What a difference a year makes. Last Christmas everything was organized and calm. Comfortable in our own homes, sleeping in our own beds for a full night’s rest, wondering what St. Nick would bring. Sharing the sound of laughter and chatter as we opened our gifts we took that Christmas and the many before for granted. We believed happy Christmas time would continue to be repeated year after year. Who would ever believe that such a change could come to the door of so many. Hurricane Ike came calling on Sept. 13, and in his wake he left a great community devastated and its people facing a new way of life and a new way to greet the holiday season. Many are homeless but most have shelter and showing their true-grit facing whatever situation they are in. During times like these, Christmas is not only gifts; the true spirit of Christmas has far more meaning. Family and friends are valuable, assets never again to be taken for granted. Losses were just possessions. I can’t say enough or thank enough the many people who have come to help our people and our little community. All the kindness is really unbelievable. Their love and caring brought the spirit of Christmas long before the birthday of the Christ child. The many faith-based organizations have poured their hearts out for a grateful people and continue to do so. Really, without the help of those good people Christmas would have been so much sadder. Thanks also to our local and county government who never backed up one step when it came to seeing that those who had lost their homes would get shelter. Also, without the help of our federal government it would have been impossible to have a Merry Christmas. Count your blessings and remember the one we celebrate today suffered for us a long time ago.*****Come along, it won’t do you no harm.

Obama inviting Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration looks like a no-brainer. Why stir up that stink unless it’s a political angle, throwing a crumb to the far-right. Otherwise, Obama couldn’t have picked a better, diverse, uniquely qualified cabinet. Five women, four blacks, three Hispanics and two Asians. Hillary Clinton, state; Robert Gates, defense; Timothy Geither, treasury; Eric Holden, attorney general.; Ken Salazar, interior; Tom Vilsack, agriculture; Bill Richardson, commerce; Hilda Solis, labor and Tom Daschle, health. Also, Joe Biden as vice president, who will be far more influential there than most believe. *****Democratic candidates are flocking to field candidates for the Senate special election that may never occur. Texas Democrats have no clear candidate for governor in 2010. They had hoped Houston Mayor Bill White would take on either Rick Perry or Kay Bailey Hutchison in the governor’s race. White will run for the Senate. John Sharp will dodge the governor’s race and also run for Senate. Kinky Friedman may run for governor as a Democrat. He ran as independent last time. I’m afraid they might as well fold their tents. Kay Bailey will be our next governor.*****Galveston believes casino gambling is the path to Ike recovery. Three-thousand were laid off by UTMB, it’s biggest employee. Strand merchants say they believe gambling would bring in tourists with more money who would patronize downtown historical shops. There is no better time than the next Texas session to push a bill legalizing casino gambling by amending the state constitution. Gambling in Texas would hurt rather than help our little part of Texas. Many of our people work at the Louisiana casinos plus, we get tourists from it.***** There will be no better time than the next year to get deals from U.S. and state officials. Everyone will want to grow our government. Our wise county Commissioner Owen Burton has pointed out to us what might be our best path to Obama and help for an Orange County levee. We agree and will present it later.

30 Years Ago-1978

Let’s see what a few of the folks are doing during the last week of the year, 1978. Steve McCarty is the head football coach and AD at West Orange-Stark. *****Benny Mazzola is president of the Noon Optimist Club. *****Ed Peveto is head coach at Orangefield. *****Billy Tubbs is Lamar head basketball coach. Some of his key players are Clarence Kea Michael Oliver and B.B. Davis. *****Three beauties working at the Village Squire in Bridge City are Tina Cotton, Nancy Scarborough and Kim Young Worster, who is married to Gary. They have a new son named Jacob. *****Valerie Lusignan, another beauty, owns the Fashion Scene in Bridge City. *****Larry Kennan, 34, takes over the head football coaching job at Lamar replacing Bob Frederick who resigned. *****Frank Tarkenton is quarterback at Minnesota.. *****Pretty Ann Segura will celebrate her birthday, Dec. 25. *****Also on Christmas Day Flo Edgerly will celebrate with Santa and Gordon Baxter. *****Our writer Wilda Martin celebrates on Christmas Eve. *****The annual New Year’s Eve and anniversary celebration for Roy and Phyllis Dunn won’t be held this year but will resume next New Year’s Eve when they celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. (Editor’s note: Boy, time has flown, fast-forward to number 54 this New Year’s Eve.)*****M.C. Slocum Sr. is selling cars at Brinkham Lincoln-Mercury at the Circle in Orange. *****Others there are L.C. Swan, Al Granger and Jerry Peabody. *****A new 1979, 2 door Impala can be bought at Harmon Chevrolet, Third and Green in Orange for $6,295 or $157 per month. Preston Fuller, on the used car lot, will sell you a 1977 Chevy Custom Deluxe pickup for $3,495 or a 1977 Thunderbird, full loaded, for $5,995.

