From the Creaux’s Nest
CHRISTMAS THE BIRTHDAY THAT KEEPS ON GIVING
It’s come on the Christmas season, a joyous time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. On Dec. 25, many people who attend church just once a year will attend religious services. The youngsters will wake up to the joy of gifts under the tree, many not yet realizing why this day of gifts from Santa Clause and the big feast mom has planned is a special day and why we celebrate. Many youngsters are happy that they are going to Grandma’s house, where all the aunts, uncles and cousins come together. The children enjoy a fun filled day while the adults rehash old stories about their youth, like how Uncle Tommy got in all that trouble with Papa when he started a fire that nearly spread to the house. It’s a great day for the generations to renew the love of the family unit. As the years go by, one at a time they move on to meet their Maker. New babies arrive to take their place. The conversations change to those good Christmas times at Grandma and Papa’s place. Aunts and uncles are now the old folks and the cycle continues. Memories are made at Christmas gatherings that are everlasting. Christmas, the birth of Christ, is a time to give thanks for family and our many blessings. May you have a very Merry Christmas. We give thanks to you, our loyal readers and supporters. Unfortunately for the Harmon family and all who loved Don, it starts on a sad note. I must move on. Please come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.
REMEMBERING DON HARMON
A Good and Generous Man
Don and I go back to when we were both in our young 20’s and in all those years I’ve never known a fairer, kinder, caring, straight-shooter. Don helped countless people, many needing just a little help. Preston Fuller tells stories about Don cutting deals, often taking money out of his wallet to help his customer have enough for a down payment. Not company money, his own money. He would tell the customer, “Pay me back when you can.”
Don didn’t like the selling end of the car business. He was a wholesale buyer. He would travel Texas and Louisiana visiting car dealers who became his friends throughout the years. When he worked South Louisiana, he would often return to Orange with a trunk full of fresh baked, hard crust French bread and would then pass it around to friends. For the last few years, here on Henrietta Street, Don was the first to arrive. He would sweep the walkway, then walk the area and pick up all the trash including cigarette butts.
Don had been a football star at Stark High and as a fleshly halfback was offered a scholarship to McNeese but went into the Army during the Korean conflict and on his return joined his dad and brothers in the car business and married Dorothy Bonin. Don and Ms. Dorothy raised two fine young men, Donnie and Kevin, and were extremely proud of their wonderful grandchildren.
Surprisingly for a car man Don was a very private person. His wife of 59 years, Dorothy, was sick for a long time. Don took care of her diligently, even though he was having some health problems himself. He didn’t see a doctor until after her death. Each morning he visited her grave until his health prevented it. For over a year Don fought a battle with cancer that showed up in different places in his body. Finally it was too much to overcome. Don, who had maintained his high school football playing weight was a sticker for good health, hadn’t smoked, drank or abused his body and was a unlikely candidate for cancer.
Each morning Don would stick his head into our office and ask how we were. He loved high school track and missed few state meets. There were also many fun times in his life. He was lucky at shooting craps in his younger days. There were a lot of car dealers and wholesale buyers around that Don will be reunited with. Charlie Wickersham, Bill Bell, J.T. Harrison, Leo Brown, Bill Kizer, Leon Slayter and many others and his longtime friend banker Elmer Newman. It will be quite a reunion. Don also will again be with Dorothy, the love of his life. As for me, like so many others, I loved the guy. I’m glad his fight is over.
Donald Cecil Harmon, Sr., 83, passed away Dec. 20, 2014. Dorothy died two years earlier on Dec. 14. Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 23, at Claybar Funeral Home in Orange. He will be missed. Condolences to his sons, brothers, sisters and their families. Another friend done gone. May he rest in peace. Please see obituary.
TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME
10 Years Ago-2005
Our buddy, Karen Jo Vance, went to work in the back of the County Clerk’s office in April, 1974, at the age of 19, as a “take out” girl for Security Abstract. For all of her adult life she has worked in that office. On Dec. 28, this lovely lady will celebrate her 50th birthday. (Editor’s note: Ten years have gone by. Karen Jo is older but the County Clerk still loves her job. and on Jan. 1, she will embark on a new four year term.)*****Reggie White’s death at age 43 has stunned players, coaches and football fans around the country. He died Dec. 26, of sleep apnea, a condition where breathing stops during sleep. He tallied 198 sacks and was a member of the 75th Anniversary team. He played eight years at Philadelphia, six at Green Bay and one at Carolina.*****United States Army Sergeant Jason Menard surprised his mother, Sharon Dunn, with a visit to Bridge City. Just 24 hours earlier he was in the dangerous streets near Kirkuk, Iraq. He slept in his own bed Christmas Eve. The 24 year old will be home for a few days before returning to his third tour of duty in Iraq. (Editor’s note: Jason is still in the Army, stationed in the states.)*****Our greatest loss, thanks to Tom DeLay, in the coming year will be Con. Jim Turner. (Editor’s note; Boy, you can say that again.)*****GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Rhonda C. Mullen Richoux Bruce Morgan, 29 of Bridge City, died Dec. 25.***Linc Jason Schexnyder, 39, stationed with the U.S. navy in Omaha, Nebraska died Dec. 20. He was a former graduate of Bridge City High School.***Buna Sledge Henry, 85, of Bridge City, died Dec. 24. She had lived in Bridge City since 1950.***Jack Lewis Duham, 83, of Bridge City, died Friday, Dec. 24.***Russell “R.L.” Henderson, 72, of Orange, died Dec. 21. He was a safety inspector for Chevron. He was a national all-star softball player.*****Harry Dell Flanagan, 73, of West Orange, died Dec. 22. He graduated from Stark High School in Orange in 1950.*****Margaret Eva McMahon Voughan, 90, of Orange, died Dec. 23. She was born in Slidell, LA, in 1914.***Clayton Martin, 67, of Bridge City died Dec. 21.***Robert Murray Wood, 85, of Orange, died Dec. 20. Retired from Dupont the was a WWII Air Force veteran. He was shot down in Germany April 1, 1944, and was a POW until the war ended.***Anita Decker, 88, of Orange, died Dec. 25. She was preceded in death by her husband Thad Decker.***Jacklynn Rose “Jackie” Elliot, 54, of Mauriceville, died Dec. 22.***Jeremy Paul Bouley, 25, a native of Orange, died Dec. 23.
40 Years Ago-1974
Pretty Linda Gay, the daughter of Nancy and Lewis Gay, now lives in Dallas. She is featured on the cover of Joske’s new Dallas catalogue and also featured inside. Linda still lives in the Dallas area. Her parents Linda and Lewis have passed away.*****The Harmon brothers, Jackie, Carlton and Don have purchased 22 acres of commercial property on MacArthur Drive.*****The Lynn Emerson’s have moved into their new magnificent home in Bridge City. Neighbors across the street are Helen and Doug Harrington.*****Attorney H.D. Pate is enlarging his law office to accommodate former assistant district attorney Don Burgess. (Editor’s note: Don went on to become a district judge and appellant court judge. Thanks to Tom DeLay’s redistricting, the Judge will be pursuing other avenues. He chose not to run for re-election.)*****The Orange County Bar Association installed new officers at a party held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Cash “Jack” Smith. Buddie Hahn was installed president, H.D. Pate vice-president, Don Burgess, sec/treasurer.*****Getting special honors at the Bridge City football banquet were Charlie Hildabrant, outstanding back; Craig Morris, outstanding lineman; Randy Fults and Hildabrant were named most valuable players.*****Betty Williams is one of the sweetest, sexiest gals in the country. The young bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dick Bevins and runs the front end at Texas Ave. Grocery, a family business.*****District Attorney Sharon Bearden warns folks who will party over the holidays not to drink and drive. If you can’t find someone to take you home, leave your car parked and locked and call a cab.*****Justice of the Peace, Pct. 1 Judge James “Stick” Stringer becomes a private citizen come Jan. 1.*****Larry Gunter is Pinehurst city judge.*****Orange city secretary is Mavis McClure.*****Wayne Baker is named new sales manager at Butler-Baker Pontiac/AMC.*****Dr. Paul Willis is West Orange school superintendent.*****The New Year’s eve party will again be at Laverne and Hal Ridley’s place in Victory Gardens. Laverne throws a good party.*****Phyllis and Roy Dunn will mark their 20th anniversary Dec. 31. It should be another one of those sunset to sunrise celebrations bringing the New year of 1975.
