Last week we lost one of our special people, G.L. “Red” Garrett, who passed away March 30. Red, who had served on the Orange City Council, had a lot to do with changing the face of the city. Please see obit and Down Life’s Highway column, Page 11A. *****As I to write this column I learn that 25 coal miners have lost their lives after an underground explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch site in West Virginia. The company was fined $900,000 in 2009 for 500 federal safety violations. Now you wouldn’t think that in this day and time people would still be dying in the coal mines. Last year 39 workers lost their lives. For decades it’s been the most dangerous work in the country but with today’s technology you would think that safer methods of getting the coal out would finally replace the age-old ways. The government has never seemed to be able to enforce safe practices. Fining them doesn’t seem to work. What about shutting them down and prison time? *****I’ve got to move on. I blew the Easter weekend now I’m two days behind. Come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.


The GOP’s battle cry “Repeal the Bill” and “Repeal and Replace” is a strategy that ain’t going nowhere. To start with, it may be a good political negative now but opponents will never be able to put 67 votes needed in a 100-member senate. Rush and those on the “Far Right” are just blowing smoke. Urging a full repeal of health care reform energizes conservative activists whose turnout is crucial. However there are also risks. The GOP will have to give up the cry when, over the next few months, Americans will learn of the new law’s benefits and anger fades. GOP grass roots activists will feel disillusioned by a failed crusade. Health care won’t be a winning issue in November so I believe, from now on, you will hear little or no cry of “Repeal” from the GOP. It will fade in the sunset. They know President Obama was on solid ground when he said in Iowa, “Bring it on.”

Neighbor Cox and Ms. Ginny stopped by our Henrietta office and dropped off a copy of Miss Mattie’s “Party Line” column published in the Shelby County “Light and Champion” newspaper, established in 1877. Mattie Dellinger is 98-years-old. She was inducted into the Texas Order of the Eastern Star in 1930-31. Out of 207 members she is the only one still living. She and Willie Nelson’s daughter Susie are good friends who talk often. Susie is enjoying being with her father. Since before Christmas, Willie has not picked his guitar, he is recovering from Carpel Tunnel surgery. Meanwhile, a movie is being shot at his golf course home. Susie is helping with production. She is looking forward to coming back to Center for the annual Rotary Club auction. Willie has two sons, Mike and Luke, by his present wife Annie. Mike is in college; Luke joined his dad’s band. Annie lives in the Nelson home in Hawaii. Susie and Lana are sisters by Willie’s first wife. There are two daughters by Willie’s second wife and two boys by his fourth. Lana travels with her father and aunt, Bobby, on the Honeysuckle bus. Lana cooks for them. Susie oversees the horse ranch and writes children’s books. Thanks to Miss Mattie we know the latest on Willie.

