November 9, 2015


Gary Martz stopped by the round table one morning and we learned they have experienced another great trip. Gary’s theory since retiring is “If you are not on a trip you need to be planning one”. His wife, Cathy, graciously wrote the following about their trip. Gary, Cathy, and Stacey Martz traveled to Paris and London in September. After an all night flight from Houston, they arrived in Paris at 7:30 am. After checking in to their hotel near the Arc du Triomphe, they headed out to see some of the main attractions of Paris. Having only 3 ½ days in the city, they tried to see as much as they could in a short period of time. They did a lot of walking, really enjoying the architecture of Paris, and used the metro (subway) to get to most places. Attractions they visited included the Eiffel Tower (both during the day and at night when it is lit up for a short period of time), the Palace of Versailles and its gardens, the Louvre, Notre-Dame and its bell tower, Sainte-Chapelle with the very beautiful and oldest stained glass in Paris, and the Conciergerie – the prison where Marie Antoinette was held. They were very surprised to see a military patrol made up of 3 armed (with machine guns) men in camo at every major tourist attraction in Paris. They were most impressed with the age of everything in Paris and the beautiful craftsmanship that went in to the buildings built in 1600s and before. They thoroughly enjoyed the many sidewalk cafes and parks in the city.

They traveled to London via the train beneath the English Channel for their 2 ½ day visit in that city. They took a hop-on, hop-off bus tour of the city to get an overall view of London. They enjoyed the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, high tea at the Dukes Hotel, the London Tower with the royal jewels, Westminster Abbey, the British Museum and the Churchill War Rooms, an underground office complex used in World War II.

Stacey returned home and Gary and Cathy traveled by train to Glasgow, Scotland where they began a 2 week bus tour of Scotland and Ireland. Their guide on the Scotland portion of the trip was a retired college history professor. He gave a very interesting talk throughout the beautiful countryside of Scotland with its many castles and battlefields. They visited at least one castle a day – all of them very different – and saw the ruins of many more scattered around the country. The highlight of the trip for Gary was a visit to the famous St. Andrews golf course. A 2 hour ferry ride took them to Belfast, Northern Ireland and its Titanic museum. They continued on to Dublin and spent the rest of the week traveling through the southwestern part of Ireland. They saw the Blarney stone, the Ring of Kerry with its coastline views and the Cliffs of Moher, 700 foot cliffs along the Atlantic Ocean. The Irish countryside was beautiful with its patchwork of small fields separated by rock fences covered with vines and shrubbery. “Leprechaun and fairy woods” were pointed out along the roads. The Irish government actually spent millions of dollars to redesign a highway project so that it would not cross a “fairy wood”! After a final night in Dublin, they flew back to Houston via London.

JR & I visited with Mike and Linda Whitten at Cracker Barrel one evening. They had three pretty young girls with them. One was their granddaughter, Emma Whitten, from Woodville and two exchange students; 16-year-old Omaima Boumrit from Italy and 17-year-old Tamara Lauth from Germany. Omaima speaks Arabic, French, Spanish, English, German and of course, Italian and plans to be an International Translator. Tamara speaks French and Spanish and her native German and hopes to become a surgeon. They are attending Lufkin ISD and have a long list of things they want to do while in America. Mike and Linda have already impressed the girls with a trip to Houston to see the Astros play and they have plans to take them to the beach, New Braunfels, Mardi Gras, Kemah Boardwalk, a rodeo and alligator farm. During spring break they have plans to sightsee in Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina. I really couldn’t tell who was having more fun; the girls or Mike and Linda.

Don’t forget The Diboll Business Association’s Christmas Cash Give Away. From any participating Diboll merchant, pick up the attractive entry form, sign your name to individual cards and drop the tickets at the corresponding sponsoring business before December 1st. First Place is $300; Second is $200 and Third is $100 plus many additional prizes. Remember to shop in Diboll!

I have written about many fundraisers that benefit worthy causes. There are several coming and this time it affects my family. Jessica (Fisher) Pouland is married to our grandson, Brandal Pouland and they are parents of our precious 4-year-old Addison Grace. Jessica was born with Cystic Fibrosis. Her whole life has been a struggle to breathe. She takes countless medications and spends weeks in hospitals. Jessica is on a waiting list for a double lung transplant that could be at any time. The proceeds from the fund raisers will be to help with expenses not covered by insurance.

El Chico has graciously agreed to help with Jessica’s CFearless campaign by donating 10% of their dinner sales next Monday evening, November 16th between 5 and 9PM IF we can have at least 100 guests “sign in” and notify the hostess they are there to support Jessica Pouland. We encourage you to attend and tell someone about it. Let me say “thank you” in advance for helping. There is also a raffle in progress with a chance to win $10,000 CASH. Only 200 tickets will be sold at $100 each. Tickets are available here at Pouland’s and also at Vintage Blooms in JR’s Barn. Please mark your calendars for a Benefit Bingo that will be at the Lottie and Arthur Temple Civic Center on December 1. A $15.00 ticket will entitle anyone to a chicken and spaghetti dinner, 10 games of bingo and 1 blackout game. Again, we appreciate your help and covet your prayers for Jessica.

Don’t forget to THANK a Veteran and come see us…’round the table.