January 6, 2014


December 20th was a big day in the life of Zach Lenderman. That’s the day he graduated, along with 101 others, from being a recruit to a Texas DPS trooper. There were more than 4,600 applicants; 139 were recruited and only 102 made it to graduation. For 24 weeks the recruits endured intense training, living at the academy on a college-like campus in a military-type dorm with one small closet and one footlocker. Zach’s parents, Dennis and Karon, were present the evening before graduation for the “family night” activities. Arriving on Saturday were Zach’s grandparents: Jean and Marlon Register and Raymond and Sophie Lenderman; his sister and family, Ashley, Raul, Kylie, Kyna and Raul, Jr. Rios; his expectant sister and husband, Cassie and Stacey Davis; retired trooper and family friend, Dewayne and Gay Pruett; his cousin Mandy and Brandon Burris and sons, Mason and Tyson Burris and Jarrod Christmas, his best friend and college roommate. Barrett Duren, son of Mr.  & Mrs. Dave Duren, also graduated with Zach. Retired Trooper, Rocky Thigpen, traveled to Austin, to present Zach and Barrett and one other with a special key ring. After the graduation, almost everyone drove to College Station where Dennis treated everyone to a meal at the Texas Road House. Zach and Barrett will begin their new careers on the 13th and both will be working in Polk County so, drive safely so you won’t get stopped by these guys. Thank you to troopers and law enforcement people who put their lives at risk to protect us at home while our military personnel protect us around the world.

We just thought it was cold here in East Texas. In Phillipsburg, NJ where Ricky Brasher is living, the temperature had risen from 3 to 9 degrees on the day I was visiting with him. Ricky is a Catastrophic Adjuster for State Farm and has a minimum of two years to live in New Jersey. If his wife Debbie learns to love it as much as Ricky, they might decide to live there for awhile. In the meantime, Debbie is working for Dr. David Fees in Lufkin and will be traveling to see Ricky sometime in the near future. Ricky’s neighbors love him because he is fascinated with operating a snow blower and went all around the block blowing snow off the sidewalks. Ricky said when it snows, property owners have to shovel the snow off the sidewalks in front of their property within 24 hours or be fined by the city.

Ricky and Debbie’s son, Josh Brasher, currently a manager in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World, is getting a new position. In February Josh will be working for the Disney University traveling around the world to all their sites implementing a program he started that interacts with managers. Josh has been with Disney World almost 7 years when he went to work for them in their college intern program. One of his first jobs was being the Disney character, Chewbacca, from the movie Star Wars. Congratulations Josh!

Visited with Geneva Ard who shared she was happy to take care of her almost 4-year-old grandson, T. J., for a couple of days. His mom Allison (Ard) Gilmore traveled with family to the University of Oklahoma to watch her cousin, Justin Barley, receive his Master of Arts with a major in Museum Studies. Justin started the online study within weeks of his graduation from Texas A&M and also worked at the TLL Temple Memorial Library. He completed the work in a little over two years. Others that were there proudly watching Justin were his mother, Karen Barkley, his brother Clint who attends the University of Houston and his little sister, Brittney, a junior at Diboll high school; his cousin, Kallen Treadway, a freshman at Diboll; his grandmother, Joyce Treadway, Bruce Thompson and his 9-year-old son, Nathan. Allison’s husband, Dennis, kept their youngest son, almost 2-year-old Case to allow Allison to travel to Oklahoma. Congratulations to Justin!

The home of Glenn Price was packed with family members when his sister Janet came with her family from Illinois to visit during the holidays. Janet moved to Chicago years ago to study voice and met her husband to be, John Brockman, a native of Illinois. They married and continue to live there where the winters are so cold. Their home is about 45 minutes from Chicago. Traveling to Texas with John and Janet were: Hannah, age 17; Mitch, age 13; Emme, age 11; Mia, age 10 and Nathan, age 8. Glenn drove to Shreveport and brought their Aunt Nell (Melba Price’s sister) to his home to spend a few days with family members. Glenn and Nell were doing “The Hanky Panky” when Janet’s family walked in the front door. No, it didn’t really surprise them because they were anticipating an unusual welcoming and weren’t disappointed. John’s work keeps him busy in maintaining CH/A units. Janet is very active in their church where she is responsible for 3 children’s’ choirs and she also is a substitute teacher. Her day really gets busy when school is over and all the kids have to go in different directions with their many activities. It’s been a big help now that Hannah is driving. All of them came to the RT mainly to visit Geraldine Pouland who was a good friend of Melba Price.

I missed meeting Randy Birch and his wife, Eileen, when they came by to leave us a sample of their championship pinto beans. Randy is the son of Shelia Scoggins from Huntington where he graduated in 1979. After spending almost 30 years traveling as a sound technician putting up and taking down stages at concerts for popular singing artists, he continues to travel as the Corporate Chef and representative for Allegro, Fine Foods, Inc. While in the music industry they cooked part time and were 12 times Champion BBQ cookers and have won many 1st Places with their pinto beans. He loves to cook and now gets paid to do what he loves. He and Eileen make their home in Nashville, TN but Randy still claims his Texas heritage. Be sure to look for the ALLEGRO brand and also for BLUES HOG BBQ sauce that they also promote; it’s a recipe from an old cooking friend in Missouri.

Let’s hope this cold weather is gone by the time you read this and it will be more comfortable to get out and come see us…’round the table.