Last night was one of those sleepless and restless nights that I know you’ve all had. I finally gave it up and put the coffee on at 2:30 a.m., did a little writing and turned on the television. I watched all the Nelson Mandela service including President Barack Obma’s speech. Ninety-one governments were represented. Former United States Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and their spouses attended. President Obama drew the largest reception. I suspect there will be plenty said and written about him shaking hands on the way to the podium with Raul Castro. Mandela was one of a kind; born in 1918, he died at age 95. After being imprisoned 27 years, where he was mistreated and often kept in solitary confinement, he came out at age 70 and transformed South Africa in a successful struggle against an apartheid system of racial segregation. It earned him the Nobel Peace prize. He told President Clinton once, “That in prison they took away everything, but they couldn’t take his heart or mind.” He taught that hope always trumped fear. Millions of words have been written and many more will be, about this great man. There will be those who will have negative words, mostly because he was a man of color and they want to discredit him.*****I have a long way to go and best get going. Come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.


Five years ago the nation was in a great recession, the worst loss of jobs since the great depression. As many as 700,000 jobs a month were being lost. Unemployment was at 10.4 percent, the auto industry was facing bankruptcy. Mortgage companies had raped millions of American homeowners who were upside down on their home loans. Millions lost their homes because of unregulated mortgage companies who took advantage of everything the government let them get away with. Over the last four and a half years the job market has shown consistent gains. Last month employers hired 250,000 and the unemployment rate fell to seven percent, a five year low. Analysts have raised hopes that 2014 will be the year the economy returns to normal. The stock market is at an all time high, the country is poised to boom. An element of Congress, who prefers to obstruct rather than compromise, is all that stands in the way. If a Farm Bill, Jobs Bill and Immigration Reform Bill was signed into law the country would take off overnight. It’s time to stop talking about impeaching the President; it’s a waste of time. They couldn’t defeat him at the polls and impeachment is a political process, not a legal one, plus it takes 67 votes in the Senate to uphold the impeachment. It never has happened and never will, so why not move on? The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and here to stay. Again, so much energy and time spent on repeal is destructive, why not work together to improve it? Last, but certainly not least, is the issue of extending unemployment. On Dec. 28, when it runs out, many poor unemployed people will be hurt. Children will be devastated. The large majority of those affected, through no fault of their own, are jobless. They are caught in an economic trap. Over 22,000 veterans will lose unemployment benefits. Now is not the time to turn our backs on them or the unemployed. I’m sure most of you don’t know what it’s like to go to bed hungry, but I do. It’s tough as a kid to not know where and when your next meal is coming.


I believe two things prompted Congressman Steve Stockman not to seek re-election to Congress. First: pressure was mounting in the House to hold hearings on his ethics and unlawful financial disclosures. By leaving the House, hearings can be put on hold, despite still having a year to serve. Sen. Ted Cruz will use his influence with House Tea Party members to keep the heat off Stockman. The second reason and the reason Stockman is running against Sen. John Cornyn, is that it is a good way for Ted Cruz and the Tea Party to get back at Cornyn for supporting Dewhurst against Cruz. It also is payback for Stockman criticizing Cruzon his filibuster and shutting down the government. Stockman has $32,000 while Cornyn holds over $7 million in campaign funds. He is not going anywhere but thank God he will be gone. Hopefully, never to be heard from again. I hope the voters won’t make the same mistake and vote blindly on another radical obstructionist.

Our Condolences

We were sorry to hear of the death of Dorothy Marie Morphew, 83, of Orange, who passed away Monday, Dec. 9, at Baptist Hospital, in Beaumont. Visitation will begin at 5 p.m. with a Rosary recited at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 11, at Claybar Funeral Home, in Orange. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 1 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 12, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, in Orange. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens near Bridge City. Our deepest sympathies go out to our friend, Monte Morphew, his siblings, Dad and family. Please see obituary.


