The traffic, which had been crawling at a snail’s pace in the westbound lane of Interstate 10, came to a standstill ten minutes ago. Drivers were becoming very impatient, with many of them coming out of their cars to take a look at what was happening further up the road.
The weather was cloudy with winds gusting, but the temperature still didn’t feel like December and a week from Christmas. I rolled down my window and found out the culprit was a construction project less than a mile up the interstate.

A rotund fellow with a snowy white beard walked past the car. He was sweating profusely and seemed quite annoyed at the situation. I asked if he was all right and he nodded.

“How can a person stay on a schedule when there are these unforeseen delays?’ he asked. “I have a thousand kids waiting to see me this afternoon at a Houston mall and here I am going nowhere fast.”

“You know, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you’re a spitting image of Santa, but without your red snowsuit,” I said. “You’re right! You’re right!,” he said somewhat annoyed. “I took off that hot red suit a few minutes ago.”

Before he walked any further past my car, the line began moving. I never saw a fat man run like he did back toward his car. But in the commotion, he dropped something from his pants pocket. The traffic was really beginning to move quickly ahead, so I grabbed the thick list and jumped back into my car.

I never saw what kind of vehicle that man was driving and was unable to return it so I kept the paper and this is what was written on it:

HOUSTON TEXANS HEAD COACH GARY KUBIAK—A half-gallon of Blue Bell sherbet to signify that he’s a “sure bet” to win the NFL Coach of the Year Award.

FORMER NATIONAL LEAGUE MVP BARRY BONDS—Recipient of the award he deserves most when a Federal judge recently sentenced him to 30 days house arrest for obstructing justice during an investigations of steroids in sports.

SUNSET GROVE GOLFER CRAIG COUVILLION—A huge round thermometer and a package of hot dogs so he can be an official Weather Weenie to judge whether or not it’s too cold to play early-morning golf this winter.

NEW HOUSTON ASTROS OWNER JIM CRANE—A positive sign to the Houston fans who have been so faithful for a half-century that he will soon abandon his current “shoestring budget” and bring in some players capable of winning again.

WEST ORANGE-STARK HEAD FOOTBALL COACH CORNEL THOMPSON—A jar of molasses to signify the slow start his head coaching career got off to with the Mustangs, who lost three of their first four games before rolling through District 21-3A like they usually do and going three deep into the state playoffs before losing their fourth game of the season to Coldspring.

SUNSET GROVE GOLFER JIM RODDA—The Diversified Golfer Award that covers everything from making birdies to tying his opponent’s golf shoelaces.

BODY WORKZ SILVER SNEAKERS INSTRUCTOR CONNIE WOODS—Appreciation from the members of her classes for the good job she does and the way she compliments our performances to various exercises with an “excellent” verbal evaluation. She’s good and she’s making us more physically fit.

TEXAS A&M FOOTBALL FANS—Faster computer service for them so they can get together and fire the Aggie football coaches who don’t meet their finicky standards more quickly now that the team will be playing in a “real” football conference.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS SAFETY EARL THOMAS—The Ultimate Comparison Award given to the Orange native after ESPN football announcers on Monday Night Football last week said that Earl plays his position much like Pittsburgh Steelers’ Troy Polamalu, who is rated among the best safeties in NFL history. Earl made their evaluation look good Sunday by intercepting a pass and recovering a fumble in the Seahawks’ 38-14 upset victory over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

DALLAS COWBOYS HEAD COACH JASON GARRETT—A Mickey Mouse watch so he can learn clock management in its most elementary form.

SUNSET GROVE GOLFER AND FISHING ENTHUSIAST BOB HOOD—The Strive for Accuracy Award because regardless of whether he has his putter or fishing rod in his hand, he tries to be accurate in both his putting and casting.

VIDOR HEAD FOOTBALL COACH JEFF MATHEWS—The Blue Moon Award for leading the Pirates to their first playoff win since 1964. Vidor got to the third round in the state playoffs and had one of its best records in decades.

UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE KICKER BRETT BAER—The Cool Breeze Award for the calm way he kicked the game-winning 50-yard field goal as time expired Saturday night to give the Ragin’ Cajuns a 32-30 win over San Diego State in the New Orleans Bowl. It was the Cajuns first bowl appearance since they played in the Grantland Rice Bowl 41 years ago and their first-ever bowl victory in Division IA.

SUNSET GROVE GOLFER KEN RUANE—A faster healing process for his aching feet so he can get back to competing in the marathons he loves to run so much.