Commissioner James Stringer has made his last court meeting this week even though his last day in office is Dec. 31. David Dubose will be sworn in as new commissioner Jan. 1. I’m not sure Stick has hung up his jock strap for the last time. He and Judge Pat have been joshing one another for nearly 40 years. What you don’t know and won’t believe is that Stick is an introvert and somewhat shy. We wish him the best in retirement and thanks for the memories. *****Last week a get-together meal at Tequila’s was to honor 90-year-old Inez Hearn. Nez hasn’t lost a step in brain-power. She’s smarter than most folks 20 years her junior. She said son Ray is doing a great job of putting her Ike destroyed house back together. Granddaughter Teresa, still involved with the country music industry in Nashville, called during the gathering and said she, her husband and family would spend Christmas in England. She married the Englishman 13 years ago. Nez’s sister Joy Young, daughter Janice and husband Lyle Overman, along with family and friends, made for a great party which also included one of my favorite people Charlotte Anderson. She brought tag along Dow Gene with her. That gal livens a gathering.*****Just like Santa, longtime buddy Dot Eshbach made her annual delivery of goodies. She didn’t come down the chimney; she put her special recipe of homemade candy where we could find it at the old Creaux’s Nest.*****Our longtime love Nancy Vincent has always been hot but now days she’s a knock out. Through dedication and the gumption to do it, Nancy has shed the extra weight by being on a daily three-mile walk each morning at 5 a.m. As for my Cuzzin Sostan, and me we’re not much in favor of all dat walking but it sure has served Nancy well.*****Our buddy Dee Aven, the first and only lady constable in county history, will hang her spurs up on Dec. 31 after serving the remaining term of the late constable Parker “P.T.” Thompson. We wish this nice lady happy trails.*****Finally, we were sad to learn that former Orange County district attorney James “Jim” Morris had passed away. Jim was a joy to watch in the courtroom when he was a prosecutor. He was a rare character that we were fortunate have known.

Citing imminent danger to the national economy President Bush ordered a $17.4 billion emergency auto bailout. The loan demands touch concessions. Republicans, in a memo discovered by MSNBC, are against the bailout to harm the labor unions. Incoming President Obama said he would make sure that when we see a final reconstruction package that it’s not just workers who are bearing the blunt. Autoworkers Union complained the Bush deal is to harsh on its members. I had thought Bush wouldn’t go for a lifeline and would leave the bailout up to Obama. In my opinion it’s one of the few things Bush did right in the past eight years. He saved some face and a great depression. *****Quote of the week: “I came with the idea of changing the tone in Washington and frankly didn’t do a very good job of it.” President George W. Bush. *****Meanwhile, Dick Cheney was on FOX television telling about all the great changes they have made. Bush is at least truthful. Cheney can’t and has never told the truth. He and Rumsfeld constantly lied to “W,” who wasn’t sharp enough to dodge the bait and even swallowed the hook.*****Congrats to Bradley Dale Peveto, 45, an Orangefield grad whose dad Ed was head football coach. Bradley has been named new head coach at Northwestern, in Louisiana. He will stay with LSU until after the Peach Bowl, Dec. 31, against Georgia Tech. Les Johnson and Bradley coached together at Northwestern. Les says they couldn’t have made a better choice. Bradley will recruit heavily in this area.*****Karen Jo Vance, one of our favorites year in and year out, celebrates another birthday Dec. 28. She ages like fine wine and looks 10 years younger than her 54 years.*****Harriet Dubose celebrates another birthday Dec. 29.*****Elaine Cooper has her special day on Dec. 30.******Richard Hunter’s big day is Dec. 31.*****A very happy birthday Dec. 31 to Norma Fusilier, a special lady.*****Celebrity birthdays; Getting older but not over the hill just yet are Jane Fonda, turned 71 on Dec. 21; Diane Sawyer, 63, on Dec. 22; Susan Lucci, turned 62 on Dec. 23; Jimmy Buffett, 62 and Sissy Spacek, 59 celebrate on Christmas Day; the unbelievable Cokie Roberts will be 65 on Dec. 27. I recall her dad Rep. Hale Boggs and her mom Lindy, who replaced him when he died. The above folks are getting old right along with me.*****Dale and Barbara Dardeau celebrate their anniversary Dec. 28.*****Ms. Phyl and Roy Dunn celebrate their 54th anniversary on New Year’s Eve. Roy says not much celebrating to it. He can’t make it to see the New Year roll in at midnight.

