We got a call from H.D. Pate who has been on the road with wife, Pat, attending son’s graduation from college etc. He tells us Pat will again go through back surgery. This is the one that’s supposed to do the trick. Pat is an amazing lady. She lives through a lot of pain plus, lives with H.D. I bet she wishes she had had that first of several back surgeries. As for living with Hinny. That’s worked out – he’s mellowed and is always concerned about her. He said, “It didn’t look like I had any heart in the column last week. I thought I had bluffed it pretty good but for years. He’s read this column top to bottom. He lets me know when I make a mistake. He’s right, sometimes I’m just not up to snuff, other times I haven’t done my homework and don’t have much to write about. You do this week-in-week-out for many years, 3,000 words a week, and you’ll find out not all columns can be winners. ***** However, here’s what keeps us going. We received a letter from Jeanne Kern; many of you will remember Jeanne (Wood) Kern, longtime Bridge City High School drama teacher. In fact, she taught two members of our staff, Mark and Debbie McCardle Fusilier. Jeanne wrote, “I have been meaning to write for about seven years now. I’ve been gone from Bridge City for eight years and I love keeping up with its happenings via The Record.” She continued to name everything she likes, 35-Years Ago, Cajun Story, etc. She added, “Mostly your column is like a phone chat with a friend that catches me up with what I want to know. You have a huge fan in Lincoln, Neb. Thank you for keeping me a part of Bridge City.” She also sends good words for Roy and Mark. Just when I think I’ll turn this job over to someone else – I get fan mail like that from an old friend. Most of the correspondences I receive want me to continue the Cajun stories. I amaze myself sometimes that after all these years, I can still come up with something fresh. Most of the stories are adapted to fit a real life incident. I mostly go it alone since the passing of W.T. Oliver. He could take any situation and make a story out of it. He would be proud of how I have prevailed without his help. H.D., I swear, I’m putting my heart in it. *****Gotta move on. Come along, it won’t do you no harm.

It took both Orangefield and Bridge City three games to move up to the next playoff level. Orangefield defeated West Orange-Stark in game two and three. Chase Angelle was the winning pitcher in both and got two shutouts. Here I would like to mention what a great job the West Orange-Stark coaching staff has done with the baseball program. At one time WO-S was a baseball powerhouse but lately had seen some lean years. Coach Jessie Riojas has the Mustangs in a position to be a real factor in the future. ***Bridge City won game one against Huffman, lost game two and came back strongly to defeat the Falcons 7-4 in game three to win the Class 3-A Region III quarterfinals. Matt Hicks saw pitching service in game three after going all the way in game one. We had correctly predicted that Robinson and Jasper would win to advance. Orangefield will take on Robinson while B.C. faces Jasper, who is very much like Orangefield at the plate. They hit the ball well. Bridge City has the speed on the bases to beat anyone if they keep the ball on the ground and use the long ball when they need it. If both teams take care of business, B.C. and O.F. would meet in the Region III finals to advance to the Class 3-A state championship. It would be remarkable to have two neighbors competing for that opportunity. Much credit goes to Bobcat coach Jeff Bennett and Cardinal coach Chad Landry. What a game that would be. Orangefield game one will be played at Bryan, Thursday, 7 p.m., game two or three Saturday at New Caney at 3 p.m. Bridge City will play game one Thursday, 8 p.m. at Woodville and games 2 or 3 on Saturday 5 p.m. at Nederland.