FOX-TV NFL ANALYST TERRY BRADSHAW—Earplugs after getting chewed out by former NFL quarterback Archie Manning for telling his TV audience that the elder Manning should stop meddling in the careers of sons Peyton and Eli. “I thank God I have a father that stayed out of my football career,” Bradshaw said.

LAMAR CARDINALS NEW HEAD BASKETBALL COACH PAT KNIGHT—A book on “old school” coaching for his offensive philosophy to work the ball for easy two-point shots rather than pumping up three-pointers all game long. He wins like his dad, Bob did too, with the Cards standing at 8-3 with some victories over much bigger schools.

NFL—The Wacky Sunday Award that saw Green Bay fall from the ranks of the undefeated to mediocre Kansas City 19-14, Indianapolis no longer is winless after upsetting the Tennessee Titans 27-13, the Houston Texans having their seven-game winning streak broken by Cam Newton-led Carolina 28-13. Other upsets included Washington over the New York Giants 23-10, Miami over Buffalo 30-23 and Seattle’s 38-14 upset blowout over the Chicago Bears in which Orange’s Earl Thomas contributed an interception and a fumble recovery.

DENVER BRONCOS QUARTERBACK TIM TEBOW—The “I’m Really Human Award” after his team was thwarted 41-23 by the New England Patriots Sunday and Tebow’s magic to bring his team back in the fourth period apparently ran out. Actually, what failed was the Broncos’ defense which couldn’t stop Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s pin-point passing.

SUNSET GROVE GOLFER RICHARD DUFFEE—The book “The Power of Positive Thinking” because of the great attitude he has while playing golf despite having occasional back pain. Perhaps his choice of liquid refreshment at the turn has something to do with it.

AND A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO Mike Lemons, Archie McClelland, Mark Dunn, Jeff Thomas, Johnny Montagne, Les Jones, Ronnie Hutchison, Gene Harrison, Pierre De la Fosse, Chris Trout, Macy Dubose, Gwen Whitehead, Troy Manuel, Missy Pillsbury, John Prather, Brad Prejean, John Morris, Larry Moerbe, Judy Arnaud, Andy Conner, Tom Toal, Steve Betz, Harrison Vickers, Jerry Windham, Roy Woods, Rodney Barrett, Gail Beckett, Larry Ancelot, Bobby Nelson, Carl Sanders, Matt Purgahn, Joe Hawthorn, David Thompson, James Denmon, Mike King, Durwood Bennett, Bob Cockerill, Chris Allen, Matt Morgan, Dixie Trahan, Doug Patterson, Mike Shuff, Jim King, Claude Wimberly, Dale Thompson, Alex Morrow, John Cochran, David Benoit, Bart Corder, Roy Peterson, Jimmy Givens, Jimmy Sichko, Ken Ruane, Ron Hopperton, Joe Murphy, Walter Cox, David Ess, John Dubose, Lacy Hale, Mark Williams, Gary Cook, Bobby Eddings, Tommy Gunn, Mac Guillory, Buddy Hahn, Glynn Aldredge, Lee Clark, Jim Rodda, Kerry Lamb, Brian Hudson, Stephen Patterson, Mike Poutra.

Joe Ely, Trez Sichko, Ella Mulhollan, Allen Beauchamp, John Patterson, Wanda Peveto, Larry Duhon, David Sand, Milton Newton, Mike Parish, Robert Baca, Jim Brown, Mark Hebert, John Toomey, Beth Baas, Stacy Hoffpauir, Tina Lawrence, Richard Duffee, Tammy Torrez, Derry Dunn, Mike Shahan, Wes Duvall, James Welch, James Vidrine, Bob Hollier, Ken St. John, David Bridges, Jim Matthews, Tommy Reed, Sandra Hall, Ruth Crawley, Raquel Goodboddie, Jajemi Plut, V.L. Grimes, David Loden, Brian Waguespack, Manuel Godina, Joseph Droddy, Wayne Baker, James Thurman, Ray Benoit, Bill Belcher, Don Olivier, Jerry Ling, Brenda Buxton, Regina Edwards, Frank Hatton, Willow Simpson, Kathy Gunn, LaQueta McClelland, Bill Dunn, Darby Byrd, Cochise Shockley, Wade Gillet, Jerry McDonald, Jerry Pennington, Chrisleigh Dal Sasso, Cathy Day.

