North of the Creaux’s Nest
A GREAT WAY TO START THE DAY
I arrived early Sunday morning and a couple of hours into my work the Rev. Leo signed on the radio with his longtime theme song. I thought my reliable watch had failed me. Rev. Anderson usually comes on at 7:30 a.m. but my time said 7 a.m. It turned out it was a false start. I hadn’t lost 30 minutes and my old Timex was its reliable self. I wondered if it was too early to call Tommy Simar’s home. When you get going as early as I do you tend to forget that 7 a.m. is early to some people, especially on Sunday morning. I made the call praying that I wasn’t waking anyone. Sue Simar answered in a pleasant, slight Yankee accent and invited me over. Tommy, raised in the old home place by his grandparents on his mom’s side, has made it his home all these years. It’s a great country setting on a knoll in the Echo vicinity. I admired the great gardens. I could tell by the full color of the leaves that it is a healthy crop. Tommy is a great gardener but my business was to pick up some figs they had so generously volunteered to give to me. It had looked like I might not get to taste my favorite fruit this season because of the hot, dry spell that left my figs looking like chinaberries. Not only did I get figs but enjoyed some lagniappe with a great visit with these good, down-to-earth folks. Fresh brewed coffee on the back porch brought back memories. After I left I knocked out a dozen or so figs and now it’s time for me to go back to work but what a pleasant way to start a day. People don’t visit early mornings or after supper like we did in a slower time, before television, when people really cared for and about each other especially neighbors. Neighbor Cox and I used to visit at daylight at the Creaux’s Nest. Visiting here at Harmon’s starts around 8 a.m. Someone usually brings donuts or cookies, Don always makes coffee. As the boys start to show up, it’s time to roll up the pants legs because it’s getting ready to get deep. I’ve gotta move on. Come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.
TALENT SO RARE MAY NEVER BE AGAIN
The country lost three entertainers last week that were part of our culture. The death of Michael Jackson was the most unexpected and shocking. Texas beauty Farrah Fawcett had been facing death from cancer for three years. A native of Corpus Christi, she was born Feb. 2, 1947, graduated high school in 1965 and entered UT in 1966. Farrah, best known as one of Charlie’s Angles, died at the age of 62. Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson’s sidekick, was a decorated Air Force pilot and for years active in the Jerry Lewis Telethon. No doubt Jackson was probably the most talented entertainer this country has ever known. Unlike Elvis he wrote most of his material and shook more than his hips. The Beatles, as popular as they were, even as a group, didn’t hold a candle to Michael’s great accomplishments. Around the world his talent was appreciated. I don’t know that we will ever see his likes again. He made a mess of his personal life, much like Anna Nicole Smith, Elvis and others but it’s wrong for anyone to deny the genius of this rare and unusual fellow. I never believed he was a pedophile. I think, like most of us, he was affected by his childhood or lack of it. He deserves all the credit he’s getting for his greatness. I can’t name a song he ever sang or recorded but I know that I’ve seen one of the world’s great talents.
WHITE MALE DOMINATED, DEAD AND BURIED
Gov. Mark Sanford, of South Carolina, and Sen. John Ensign, of Nevada, both are Republicans and both caught with their britches down. Running around being unfaithful, living cheaters’ lives is not reserved only for Republicans but these two dudes, on the soapbox, preached living holier than thou. Both called for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Both put out the word constantly that the Republican Party lives according to the word of God and that those in their party who don’t live righteously should be driven out. The bottom line is that they, like a lot of their members, are hypocrites. They no more own the right to God than the Democratic Party. Karl Rove sold that gimmick, the people bought it, but their eyes are now opening. They are seeing through sitting on the front row on Sunday, part of the political photo image building, has now gone sour. The truth is that the field is neutral. None of us are without sin, not even Republicans. Where the Republican Party is losing their footing is that they refuse to take their blinders off. The fact is, like it or not, America is no longer a white, male-dominated society. That genie is out of the bottle no matter how hard Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter and the rest try, that genie is not going back in the bottle. The cigar-smoking white male in the backrooms no longer yield the power. Hispanic, black, female, gays and other minorities hold the balance of power. As long as the GOP holds on to the hard line, their influence will diminish. The country today is centrist and each passing day more voters will move to the middle. It’s just a fact of life. Minorities will grow in numbers and the “Fat Cat,” white man’s domination will diminish. As long as Limbaugh, Palin, Newt and the others stay on “We’re the party of the righteous,” they ain’t going nowhere. Just think about this if you don’t believe the country has changed across the board, black and white alike. President Obama carried the white vote in Republican Mississippi by 51 percent even though he received 92 percent of the black vote. The Republican Party polls at only 32 percent. We may never again elect a black president but for sure we will never again elect a far right one. A modest conservative yes, far-right and far-left ain’t going nowhere.