Charlee Lemons, Dale Burns, Debi Foster, Jane Holton, Sue Cowling, Terri Estes, Helen DeRoche, Lewis Sims, Mary Jane McCune, Mike Dillion, Ronnie Hutchison, Rushia Mae Cooper, Velma Theriot, Evelyn Foster, Janelle Deutsch, Louise Buker, Mary Frances Hartley, Randy Wuske, Ashley Burris, Emily Glover, Jennifer Ferguson, Kent Broussard, Laura Floyd, Rebecca Johns, Rob Turner, Bobby Sibert, Judy Taylor, Kirk Roccaforte, Lorraine Bonin, Max Pelham, Stacy Roberts, Debbie Taylor, Harriet Dubose, Kenneth Wiemers, Linn Cardner, Raymond Costilla, Sam McLellan, Jacklyn Bradberry, Larry Padget, Sherrie Reid, Kenny Dupuis, Lauren Leger, Madison Ranee Hanusch, Marie Perkins, Rebecca Hannegan, Richard Hunter, Joanne Hill, Robert Hoke, Ronnie Hearn.

A letter from Cuzzin Sostan
Dear Cuz,
Just a note to let you know wat’s going on here. Sugar Bee wants me to make a new Year’s resolution that I will exercise and walk more in da New Year. I tole her my Grandpa, Gustave, started walking five miles a day when he was 60. Now he’s about 97 years old and we don’t know where he’s at him. As for me, da only reason I would take up walking is so dat I could hear heavy breathing again. I tole Sugar Bee dat I agree walking can add minutes to your life, dis enables you, at 85, to spend an extra five months in a nursing home at $7,000 per month.
Las year me, I joined a health club wat cost $400 buck and I haven’t lost a pound. I guess you got to go. I tole Sugar Bee da reason she exercises is so wen she die dey will say, “Boy, Sugar Bee looks good don’t she.”
I tried to talk her into buying a case of Miller Light for $10, instead she bought a jar of cold cream for $7.95. I tole her da beer would make her look better at night dan da cold cream, dat’s wen da fight started.
Anyway, every time I start tinking too much about exercise and how I look I just go to Tee-boy’s happy hour and by da time I leave I don’t give a damn. I tole Sugar Bee da reason I get heavier as I get older is because dere’s a lot more information in my head. Dat’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Dat’s all from here. I hope LuLu, Kee-Kee and Cox are fairing well after dat Ike. Tell everyone Merry Christmas and not to buy into dem New Year’s resolutions.

Special thanks to our advertising family for supporting us throughout the year, during good and bad times. These business and professional people will do to ride the range with. They bring you this publication week after week and you have made it the best read and most popular publication. To you we extend our gratitude. We simply ask that when possible, please patronize those who bring us to you.*****It’s been a remarkable year in many ways. We thank all of our friends who have extended a helping hand. Without them we wouldn’t be here today.*****Next week, in order to give our overworked staff time off with their families we will publish a special late edition. So let me take this opportunity on behalf of our staff to not only wish you a very Merry Christmas but also a Happy New Year. Celebrate but be careful.. If you party, please get a designated driver. We’ll see you on Jan. 2. Be sure and look for us. God bless you and yours and God bless our communities.