Lindsey Nelson, Jim Sharon Bearden, Dan Perrine, Billy Burrow, Dan Cochran, Ken Bridgers, George Crawford, Michelle Broussard, Jim Simon, Jack McClelland, Scottie Wilson, Willie Bednar, James Lopez, Dennis Powell, Bobby Duhon, Carlos Vacek, Roy Locks, George Toal, Mike Lucia, Jim Dunaway, Jack Tindel, Ray Pousson, Jim Ehlert, Bryce Conner, Mike Mazzola, Faye Parish, Gilbert Myers, Johnny Dugas, Kathy Polansky, Yankee Mortimer, Pat Murphy, Leo Simpson, Mike McKown, Clint Hathaway, Jerry Decker, Mike Holbrook, Lee Roy Boehme, Jr., Jerry Ann Trouard, Jimmy Boyd, Donnie Mires, Bobby Swan, Larry Hammett, Tom Day, Bryan McKinley, Donny Ratcliff, Joe Marks, Don Lormand, Robert Dunn, Bernie Birk, Robert Roesler, Wayne Iles, Raymond Guilbeaux, Johnny Dugas.

Travis Clark, Martha Rogers, Robert Burris, Jerry Caillier, Ricky Parker, John Scofield, Carol Perry, Kenny Lalonde,Linn Cardner, Mike Catt, Pete Runnels, Russell Bottley, James Luna, Ray Jones, Preston Prince, David Teague, Wayland Payne, Carl Floyd, Skip Moore, Pete Sterling, Danny Aaron, Dixie Trahan, Brian Murphy, Montie Moran, Doug Rogers, Rick Keszeg, Cary Bresie, Pat Key, Rodney Townsend, Jerry Howeth, Pat Monogue, Phillip Brown, Homer Stuntz, Andrew Hayes, Linda Moore, Glen Oliver, Bob Byerly, Jerry Hughes, Bart Williams, Brooks Hill, Janet Newton, Benis Lee, Jim Keith, Lynn Smith, Ebb Moore, Steve Pomeroy, Jerrod Bland, Mac Rogers, Frank Finchum, Charles Broussard, Sharon Bearden, Bob Hoepner, Joe Doucet, J.B. Arrington, Bill Ellison, Danna Cruse, Harold Tiller, Dennis Lee, Jerry Ann Trouard.

Dennis Bishop, Gus Beuershausen, Leon Delome, Grant Gipson, Jeep Colburn, Jerry Nichols, Kevin Hebert, Brian Mingle, Oscar Smith, Joe Parkhurst, Pete Gresham, Charlie Miller, Joe Alford, Chris Gunn, Ed Dyer, Bill Jackson, Bill Bromley, Ace Amodeo, Mike Bernard, Ken Wernig, Roland Gregorie, Todd McLane, John Tate, Brad Gilmore, Hal LaPray, Bob Campbell, Roderick Robertson, Buddy Hahn, Mark Foreman, Manuel Solis, Earl Parker, Neil Watts, John Martinez, Terry Childers, Joan Quartermont, Jeff Mathews, Tiffany Rochelle, Dempsie Jaynes, Kyle Walker, Randy Brown, Clay Dugas, Ellis Boyd, Glenn “Smoothie” Earle, Ron Cowling, Richard Corder, Billy Bayliss, Andre Robertson, Billy Permenter, David Montagne, Earl Collier, Dewey Scott, Robert Tywater, Louise Savoy, Darrel Latiolais, John Cash Smith, Mary Beth Benoit, Jimmy Verrett, Russell Cronin, Al Granger, Richard Turkel, Rodney Townsend, Jr., Jay Miller, Mark Williams.

David Dunn, Cecil Byers, Bo Brannick, Jimmy Owens, Margaret Broussard, Ollie Halten, Waymon Sibley, Rufus Flurry, Aaron Burke, Kris Olsen, Wayne Sparrow, David Hoelzer, James Bloodworth, Ron Roberts, Mike Hoke, Mike Hebert, Tim Hughes, Phillip Madar, Myrt Myers, Lou Garriga, Becky Grant, J.W. “Kid” Henry, Vicki Landry, Gene Steele, Ken Reeves, Jimmy Ray Burris, Brenda Morgan, Robert Mortimer, Mark Meadows, Jody Gray, Mark Williams, Chris Hyde, Clifford Bray, Darline Zavada, Todd Marburgh, Dawn Collins, Stacy Caillavet, John Broussard, Greg Choate, Dave Walsh, Williard Lanier, Calvin Collins, Greg Smith, Jerome Wilkerson, Joyce Prescott, Keith Hogan, David Piland, Bryce Conner, Lana Stogner, Kevin Philen, Vernon Davis, David Hollier, John Lister, Anthony Padilla, Erin Godina, Greg Turbeville, Danny Blacksher, Terry Myers, Mel Hyatt, Curt Leger, George Nevarez, Patrick Toomey, Brad Gilmore, Larry Fisher.
Gary Pollock, Sandy Walker, Anita Vidrine, Bud Martin, Natalie Simon, Jerry Meads, Gary Mainero, Steve Taylor, Richard Scott, Lisa Dies, Darrow Judge, Mark Netherly, Barbara Hayes, Derrick Jones, Dale Peddy, Todd Hoffpauir, Terry Steubing, Donna Evans, Teresa Schreck, David Davis, Shirley Walker, Larry Woods, Steve Champion, Rex Ansley, Connie Burnitt, Greg Willis, Pat Anglin, George Baker, Henry Seals, Dan Mohon, Steve Issacs, James Blair, Troy Burton, Homer Stockton, Vic Arceneaux, Rick Keszeg, Don Burgess, Tommy Carroll, Mary Louise McKee, Barbara Bergeron, Paula Legate, Connie Lemaire, Debbie Perry, Scott Swearingen, Camilla Richard, Phyllis McCall, Brandon Prouse, Steve Griffith, Carolyn Schramm, Jessie West, C.A. Keasler, Betty Merchant, Ronnie Moody, John Young, Kay Morris, Jim Dwight, George Mortimer, Larry Willette, Leon King, Hughie Allen, John Rowland, Leon Evans, Preston Fuller, Karl Eason, Jim Mouton, Dean Granger, Brad Gilmore, Bret Johns, J.D. Willis, B.J. Morgan, Wayne Iles.

