North of the Creaux’s Nest
TIMES THEY ARE CHANGING, EVEN FOR THE MONARCHS
The month of March came in like a lamb and went out like a lion. It’s supposed to be the other way around. The wind blew so hard Saturday and Sunday I thought it might blow some freshly planted plants plumb out of the ground. I’m not ready for April showers, had enough of that all winter. Maybe the showers will wait till later in the month. What will spring be like without Monarch butterflies? Scientists are saying migrating of the orange and black butterflies is down almost 50 percent. I haven’t seen one yet. Fewer are leaving Mexico since the colonies were discovered in 1975. Bad weather and cold wiped out many Monarchs. All that migrate down here spend their winters crammed into only 12 acres in the transvolcanic mountains. Illegal logging has caused loss of tree cover exposing the butterflies to be vulnerable to cold rain. In the U.S. their habitat is also being threatened. Malls and houses have displaced farmland and forest edges and the much needed Monarch caterpillar’s baby food, milkweed. Too late for this year but for next year you can plant a butterfly garden of milkweed, flowers and bushes. Come fall this will fatten their hungry descendants.*****I understand the Art in the Park annual event was a big success. Most vendors our people spoke with were very happy. Consumers picked up on some rare art. Artist Richard Spraggins picked up several consignments to do personal charcoal portraits plus art sales and art lessons. The only negative of the day was the constant heavy wind. I predict this brainchild of Darlene Zavada will continue to grow, attracting more artists, vendors and visitors in the coming years.*****I’d better quit joshing and get to work. The boss has looked over his glasses toward me a couple of times wondering what I’m doing. This time of year I miss sitting under the hackberry tree, at the spool table back in Mr. Cox’s Neighborhood. Come along, you may not like all of it but it’s the way I see it and it won’t do you no harm.
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL IS BACK
The most dramatic finish to a baseball game I’ve ever seen happened last Friday in the Bridge City-Hamshire Fannett first district game. The youngster from HF had a no-hitter going into the last inning, score 1-1. In the previous inning Bridge City had moved a batter, who had walked to third on a throwing error to first. (I suspect they thought they had read coach Chad Landry’s steal sign.) The BC player had moved to third. Matt Hicks tied the score 1-1 with a long fly ball out. In the next inning Matt Menard, Judge Janice’s grandson, (she would want you to know that) took a waist high pitch and put it over the right center wall. Game over. Bridge City won 2-1. I bet that HF kid will be telling his grandkids about once pitching a no-hitter and losing the game. By the way, Hicks struck out 15 batters in seven innings. Coach Chris Stump predicted Menard’s walk away homerun. How’s that for dramatic. Also while I’m at it, let me compliment the Bridge City school system for allowing senior citizens to attend all athletic events free of charge. I spoke to one elderly man who lives alone since losing his wife. He makes all BC sporting events. It’s entertainment for him and he says he couldn’t afford it otherwise. Roy says he and Judge Joe Parkhurst attended an LC-M freshman game that cost $4 per person.
THE BOY FROM ALABAMA
Fain Chalmer Holbrooks, 78, was a native of Piedmont, Ala. I first met Fain in the latter 1960s when he and Vivian, his wife of 57 years, moved to Orange. Throughout his life Fain had been one of the true characters, always good for a laugh, always upbeat, seldom, if ever, negative. A self motivated guy with an unforgettable smile he hustled life on his wits and never failed to put food on the table. Fain was a salesman, always best at selling himself. Give him five minutes and you would believe he was the greatest guy you’d ever met. He sold appliances, first for Verrett’s, then was manager at Wilshire’s and later worked at other stores. I’ll always remember the times he worked at Montgomery Ward and Inez Hearn was store manager. They were a riot to be around. Through the years Inez thought so much of him. He and Coy Charrier were in the appliance and car repair business together before Fain went in the used car business and later the roofing business. Always a hustler, carving out a living while accumulating friends along the way.
The low point in he and Vivian’s life was the death of their 15-year-old son Clay in 1971. We were very close to the Holbrooks at that time and I still remember the pain our friends went through. Opposites attract is probably true. Vivian was somewhat shy, reserved and always a lady. Fain didn’t have a shy bone and was always joshing someone, especially Vivian, his best friend and companion. Together they raised a nice family, daughters Pat Sheila and son Fain “Butch” Holbrooks Jr. He loved his family, grand and great-grandchildren.