12 Years Ago-2001

On a cold, damp Nov. 8th day, the Bridge City Cardinals, one of the best 4-3A football teams, ended a good season on a bad day. The Cardinals great season came to an end at the hands of Sinton in Kyle Field, at Texas A&M. Sinton is not your typical Hispanic team. They were loaded with state caliber talent across the board. The rainy, wet field was a disadvantage to the Cardinal speed and for the most part Matt Peebles was the workhorse, as B.C. tried to ground some yards and burn the clock. Sinton races for 22 first downs, B.C. manages only six in a 38-0 loss. Only two teams remained in the playoffs, Sinton and Everman. Seniors leaving the Cardinals, the best team since the 1966 state champs, seniors are: Justin Cruse, Matt McCain, Joe Khoury, Bobby Vice, Dwayne Breaux, Chris Harvey, Lanston Fults, Jason Yeaman, Luther Sanders, Luke Wolfford, Chris Jetton, Pat Godwin, Tyler Briggs, Aaron Mitchell, Dustin Bock, Shannon Maloney, Greg Alejo, Kaleb Faulk, Scott Lambert and Chris Sneed. Bridge City has alot of talent returning in their juniors and sophomores. (Maybe if space permits I can run a list of the outstanding returnees later.)*****Dot Eshbach makes her annual Christmas season stops delivering her homemade fudge to friends. *****Lon Hubbard treated a dozen folks, plus one, to a great meal at “On the Border” in College Station. *****West Orange-Stark linebacker, Turquoy Reggs, is on the Houston Chronicle’s Top 100 Recruits.*****About 75 people gathered at the K.C. Hall for the reunion of the Bridge City 1966 state championship team. Quarterback Joe Lanston had fallen and was unable to attend but Steve Worster, All American at Texas, despite of having quadruple bypass heart surgery, was in attendance.*****Kree Harrison, a 13-year-old singer, will appear on the Rosie O’Donell show Dec. 12. Since the death of her father in a plane crash, Kree and her mother Kathy have moved to Nashville to further Kree’s career.*****Ray Cotton had surgery last week but the cowboy is doing good.*****Johnny Montagne finally returns from the deer lease. He left at Thanksgiving. Bobby Cormier and others visited Johnny at his Ozona lease.

40 Years Ago-1973

Paul Hale is mayor of Orange.*****James “Stick” Stringer is county judge.*****Henry Stanfield, Orange fire chief, announces his retirement.*****County attorney is Jim Sharon Bearden.  *****Prescient 4 county commissioner is Raymond Gould of Vidor.*****Fred Trimble is district judge of 160th district court.****Dr. Joe Mayors is Bridge City’s only dentist.*****Wayne Peveto is state representative and represents all of Orange and Newton counties.*****Preston Woods is mayor of Bridge City.*****Louvenia Hryhochuk is tax-assessor-collector.*****Some of the old boys around is 55-year-old Boob Taylor, who coached football and other sports at Hackberry, La.*****Wayman Martin, 62, of Little Cypress school superintendent; Buck Sims, 60, a former crop duster and businessman; Fred ‘Cooder’ Avant, 51, who claims to work at DuPont; Murphy King, who turned 71 on Dec. 15, is known as the Pawnshop King; Lloyd Merlin Broussard, 49, works at Allied Chemical and coached at Carr Junior High; Charlie Webb, 44, works at DuPont; Wynne Hunt, 46, is a DuPont hand as is Harry Fulton, 45 and Harold Force, 53; J.D. Stanfield, 56, is a partner in Case and McGee Furniture and is also city councilman; Cecil Willey, 52, works at Gulf States. Others are Percy Bordelon, 53, who has put in his time at DuPont and Firestone; Monty Moran, 51, works at DuPont; Danny Barker, a 44-year-old youngster, is often seen enjoying the coffee at Kroger’s with Joe Runnels, Steve Williamson, Eddie Morris, John Taylor, Cecil Griffin, Charles Picking and former County Judge Charlie Grooms. Also, spotted at Kroger’s was the coin machine operator, Dag Andress and John Magness, Harold Emmert, Tony Garritonia and Joe Burke.****You can always hear when Junior Clark is around.*****Gene Hidalgo, a DuPonter, thinks he’s the last of the sex symbols.*****Ann Segura returns to East Texas from time to time to keep the accent intact.*****Jim Dunaway flies around on his motorcycle.*****Lucy Sciarileo has lost 18 pounds and is looking great.*****Laverne Ridley is shooting up B-12 with a touch of hormones, good for 24 hours.*****Lew Malcolm keeps the chamber and his mouth going.*****Everyone prepares for Christmas.