Going almost unnoticed here by most people was the death of coach Willie Zapalac on May 17. Aggies and Longhorns alike gathered in Austin Saturday at Apostle Catholic Church for his burial service. It’s hard for me to believe Willie was 89. I remember him as a big, strong guy. The last time I saw him was when he coached for Bum Phillips, with the Saints and attended a Bum Phillips Golf Tournament and Bob Hope celebration in Port Arthur. Several area people will remember him from that. Don Kachtik knew Willie way back in the 1950s when he was an assistant for Bear Bryant and Don was one of Bryant’s “Junction Boys.” Willie, who made Bellville famous, was captain of coach Norton’s 1946 A&M team. Zapalac, at Bellville High, was an All-Stater, who played in the Texas High School All Star game and in the Coaches All Star Oil Bowl game. Heavily recruited, he signed with Texas A&M where he played in 1941 and 1942. He became a bombardier in WWII, returned to play at A&M and the College All-Star game and the Texas Shrine game. After coaching in high school, he joined Bryant’s staff from 1953 to 1960. That was when I first met this great guy. Many of you and especially Steve Worster will remember that Willie became line coach for Darrell Royal at Texas during the Worster heydays and national championship and the “Wishbone” era Willie developed special blocking assignments for. Orange native Bum Phillips, also father of Orange native and Dallas Cowboy Coach Wade Phillips, credits Zapalac as a high school coach in the ‘50s for influencing him. Bum says, “Willie was the one guy who taught me more about coaching, the way to coach, not just play. He taught me how to handle kids and how to organize practice. I can say without a doubt, Willie influenced my career more than anybody I was ever around.” Zapalac left Texas after the 1975 season for the NFL, coaching with the Cardinals, Bills and Saints. When Bum and then Wade left the Saints in the 1980s, Willie retired. He’s in the Texas High School Hall of Fame and the Texas A&M Athletics Hall of Fame. I’m sure former Bridge City Principal Bill Godwin, who played for Zapalac, has some great stories to tell about this great guy. I was so impressed with Zapalac the first time I met him that even today he sticks out as one of the most interesting people I’ve even known. I’ve met many other special people but today, I remember Willie. May he rest in peace.

The year 2010 is unfolding as the hottest ever. January to April periods ranking the warmest on record. The United States agency NOAA confirms that this year could turn out to be the warmest since records began in the late 1800s. Ocean temperature average for April was 58.1 degrees or 1.35 degrees warmer than the 20th century average. Satellite analysis reveals despite heavy snow in Jan. and Feb., April had the smallest snowfall since records began in 1967. Some parts of Orange County have received only one inch of rain in nine weeks. Rain is expected later this week. Gardens, yards and fruit trees are stressed. A record heat and shortfall of rain will greatly reduce crops.

Afgan farmers, who have watched their illicit opium poppy crop become damaged are convinced U.S. secret agents have sprayed their fields with a fungus that could cut this year’s opium yield by up to 70 percent in some areas. The drug trade worth $2.8 billion largely founds the Taliban. The United Nations office on drugs in Kabul says it’s unable to confirm where the American fungus, Fusarium Oxysporum, came from and can’t identify the source of the poppy disease. What a shame; it’s about time.

30 Years Ago-1980
James Middlebrooks, drafting instructor at Lamar Orange, was presented “Favorite Teacher” plaque for the 1979-80 school year. He and wife Mary Nell live in Bridge City. *****Heritage Center apartments host ground-breaking ceremony. Glen Oliver and Maurine Briggs, shovel in hand, spade first ground. Others in attendance were State Rep. Wayne Peveto, Rev. Clarence Breaux, Beverly Matsouka, Essie McDonald, Rev. Preston Barrett, Orange Mayor Major Inman Jr., Rev. David Berkheimer, Jim Graves and 95-year-old Jim McKay. *****Bridge City students graduating in Lamar Spring ceremonies with four-year degrees are Kim Daniels, Susan Scales, Jack Stout, James Talbot, Tracie Updike, George Durling, Elizabeth Chandler and Cynthia Carter. Candidates for two-year degrees were Paul Kelly, Frank Laudano, Melissa Harmon, Cynthia Soileau, Dianna Ketterman Broussard and Carolyn White Dixon. *****Bridge City Biology II class toured the anatomy lab at UT Medical Branch of Galveston. Attending were Lori Broussard, Liz Godwin, Barbara Hryhorchuk, Joe Hargrave, Pat Meeks, Brenda Braquet. (Editor’s note: I remember when the last two were an item. Brenda is a CPA and married to Scott Wilber. They have two boys, lots of oil and live in Hampshire.)*****B.C. senior Mark Kelly advances to the state track meet. He took second in high jump in 3AAA Regionals with a 6.5 and second in the 110 hurdles with 14.27. (Up date: Mark Kelly won the gold medal is the state championship in 110 high hurdles, clocking 14.0. The only other time Bridge City won a state track gold medal was in 1974 when Raymond “Bubba” Ridley won the pole-vaulting championship. Bradley Peveto won the state championship in 2-AA in the 800-meter for Orangefield.)***** Mrs. Billie Burgess, featured in the Opportunity Valley News’ lead story on Mother’s Day, May 14, 1980 in a article titled ‘Take Time for Hobbies.’ “People are happiest doing what they love to do,” says Ms. Burgess. “Every person has a talent, it’s up to them to develop that talent.” Bubbling with vitality at age 59, Burgess makes her hobby an almost full-time activity. Everyday she works on original patterns for stuffed animals, pillows and other creations. At Easter, she had 50 hens in a basket. At Christmas, Santa’s were everywhere, disguised in potato chip cans. She makes dolls, dressed in removable clothing so children can learn how to dress and undress, button and unbutton. “When I want something, I make it,” says Burgess. (Editor’s note: Today that talented lady is known as Pearl Burgess. Husband Billy died more than 10 years ago. She married childhood friend J.D. Stanfield, who died a few years ago. The blue-eyed bundle of energy is approaching her 90th birthday in October and is still very active in her yard, cooks and drives to many functions. What a gal. One of the Burgess’ three daughters, Beverly Raymer, retires as a schoolteacher at Bridge City this week. The years don’t stand still.)