A FEW HAPPENINGS
Up jumped the rabbit and like that Karen Jo is gone, didn’t waste much time packing. After 40 years in the County Clerk’s office, she has hung it up. She says, “God’s plan for our lives is sometimes a complete surprise.” She said she never expected to retire. “My 60th birthday is Dec. 28th and retirement is the best gift God could have given me and it truly was a surprise. His plans are awesome.” Karen Jo will be missed. I look for several other good county employees to get out of Dodge.*****Bridge City ISD Athletic Director Richard Briggs released a list of 52 applicants for the head football coaching job. Applicants came from all over the country and locally. Indiana, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana and Arizona were some out-of-state applicants. Many applied throughout Texas, some assistants at large schools. *****Our friends at Dupuis Full Service in Bridge City extend Holiday Greetings to all their customers. Manager Earl Duhon has colorectal cancer and will start chemo in January. He does not have insurance and could use any financial help. To donate link to http://wwwgofundme.com/gx7yz8. *****A few of the celebrities we lost in 2014: Robin Williams,63, suicide, Aug. 11; Joan Rivers, 81, Sept. 4; Mickey Rooney, 93, April 6; Lauren Bacall, 89, Aug. 12; Poet Maya Angelou, 86, May 28; Shirley Temple Black, 85, Feb. 10; Hall of Famer Tony Gioynn, 54, June 6; Joe Crocker, 70, Dec. 22.*****Celebrity weddings last weekend: Elton John Married longtime partner David Furnish at their estate near London Sunday. The couple’s sons served as ring bearers. England legalized same sex marriage this year.***Former “N Sync member Lance Bass and artist Michael Turchin married Saturday in LA. JoAnna Garcia Swisher and Jamie-Lynn Sigler officiated the ceremony.*****A few folks we know celebrating their special day in the next few days. On Dec. 24, Al’s better half, Helen DeRoche, celebrates as does Jay Scarbough, Mike Dillon, Terri Estes, Toni Thompson and Mindy Granger. Also Lucy and Rene’ Hanks celebrate their 59th anniversary. They all share this special day with singer Ricky Martin, 42 and author Mary Higgins Clark, 84.*****Dec. 25th Christmas baby Judge Flo Carter Edgerly, longtime friend, a good Judge, now retired celebrates. Ronnie Hutchison “Mr. Orangefield”, Jenny’s husband and Kent’s dad celebrates on this great holiday. Also marking a birthday are Earline Russell, Velma Theriot, Evelyn Foster, Janelle Deutsch, Louise Buker, Ruby Ryan, Many Frances Hartley and Randy Wuske. This also would have been our late friend Gordon Baxter’s birthday. They share this day with singer Jimmy Buffett, 67, actress Sissy Spacek, 64, singer Barbara Mandrlell, 65.*****On Dec. 26, Kent Broussard, Ashley Burris, Emily Glover and Jennifer Ferguson all celebrate. They share the day with TV host John Walsh, 68 and baseball player Ozzie Smith, 54. This was also the day our friend Curtis Lee passed away in 2011.*****Dec. 27: This day is loaded with a bunch of characters, some colorful, some not so much, but all are special folks. Our dearest friend, Ms Jewel’s boy, the late J.B’s big brother, attorney Jim Sharon Bearden, the best criminal attorney I know turns 75. Unbelievable, it seems that only a few years ago he come home from Baylor with his law degree. I was fortunate enough to be there to witness it and wish him well.***Bridge City Mayor Kirk Roccaforte, married to “Never a Dull Moment” Shirley, has dedicated much of his life to public service. A longtime city councilman and a very effective mayor servicing his last eligible term, celebrates on this day.***A county judge’s son, voice of the Newton Eagles and a dedicated worker for Orange County Economic Development, who couldn’t do it without “Girl Friday” Shirley Zimmerman, Bobby Fillyaw is a year older today.***Russell Bottley, a fine young man, who bleeds WO-S Mustangs and knows every great player since Kevin Smith, fought a long battle with cancer and on this birthday, with help from many friends, is thankful to be cancer free, celebrates.***Florence’s husband, Max Pelham, celebrates also Bobby Sibert, Judy Taylor, Rob Turner, and Lorraine Bonin. They share birthdays with actor “Good Times” John Ames, 74, journalist Cokie Roberts, 75 and Port Arthur’s NFL star Jamaal Charles, 27.*****On Dec. 28, Orange County’s former longest serving employee, a special lady, Karen Jo Vance celebrates.***Commissioner David Dubose’s better half, lovely Harriet Dubose celebrates, as does Lynda Montagne, Stacy Roberts, Jacob Broussard, Debbie Taylor and Linn Cardner. They share this day with actor Danzel Washington, 59, artist Stan Lee and Oparah’s best friend Gayle King, 59.*****Dec. 29 our friend, a special guy, Kenny “KeeKee” Dupuis, married a long time to Nancy and owns the only full service station in three counties celebrates as does Pam White, Jacklyn Bradberry, Pam LeDoux, Sherrie Reid and Lauren Leger. They share this day with actor John Voight, 75, actress Mary Tyler Moore, 77 and Ted Danson, 65.*****On Dec. 30, pretty Kate Kazmar Butcher, one of Joe’s girls, celebrates as does Paula Aven, Kari Stringer and Rebecca Hannegan. They share this day with three big stars, LeBron James, 29, Tiger Woods, 38 and television show host Meredith Viera. Happy birthday to all. Please see complete list.*****Seen at Denny’s were the Johnson boys, Kenny and Steve, celebrating birthday breakfast for big brother David, who turned 71 on Saturday, *****Also spotted was Jody Raymer, escorting two lovelies, Beverly and mother-in-law Ms. Pearl, who looks good and getting around like a pro with her walker.*****For 20 years, a couple of days before Christmas, the late Dot Eshbach brought homemade fudge to us. We were surprised last week when the mail brought a package of fudge from Cal and Connie Eshbach, of Kernes, TX, in “Honor of Dot.” Thanks, she was a special lady.*****Tuesday our Cajun buddy Jessie Domingue came by with some French bread from LeJeune’s Bakery in Jeanerette. Ironically, he also brought a loaf for Don Harmon, unaware that Don’s funeral was going on at the very time. Jessie also treated us with Cajun maliton and quail eggs from Darrell Broussard in Gueydan. Jessie is not only a talented musician but also is one heck of a great Cajun.
