Last week the West Orange-Stark Mustangs decisively defeated the Wharton Tigers 47-15 in the Class 4-A Region III, Division II area round playoffs. Mustang quarterback Jack Dallas threw four first half touchdowns which appeared like Coach Cornell Thompson was honing his passing game. Wharton was the perfect team for WO-S to prefect their passing game against. Dallas was 16 of 21 for 219 yards through the air. The Mustang ‘Chain Gang’ continues to be reliable. They are, and for many years have been, the Mustangs anchor keeping the team grounded and affording a good offense the opportunity to win.  This Friday, the Mustangs go up against a good Caldwell team in the Region III semi-finals. Thanks to writer Meri Ellen Jacobs, who for years has done and excellent job covering the Mustangs in her weekly column “Mustang Insider.” Meri Ellen has chronicled the exploits of the West Orange-Stark football team and watched every game and knows each player personally. She has watched the good ones come along and go on to become college and pro stars. She could write a great book about a school with a rich football tradition of success. Meri Ellen has already written most of the story through her columns. She just needs to add the human side of the great youngsters and coaches that have been a part of Mustang football. I’m sure she has some great schoolyard stories about the youngsters who went on to stardom and also about the young men in the trenches who, when they graduated, left their mark as someone special who had contributed to the Mustang tradition and pride that goes with it. Life will go on and from time to time they will glance back at Meri Ellen’s columns and remember particular games, the bus rides or sharing a special experience with teammates. The pride of once being a Mustang will be renewed over and over as they travel the road of life. That’s how it is with traditions. Good luck this week. Just one more step towards state playoffs. All of Orange County will again be pulling for WO-S to march on.*****Well, I’ve got to move on and keep up my personal tradition of 45 years of producing a column that has been well received for five decades. I am thankful this Thanksgiving for the many loyal readers and our family of advertisers who make it all possible. Come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.


On Thanksgiving Day, an American holiday, we have images of football, family gatherings, turkey with stuffing, pumpkin pie and thoughts of the pilgrims, the acknowledged founders of the feast. Giving thanks for the Creator’s gifts was always, from ancient times, customs of the native people of North America. They held ceremonies to give thanks for a successful harvest. Today giving thanks still is the primary reason for the celebration. The Pilgrims gave thanks to God. To those people of strong Christian faith it was a joyous outpouring of gratitude. Texas, Florida, Maine and Virginia each declared itself the site of the first Thanksgiving and historical documents support the various claims. Spanish explorers and English colonists celebrated religious services of thanksgiving years before the Mayflower arrived.

President George Washington was the first president to proclaim a day of thanksgiving, issuing his request on October 3, 1789. Ironically exactly 74 years to the day before Lincoln, on October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the proclamation setting the last Thursday of November ‘a day of Thanksgiving and praise.’ Prior to this, each state scheduled its own Thanksgiving holiday at different times. Presidents Washington, Adams and Monroe all proclaimed national Thanksgiving, but this custom fell out of use by 1815. By the 1850’s, almost every state and territory celebrated Thanksgiving on its own. Sarah Joseph Hale, edition of the poplar woman’s magazine, “Godey’s Lady’s Book,” petitioned several presidents on this matter without success but her efforts finally succeeded in 1863 when she convinced Lincoln that a national thanksgiving might save to unite a war torn county. President Lincoln declared two national Thanksgiving Days that year, one for August 6, celebrating the victory at Gettysburg and a second for the last Thursday in November. Neither Lincoln nor his successors made the holiday a fixed annual event. The President still had to proclaim Thanksgiving each year and the last Thursday became the customary day.In a controversial move, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to lengthen the Christmas shopping season, made it the next to last Thursday in November.  Two years later, Congress responded by permanently establishing the holiday as the fourth Thursday in the month of November. Notice they didn’t say last Thursday. 

Throughout his proclamation of October 3, 1863, Lincoln invokes the Almighty God, “No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things, they are the gracious gifts of the Most High God. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens, in every part of the United States and also those at sea and those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwells in the Heavens.” In the last part of the proclamation President Lincoln added, “The interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as may be consistent with the Divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and union.

Throughout the ages, since the Pilgrims, religion has been a big part of the thanksgiving celebration. Giving thanks to God on this day is in the American tradition. however, today, we seem to have drifted away from what at one time was considered a “Holy Day.” This Thanksgiving Day, don’t forget to thank God for his many blessings and give Him praise for the well being of the family and for the bounty He has provided.


