Winter blew in on us Saturday. The water buckets were glazed with ice. Sunday morning was the most miserable. I had forgotten what a ‘Blue Norther’ blowing in at 22 miles an hour felt like. It was sure nuff gumbo weather. Candidate Keith Merritt had scheduled a feed for that day and it looked like it would be a disaster until word got out it was free gumbo. Wilson Roberts showed up with the biggest tablespoon you ever saw. He also brought his own big bowl but V.J. made him leave it in the truck. *****Since we last visited, Mitt Romney won in Michigan and Nevada. That guy’s like Rodney Daingerfield. John McCain barely won South Carolina after teaming up with Fred Thompson to beat Huckabee. Yet he gets all the front-page copy and praise from the T.V. and radio pundants. They’re off to Florida this week where it will be determined if Rudy lives or dies politically. Things look bleak for Rick Perry and big oil’s candidate. *****On the Demo front, after Obama got the union support in Nevada every one of the ‘Talking Heads’ pronounced Hillary dead. She polled 51 percent of the vote, won seven of nine casino caucuses. I’ve never heard a candidate get beaten up as much as Hillary. Now the ‘Talking Heads’ have taken after Bill for helping her. I guess they think he should keep his hands in his pockets while his wife is unfairly piled on.*****Obama won 83 percent of the black vote. If the same thing happens in South Carolina, where he’s expected to win big, it will be his demise. From here on out it will be a Jessie Jackson type black/white race and that kills him on Super Tuesday. He would be better served if the black vote would split, even if he lost the state. An overwhelming black vote and just a little white will drive a nail in his coffin. Like Huckabee can’t win with just the Evangelicals, Obama can’t win going 83 percent black.*****Eli and the Giants beat Brett and the Packers. I think Green Bay was fortunate to get as close as they did at 23-20 in overtime. The Giant secondary however, can’t match up to Tom Brady and his receivers. The odds are we will see history made with 19 consecutive wins on Super Day by 11 to 16 points. At least Eli is not as far back in the shadows behind big brother Payton Manning. Brady will have to be better than he was in the 21-12 win over the Chargers.*****I’ve gotta move on. Come along, it won’t do you no harm.

Texas native Ernie Holmes, from Wiergate, in Jasper County, died after a one car crash last week near Lumberton. He possibly suffered a heart attack. Holmes was a member of the world champion Pittsburgh Steeler’s ‘Steel Curtain Defense’ alongside ‘Mean Joe’ Green, Dwight White and L.C. Greenwood. Number 63 was on the team that won Super Bowl IX over Minnesota and Super Bowl X over Dallas. Holmes spent six years with the Steelers and retired in 1978 while playing with New England. When quarterback Terry Bradshaw was injured in 1976 and doctors strapped him to a backboard, Holmes said, “Let me have him,” lifted the backboard and carried Terry up the stairs onto the plane. A poor kid from Wiergate to the big times, that’s my kind of human-interest story. He had returned to his roots.

Neal Jr., 82, a former Orange mayor, died at his home in Austin on Jan. 16, after a long battle with congestive heart failure. An Orange native, he became the city’s mayor in the early 1960s. An A&M grad and United States Air Force pilot, he brought Orange into modern times. He left the area to spend the rest of his life working for Gulf and Chevron as a senior, top level public relations representative. He always remembered his hometown and was there to welcome the home folks at Orange County Day in Austin and his company usually picked up the tab. His best friend, Major Inman, followed him as Orange mayor. His father Neal Miller, Sr., who owned a furniture company by the same name, served as Justice of the Peace. One of our great friends Neal Sr., one day while everyone was away from home, took his own life. Neal Jr., and wife Jeanne, who died a few years ago, moved away and never returned. Neal remarried in 2006 to Katharine Patman. No other Orange native went on to accomplish so much. His obituary reads like a novel of ‘Who’s Who.’ Another Orange County star has left us.