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK
Holly Bryan, Mindy Granger, Toni Thompson, Trey Clark, Terri Estes, Helen DeRoche, Lewis Sims, Mary Jane McCune, Mike Dillion, Earline Russell, Ruby Ryan, 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, Jean Marshall, Rebecca Johns, Rob Turner, Bobby Sibert, Judy Taylor, Kirk Roccaforte, Lorraine Bonin, Max Pelham, Lynda Montagne, Jacob Broussard, Stacy Roberts, Debbie Taylor, Harriet Dubose, Kenneth Wiemers, Linn Cardner, Raymond Costilla, Pam White, Slade McClanahan, Pam LeDoux, Sam McLellan, Jacklyn Bradberry, Larry Padget, Sherrie Reid, Kenny Dupuis, Lauren Leger, Kari Stringer, Kate Kazmar Butcher, Kyler Walron, Paula Aven, Madison Ranee Hanusch, Marie Perkins and Rebecca Hannegan.
CAJUN STORY OF THE WEEK
Da Catolic Priest Fatter Paul was making his annual Christmas week rounds visiting wit his parishioners and checking out der devotion to Jesus Christ, who’s birthday would be celebrated in a few days.
He stopped for a visit wit old man Alsid Comeaux, wat still live in da old place at Indian Bayou. He’s a poor ex-farmer him. Da Priest axe po Comeaux, “Mr. Comeaux, if you had a horse would you give it to da Lord, hanh?”
“Maise, I sure would me,” Comeaux answer.
“If you had a cow?” Fatter Paul axe.
“Absolutely I would,” said Comeaux.
“Wat bout a goat?” da Priest axe.
“Sure would,” Comeaux answer.
Den Fatter Paul say, “Well, let me axe you wat bout a pig, hanh?”
Comeaux him, he come rite out of dat old chair and he say, “Now dats not fair Fatter, you know I got a pig me.”
Editor’s note: There’s a Christmas message in there somewhere.
Congratulations to the West Orange-Stark Mustangs for not only a great season but for bringing all the communities together for one reason, pulling for our home team. The Mustangs captured the goodwill of all our citizens. Never before have I seen a sports team get so much recognition. Everywhere I went Friday, on the day of the game, people were wearing Mustang blue. On Saturday, after that game, the Beaumont Enterprise dedicated their entire front page to the Mustangs. I had never seen that before. There was something special about the 2014 Mustangs. Maybe it had to do with how they overcame misfortunes when star players were lost to injury, maybe it was the charm of a JV quarterback, with the name of Jack Dallas, who took over after the loss of two starting quarterbacks that captured so many fans. Coach Cornell Thompson and his staff week after week made the right calls and shaped personnel to fill the gaps. The Mustangs had every opportunity to win the game against Gilmer. The 35-25 loss doesn’t reflect the excitement of the game. In championship games its often how the ball bounces. It didn’t bounce in favor of the Mustangs. I’m not going to rehash the game but I’m not convinced calling back Deionte Thompson’s 102-yard run off of a field goal attempt, was a block in the back, the shoulder maybe but not a back block. More importantly, the referees hadn’t been calling minor infractions, just major ones, so all game times could move along. That one bad call I believe changed the momentum of the game despite WO-S being ahead 19-7. I was truly impressed with the television coverage. The camera work was outstanding, even showing the color of the players eyes. I watched all the games starting with Newton Thursday night. I turned down the volume and listened to Bobby Fillyaw broadcast on the radio. He ran ahead of television a few seconds but Stelly and Kimbrough’s broadcast of the Mustangs was perfectly in sync. Most of the teams I favored lost. We saw an interview with our friend, former BCISD superintend Jamie Harrison, who is Director of Athletics for the UIL. He announced that for the first time basketball championships will be played in San Antonio not Austin. Again thanks to the Mustangs for the memories and excitement they brought to Orange County. Special thanks to our photographer Meri Elen Jacobs for the coverage.*****I’ve got to go. Take care and God bless.