We were sorry to learn that Barbara Olson’s dad, Robert W. Bennett, 93, passed away Nov. 18. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Betty Jean Harmon Bennett, daughter, Barbara Bennett Olson and husband, David; grandchildren, Michael Robert Olson and wife, Stacey and Katherine Elizabeth Olson Triska and husband, Jeremy and great grandchildren, Chloe Jane Olson, Layla Ann Olson, and Holden Luke Triska. Gravesite services were held Saturday in Houston. .


10 Years Agp-2005

A dazzling season playoffs ends for Big Red. The Bridge City Cardinals fall 27-10 to the Hutto Hippos in Region III semi-finals. The Cards suffered the loss of their star quarterback, junior John Dishon, who was injured in an auto accident. After the stunning 23-0 victory over Jasper last week Class 3-A teams statewide playoffs began bracing for the emergence of the very talented and dangerous B.C. Cardinals. That all ended, perhaps prematurely, without the flash and dash of Dishon on both sides of the ball. It was the third post season bid for Coach Claude Tarver in his four seasons at Bridge City.*****The West Orange-Stark Mustangs are in Texas top four. The Mustangs 12-0 defeat over a strong Giddings team 42-11, was a team effort as the offensive line made holes for Kenneth Beasley and Earl Thomas all night. The defense allowed only 299 yards rushing, none through the air. The only pass completed by the Buffalos was caught by Thomas. WO-S will face the Wimberly Texans, 13-0, on Friday in Katy, in the State semifinals. It started in August with 183 teams and the Mustangs are one of the four remaining. Beasley has rolled up 1,365 yards on 221 carries, 6.2 yards per carry, averaging 516 points for Coach Dan Hooks in 13 games, a 39.69 average per contest. Beasley has verbally committed to the Texas Longhorns. Junior Earl Thomas rushed for 112 yards on 13 carries for a TD and caught a 41 yard Beasley pass for a six pointer against Giddings.*****For 49 years. the Service League of Orange has held an annual Toy Coffee. On Thursday, David and Sharon Kosboth’s home, 2749 Sunset Drive, across from Sunset Grove Country Club, will be the sight of the Toy Coffee, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. *****The Rev. Lynn Ashcraft, who became pastor of North Orange Baptist Church in 1973, announced he will retire on Dec. 31, after 32 years. During his tenure the church moved to a new site, built a sanctuary, plus other buildings, including a gym.*****Nick Wingate, 86, to marshal Jaycee Christmas parade. His meat market was destroyed by Hurricane Rita. Wingate Meat Market was started by his father, Claude and uncle George Wingate. When the brothers were teenagers they butchered a cow and sold the meat door to door. Nick and his brothers were in business for several years. The last 40 years Nick, his wife and son have operated the meat market on MacArthur Drive. (Editor’s note: Nick died a few months ago at age 96.)*****The Oak Ridge Boys are coming to Lutcher Theater on Dec. 6. *****Van Choate acquired Tuffy’s Eatery. In 1985 Donald “Tuffy” Bishop opened Tuffy’s on the corner of Hwy. 12 and Hwy. 62, in Mauriceville. He operated the restaurant for seven years until he sold it to Mike Hamilton. Mike adopted the name “Tuffy”  and was called that by many of the State Representatives he served with in Austin. The restaurant again has been sold, this time to Van and Josette Choate.*****County to condemn Rita damaged property in order to begin process for FEMA to remove debris.*****GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Wilson J. “Gator” LeBlanc, 66, of Mauriceville, died Nov. 18. He owned and operated his own trucking company. He is survived by his wife Patsy and daughters Tonya, Melissa and Peggy and two adopted  children Robby and Veronica.*****Dawn Delaney Aytes, 50, of Orange, died Nov. 20. She worked at the Orange County Tax office 20 years and 10 years with Orange County Ambulance. She is survived by her mother Virginia Clark and sons Clifford and James Aytes.*****Helen Rose Edwards, 78, of Orange, died Nov. 21. She is survived by sons Michael and Joseph Variot and daughter Crystal Edwards.*****Birdie Landry, 80, of Bridge City, died Nov. 22. A native of Scott, Louisiana, she was one of 17 Duhon children. She was active in the Senior Citizens Association, Merry Mixers and volunteered at nursing homes and hospitals.*****A.C. Hazlewood, 84, of Orange, died Nov. 22. He served in WWII in the U.S. Army. He was retired from Dupont in Orange. Service was held Nov. 26.*****Cornelia Rebecca “Connie” Moore, 85, of Little Cypress, died Nov. 23. A 1935 French High graduate, she moved to Orange in 1945. She was preceded in death by her husband Lawrence Moore. She is survived by her son Lynn Alan Moore and daughter Catherine Crouse. Service was held Nov. 28.*****Serenity Hope Harvey, infant daughter of Crystal and Billy Harvey, died Nov. 23. She is also survived by brother Brandon and sisters Trinity and Kinity, all of Bridge City.

