October 17, 2016


A vacation with cousins Charlotte Morris Carter and Selena Mitchell is never dull!  This is Charlotte’s perspective … We left early on a Sunday morning bound for the beautiful colorful Colorado with the sole purpose of enjoying the fall foliage. We spent the first night in Albuquerque, New Mexico, drove to Colorado the next morning and had lunch in Durango at the Diamond Belle Saloon.  The staff were adorned in old time saloon apparel and you literally felt like you had stepped back in time. Great food!   After lunch we enjoyed the scenic San Juan Skyway from Durango to Telluride, Ouray, and finally Silverton.  Miles and miles of fall colors, rippling creeks, and majestic mountains. We had reservations at the Wyman Hotel & Inn in Silverton.  This hotel is over 75 years old and was established by Louis Wyman who came to Silverton, like everyone else, for the silver.  The next morning we had a jeep rented so we skipped our gourmet breakfast and hit the mountains early. Our plan was to drive the Alpine Loop; I drove and Selena was the photographer and navigator, well was supposed to be the navigator! We were armed with a map and oral directions on where to go and not to go.  The drive was breathtaking!  However, at one point we missed a sign therefore missed a turn.  We had been told not to go the back road due to ice on the road.  Well, this jeep road (Engineer’s Pass) was pretty much one way and there was no turning around once you committed.  There was an occasional motorbike or side by side that would come our way but otherwise it was us. The road got higher, narrower, and there were a few puddles from melted snow.  At this point we said that we must be on the wrong road.  We rounded the side of the mountain and there it was, the bad area! The driver side was straight down the mountain and the passenger side was rock wall.  I had already told Selena if there was ice on the road she was going to get out and jump up and down on it until it defrosted because I was not driving on any ice, after all it was 32 degrees!   Fortunately the sun and the other traffic on the road had turned the ice into slush.  We slowly and carefully drove over this area and were able to stop and enjoy a beautiful view of the snowy mountain range.  Most of the drive was rocky but we made it to our halfway point and had lunch in Lake City at a restaurant called Southern Vittles.  We knew it was good because they had a Texas flag flying out front! We didn’t have time to tarry there to get the jeep back by five so we started back.  We had been forewarned by a nice couple on the other side of the mountain that they felt this side was the hardest drive so we were mentally prepared.  They were right.  The scenery was nice but the switchback curves (on Cinnamon Pass) were much worse. Several times we had to drive over boulders.  We had a great time but were glad to get back to Silverton.  We returned the jeep and had been told of a road outside of town that we could drive in our truck and possibly see wildlife toward the evening.  We weren’t disappointed and saw a beautiful moose and his cow that just stood there and posed for us. That night we ate at Silverton’s Handlebars Food and Saloon.  We loved Silverton but had to continue our trip toward South Fork the next morning.  We stopped between Silverton and Durango taking pictures of every colorful leaf imaginable. We met a photographer at one of the turn offs who told us about another scenic route and we followed him behind Purgatory to a gorgeous valley of color.  We left Durango after lunch and halfway between nowhere and nowhere we had a flat!  A very nice truck driver saw us as we were trying to get to a place to pull over that was level enough to change a tire and he changed our flat.  We then continued toward South Fork stopping at Treasure Falls and Wolf Creek Pass.  Our reservation was at the Spruce Lodge in South Fork.  With daylight still left we drove up to Creede for dinner at a little downtown diner.  On the way back we saw a huge mule deer and his doe. We left South Fork Thursday morning driving close to the Dallas area for the night so we could go by Canton on Friday.  It was a long day but we made it and enjoyed our last vacation day in Canton.  We traveled over 2800 miles and had a fantastic time!  #cnsadventures

Kevin and Andrea Swor from Diboll, Brent and Jennie Hawkins with their daughters, Gracie and Hannah from Livingston, all traveled to the Leona General Store & Steakhouse last Saturday to eat at one of the Top Ten Places to eat in Texas. There’s not much ambiance to the plain restaurant/former grocery store but there is a long line waiting to eat. This eatery is only open 3 days a week from 5:30 until 9PM. Fried Fish is served on Thursday evenings and on Friday and Saturday they serve steaks or grilled chicken. The menu is simple, you can select a 10, 12, 14 ounce or larger steak (or chicken) served with salad bar, mashed potatoes and homemade yeast rolls and award-winning pies and cobblers.  They average 300 steaks nightly so go early and hope to get a table. Leona, Texas is south of “big” Centerville on Highway 75.

Bettye Greer is a proud Great-Grandmother to baby girl, Scarlett Morgan Matlaga, who was born October 3rd in Camp Lejeune, NC. She was born at 6 AM and weighed 7 lbs. and 4 ozs and was 19-1/2” long. Scarlett’s grandmother is Jean (Greer) McCollum and that makes Michael her grandfather. Scarlett’s mother is their petit daughter, Kelly and her husband, John Matlaga. Jean and Michael have moved to Naples, Florida where they built a new home.

If you should see Jim Denman in and around First Bank & Trust, he will be very happy to tell you what time it is on his new I-watch. In addition to the time it just happens to have about 40 pictures of his and Lisa’s new granddaughter, Camille Elisabeth Ricks. The watch is synced to his phone so presently he has about 85 beautiful photos of Camille who was born September 7th. She already has Jim wrapped around her little finger because Jim chose to miss his annual fall trip to Colorado. Jim said he had always heard “grandchildren are the grandest thing” but he says, “It’s better than that”. By the way, her parents are Rachel and Jeremy Ricks of Nacogdoches and her paternal grandparents are Ray and Misty Ricks.

Raymond Baldwin and his wife Ruth will celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary November 20th. Raymond came in to pick up the Cajun Fish Fryer Ruth bought him for this special occasion. Geneva Ard came in for a new battery for her suburban and told us about celebrating her birthday on September 22. Larry Jansen was in getting a tractor tire repaired. Folks are still buying hunting and fishing licenses. Some of those included Eck Franks, Jose Mott, Gordon Craft, Joe Goins, Chad Harris, Brenda and Benny Dickens. Michael Posey came in with his 3-year-old daughter, Gracie, for licenses and vermiculate for his raised beds. I learned an interesting fact from Winston Hook that legally he has to have a hunting license to rid the pesky squirrels in his yard. Two years ago, he disposed of 27 squirrels who also wanted the pecans from his one tree in his yard. We love it when Andrea tries out new recipes and shares it with whomever is sitting at the round table. She recently made a fresh apple cake with glaze from Terri Burgess’ recipe. It’s called Apple Dapple cake and it was absolutely delicious!

Kitty Bounds sent the following invitation. Gipson Funeral Home LIFT ® (Living Information for Today®) is a social support program that helps widows and widowers adjust to the loss of a spouse by engaging them in educational social and recreational activities. October 25th, at noon at Gipson Funeral Home is the next day the LIFT meeting will be held. The program will provide a free lunch and guests will be making Christmas ornaments to take home.  If you are interested in attending, call 634-4411 to add your name to the list to be called.

This Saturday, October 22, everyone is welcome to attend the Angelina Cowboy Fellowship Fall Festival at JR’s Barn in Diboll on Hwy 59. The fun begins at 2PM until everybody leaves. There will be lots of games and activities for the kids including pony rides, hay rides, stick horse rodeo, prizes and treats. Dominoes will be available for adults plus an exhibition of cowboy cooking by Delbert Compte. Chili, frito pies, hot dogs, homemade soup and desserts of all kinds plus live gospel music. Bring your family and tell your friends. Michael Britton is the pastor of Angelina Cowboy Fellowship which meets every other Sunday at 10:30 at JR’s Barn.

Come see us…’round the table.