Congrats to the West Orange-Stark track team who participated in the Texas relays over the weekend. The WO-S boys won the title of Most Outstanding High School Team at the meet. Trey Franks won the 100-meter with a time of 10:48, second best in United States. Phillip Jones won the 110 meter hurdles in 14:30. Justin Thomas, Mark Roberts, Jones and Franks won the 800-meter relay in a time of 1:26.06, a new Texas relay record. Thomas, Franks, Jones and James Hayes won the 400-meter relay with a time of 41:40, a meet record. Toby Forman is track coach and is really proud of these outstanding young athletes. They make Orange County proud.*****It won’t be long now before the Golden Triangle area will be booming. Many jobs will open in the crafts. Motiva alone will employ 5,500 workers by summer in a $7 billion project. Many other satellite jobs will result. Jobs in the Orange area will also open up. Forty-five percent of the employees will come from our area. Business will pick up, home sales will continue to grow and all of it together will form a domino effect, which will be good for everyone. Additionally, drilling in the Gulf, approved by the Obama Administration will be good for the entire Texas Gulf Coast.*****I learned last week that Steve Johnson, Grady Johnson’s boy, is a chip off the old block. Grady has passed on those Shelby County values and cut-up personality. Grady says, “Orange County has been good to the Johnson family.”*****I’m sure a lot of you got caught last week on April Fool’s Day. Constable Mark Philpott pulled one of the best tricks on newly-elected judge David Peck. Philpott is not worried about pay back; he won’t have to deal with Judge Peck, his judge in Pct. 3 is Judge Janice.*****We were sorry to hear about the death of Ethel Perkins Evens Cunningham, age 92, who passed away April 1. Services were at Claybar April 5. She is the mother of Patsy Peters. Our condolences to Patsy, Judge Don Peters and the family.*****Happy birthday to a few friends celebrating in the next few days. Our buddy Jo Ann Collins, Cathy Riley, “Queen of the Strutters,” Dr. Katie Olson, Lorene Zoch, David Thacker, a fine young man.*****A special Happy Birthday to the old pipefitter Charles “Pappy” Ellis who turned 86 Tuesday, April 6. He’s a real cuss mouth. Besides that, he has Peck for a son-in-law. He deserves a good birthday.*****On April 12, our loyal friend Cal Broussard would have been 72. He passed away on July 12, 2009, but he is in our daily thoughts.*****Our prayers go out to Marilyn Smith, our friend of many years, who was attorney Wayne Peveto’s legal secretary. In the next few weeks she will undergo surgery in Houston. Our thoughts and best wishes are with her and Gene.*****Congrats to all of those smart, great youngsters mentioned in the BCISD Report Card displayed in this issue. Over the year youngsters participating in sports get most of the publicity and it’s great to see the names and achievements of these Bridge City School students. They make their school, teachers and community proud.*****Everyone is invited to attend the retirement party for Maj. Joey Hargrave 3-7 p.m. Friday, April 9, at First Baptist Church in Bridge City. Hargrave has retired from the Bridge City Police Department after 26 years. He is looking forward to visiting his friends.*****Our Republican U.S. Legislatures just will not except the facts. There is no longer fear of a double dip recession in which the end of stimulus money would tip the economy back into contradiction. Factories are producing more; the economy added 162,000 jobs last month, the most in three years. The nation’s service sector is growing quicker than expected. Contracts for home sales are up. We have come a long way from the brink of a great depression to a stabilizing economy. We’re not there yet but we’re out of the dark hole. Meanwhile, Republican congressmen spread out around the nation to throw cold water on our progress. Citing the hiring of census workers for our good fortune. How silly is that? Wall Street is not complaining. My attitude is if you are not going to help, at least stay out of the way. The country has eight years of devastation to get over. It will take time.*****We had predicted Butler might be the surprise of the Final Four. Monday night, the Duke Blue Devils won the National basketball championship 61-59. I don’t believe Duke won it; Butler blew it. Too many missed lay ups for one. Butler, a 4,200 student private school was the smallest school ever to play for a national championship. The Bull Dogs and Blue Devils game will be the most memorable in tournament history.*****According to Jean Fregia, the cookie lady, the Farmer’s Market will open on MacArthur Drive at 7 a.m., Saturday, May 1  until all produce is gone. I can’t wait and hope you will treat yourself to garden fresh, homegrown produce.

Shelly Watts, Kristi Trahan, Janet Anderson, Linda Juneau, Wayne McPherson, April Butler, Billie Jo Nelson, Brandy Block,  Cathy Riley, Joyce Kleinknecht, Lindsey Etheridge, Lorene Zoch, Mrs. David Goode, Patsy Herrington, Peggy Drane, Bob Todd, Melissa Pittman, Terri Brent, Tonya Burch, Wayne Currie, Adam Prosperie, Barbara Allen, Barbara Goins, Ed Cox, Elliot Purcell, Jamye Martin, Johnnie Nicks, K’Lynn Ess, Katie Olson, Matt Day, Nancy Hood, Alivia Duhon, Austin Brent, Bob Arnold, David Thacker, Edyth Ramsey, Jackie Schell, Patsy Evans, Travis Miller, Travis Reed, Cortland Savage, Howard Nelson, Jill Lemoine, Leslie Staudenmier, Roy Mazzagate III, Shellie Holmes, Zackary Busby, Abby Noah, Ann Glover, Betty Stark, Dawn Mason, Gene Bellard, Kaylin Abshire, Ken Armstrong, Margene Bellard, Virginia Fox, David Miller and Jo Ann Collins.


