As for me, come hell or high water, I still have plenty to be thankful for. First of all I have a great family and special friends. A caring family while in the trenches is always a comfort. True, loyal friends are few in most people’s lifetime. I’ve been blessed throughout this journey to bond with so many great people I always knew would be there when the need called. I like people of all persuasions, I enjoy the great staff I work with and am so thankful to the many loyal readers who have followed this column for more years than I care to recall. Like my life, I try to keep it interesting with a variety of opinions and some surprises. My Cajun stories have been repeated around the world. This Thanksgiving, some will prepare as usual in a warm family kitchen using tools handed down by mom and grandma. Thanks to Hurricane Ike, others will improvise in a FEMA trailer or some other house away from home. Wherever your kitchen, I hope your holiday is filled with family, friends, and good food and fellowship. To Neighbor Cox and Ms. Virginia and all of my elder friends out there I want you to know you are in my thoughts and prayers. Little did we know last year what this Thanksgiving would bring. Hopefully next Thanksgiving, we will all have survived and with smiles can look back on this period as just a bad dream, just a bump in the road.

A new report shows children displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have serious health problems and mental ailments. It’s reasonable to assume we will see some of the same results from Ike. My belief is that the elderly are even more affected. Displaced and often in poor health, they are removed from years of regular routines. I believe a study would show that many are dying prematurely or their health is declining. FEMA seems to be in slow motion when it comes to getting the senior citizens home. It’s been traumatic times for many who lost a lifetime of possessions and are now looking at wrecked homes. In the meantime, they wait at a displaced location not knowing what the short time they have left will bring. Most have family support, but some have no one. We ran into some of those good citizens and it just breaks your heart. Because we’re in the middle of it Ike is ever present but the truth is nationally, Ike and it’s damage is a forgotten storm. For example, the Bush / Clinton disaster fund has raised only $2.5 million compared to $135 million for Katrina. The reason given is that Ike lacks national attention. What really galls me is that so many people, true victims of the hurricane, with three feet of salty ocean water in their dwelling, are denied help. I’m talking about many cases where FEMA puts people through a stack of paper work and phone calls, reapplying over and over, only to be denied again. There is really no reason to hassle anyone then go on a photo-op binge stating how FEMA is doing such a great job. It’s time for our state and federal leaders to invade Washington and demand that the government and nation not forget the blow Ike brought. From Gov. Rick Perry on down, we’re getting too much lip service. Not enough screaming and stomping and demanding action.

30 Years Ago-1078
Vivian Morrow died on Nov. 26 after being in an auto accident near Longview. She had been to Oklahoma to visit her mother. She and husband Leland own Morrow’s Appliance stores. The Morrow’s came to Orange in the early 1940s. *****On Wednesday, Nov. 29, the Stark Museum of Art opened. The Stark family, primarily by Lutcher Stark and his wife Nelda, gathered all objects in the museum collection. *****Triple L Honda moves into their new, large showroom at 1800 Strickland Drive. Dennis Lee is the owner. *****David Fusilier celebrated a birthday on Nov. 28. *****Brad and Brenda Lapeyrolerie celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary on Nov. 25. John Lapeyrolerie turned 4 on Nov. 25. *****Grover C. Halliburton, attorney, now located at 707 Division Ave. *****Polly Gamblin is associated with Ron’s House of Elegance, 605 W. Roundbunch in Bridge City. *****Wienerschnitzel Corp. honored Wayne and Helen Townsend, owners of the Orange location, in a ceremony in Las Vegas. *****Angelo’s Italian Food at 741 W. Lutcher Drive, features a new item: freshwater, boneless catfish platter. *****Frankinson’s Deli is at 10th and Green in Orange. *****W.T. “Boss Cajun” Oliver treated folks from all parts of the country with a “Boucherie” to demonstrate the many facets of Cajun customs. A hog was killed, scraped and cooked over an open fire; big iron pots filled with cracklings. Cajun dishes were served while a Cajun band played. The pork fricassee served with dirty rice was hard to beat. *****Tyler Bearden celebrated his 7th birthday Nov. 29. His mom Carol and uncle J.B. both will mark birthdays on Dec. 13. *****Sports Illustrated features Houston Oiler running back Earl Campbell on its cover. The cover’s “kiss of death” prevailed again. Earl was injured in the first period causing Bum’s Oilers to lose 13-3 to Terry Bradshaw and the Steelers. *****The Bridge City Rotary Club names city manager C.R. Nash Rotarian of the Week. He’s a T.J. Port Arthur grad, married to Pat and the father of two children, Rodney and Karla. C.R. is a Mason and member of Second Baptist Church in Bridge City.