Bob Campbell, Ralf Mims, Louis Manuel, Richard Roddy, Sandy Turner, Ralph Barrientos, Shea Simon, Chris Cartwright, Sam Lucia, Jack Jones, Shirley “Fuzz” Ware, Gary Ware, Warren Claybar, Charlie Greenwell, Gary Mulhollan, J.C. Sea, John Hardin, Gene Tannehill, Anne Foster, Matt Murphy, Mike Collins, Sam Hudson, Aubrey Welch, Virgie Thomas, Charlotte Guillory, Elray Henson, Marilyn Malvo, Chad Havens, Wendy Rost, Josh Smalley, Art Mason, Mike Reed, Ray Tilley, Keith Doucet, Chad Bryant, Mike Lemons, Ronald Enard, Hugh Granger, Nelson Derrick, Toby Foreman, Gary Thibodeaux, Stephen Lee, Darby Byrd, Charles Arsenault, David Winfrey.
Doug Posey, Jimmy Givens, Rick Sand, Joe Raburn, Wallace Culps, Angie Simar, Bryant Calcote, Wayne Lowe, Connie Powell, Jack Horton, Tony Perry, Mark McCall, Joy Haney, Bruce Savoy, Becky Rhoden, Dean Priddy, Randy Vayon, Heath Martin, Ed Freiberg, Torry Shroff, George Sepulvado, Johnny Dorman, Ronnie Puckett, Brenda Campbell, Lori Thompson, Madge Rogers, Travis Ashworth, Marty Monogue, Dave Young, Jeremy Green, Harry Sharpless, Ronnie Puckett, Bobbie Murphy, Jill Williams, Brandon Seaman, Richard Terry, Marla Zoch, Quincy Procell, John Gradnigo, Judy Lowe, Richard Porter, Bart Williams, Joyce Drake, Nathanael Deem, Jim Rawls, Bill Nicholas, Mark Berton, Ray Dal Sasso, Jane Couvillion, Mickey Bergeron, Sheree Benoit, Pat Clark.