A LITTLE ABOUT THE NATIVES
Longtime friends, a great couple and just plain good people, Nettie and Paul Roy will celebrate their 62nd anniversary on June 29. They were married way back in 1947 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Port Arthur. For many years they have been residents of Victory Gardens, on Cow Bayou, near Bridge City. They raised a great family who all attended the Bridge City School District. This amazing couple looks and acts much younger than their years. I attribute that to their optimist attitude. We extend best wishes for continued good health.*****Last week in 60 years ago, we mentioned that Clark Barrett was on the Rotary board. He came to Orange in 1948 as assistant plant manager under Dupont manager Pete Campbell, He and wife Edna move in at 707 Cherry St. Clark’s beautiful daughter Margaret graduated from Luther Stark High in 1949. In 1950, she married a local boy and became a member of the famous Aqua Debs. Her husband was a Demon. Corky Harmon says because of Margaret’s pull with DuPont management, her husband got a job at “The Plant.” The guy however, started selling boats on the side and eventually left DuPont for a full-time boat business. Today, he has on display the first boat he sold over 50 years ago. Margaret and her husband, Hubert Spradling, still own Sprad’s Boat Town. Now you know the rest of the story.*****Odette Simar, 99, is a resident of the Meadows. She recently fell, banged herself up with black eyes and all but she’s a tough lady with a pioneer spirit. Next March she will be 100. Her daughter-in-law Jean, Marvin Simar’s widow, told Odette, “We will have champagne and fireworks for your 100th.” Odette suggested they might as well start ordering the fire crackers because she’ll be here. I’m betting on Odette, a special lady.
TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME
30 Years Ago-1979
The country is coping with a gasoline shortage. *****Bob Garretson moves Cathy and kids out of an apartment and into the country. Bob bought 12 chickens but being a city boy from Dallas, he didn’t know that hens need a rooster. (Editors Note: Bob died many years ago. His widow Cathy still lives in that Mauriceville country home. Cathy can be found at the plant department at Home Depot. She’s a jack-of-all-trades and has had several different trades. She’s just a great gal. Gotta love her.*****Butch Lusignan celebrates his birthday July 4. (Editor’s note: Butch, his dad Lucky and mom Gert have all passed away.)*****Celebrating birthdays on July 5 are Louis Boudoin and Danny Champagne. *****Former Orange Police Chief Walter Cobb and wife Mary, who has a broken arm, are visiting here over the holidays. *****Curtis Lee to serve second term as leader of the Bridge City Eagles. *****Gene Edgerly is now home recovering from back surgery. The one good thing about being flat on his back is that he will dodge all of Flo’s many “Honey Do’s.”*****On June 29, little Ann Lieby celebrated her 12th birthday. *****Top country songs are #1, “Nobody Likes Sad Songs” by Ronnie Milsap; #2, “Amanda,” Waylon Jennings; #3, “She Believes in Me,” Kenny Rogers; #4, “You Feel Good All Over,” T.G. Shepard. (Editor’s note: Four of Country’s great ones back when I could understand the words of the songs.)*****Dr. Sue Horne, Psychologist, practicing in Sulphur and counselor for West Orange Cove School District, has purchased Frankinson’s Delicatessen. The deli was owned by Frank Finchum and son, Tab. New manager will be Dee Mandola and will be named “Mandola’s Delicatessen. (I don’t believe they stayed in business very long. By the way, did you know that Frank played football at the University of Texas and is also an artist and cartoonist.)*****On Saturday, July 7, Harmon Chevrolet will open its new dealership at 2611 MacArthur Drive. Dad Obie, sons Jackie, Corky, Don and Tommy will all be involved in the business. The dealership is located on 10 acres and is a 44,000 square feet complex. *****(Editor’s note: A year ago, Orange natives, Al and Dean Granger, purchased the dealership.)
SCANNING THE PAST YEARS
1924 – On the 103rd ballot, John W. Davis emerged as Democratic nominee for U.S. president. Texas cast her 40 votes for E.T. Meredith on the 101st ballot but switched to Davis on the last two. *****Orange County crude oil is bringing $2 a barrel from Gulf Oil. The prices are expected to drop to $1.75 a barrel. *****Widespread gambling flourishes in the Orange oil field. The Travis County District Court issues a temporary injunction closing the oilfield amusement clubs and others. (Editor’s note: Roy Dunn’s father Clay was one of the operators.)
