The Seven Wonders of the Lunch Bunch
Some time back, a local paper came out with a survey seeking local opinions in regard to the Seven Wonders of Southeast Texas. A couple weeks back, the results came out, but the survey had been redirected to the wonders of South and Mid County, which was fine. They did a superb job.
Now, every Tuesday noon, I lunch with a dozen or so gentlemen, all learned and respected, and who collectively possess over a thousand years of familiarity with Southeast Texas.
So, when the original survey questions came out, we decided to do our own survey on the Wonders of Southeast Texas.
Of course, getting twelve knowledgeable and somewhat opinionated men to focus on one subject was kind of, sort of like herding cats. At any given time around our table, half-a-dozen diverse conversations are taking place, ranging from the kind of bait used on giant muskies in Minnesota to the type of stone that was used in the Great Wall of China.
When studying the original survey, one very perceptive gentleman, a Ph.D in Chemistry, chuckled. “This looks more like the Wonders of South County than Southeast Texas.”
Dumb me. I’d paid no attention. When I reread the list, the northernmost attraction was Gladys City and/or the waterfront.
Still, we gave it a shot.
All in all, however, our team of single-minded, purposeful thoroughbreds managed to stay in its traces long enough to come up with its own results, the Tuesday Lunch Bunch’s selections of the Seven Wonders of Southeast Texas.
The one venue selected by all who responded was Gladys City, the general consensus being that it is a symbol of the beginning of the petrochemical revolution and the booming growth of our area.
Number two was the Sabine Pass Battleground for the role it played in preventing the federal invasion of Southeast Texas.
Next came Pleasure Island of old with its great wooden roller coaster, the dance pavilion, and the vast entertainment venues available.
The petrochemical complex of SE Texas was number four while number five was specifically the rubber plant in Port Neches, which was instrumental in the manufacture of synthetic rubber during WWII.
Sixth was Nederland’s Dutch windmill, symbol of the proud history of the Dutch in Nederland.
Seventh place was an appropriate tie between the Cajun House in Nederland and the Maison de Solieu in Port Neches.
Other nominations were the Wild Life Refuge and Shangri La. Then one of our unruly group nominated the ‘One Way Bridge’ at Silsbee. Seems like back in the days of the Model A, a single lane wooden bridge some two hundred feet long spanned Village Creek just south of Silsbee, ending at the base of the hill outside the city. One night, a handful of boys bound for Beaumont in an old Model A sat on top of the hill, watching a vehicle approach from the far side.
Being high school seniors and knowing they would live forever, they threw caution to the wind and tried to beat the other car.
Unfortunately, it was a tie. Oh, they made it past, but not before crumpling fenders on either side of the Model A.
Another one of our rascals nominated Twin Lakes, once northeast if the old South Park Drive In. Since this is a family paper, I can’t give you his reasons for suggesting it, although he said everyone over sixty will know why.
The Interurban was mentioned, as were some of the questionably reputable hotels in Beaumont and Port Arthur. I could see my little group was getting carried away with itself, so I called a halt to the proceedings.
Still, the results of almost twelve hundred years of Southeast Texas experience is something not to be taken lightly. Right?