Congrats to All Grads
You are embarking on an entirely new journey. By the time your 10th class reunion rolls around you will realize how great the past 12 years and your childhood has been. Time goes by swiftly after high school, ten years will be here much quicker than you suspect. Those years are your most important because they will determine the quality of life that will take you down the road. You have no time to waste. The years will sneak up on you. It’s best that you hit this new road running or you’ll get left behind. Best wishes and good luck in this grown up adult world that is very demanding and often unforgiving. You have left the safety of the nest. It’s time to build your own. Imagine, Believe and Achieve.

We were sorry to hear about the death of Faye Linscomb, who passed away last week. We had known this nice lady over 40 years. Anyone who had ever known her will tell you this lady was all goodness. To son Jimmy Lacomb and his family we extend our condolences. *****We made off pretty good the last couple of weeks. Jessie Domingue brought us hard-crust bread from Robbie’s, in Abbeville. Glen Oliver furnished us some special honey from a company a friend of his owns. We blended it with Mormon, handmade peanut butter, the best I’ve ever eaten, a gift from Judge Derry Dunn. Jiffy would be proud to put their name on that peanut butter but it’s not for sale. Volunteers make it, along with jams and other products, and proceeds are given to the needy. A few weeks ago the judge and a host of folks put up 6,000 jars of peanut butter in six hours. *****Speaking of eating, last week Johnny Montagne hosted a fish fry for Lamar football Coach Ray Woodard and his coaching staff. Woodard said that half of his starters are from this area and his starting quarterback is from West Orange-Stark. The coaches feel real good about the team they will field when the first season of football returns to Lamar in September. He urges local fans to play a part by supporting college football in this area. We need to fill the stands on Saturdays. *****One nice guy I visited with is Sheriff Mitch Woods. I have known his dad “Shorty” for many years. Mitch says it was his dad who helped him decide not to take the United States Marshal job. Sheriff Wood is one of the most down to earth guys you could ever hope to meet. *****Lung cancer is the No. 1 one cancer killer. Twenty percent of people who get lung cancer never smoked. Research has found that a tablespoon of peanut butter a day can possibly lower the risk of cancer in nonsmokers who get a lot of Vitamin E from peanut butter, nuts and seeds. They have also found that whole kernel or on-the-cob corn diminishes plaque buildup in artery walls and helps to fight aging. *****Shipley Donuts have broken ground near MacArthur Circle (old Pines Motel location) to open a new doughnut shop. *****Happy birthday this week to some special folks. Hubert “Sprad” Spradling turns 80. He is doing well since hip replacement. His prostate cancer will be treated with radiation only. Good news. ***Dr. David Olsen marks another milestone this week. He’s a year older. ***Also celebrating this week is Mary Majors, what a nice lady she is. I’ve known her and Dr. Joe nearly 50 years. She’s the mother of Dr. Chuck Majors. ***Speaking of doctors, our girl, Dr. Amber Dunn celebrates her birthday May 30. She will join her family to participate in sister Jenna’s wedding in Cape Cod, Mass. Mark and Sharon will attend the wedding so they will get to celebrate Amber’s birthday at the same time.*** Best wishes to Winford Smith, founder of  Gary’s Café, sold a couple of years ago, turns 80 years old this week. ***A belated happy birthday to our longtime friend, attorney Roy Wingate, who celebrated last week. *****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch meets at Tuffy’s this week and next week at Robert’s. Everyone is always welcome. A fun bunch to break bread with. *****Congrats to the Bridge City Historical Commission. The Swing Bridge over Cow Bayou is now listed on the National Register of Historical Places. It’s the bridge that built the Bridge City School District. The merging of Prairie view and Winfree districts could not have happened without the bridge. Today, the BCISD is the lifeblood of the community – and its largest employer. *****From the first show in Hollywood I picked Crystal Bowersox to win American Idol, however, Lee DeWyze has come on strong and peaking at just the right time. The past four seasons the person I picked to win came in second. This could be more of the same. We’ll find out Wednesday night.