 The one of a kind, Ray Cotton, stopped by. Ray, at age 84, is the most optimistic person I know. His great outlook on life is inspiring. He says every day is a good day. If he can visit with old friends it’s an extra special day. Ray always parks the farthest away from his destination so he can get his walking in. He parks nearly to Hwy. 87 to go all the way to Super Wal-Mart Pharmacy. What a guy. *****A lady I’ve admired for a long time, is Elaine Myers, owner of The Horseman Store and many other ventures. Her business runs from Mississippi to South Texas. She bought the oldest “Redwing” shoe store in Houston and moved it to a new location. She’s the busiest person I know, yet she finds time for community work and supporting her church that she’s quite proud of. They bought the Lutheran Church building on 16th Street and the congregation has been steadily growing. At age 70, Elaine doesn’t have a slow gear in her makeup.*****Our buddy, John Heard, who grows some of the country’s best citrus right here in Orange County, blessed us with a mess of fruit. Enough for us to ship some to Arkansas to a beautiful lady who looks forward every year to some of John’s oranges. He and wife, Linda, face all their regular aches and pains while doing good. *****We ran into Don and Mary Stanton at Robert’s. Don is on the recovery now but Mary, who previously had back surgery, is suffering with back pain. We told her she was paying for too much aerobics in her younger life. *****I had a chance to visit with a young man I’ve thought well of since he was a teenager. Dennis Bell has done quite well for himself. I’ve always known he was intelligent and he was smart enough to take advantage of his talents. *****We visited with my longtime Black buddy from Rayne Louisiana, former Orange mayor and present councilperson, Essie Bellfield. Ms. Essie spoke about the time Velma Jeter, Willie Mae Champagne and she had the opportunity to visit and be touched by the late Nelson Mandela in Detroit. This was shortly after he was released from 27 years in prison and became the president of Africa. *****We received a special treat from Ginger, of Ginger and Company, on West Roundbunch in Bridge City. It was a brew of chicken and special Louisiana sausage gumbo. The brew was very good, much like Grandma’s. That girl could pass for a Cajun.


Christmas festivities began in Orange County this week. The big Orange parade has been canceled due to pending bad weather, however, on Saturday, Bridge City’s Light parade, which was postponed to Dec. 14, will start at 6:30 p.m. The Orangefield Christmas parade will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. Come out and see  David’s 1946 Farm All tractor.  Everyone loves a parade. Also, on Saturday, Orange will sponsor Christmas at the Pavilion. Bundle up the kids; join in the fun of the Christmas season. Make memories for the children.*****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch dines at Peggy’s Off the Bayou on Hwy. 62 this week and will have an annual Christmas gathering at Robert’s next Wednesday, Dec. 18. It’s always a nice gathering, hosted by Robert himself. Make plans to attend. It will be the last gathering of the year until Jan. 8, again at Robert’s. *****We’re sure hearing some good things coming from David Self Ford in Orange. Consumers are learning you don’t have to go out of town to get the best deal on a new Ford truck or car. Also, they are now volume used car dealers with a lot of choices. A great place. David and Ross Smith are going all out to keep the business here at home, plus they’re good folks to do business with.*****A few good folks we know celebrating their special day. On Dec. 11, folks celebrating are Tara Fountain, nice, smart and principal of Bridge City Intermediate; Kent Sarver, who was a valuable member this year of the West Orange-Stark ‘Chain Gang’; also, Jo Lynn Mott, Jon Mott’s better half and a special lady, Terry Fall.*****On Dec. 12, Lucy Hanks, Rene’s lovely wife and Pattie Hank’s mom celebrates.***Also on this day Arielle Foster, Scott DeRouen and Bonnie Albright celebrate as does Dionne Warwick, who turns 73, Bob Barker, 90.*****On Dec. 13, Hazel Smith, Kristy Kidwell and Jenny Duncan, all lovely women, celebrate along with Taylor Swift, who is 24 and Jamie Foxx, 46.*****On Dec. 14, one of our family of advertisers, Keri Michutka, CPA, celebrates, as does longtime friends Danny Blacksher and Hannah Carpenter. *** It also is the 57th wedding anniversary of Betty and Corky Harmon. *** Patty Duke turns 67 on this day, too. *****On Dec. 14, Shirley Roccaforte celebrates. She’s special and one-of-a-kind. Also, longtime friend Maac Hughes celebrates. ***Donnie Stanton, Mary and Don’s eldest, turns 47. ***Our late friend, Doug Harrington, would have been 75 on this day. *****On Dec. 16, a good friend of many years, James Brabham, another proud product of the Cove, celebrates.***Also on this day beautiful Elizabeth Uzzle has a birthday. ***Dec. 16 also marks the anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, 1944. *****On Dec. 17, one of the great guys, former mayor, community leader Brown Claybar marks another birthday.***Also celebrating are Martha Taylor and Beatrice Cortez. ***This would have been the birthday of one of the finest ladies we’ve known, the late Betty Lou Womack, who left us much too young. It’s come on a full moon on this day and will hopefully bring clear skies. Please see complete list.*****Good news, the Food and Drug Administration, in the last few days, approved a new pill that is expected to make the treatment of Hepatitis C less onerous, shorter in duration and more effective. It will allow at least some patients infected with the liver destroying virus to be treated with pills, doing away with weekly injections of a drug that can have debilitating side effects. Many teenagers of the 1970’s carry the Hepatitis virus because of lifestyles and drug use. Not all Hepatitis infection, however, came about from drug use, as many other factors contributed.*****As the year comes to an end, the prospects for immigration reform seem bleak, despite polls showing broad bi-partisan support for reform. A Senate immigration package sits in the House collecting dust; while House Speaker John Boehner, has the bi-partisan votes for it to pass. Boehner fears crossing the radical right Tea Party. It’s an issue even frustrating to regular Republicans who see the urgency to get something done before next year’s mid-term elections. The immigration problem could become a hot button issue that no one but the Tea Party is willing to gamble on. The immigration problem in the heat of a campaign will cut both ways, but Republican leaders, the grown ups, know that the Republicans facing opposition will get the short end of the stick.

