May 8, 2017


Two friends who are also preachers, stopped to visit at the round table. Vic Bass is a regular but it was the first time for Steve Cowart, pastor of Trinity Baptist. Vic is primarily responsible for the wooden crosses you see in many yards in this area and Bro. Cowart’s church has volunteers that work with this ministry. Vic and his wife, Shelia have recently returned from a memorable ten day trip to an island in the Bahamas and no, it wasn’t the Grand Bahama Island where cruise ships frequent. I learned there are 700 islands in the Bahamas but only 12 are inhabited.  They stayed on “Man-O-War” which is a small island in the Abaco region of the Bahamas. It is 2-1/2 miles long and has a population of about 300 Bahamian residents. Vic and Shelia arrived there by an 11-mile ferry ride from Marsh Harbour Island after flying from Orlando, Florida. The community is very close-knit. There are two small grocery stores, a marina, a boat yard, a few gift shops, a hardware and lumber store, two restaurants and a bakery. There is a bank but it is only open for half a day, one day a week. The two restaurants are only open from 10AM until 1PM and 6-8 PM. Golf-carts, bicycles and walking are the only means of transportation because of the narrow and often unpaved roads. No liquor is sold on the island. The people are very conservative and still hold deep affection and loyalty to the British Crown. The majority of the residents are avid church-goers and the island has four churches. Bro. Vic was pleased to have been invited to preach at the New Life Bible Church which owns the cottage where they relaxed for a week while staying on the island. The pastor is Randy Crowe and about 75 people were present to hear Vic’s sermon on “prayer”. Vic and Shelia said the people are both friendly and good-natured and brought them fresh bananas and seafood. The island is clean, well-kept and very safe. With very little crime there is only one policeman and the school has a total of 16 students who go home for lunch every day.

After a relaxing week and fun in the sand, Vic and Sheila rode the ferry back and flew from Marsh Harbor to Atlanta, Georgia where they were met by Anthony George who is a longtime friend of theirs they met in Mesquite while attending Criswell Bible College. Anthony continued his education to earn his Doctorate of Theology. He is presently serving as the Senior Associate Pastor to Dr. Charles Stanley, pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta which is where Vic and Shelia attended church on Sunday. They had the opportunity to visit with Dr. Stanley after the morning worship service and enjoyed having lunch with Mary Gellerstadt who is the Director of Missions for that church and who arranged for Vic and Shelia to have this special, unforgettable trip of a lifetime. Attending worship services and meeting Dr. Charles Stanley was the “icing on the cake”.

While visiting with Steve Cowart, pastor of Trinity Baptist in Lufkin, we learned he not only preaches but can sing too. Steve was a member of the popular groups, “Calvary Boys” and “The Waymakers”. He and John Ralph found many mutual friends from Steve’s first church a few years ago at Pine Grove Baptist on FM1818. I heard him say he remembered that Linville Campbell signed his check every week and remembered the families of Willard Grimes, Pearl Havard, Clifford, Paul and C. B. Dubose and Vera Jones who is still an active member there.

It was a pleasure to see and visit with the young-at-heart 82-year-old Jean Wilson from Woodstock, Ontario, Canada who spent three weeks in Burke in the home of her daughter, Denise, who has a working horse ranch, “The Cowboy and the Princess”. Another daughter, Valerie, who also lives in Woodstock has her own working horse ranch, but has been here training and helping Denise until the weather warms in Canada. Their parents, Howard and Jean Wilson, had 7 children; 6 girls, four of whom have always ridden horses and is passing that love on their children and grandchildren. Mr. & Mrs. Wilson owned a tour bus business. Mrs. Wilson said she stayed at home with the children while her husband traveled all over America and brought a lot of Canadians to Florida during the winter and took them back home in the spring. While staying in Burke Denise took her “mum” to see her first rodeo and she loved it, especially the mutton busting, bronc riding and barrel racing. Mrs. Wilson and her daughter Valarie flew back to Canada earlier this week which ended a nice three week visit to East Texas and the Round Table.

Diboll’s former City Manager, Lanny Parrish, made a rare visit to Pouland’s to buy “Over the Top” spray for the peas in his garden. He had a bronze tan from all the gardening and mowing and was tickled with the zucchini squash that came back on its own from last year. Typical of the hard life of a gardener, Lanny had to deal with the ping pong and softball-size hail that damaged his garden. Vernon Glass was in buying more pea seed after softball-size hail ruined his peas.

A regular customer, Danny Steel, who owns S.A.S. Transmission at the entrance of the Angelina County Airport, was in shopping for bird feeders and bird seed. A serious bird lover, he bought a new feeder to add to the four he already has and almost 100 pounds of bird seed. He has lots of wild birds and 14-15 hummingbirds. In addition to all that he also has two gardens. His mother, LaNell Steel, lives next door where he takes care of one garden there and also feeds her chickens. Sometimes Danny has extra special help from his 3-year-old niece, Madalyn, who helps him while shelling peas.

I learned about “The Big Dip” at SFA from my granddaughter, Cheyenne Swor, last Friday when she received her senior ring. With her parents watching and following tradition, Cheyenne had to dip her hand into purple dye-like liquid then have the excess wiped off before receiving her ring and having her picture made with the president of the university. To have seen this would have made her great grandmothers extremely proud: Geraldine Pouland and my mother, Anna Lee (Burden) Powell who was in the first graduating class at SFA in 1924. Of course, we are proud too!

Come see us…’round the table.