Logan New, Mary Majors, Willamette Reynolds, Dylan Ball, Dylan Maas, Robert Herin, Bruce Montagne, Charlene Terro, Honor Lee Smith, Jacque Phelps, Jeanie Larch, Judy Landry, Kyle Smoke, Maureen McAllister, Michael Garcia, Rebecca Brumer, Shelly Smith, Kelli Boehme, Steffan Milligan, A.J. Lemoine, Christina Cunningham, Derek George, Nikki Barron, Nikki Fisette, Darrell Perkins, David Olson, Florence Evans, Jeannette Foster, Lauren Brownlie, Macey Joubert, Terry George, Wilda Hart, Rhonda Wilson, Brooke Edwards, Dorothy Slusher, Emily Culpepper, Gene Armand, Joyce Bourdier, Rollie Cardner, Sheila Deason, Claudia Lyon and Janice Prevost. Also: George Ragsdale, Greg Williams, Mary Donahey, McKenzie Louvier and Lee Ludwig.

Alphonse Thibodeaux him, was riding along by one dem new plants wat dey built along da Mississippi River near Baton Rouge, wen his car, it jus shut down. Thibodeaux him, he walk to one dem big shops. He see da mechanic, wat is working on some heavy equipment and he say, “My name is Thibodeaux, from Breaux Bridge and my car, it quit.
Da mechanic, a Cajun from Mamou, him, say, “We don’t work on automobiles.
Thibodeaux axe if he could use his phone.
“Yeah, it’s rat dere on da desk.”
Thibodeaux pick up dat phone and it got seven buttons. He figure dey must got a switchboard. He axe dat mechanic, “My friend, how you get outside hanh?”
Dat Cajun mechanic say, “Me, I use dat door rat back dere.”

Neighbor Cox came by to apologize for not being successful with his Indian rain dance. Thursday is a full moon so Cox shortly after midnight will try the dance again. He thinks he remembers what he’s did wrong. *****My thoughts on Arizona Immigration Law: What if the American Indians would have had tougher immigration laws? What if 50 states had different immigration laws? Only the federal government can declare war or say who can come to this country.***My thoughts on the oil crisis in the Gulf: Just pray that a hurricane doesn’t enter the Gulf this year. You think the mud in buildings after Ike was something, you ain’t seen nutten yet*****One of the best music shows I’ve seen in a long time was Sunday night’s tribute to Brooks and Dunn. The “Last Rodeo” was a class act.*****We are coming into Memorial Day weekend. A lot of traffic will be on the road and with graduations all over the country highways become very dangerous. Law enforcement will be out in force.***** Remember those who put their lives on the line for this great way of life we enjoy. We honor them this Memorial Day. Take your pick, May 30 or May 31.***** Please read us cover to cover. Take care and God bless.