About 15 years ago Fain nearly died in an Alabama restaurant when he choked on a piece of steak. An off-duty policeman saved his life. The local newspaper reported Fain was near death when the officer saved him. The policeman was later awarded for his heroic effort. That was sort of ironic because Fain had always counted policemen as his close friends. He would have loved to have lived in the Western days and been Wyatt Earp. He loved John Wayne movies.
He was one of a kind. We will never see his likes again. In his latter days he enjoyed attending Orangefield volleyball games where his granddaughter Kristinn is the coach. Although he never drank or smoked Fain died of liver cancer March 25. Services were Monday, March 29. We will never forget him. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends. May he rest in peace.
TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME
35 Years Ago-1975
Shirley Marks, 42, filed to run for Bridge City council. He was an elected member of the charter commission in 1973. He is employed at Jefferson Chemical in Port Neches. (Editor’s note: Shirley and his wife moved away about 25 years ago and we haven’t heard from them in years.)*****Last week the Opportunity Valley News celebrated its fifth anniversary at LaPlace Restaurant and Sound Studio, owned by Ernest and Ann McCollum. A remote broadcast by radio station KOGT was hosted by Bill Clark, Richard Corder and Joan Lovelace. Among the many guests were former sheriff Chester Holts and Judge Sid Caillavet, Gordon Baxter, police chief Wilson Roberts, Bridge City city manager Bill McClure, Henry Stanfield and Joe Blanda. Don Jacobs furnished the guitar picking and singing. Bax sang all 40 verses of “Philadelphia Lawyer.” Tee Bruce sang “Jolie’ Blon.” Judge Grover Halliburton, Uncle Jim McKay and former Sheriff Buck Patillo stood in amazement. Bridge City mayor P.M. “Red” Wood was named Citizen of the Year. The Dunn family, Roy, Phyl, Mark and Karen played host to the large gathering.*****Ann and Jimmy Segura have just returned from South Carolina where they attended son Tommy’s wedding.*****Harry Stephens, who has owned Harry’s Appliance since 1963 is holding an anniversary celebration at his Front Avenue store. (Editor’s note: Harry has been servicing the people of Orange County 47 years this April.*****Nellie Pruter was admitted to Orange Memorial after suffering a fall.*****Both Chester and Ethel Guillote retired from American Bridge this week.*****Will and Katherine Frey opens Frey’s Nursery and Garden Center on 16th Street. Helpers are four daughters, Kim, Sabrina, Karen and Stephanie and son, Mark.
A FEW HAPPENINGS
Maj. Joey Hargrave, after 26 years with the Bridge City police department, has retired. Joey, a BC grad and former football kicker, has seen 26 graduating classes and known most of the town’s youngsters. Bridge City youth knew and trusted him. Over the past few years Hargrave was actively involved in running the police department under Chief Faircloth and was acting chief until Chief Paul Davis was hired. We wish Joey the best and thanks for the years of service.******Condolences to Jerry Pennington and family on the death of his dad “Penny.”*****We understand Jimmy Schofield, who lives in Katy, fell and broke his hip. An Orange native and the son of Dr. Schofield, Jimmy has devoted his life to orphaned children. His life is really remarkable.*****Clint Landry, with MetLife is offering 2.35 percent on a $25,000 CD. You might want to give Clint a call at 832-6344.*****Houston’s richest person, worth $9 billion, Dan Duncan, age 77, died Monday. He was a country kid from Center, in Shelby County, the same place Grady Johnson, the governor of Pinehurst is from. That was also birthplace of Don Campbell. Something about that east Texas water cultivates those money making folks.*****A couple of aces we ran into. Doug Harrington and former police chief Andy Verrett. Those two old boys are always up to some mischief. Doug tells the story about Andy being a Humming Bird caretaker and setting the house on fire down fixing the birds some food on the stove.*****Most of you are too young to remember Muddy Waters and Billie Holiday. Both were great artist and both will turn 95 this week. Waters on April 14 and Holiday April 7.