Roy has given up his Down Life’s Highway space on Page 15 this week to Leroy Perego, who has written a great story, “Elvis Lives.” It’s a story of Elvis and his survival in the storm and the flood. A tough guy who mirrors the people of Bridge City. Be sure to read it. It’s well-written. *****According to the new rule allowing individuals to be honored, Bob Hope’s image will be on a postage stamp. They couldn’t have honored a better person. Bob was familiar to many people in our area. *****Missouri, a bellwether state, known for always picking the winning candidate for president, barely missed it for the first time. They gave McCain a .12 percent win. Out of 3 million, 3,632 votes separated them.*****Special thanks to Triumph Church for turkey and fixings that will make Thanksgiving special for more than 1,000 families in Bridge City and Orange.*****American Music Awards named Brad Paisley Country Music Artist of the Year; Taylor Swift was named Country Female Artist and Rascal Flatts Best Country Band, Duo or Group.*****The 300,000 acre Big Bend Ranch State Park, the best wilderness experience Texas has to offer, will gain thousands of acres of unspoiled desert back country as part of a deal intended to increase public use of the land. Also the park has many new improvements, a great get-a-way come spring. You’ll love it. *****The death of Jim Mattox, age 65, brings to an end the true “Yellow Dog” era. Attorney H.D. Pate was a friend of Mattox and through him several Orange folks got to know Jim. Mattox’s career, which included a bitterly fought loss for governor to Ann Richards in the 1990 primaries, was sometimes productive, sometimes mean and often controversial. Ole Jim was never dull, however. His political style was bare-knuckled. He took no prisoners. He was one of the colorful politicians that marks Texas history. *****St. Mark Lutheran Church, 975 W. Roundbunch in Bridge City will have a big, free community concert and hot dog combo lunch Sunday, Nov. 30, 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. The concert at 2 p.m. features two bands, “Texas Gospel” and the “Last Standing,” country and rock Christian music for all ages. A great time for all. *****Congrats to Jay Trahan, first director of Orange Economic Development. I can’t help but wonder what Ray, his late brother, would think about little brother Jay walking in high cotton. I’m always proud to see a local Cajun boy do good. Jay can also entertain you with a good Cajun tune. *****We ran into Ray Cotton last week. He’s sold the old Longhorn location on IH-10. All Ray was interested in was his check; he doesn’t know for sure what will become of the property. We hear for now it will house FEMA trailers. *****Also, we ran into C. Delle Bates in Orangefield. He often heads out to K-Dan’s when he’s plenty hungry and looking for a home-cooked meal. *****Sharon Bearden is off on one of his famous deer hunts. Many stories, which you must subtract from, will be told about that trip. *****Here’s a question you can answer on our Web site. Will President Bush give Scooter Libby a full pardon before he leaves office? What’s your bet? *****Walmart has signed a contract to help power hundreds of its stores using wind energy. The largest investment in the field by a U.S. retailer. Two hundred twenty six million kilowatt hours per year to power 360 stores. *****Good luck this week to the West Orange-Stark Mustangs against power packed Gilmer Buckeyes. The regional semi-finals will be played Saturday, 2:30 p.m. at Abe Martin Stadium in Lufkin. Coach Cornel Thompson’s chain gang defense will be tested against a balanced offense that on average runs 450 yards, 225 on the ground, 187 through the air. Their offense is very productive, scoring 557 points allowing 192. I believe if the ‘Stangs get by this one they will go all the way. Go get ‘em, make Orange County proud.

