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.