*****Speaking of birthdays it’s hard to believe that little April Fontenot will turn 46 on April 2. We knew her pretty mother Janet when she was 15 years old.*****Brother McDonald, who often preaches at Rev. Leo’s church, celebrates on April 2. ***Burl “Burlie” LaSalle celebrates Easter Sunday, April 4.***Our buddy and ace salesman Al DeRoche, turns 83 on April 15. Al is still going strong, calling on members of our advertising family. ***Others celebrating this week are Joe Peery, Dean “Dino” Martin, Lannie Claybar, Nevella Toal, Dan Domas and our longtime friend and recipe writer Nancy McWhorter. We hope she and Mac are doing well. We miss them since they moved away.***Happy belated birthday to Ivalyn Anderson, a lovely lady who has followed Rev. Anderson from church to church and missionary work for 50 years. She celebrated Sunday, March 28, but her special day is March 31.***Ms. Mattie of the “Party Line” column, in the Light and Champion Newspaper in Center, says that in years past they got free ink blotters, handheld fans, calendars and almanacs at any drug store. I remember those days. She also says the left lung is smaller than the right lung. The strongest muscle in our body is the tongue. Miss Mattie is 98 years old, she should know. *****Most people might not be aware that Orange Police Department Maj. Mike Broussard’s wife Loretta speaks fluent Cajun French. Her grandparents lived in Delcambre and Erath, in Vermilion Parish, and she picked up the language on visit and summer vacations. Mike, on the other hand, was raised in a Cajun home and doesn’t speak or understand it. So Loretta, who is a lovely lady, speaks in French with Mike’s mom.*****We came upon Gayle Walker at Super Walmart. We observed as she sat on a bench and read The County Record in its entirety. Front to back. A real fan of The Record, she said. What was odd is the way she reads a newspaper. She doesn’t separate the sections and reads the pages by flipping them inside out, then flips the entire paper to read the other page. Really strange. She’s our favorite person of the week.*****Attorney Sharon Bearden, a Baylor grad, almost got revenge on Judge Pat and the constant ribbing from U.T. grads. The Baylor Bears lost to Duke Sunday 71-78. A win would have put them in the final four. For a while it looked like they might make it. They went much farther than Texas, A&M and others anyway.
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK
Karen Bergeron, Lindsey McAlpin, Odette Simar, Paul Simar, Dana Myers, Danny Carter, Hunter Wilson, Mary Lejeune, Matthew Cooper, Rebecca Hunter, Carolyn Whittaker, Elizabeth Weir, James Williams, Steve Adams, Allison Asbury, Angie Sellers, Barbara Riddick, Vickie Foreman, Dalica Marie Bienivides, Ed McCracken, Ed Whitrock, Jason Vincent, Kellie Fontenot, Kent Pierce, Mack McDonald, Margaret Richter, Michael McAllister, Mikayla Kohn, Nevella Toal, Sawyer Hogan, Arline Dodge, Walter Terry, Desirea Wilson, Eddie Asbury, Geoff Rendall, Lannie Claybar, Linda Currie, Alan Anderson, Hillary Benefield, Hovel Chandler, Jason Ballard, Jeremy Simmons, Joe Peery, Kathie Dorman, Kirk Jordan, Mike Callahan, Rose Cormier, Sandra McRight, Shiloh Walker, Spencer Johns, Travis Primrose, Al DeRoche, Brandie Fowler, Dan Domas, Niki Viola, Janet Bland, Libby Harrison, Lisa Coffey, Nancy McWhorter, Race Dearborne, Cora Woodard, Cyndie Chauvin, David Blanton, Helen Locklin, James Bourdier, Jean Saxon, John Green, Shirley Hayes, Bob Cummings and Brenda McPherson.
On April 1, Jon Gosselin will be 33; Susan Boyle, 49; Ali McGraw, 72 and Debbie Reynolds, 78.***April 2, Emmylou Harris, 63; Leon Russell, 68 and Ron “Horshack” Palillo, 56.***April 3, Eddie Murphy will be 49; Alec Baldwin, 52; Tony Orlando, 66; Jennie Garth, 38 and Wayne Newton, 68.***April 4, David Blaine, 37; Robert Downey Jr., 45; Anthony Perkins, 78 and Muddy Waters, 95. Had he lived Heath Leger would be 31.***April 5, Colin Powell, 73; (the late) Frank Gorshin, 76; Gale Storm, 88 and Gregory Peck, 94.***April 6, Merle Haggard, 73; Billy Dee Williams, 73; Candace Cameron, 34 and Roger Corman, 84.***April 7, Russell Crowe, 46; Francis Coppola, 71; David Frost, 71 and James Garner will be 82.