30 Years Ago-1978
A former Bridge City high school student, Phyllis Kelly, who is now Miss Louisiana, sang the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. It’s predicted 85 million people saw the former girl from Jones Street in B.C. *****In a contest held by The Opportunity Valley News, Edna Lusignan, of Bridge City, predicted the exact score of the Super Bowl, Dallas 27, Denver 10. Mark Dunn ran the contest at the newspaper. *****J.W. ‘Kid’ Henry, investigator in the county attorney’s office, celebrated a birthday on Super Bowl day, Jan. 15. *****Rose City Judge Harold Rodney ‘Beesey’ Beeson turns 39 on Jan. 21. *****Robyn Lusignan will celebrate her 10th birthday Jan. 21. *****Texas Attorney General John Hill named his Orange County committees for his bid for governor. Sen. D.R. Harrington is district chairman, J.D. Stanfield, county chairman. Other members of the committee are State Rep. Wayne Peveto, Martin Dies, John Cash Smith, Travis ‘Pete’ Greshman, Don Cochran, Dudley Baker, Murray Spector, Dr. Joe Ben Welch, David Clark, Lisa Teer, Monteal Turner, Doug Harrington, Bridge City chairman, Bobby Cormier, Orangefield chairman. (Editor’s note: Bob was a good Democrat 30 years ago.) Joe Alford, West Orange chairman, Richard Taylor, Orange, Butch Clark, Mauriceville and John Rayburn, Little Cypress.*****Jonell Helton, 26-year-old Bridge City resident, was honored by the Pilot Club as ‘Handicapped Woman of the Year.” After graduating from Hughen School she attended Bridge City High School and Port Arthur Business College.*****Ed Lovelace of KOGT fame is embarking in the worm business in Warren, Texas. He invites his friends to visit him and Joan. Some friends say, ‘No thanks, he serves worm casseroles and dry worms and claims they are pretzels.” (Editor’s note: Ed planned to make a fortune but a load of worms got loose on an airplane while being shipped. The airlines discontinued accepting worms and put Ed out of business. He later moved to Beeville and bought two radio stations, an AM and FM.*****Cal Broussard must be doing things right since coming to Liberty Television Cable. They have added 1,500 new subscribers.*****

Our longtime friends Dee and Joe Payne celebrate 54 years of marriage on Thursday, Jan. 26. Best wishes for good health and a long life together. *****One of my favorite people, pretty Nancy Vincent, celebrates her birthday Friday, Jan. 26. The Orange Savings Bank employee is one of the real people, what you see is what you get and I like what I see. *****Next Tuesday, Jan. 30, John Patterson, our boy in the major league, celebrates his special day. Our wishes for John are a great, injury free season with the Washington Nationals. *****Jan. 26 is Flip Flippen’s birthday. That guy comes from good stock. *****Tuesday of next week, Jan. 29, the Amodeo twins Lynn Greenwell and Leslie Smith will celebrate their birthday. I believe Lynn is the oldest. They are Ace Amodeo’s only children. *****Happy anniversary to Terry and Lance George on Jan. 25***** Congrats also to Nancy and Cecil Byers on Jan. 28. *****Our longtime Indian buddy Curtis Lee recently went through heart by-pass surgery. His motor has been quadrupled and he’s ready for another 60,000 miles. *****Celebrity birthdays: Neil Diamond, 67, on Jan. 24, Ellen DeGeneres, 50, Jan. 26. ***** Tee Bruce will air his last Cajun show next Sunday on KLVI. *****Congrats to Commissioner John Dubose for being the recipient of the Frances K. Monk award. It’s the highest award that can be presented to an elected official by the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission. Orange County will be well represented on the commission with councilperson Shirley Bonnin of West Orange as a new vice-president and Commissioner James Stringer incoming secretary. Those people do good work. New director Shawn Davis presided over his first banquet. His father, Olympian Gold Medalist Buddy Davis was in attendance. I had forgotten that Buddy was also an NBA player. Tim Spell, Houston Chronicle Auto Section feature writer, who also has other writing ventures, was in attendance. Tim was surprised to learn Roy could quote his Chronicle stories verbatim. He admits that he regularly visits The Record website and enjoys all the great reading he finds there.*****The improvement in Iraq has as much to do with the Iraqi government realizing that a Democrat may be elected U.S. president. They had better get their act together before the U.S. starts pulling out on Jan. 21, 2009. The surge, more troops in Iraq, helped but it’s more about what the future holds.*****Ten GOP candidates are vying for the opportunity to face congressman Nick Lampson in the general election. Don’t sell Nick short even in a district that is 60 percent Republican.*****In Louisiana, Bobby Jindal became the nations first elected Indian-American sitting governor and the state’s first non-white chief executive. He is a 36 years old son of Indian immigrants and the nation’s youngest governor. Louisiana has only two living ex-governors, Kathleen Blanco and Edwin Edwards, who was unable to attend the swearing-in of Jindal because he is serving time in federal prison. The party of Huey and Earl Long and Dudley J. LeBlanc is no more.*****Do you remember Gary Collins? Today he’s 69 years old. The former television personality recently served four days in the Glendale city jail on a DWI charge. He paid $85 a day to stay in Glendale rather than the overcrowded Los Angeles County Jail.*****A new partnership has formed between former Louisiana senator John Breaux and Republican Mississippi senator Trent Lott and is expected to shake up Washington lobbying. The former senators have 70 years of combined Capitol Hill experience and their greatest asset is that they sat on opposite sides of the aisle. This will make them very successful, earning up to $3 million a year. Lott quit the senate before the new law went into effect Jan. 1 with tougher ethics restrictions.*****Wesley Snipes has 70 potential character witnesses for his federal tax fraud case. They include Muhammad Ali, Spike Lee, Tom Brokaw, Barbara Walters, Woody Harrelson, Sylvester Stallone and Gus Van Sant.*****While visiting last week, I picked up this interesting bit of news. When Rick Perry went to Iowa, he committed a gaffe that has earned him some enemies for life in the White House. Back home in Texas, Perry said, “George W. Bush, his mentor, was never a fiscal conservative.” Rick was right, but given that George hand-picked and made him, Republicans consider the comment ungrateful and disloyal. I always thought ‘Whistle Britches’ was a self-serving phony. *****We were saddened to learn about the death of Victoria Enmon who died Monday morning. She fought the good fight and is in God’s hands now. May she rest in peace.*****Rachel Faries, 88, passed away Jan. 19. Service at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Calvary Baptist in West Orange. Ms. Rachel was the widow of F.C. ‘Speck’ Faries. She raised a great family. Our condolences to family and friends.*****Suzanne Plashette, one of the true beauties of the big screen and the Bob Newhart Show on television, died Jan. 20. She would have been 71 years old on Jan. 31. *****The big deal. Lawyer Brent Coon sues Provost-Umphrey Law Firm over his share of the $3 billion fee that came from the $17.3 billion Texas tobacco settlement. Coon says Walter hasn’t given him his share since he left the firm. It looks like there should be enough to go around. *****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch had a great gathering at Van Choate’s last week. Many of the regulars were back. This week the bunch will dine at Robert’s Restaurant. Hope you can make it, 12 noon Wednesday.