40 Years Ago-1975

The Orange County Bass Club newly elected officers are: Gary Glende, president; Jimmy McKee, vice-president; Carl K. Thibodeaux, secretary; Willie Hayes, treasurer. directors will be Troy Woodall, Harold Bull and Leslie Bolt.*****Walter Smith celebrated a birthday on Nov. 26. He is the mate of Mary Dorothea Fountain Smith.*****Five members of the Dolly family celebrate birthdays, Vera, Nov. 5; Jerry, Nov. 7; Kenny, Nov. 10; Kathy, Nov. 11 and Gerald, Nov. 12. They will just have one big party.*****Jo Ann Brabham celebrates Dec. 3. She may be 43 but she looks 33.*****The Texas A&M Aggies beat Texas 20 to 10. A&M coach Emery Bellard just wouldn’t run up the score on his old friend Darrell Royal. Anyway, that’s the rumor that Aggie Doug Harrington is spreading.*****Beth Dugas stars in the production of “Applause.”*****Coach Vernon Glass leaves Lamar.*****Joy Young sent her sister, Inez Hearn, a turkey’s butt in a cupcake holder. Danny Blacksher was the delivery boy. In retaliation, Inez and son Harold, arranged for a fire truck to pull up to Joy’s house with sirens blaring. The fireman jumped out, pulling hoses and nearly gave Joy a heart attack. Those sisters are something else.*****Dick’s Texas Ave. Grocery, in Bridge City, weekly specials are: Sirloin steak, $1.27 lb.; T-bone steak, $1.57 lb.; Round steak, $1.27 lb.; 25 pounds meat freezer order, $24.95; Halves, 69 cents lb.; Hinds, 89 cents lb.