JACK LOVETT, A TALENTED GUY
Jack Lovett, 83, passed away in Houston Saturday, March 27. Services were Tuesday, March 30, in Troup. Jack and wife Arthena were residents of West Orange many years. She died in 2007. Jack moved to Houston two years ago. He owned Lovett Electric Co. and was also a concrete contractor. He was an inventor who developed the process of separating shrimp sizes on shrimp boats as well as other inventions. Jack also was a writer and a member of the Writer’s Guild. He authored two books, one about his Navy career, and the other about being raised in an orphanage. He spoke three languages. I first met Jack in 1962 and we remained friends throughout the years. Jack was also an original member of the Wednesday Lunch Bunch. Many of you will remember Jack, who drove a long station wagon and lived near Mayor Roy McDonald on Irving Street for more than 45 years. May he rest in peace.
Peggy Costen, 84, went home to her Maker on March 28. A memorial gathering will be Friday, April 2, at Claybar Funeral Home in Bridge City. Ms. Peggy was a librarian at Bridge City School. She is survived by Robert, her husband of 65 years, daughters Stacey Crumpler, Tina Stanton and their families. She was a good lady who will be missed.
CAJUN STORY OF THE WEEK
Thophile Dartez and Calvin Thibeaux went for a beer at Tee-boy’s Lounge. They were jus making small talk wen Dartez said, “Yesterday was my 85th birthday.”
“Da hell you say,” said Thibeaux. Den he axe, “Wat did you git for your birthday hanh?”
Dartez answer, “My wife gave me a SUV, her.”
Thibodeaux say, “No kidding, dats amazing yeah. Imagine a SUV, wat a great gift dat is.”
Dartiz says, “Sure is, she game me some Socks, Underwear and Viagra.”
The media is making a big deal out of the hate and disrespect that is being hurled at our congressmen. What did they expect? For more than a year now, since Obama took office, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck and the FOX News propaganda machine have been daily spewing poison. There are weak-minded people in this country who take that hate and fear literally. Sarah Palin helps to fan the flames of hate every day. With throw away lines such as “Shot across the bow,” “Get in their face,” “Reload,” “Enemy’s cross hairs,” “Big guns,” “Aim high,” Gear up in the battle,” “Take up our arms” and a lot of other rhetoric. She doesn’t speak substance, doesn’t even bother about issues, just riling the people to a fever pitch. The Tea Party is a good audience for her to advocate hate. The Tea Party, like the KKK, John Birchers and other radical groups, like in the day of David Duke and George Wallace, are not healthy for our country. Every one of you but the radicals know that. I suspect a lot of the noise about health care coming from the “Right” is race based. More so than anyone will admit. Meanwhile, Palin has a gimmick that will make her very wealthy. Like Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly and the other “Talking Heads” who laugh all the way to the bank but are doing damage to our entire country. Mostly there are a lot of weak people who listen to that garbage. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone doesn’t go bananas and folks end up dead. As for Sarah, I don’t know how anyone can listen to that high-pitched voice, it makes my ears bleed.*****Duke is a 7-5 favorite to win the NCAA title. I believe West Virginia or Butler could upset the apple cart.*****The Baylor Lady Bears are headed to their second final four. “There you go Bearden.”*****The Lunch Bunch dined at Van Choate’s last Wednesday. Jimmy and Donna Scales made it. We hadn’t seen much of Donna after her mother got ill and later passed away. After that her brother Johnny had bypass surgery. Her plate has been full. This week the Bunch gathers at Robert’s, next week Novrozsky’s. Everyone is welcome. Haven’t seen Karen Jo lately and a few others also. By the way, we ate Tuffy’s crawfish over the weekend. All you can eat Thursday, Friday and Saturday.*****This is Holy Week. We need to all remember the purpose of Easter. I’m thinking about making the Sunrise Service at Shangri La or maybe Cowboy Church or somewhere. Why don’t you do the same. Have a nice Easter. Take care and God bless.