Jonathan Vandagriff, David Haney, Ron McPherson, Gene McCormick, Andre Robertson, Delle Bates, Gerald Beach, Ray Montagne, Wayne Outlaw, Jim Dawes, Carl Thibodeaux, Mike Bernard, Paul Mott, Kermit Richard, Ray Pousson, Charles Blalack, Dick Alexander, Jeff Dalton, Craig Corder, Pancho McGill, Roland Wolfford, Dave Maddox, Robin Brooks, Shirley Almazan, Buddy Withrow, Paul Vaughan, Vernon Myers, Billy Denham, Reggie Parker, Louis Willey, Clyde Davis, Bob Brown, Jerry Childress, Laurie Modisette, Bob Baptista, Stewart Olive, Jay Brown, David Williams, Russell Covington, Jerry Montgomery, Judith Perkins, Harold Gross, Russell Turkel, Larry Fisher, Steve Pesek, Charles Liggio, John Garrett, Brown Claybar, Larry Warner, Shelby May, Dickie Colburn, Joe Barrios, Virgis Benoit, Dwight Bickham, Howard Minor.
David Claybar, J.L. Vincent, Ron Theriot, Ross Smith, Dave Pederson, Peggy Vincent, Max Pachar, George Millsap, Jerome Standley, Sleepy Smith, Gwen Barton, Ron Sigler, Pat Brown, James Sanders, B.K. Ware, Leonard Brown, Billy Shults, Don Covington, Jeremy Hogg, Alicia Hebert, Reanna Morris, Bill Tillman, Ronnie Rost, Gay Richardson, Jim Turpin, Kelly Alford, Alan Whipkey, Jane Dunn, Ann Lieby, John Harrell, Joe Luna, Max Staudt, Jessie Whitehead, Sweet Charlotte Tucker, Jim Graves, Jeff Wheatley, Moe Litton, Jack White, Glenn Hill, Maurice Mueschke, Billy Paul Withrow, John Young, Tommy Ewing, Ernie Dyer, Carroll Holt, Shane Johns, John Broussard, Denise Himel, Pat Fountain, Sid Caillavet, Paul Patin, Lona Vasquez.
Dennis Duhon, Jim Miller, Calvi’n Parker, Jimmy Sattler, Rodney Dove, Lawrence Hunt, Eddie Faulk, June Gunstream, Cornel Thompson, Sam Kittrell, Dick Behnke, Huel Fontenot, Paul Lorimer, Ronnie Burton, Mike Lovett, Robert “Woody” Wood, Vicky Walters, Leroy Breedlove, Mike White, Frank Skeeler, David Payne, Dick Graves, J. D. Willis, Haazen Kenney, Bonnie Mingle, John Kimbrough, Wayne Peveto, Gene Alsandor, Bubba Lanning, Wayne Morris, Dale LeBlanc, Nelson Broussard, Sammy Owens, Heath Mouton, Harold Fuqua, Roger Hall, Joe Peery, Bob Hood, James Rigler, Robert Sims, Dexter Bassinger, Joe Sanders, Bill Modisette, Mark Oldham, Mackey Clasby, Vernon Collier, Michael Arnaud, Jay Ayers, Jeanette Cleaver, Ray Burch, Gerhard Hommel, David Payne, Walter Landisch.

Jimmy Sims, Joe Ware, Roy Dunn, Eric Hinton, Debbie Fusilier, Penny LeLeux, Nicole Gibbs, Les Patin, Debbie Buckalew, Rod Fisette, Ricky Trahan, Melinda Gipson, Jet Toohey, James Stringer, Alan Sanders, John Cooper, Glenn Toohey, Sam Lucia, Betty Derrick, Lon Craft, Margaret Peeples, John DiBatiste, Mike Abbott, Charles Gant, Oliver Seastrunk, Carl Himel, Earl Geis, Mike Leonard, Van Vandervoort, David Kosboth, Jack Burney, Brandon Landry, Randy Crouch, Ray Rogers, Gary Stelly, Pat Johnson, Andy Allen, Ray Conner, Bob Shinn, Keith Staudt, Louis McIntire, Fred Zoch, Troy Burke, Bubba Brown, Johnny Trahan, David Clary, Joey Campbell, Robert Query, Gary Thibodeaux, Steve Mazzola, Tim Bonnin, Jay James, DeWitt Gipson, John Griffith, Howard Nelson, Randy Jarrell, Jimmy Jones, Joe Payne, Donald Moss, Tommy Melton, Doug Nelms, Cecil Sylvester, Roy Knolley,Cecil Sylvester, Annabelle Stringer, Wade Smith, Shea Brown, Sam Ambers, John Raughton, Pat Leverne, James Scott, Ann Harner, Jenny Taylor, David Trahan, Donnie Shockley, Jr., Jack Jones, John Crawford, Jim Gordon, Jim Colley, Dennis Doggett, Sue Rathburn, Keith Lyons, Wayne Franklin, Mandy Rogers, Terry Landry, Albert Gore, Betsy Phillips, Trent Cooper, Steve Toal, James Ray, Mike Hughes, Mark Magnuson, Gary Mulhollan, Miles Hall, Bobby Tanner, Jason Gipson, Jade Saucier, Georgia Corder, Ron Logan, Jimmy Hooker, Ken Manuel, Don Harmon, Sanford Lummus, Mary Frances Hartley, Hunter Sheridan, Lewis Sims, Tommy Carroll, Van Wade.

And a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS to my e-mail readers Dick and Gail Kazmar, Bobbie and Dick Wechter, Don and Linda Bivens, Karen and Brian Smith, Robert and Kate Butcher, Brock and Glenna Bult, Paul Groncki, Bobbie Earle, Wayne and Kaye Morris, Tony Ottati and for anyone I may have missed, especially you, my loyal readers who have been with Kaz’s Korner since its inception Sept. 12, 1966.