1934 – A crowd of 1,000 people attend political rally in Mauriceville. *****Thomas Granger, 12-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Tick Granger, was almost fatally injured when he was kicked on the side of his head by a wild horse. (Editor’s note: I could make a joke here. Thomas, like his dad, went on to become a county commissioner. He and his wife are living in a retirement home in Port Arthur. The blow to his head didn’t damage his musical talent.) *****The Texas Supreme Court has barred Negroes from participating in the democratic primaries. The Texas court disagreed with a 5 to 4 opinion by the United States Supreme Court that said to bar Negroes was unconstitutional. (Editor’s note: Seventy-five years later, the U.S. has a Negro president. What were the odds in 1934?)
1949 – Gov. Allen Shivers of Port Arthur takes oath of office on the lawn of his family home near Woodville.*****While Texas copes with one of the worst outbreaks of polio in history, Orange County remains free of the malady. Not a case has been reported. *****County Judge Sid J. Caillavet has been named to a high post of the National Association of County Judges. One of the nation’s best known county officials, he is serving his fourth team and previously served as Commissioner from Pct. 1. (Editor’s note: After serving as mayor of Orange, Sid was again elected county judge. We believe he served six terms in all.)
A FEW HAPPENINGS
We were sorry to hear about the death of Anita Hinds, 47, who lost her life in an auto accident June 26. Services were held Tuesday, June 30. To husband Richard, mom and dad, Morris and Bertha Thomas and to her daughters Amber and Erin, we send our sincere condolences. See obit.*****Robert’s Restaurant serves a great steak but what a lot of people don’t realize is that the steaks are cut fresh next door in their meat market. The butchers at Robert’s Market will custom cut your steaks, chops etc at your desired thickness. When visiting the restaurant step next door and look their market over.***** Bloomington, Texas native Gale Storm, 87, passed away Sunday. She was a movie and television star and had a successful music career. She starred in movies with Roy Rogers and other western actors. She was born Josephine Owaissa Cottle and was a graduate of Bloomington High School.*****Pitchman Billy Mays, 50, passed away Sunday. He was discovered dead in his bed. The day before while on a plane flight something fell from the overhead compartment and put a knot on his head. Unknown if that contributed to his death.*****Last week we wrote that Ryan O’Neil vowed to marry Farrah. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it before she died.*****Swindler Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison. He conned people out of $50 billion. He holds the world’s record as a con artist.*****Speaking of criminals the movie people are going back to the past. You will see a lot of Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face and others. About every 20 years a new generation come along and new gangster shows appear. In fact, starting Wednesday Johnny Depp plays John Dillinger. I’m told it will be a good movie.***** Tuesday, June 30, American troops started pulling back in Iraq.*****Sixty-eight percent of our oil is still imported. We can break that stranglehold. House Bill 1835 does just that. It has 73 sponsors. The Bill is designed to turn to natural gas. The United States has the third largest deposit of natural gas in the world behind Russia and Iran. We can end imports. I’m anxious to see what our congressman does on that Bill.*****Joe “Papa” Jackson is a nut case. He has no idea what’s going on. In an interview with Don Lemon on CNN Sunday, instead of showing grief for Michael, he went into a rambling promotion of a new record company. Rev. Al Sharpton had to bail him out Monday. His son was the biggest super star the world has know yet Joe doesn’t know what’s going to happen with the burial service or the estate settlement. It will be a bigger circus before it’s over if they don’t put Joe in a cage.*****List of those forgoing faithfulness for sex. President Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, speaker elect Bob Livingston, Sen. John Edwards, Sen. John Ensign, toilet stalker Larry Craig, David Vitter, Jim McGreevy, Mark Foley, Tim Mahoney, NY Gov. Elliot Spitzer and Gov. Sanford, just to name a few.*****Celebrity birthdays: On July 1st, Pamela Anderson will be 42, runner Carl Lewis, 48, Dan Aykroyd, 57 and Olivia DeHavilland, 93.*****On July 2nd, Lindsay Lohan, 23, Jose Canseco, 45, Richard Petty, 72 and on this day Dan Rowan would have been 87 and Judge Thurgood Marshall, 101.*****Celebrating on July 3rd, are Tom Cruise, 47 and Montel Williams, 53.