Birthdays this Week

Jo Lynn Mott, Kent Sarver, Karissa Kordish, Kristine Cortez, Jim Sands, Cody Caples, Terry Fall, Leslie Lyons, Cody Caples, Tara Fountain, Nathan Vogt, Rob Clark, Shelby Hebert, Zackery Anderson, Arielle Foster, Joel Fruge, Scott Derouen, Bonnie Albright, Daniel Bates, Melissa Poydence, Hazel Smith, Melinda Swares, Kristy Kidwell, Dennis Lee, Hailey Tally, Jenny Duncan, Keri Michutka, Ronald Escamilla, Kandy Sartin, Tim Fix, Danny Blacksher, Danny Prosperie, Dorothy Jenkins, Hannah Carpenter, Ken Pittman, Amanda Webb, Linda Easley, Imogene Bland, Jeff Harrington, Kenneth Pittman, Maac Hughes, Melanie Richter, Shirley Roccaforte, Alex Harner, Belinda Broom, Brent Burris, Craig Reynolds, Dale Armand, Kitty Martin, James Brabham, Michelle Gephart, Bobby Adaway, Elizabeth Uzzle, Michael Terry, Natalie Nimitz, Beatrice Cortez, Jeremie Delano, Nathan Applebac, Brown Claybar, Chris Chambless, Martha Taylor.


Sostan and Annabel were having a quiet, romantic dinner in a fine restaurant in Lafayette, gazing wit love at each utter and holding hands. Da waitress was taking an order at anutter table wen she noticed Sostan him, sliding down his chair and under da table. Annabel her, stared straight ahead.

Da waitress, tinking this behavior a bit strange and dat it might offend da utta diners, went over to da table and tactfully began by saying to Annabel, “Pardon me, ma’am, but I tink you husband him just slid under da table.”

Annabel her, calmly looked up at her and said, “No honey, he didn’t, my husband Joe just walked in da door him.”


Well, the local candidates all made their way to the starting gate. The race is on. The local Republican Party did a good job of recruiting candidates. Many, or should I say most, who switched did so through the threat of having opposition recruited against them by the Party. They chose to switch rather than face the expensive long haul. Others chose to stay put and run on their records. Only time will tell. I don’t look for a repeat of the last election, where people were herded into voting against President Obama by voting a straight ticket, assuring his defeat. Nationwide it didn’t work. Local government has nothing to do with either national party. In Texas, the law requires any one running for county government must register with a party. I believe there are four or five parties one could sign up with. The unfairness is that for many years officials who have served us well were forced to change brands. Their thinking and way of governing hasn’t changed, the only thing that changed is their names on the opposite side of the ballot. Locally, it’s not the party, it’s the person. If they were good or bad officials, they will continue to be the same. All local governments are the same; they serve the needs of the local people, not a national political party. Mayors, city councilpersons, school boards, port commissioners or drainage boards all serve without the knowledge to the voter if they are democrat or republican, because it doesn’t matter. We all vote for the person, not a brand. I find it very unfair that especially judges have to run under any brand. The law prevents them from engaging any political but their own. They can’t take part in politics so why have to declare for any party. That law needs changing. All judges run according to the law, not who the president or senator is. This election, you would be best served by studying the candidates, not the party. *****Gotta go, take care and God bless.