On April 8, Patricia Arquette will be 42; Julian Lennon, 47; Shecky Greene, 84 and Betty Ford, former First Lady, will be 92.***April, 9, Kristen Stewart, 20; Leighton Meester, 24; Cynthia Nixon, 44; Dennis Quaid, 56 and Hugh Hefner, 84.***April 10, Mandy Moore, 26; Steven Seagal, 58; John Madden, 74; Harry Morgan, 95.***April 11, Meshach Taylor, 63 and Ethel Kennedy, 82.***April 12, Shannen Doherty, 39; Vince Gill, 53; Andy Garcia, 54, David Cassidy, 60; David Letterman, 63 and Ed O’Neill, 64.***April 13, Rick Schroder, 40; Max Weinberg, 59, Al Green, 64 and Lyle Waggoner, 75.***April 14, Pete Rose, 69; Loretta Lynn, 75; Robert Carlyle, 49 and Sarah Michelle Gellar, 33.


We heard from Jack Huffman, a native of Brunner Addition, who married pretty Betty Ramsey 60 years ago. His one surviving aunt is Joy Parrish, a longtime friend. Jack was raised with the Garrett boys. He called about Red’s death. Jack attended Stark High with Don Harmon, then graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in engineering. For seven years he served as Orange city manager with councilmen Red, Neal Miller, Bob Whithead and the others. He left Orange in 1972 to become city manager at Greely, Colo. Jack then spent 20 years as city manager of Irving. The population was 90,000 when he arrived and 280,000 when he retired. He’s a little upset that Sunday they are tearing down his beloved Cowboy Stadium. He feels like it should have been saved for many other useful uses. Through his professional life Jack has received many awards. He’s one of our proud native sons. Jack and Betty live on their ranch at Pontoctoc in the hill country. They also have a home in Fredricksburg where their “across the street neighbor” is Ken Hall. (“Sugarland Express”) Their son Jack Jr. and his family, live here on Memorial Drive in Orange. Jack’s life story and how he ended up being city manager here in his hometown is an interesting one. Orange County, his youth, friends and years of service to the city are all still very important to him. Sometimes he hears the cry to come home but then looks around at the most beautiful spot in Texas and counts his blessings. What a great guy, an Orange County star.

When Clovis Comeaux retired, he returned home to Lafayette after many years. Bored he got himself a job as a greeter at Walmart. Comeaux jus couldn’t seem to get to work on time. Everyday he was five or ten minutes late him. However he was a good worker, really tidy, clean shaven, sharp minded and a real credit to the company. He was obviously demonstrating dere “older person friendly” policies.
One day, da boss called him into da office for a talk. “Clovis, I have to tell you, I like your work ethic me, you do a bang up job but you being late so often is really bothersome.”
“Mais yea, I know boss and me I’m working on dat.”
“Well good, you are a team player dats wat I like to hear. It’s odd tough, you coming in late. I know dat you retired from da armed forces. Wat dey say if you come in late hanh?”
Well boss, dey say “Good morning Admiral Comeaux, can I get you coffee sir?”

It’s a great time to get your tomato, bell pepper and cucumber plants in the ground. The soil is warming and the little cool front coming won’t hurt anything. Farmers Mercantile has a great selection of good, healthy plants. Just about anything you might want to plant they have. Fresh plants are arriving daily.*****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch had the pleasure of Tom Perry’s presence last week. Tom served many years on the Bridge City City Council and school board. He has been a longtime chamber and red coat ambassador. This week the Bunch will dine at Novrozsky’s, next week is the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet at Van Choate’s Tuffy’s. Everybody always welcome. I’ve got to get out of here. My time is up. Thanks for yours. Thanks also to our family of advertisers. Please shop with them when you can, they bring you this community newspaper free every week. Take care and God bless.