.

Peggy Burt was thoughtful to bring us a pan of cinnamon rolls to share at the round table. The delicious cinnamon rolls were made by Tina Jowell who is making a name for herself with her baking talents. She loves to bake and will be happy to take orders for anyone needing something sweet. She calls her hobby, Dessert First and you can reach her on her cell at 1-512-963-2600.

Ray Paulsey plans to not do anymore weed eating with the purchase of 2-1/2 gallons of the weed killer “Eraser”.

I have visited with David McCarty from Leggett before when he’s come in to buy garden seeds as he did last week. This time he was wearing shorts and I had not realized he is an amputee. That doesn’t seem to slow him down as he works and still gardens. Just a few years ago he learned the art of cleaning windows and made his living doing so with customers in Woodville, Trinity, Livingston, Corrigan and Diboll. Some of you may remember seeing him while cleaning windows at Brookshire Brothers, First Bank & Trust, City of Diboll or the Dairy Cream.

Hey, my office is cooling down thanks to Ricky Morris with Morris Air Conditioning and Mike Shivers at Diboll Motors just called to say my car is ready! Both of these dependable and reliable businesses belong to the Diboll Business Association which encourages you to shop locally.

Stay cool and come see us…’round the table.