*****On July 4th, Mailia Obama will turn 11, Geraldo Rivera, 67. George Steinbrenner, 79, Gina Lollobrigida, 92, Eva Marie Saint, 85, Abigal Van Buren, 91 and Mitch Miller, 98.*****July 5th, Huey Lewis, 58, P.T. Barnum would be 199.***** July 6th, George W. Bush, 63 and Sylvester Stallone, 63, (George and Rocky, born on the same day) also Dalaihama, 74, Della Reese, 77, Nancy Reagan, 88 and John Paul Jones would be 262.*****On July 7th, Ringo Starr, 69 and Doc Severinsen, 82. *****It just doesn’t seem like 35 years since Capt. Danny Gray was killed at Orange City Jail in an attempted jailbreak. He was killed on June 28, 1974. Read the story researched by Robert Hankins. *****Robert also wrote a great story on Hortense Lucas, 101, who for 50 years was a local telephone company operator supervisor. Many operators worked for her including Betty Harmon. Read the story in this issue. *****Bridge City Bank moved back into their building this week that has been totally remolded after Hurricane Ike. *****The folks at Family Pharmacy, which has merged with Harrington’s and King’s, also are back in their remolded building. Drive up window and delivery service is available. Your best bet is to always deal with an independent drug store for fast and dependable service. All drug prices are the same at every pharmacy but independents offer better personal service. *****We were sorry to hear about the death of Fred Travalena, 66. He lost a seven-year battle to cancer. He was a headliner in Vegas and a regular on late night television. We got to know him when he appeared locally with Bob Hope. *****Happy birthday this week to Elizabeth Williams. She and Dr. Williams have been pillars of this community and their efforts have preserved much of our history. *****Best wishes to West Orange Mayor Roy McDonald and Nancy Dupuis, who has put up with Kee-Kee all these many years. *****Charlotte Pruter celebrates her special day this week and also the reclusive Jerry Wilson. *****Gov. Rick Perry has called a three-day special session to accomplish what they couldn’t in six months. *****You can join a cruise ship that is taking on volunteers. Bring your own gun. If you don’t have one, they will rent you one. The ship is cruising around Somalia hoping to be hijacked. So far no luck. *****June 26th was the 35th anniversary of the Barcode.
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK
Charlie Learned, Dian Arnold, Jeff Eby, Lisa Wilson, Maria Garcia, Brennon Mitchell, Elizabeth Williams, Mary Martell, Nancy Dupuis, Thomas Findlay, Betty Richard, Jeanne Donahey, Kathy Simmons, Ellen Ray, Kathie Wilson, Katy Maloney, Kellie Derouen, Pat McCombs, Shane Hanks, Susie Bickham, Charlotte Pruter, Billy Boehme, Debbie Moreau, Donna Dohmann, L.J. Braus, Lori Winstead, Makayla Peveto, Tom Arnold, Aaron Myers, Alyson Smith, David May, Denise Mumbach, Edith Peet, Jennifer Martinez, Jerry Wilson, Levy Hartman, James Swan, Devon Caldwell, James Arnett and Jason Barclay.
CAJUN STORY OF THE WEEK
Old man Horace Comeaux and his longtime wife, Agnes, while on a trip, stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch. After finishing dere lunch, dey got back on da road. Unknowingly, Agnes left her glasses on da table and didn’t miss dem until 40 miles down da road.
Horace, him, was aggravated having to turn around and go back. He became the classic grouchy old turd. He fussed and complained, “Agnes, dat was so stupid, how could you forget you glasses.” He scolded poor Agnes relentlessly during the entire return drive. He became more agitated with each mile and wouldn’t let up for one minute.
To Agnes’s relief, dey finally arrived back at dat restaurant. As Agnes got out of da, car and hurried inside to retrieve her glasses, Horace, the old geezer, yelled to her, “Agnes, while you’re in dere, you might as well get my hat and da credit card.”
Independence Day, July 4, 2009. There is so much for all of us to be thankful for, most of all our independence. Though the years the ultimate price has been paid by many to insure the freedom we treasure. It’s a time to celebrate but please be careful. If you travel with your family think about the precious lives that are in your hands. *****A special prayer goes out to our friend Cal Broussard who is facing the long odds. He’s always been a battler but like the crawfish, that Cajun will take on an oncoming train. Special thanks to Betty Lou for the special care given to a special guy.*****We got a half-inch of rain. It helped but not a whole lot. It was very welcomed however. I stood in the rain and got soaking wet with the holy water. *****Please read us cover to cover. We need for you to shop with the folks in our advertising family. Thank them for supporting us and bringing you our community newspaper. It’s important that you do that. Look our advertisers over. *****Thank you for your time, mine is up. Take care and may God be your co-pilot.