Monday, President-elect Obama cited an “economic crisis of historic proportions.” First the bleeding must be stopped and that has already started on Wall Street when word got out Friday that Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, both Centrists, would be in charge. Geithner, as treasurer secretary and Summers, who will head the national economic council. Obama is surrounding himself with experts. With Sen. Hillary Clinton on board and Joe Biden as vice president, our world standing will improve like Wall Street did, almost overnight. Obama’s cabinet will be seasoned professionals like Bill Richardson, Geithner, Dashle, Ed Holder, etc. The work horses will be Obama’s inner circle: bright, young people like Rahm Emanuel, Greg Craig, David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, Pete Rouse, Phil Schillird, Patrick Gaspard, Ellen Moran, Robert Gibbs, Ron Klain and Jackie Norris. The White House staff are the ones who will be helping Obama to get the country back on track. A team of Centrists who will be doing the heavy work for the cabinet. Mort Kondrake, executive editor of Roll Call on Capitol Hill, wrote recently about how the Republican Party can rebound. “The first step would be to quit letting Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham set it’s agenda.” We said the same thing more than two years ago but we had added Ann Colter. Alan Colmes is leaving the Hannity-Colmes show on FOX. Can’t blame him, Alan is very bright but can’t get his views in because of negative blow-hard Hannity, who even argues with Karl Rove when Karl doesn’t agree with his twisted views. In his Roll Call column Kondracke added, “Congressional Republicans would help the party by actually trying to help Obama succeed in addressing the country’s dire problems created by their party by offering better ideas and opposing just when necessary, not reflexively.” That’s what they would do if the country was their first interest. You have people like Sarah Palin, spouting off selected negatives, hoping to lead the Republican Party, which will never happen. She’s a bimbo next to some very qualified folks in the GOP.

David Fusilier, Jerry Childress, Bobby Adams, Amber Permar, Christie Smith, Eric Andrus, Kelly Stanley, Lana McCracken, Mason Grizzaffi, Shelly Hollie, Taryn Hubbard, Wanda Ferguson, Wanda Monogue, Colby Daville, Dana Bryant, Emily Fischer, Jessica Harkness, John Kimbroug, Mark Bourgeois, Melissa Fisher, Nick Miller, Sharon Gregory, Tena Kenney, Abby Floyd, Betty Simonto, Cindy Huckabay, Don North, Georgietta Daves, Haley Barlow, Lynda Walther, Preston Shuford, Tiffany Osborn, Cappy Ricks, Cassandra Carpenter, Drew Craft, Jade Seibert, Melissa Jenkins, Sharon Evans, Troy Manuel, Abby Reynolds, Angela Harkness, Angela Webb, Carrisa Guidry, Erik Tutt, Erin Evans, Erin Tutt, Jamie Applebach, Kenneth Manuel, Leah Vogt, Tish Garrett, Brad Braus, Howard Minor, Ricky Harper, Ryan Anderson, Vance Chauvin, Frank Welch, Kelsey Dardeau, Mitchell Backer and Wesley Duncan.

Billy Bob Boyd, a Texan, walked into Tee-Boy’s Bar and Grill and started bragging that no body could drink like a Texan could. Billy Bob said, “If any of you Cajuns can drink a whole case of beer in one hour or less, I’ll pay you $100.”
No one took him up on his offer and in fact Clovis Comeaux got up and walked out. A while later, Comeaux came back inside him, and axe da Texan if his offer was still good?
Billy Bob said, “Sure is pardoner, in fact, I’ll even pay for the beer.”
Comeaux told Leroy, da bartender, to line dem up.
Comeaux drank down one beer after anutta and finished dat case of beer in well under an hour.
Boy, dat totally amazed Billy Bob, da Texan. He paid for da beer and handed Comeaux $100 bucks. He was a little curious and axe Comeaux, “By da way, when I made da offer you left, where did you go?”
Comeaux answer, “Mais, I went to Boudreaux’s Lounge across town. I had to make sure I could do it me.”

My thoughts as I close out for the Thanksgiving holiday is of our good friend Cal who is back in a Houston hospital. He was transferred from Mid-County last Friday and is reported to be doing quite well. He is looking forward to being transferred to Beaumont in a couple of weeks and then making the Wednesday Lunch Bunch gatherings by January. The group still gathers each week for now at Robert’s. Everyone is welcome, 12 noon. My prayer is that Cal, after three months of not eating or drinking and with nine surgeries will recover soon. He has fought the good fight, beaten the odds week after week. He’s a great guy. Your prayers are welcomed, put in a word for him. That’s about it from here. Enjoy the paper and the holiday. Please be careful on the road. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us. God bless.