Lindsey McGee, Mark Walles, Esther Baker, Lindsey McGee, Betty Stephenson, Caitlyn Lindner, Cindy Cain, Eryn Leroux, Harold Collins, Jennifer Grizzaffi, Logan Mitchell, Lyndell Hodgkinson, Stephanie Smith, Sue Harris, Karen Anthony, Randy Franklin, Toni Robertson, Eric Shuford, Garland Gresham, Judy Rogers, Malissie Bailey, Melanie Thevis, Tayler Thompson, Taylor Fraccastoro, Chelsea Anderson, Flip Flippen, Glenn Oliver, Hayden Anderson, Michael Faulk, Mike Faulk, Nancy Vincent, OllieButler, Ginny Pelpier, Hazel Reedom, Jonathan Arnold, Kimberly Barclay, Melanie Prosperie, Mick Weidner, Tori Lummus, Virginia Pelitier, Bill Dixon, Chase Rendall, Colin Briggs, Jim Snider, Mary Ann Scofield, Rosalie Clark, Sheryl Richard, Sterling Werkheiser, Virginia Robinson, Kerstin Jewel, Paula Perkins, Rachel Beaulieu, Ricky Miller, Traci Anderson

Marie Comeaux was at home as usual, washing clothes and making supper. Alphonse Thibodeaux, who dey call ‘Tee’ came to her door and he holler, “Marie, Marie, may I come in me.” “I got something to tell you.”
She answer, “Of course you can, you always welcome Tee, where’s my husband Clovis, hanh?”
Tee say, “Dats wat I’m here to tell you Marie, dere was an accident down at da Dixie Beer Brewery.”
“Oh God no,” Marie cried, “Please don’t tell me.”
Tee say, “Marie I got to tell you me, Clovis him is dead and gone, I’m so sorry me.”
Marie found da arm of da rocking chair by da fireplace and collapsed into it. She cried for a long while den finally she look up to Thibodeaux and axe, “How did it happen Tee?”
He say, “Well, it was terrible Marie, he fell into a big vat of Dixie Beer and he drowned him.”
“Oh my dear Jesus, my poor Clovis.” “Tell me Tee, did Clovis at least go quickly?”
Tee said, “Well no, not exactly Marie, as a matter of fact, he got out tree times to pee.”

According to the Southeast Texas Workforce Development Board, about $15 billion in energy projects are on the way. The largest, a $7 billion expansion at Motiva in Port Arthur to be completed in 2011. Other projects include an Exxon Mobile liquefied natural gas terminal in Sabine Pass and several other major projects. This will generate 4,500 permanent high-skilled jobs and more than 20,000 construction jobs. That’s not all; labor will be needed for building new housing, new retail stores, hospitals, etc. It will be boom-boom-boom. It’s important that our elected officials and civic organizations stay on their toes to make hay while the sun shines. Our time has come. What we do with it is what’s important. Already nearly every vacant lot in Bridge City has construction on it. This opportunity comes around very seldom.
*****We have some cold, wet, raw weather on the way but think about it this way, it isn’t election time here. I watched voters fight freezing weather to get to the polls. Often here on a sunshiny day just 30 percent make it. We must do better. Obama is predicted to win South Carolina with a double-digit lead. It will be interesting to see, with bad weather predicted, how many will turn out and who. *****I would be remise if I didn’t congratulate one of our angels, Anabel Anderson, who on Friday will get her 60-year pen from the Catholic Daughters. That will be her third pen, 25-years, 50-years and this. You’ve just got to love her. *****Till next time take care and God bless.