It was great news hearing that our friend Elaine Myers, from the Horseman Store, who has been battling cancer for the last couple of years, has been declared cancer free. What a blessing for this strong, hardworking lady. Elaine is a born optimist who always sees the glass half full.*****We had a nice visit with native character Jerry Priddy, who had everyone at Harmon‘s car lot in stitches telling stories about his hospital experiences. Jerry‘s stories are hilarious. He could be a standup comic if he could stand up that long. He’s a sit down story teller.*****Dr. Amber Dunn was home for a few days from Garden City, Kansas. She witnessed her first tornado which hit Garden City. She was raised in hurricane country so a tornado was a new experience.*****Also visiting at the Dunn’s this week is grandson Sean Gros, a U.S. Coast Guardsman, who came in from New York to spend Thanksgiving with his family. He and his cousin Amber just missed each other by hours.*****A few folks we know celebrating birthdays in the next few days: On Nov. 25, our longtime buddy Howard Morse, business man and Bridge City bank board member turns 91. He’ll do to ride the range with. Also celebrating is Trendz owner Sherry Hickman, Joel Gilbert and Serena Simonton. Celebrities celebrating on this day, actress Christina Applegate, 44, singer Amy Grant, 55 and Dancing with the Stars judge Bruno Tonioli, 60.*****Nov, 26 finds a unique, special kind of guy, D.J. “Ace” Amedo, celebrating. Also having a birthday on this day is the prettiest district judge in Texas, the mother of twins, Judge Courtney Burch Arkeen, and one of Kim and Lon Hubbard’s lovely daughters Taryn Hubbard celebrates as does Holly McKinley and Shelly Hollier. Dist. Attorney, football analyst and college game forecaster John Kimbrough celebrates today also. They are joined by celebrities singer Tina Turner, 76, comedian Rich Little, 77 and country singer Joe Nichols, 39. Nov. 26 is also Thanksgiving Day in the USA.*****Nov. 27 finds Melissa Fisher, a nice lady celebrating as does June and the late Fred Gregory’s lovely daughter, former beauty queen Sharon Gregory. Also having a birthday on this day is Betty Simonton, Cindy Huckabay, Don North, Bobby Adams and Roy’s sister Shirley Kogas. They join actors Robin Givens, 51 and Jaleel (Urkel) White, 39 and politician Caroline Kennedy, 58.*****On Nov. 28, Russell Dillow, married to Mary Sartin, former teacher, celebrates today. Also a great guy, Debbie’s husband, David Fusilier celebrates. Our former editor Jerry Childress, wherever he might be, turns a year older today. Cassandra Carpenter, Barbara Peveto and Haley Barlow also celebrate. TV show host Jon Stewart, 53 and actor Ed Harris, 65 also celebrate.*****Nov. 29, finds county commissioner Barry Burton a year older today. Maybe he’s a bit wiser. Also celebrating are Troy Manuel, Jim Bob Aven and pretty Angela Webb.They join game show host Howie Mandel, 60, sportscaster Vin Scully, 88 and actor Andrew McCarthy, 53.*****On Nov. 30, Norris and Pat Brandon’s chicken raising daughter Evelyn celebrates. So does the ‘Big Red’ man Ray Leleux’s buddy Vance Chauvin and Erin Evans, Sandra Smith and Kenneth Manuel. Celebrities celebrating on this day are baseball player Bo Jackson, 53, singer Billy Idol, 60 and actor Ben Stiller.*****On Dec. 1, our longtime College Station friend Bill Hare, who last week lost his Beall‘s sidekick Tommy Locke, celebrates a birthday as does Amanda George, Frank Welch and Wesley Duncan. Also on this day Janelle and George Sehon celebrate their 37th anniversary. Congrats and best wishes for many more healthy, happy years. They join singer/actress Bette Midler, 70, director Woody Allen, 80 and former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle, 38.*****Gas at the pump is the lowest price since President George W. and Cheney, (the oil men) took over the government. The price, around $1.70 a gallon, is not yet as low as it was when President Bill Clinton left office. My bet is if a Republican is elected in 2016, we will see $3 plus gas within a year to 14 months after they take over.*****This week, British Prime Minister David Cameron called for Britain to join the growing ranks of nations bombing the Islamic State’s home base in Syria. The United States, France, Russia and Turkey are among the countries that have intensified air strikes against the Islamic State. My bet is that President Obama’s strategy will work in the long haul. The coalition will eventually defeat ISIS or greatly diminish their forces before Obama leaves office without body bags of our young arriving home every day.*****This week we are publishing Ms. Pearl’s Thanksgiving poem. We are glad to report that Pearl is doing fine. She can’t run as fast as she used to but her mind is sharp as ever.*****Congrats to Orangefield’s coach, Josh Smalley, and the Bobcats for a great season. Coach Smalley and his staff are doing a good job with the athletic program in all sports.*****Thanks to Capt. Chuck Uzzel we will eat good this holiday season. His gifts of wild ducks and geese will make for some great meals. Capt. Chuck is a good boy, he always takes care of the old folks.*****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch will dine at Robert’s this week and back at PK’s Grill next. Everyone is welcome.


Father Guillory is an elderly priest at Lafayette’s St. Joseph Catholic Church. One day, speaking to da young priest, Father Desormeaux, he said, “It was a good idea you had to replace da first four pews with plush bucket theater seats. It worked like a charm. Da front of the church fills up first.”

Da young priest nodded and da old priest continued, “And you told me a little more beat to da music would bring young people back to church so I suppose me, da Rock-N-Roll gospel choir was annutter good idea. We are packed in da balcony.”

Father Desormeaux, said, “Tank you Father, I’m pleased dat you are open to da new ideas of youth.” 

“Well,” said Father Guillory, “I’m afraid you’ve gone too far wit da drive-thru confessional.”

“But Father,” protested da young priest, “My confessions have nearly doubled since I began dat me.”

“I know son,” replied Father Guillory, “But da flashing neon sign, Toot-N-Tell or Go to Hell,” cannot stay on da church roof no.


Over the last few months we have heard a lot about the presidential races but very little about state and local races until now. Political contests here at home should draw a lot more attention than it does. Now that Orange County has become a one party primary, two things will happen, we will have a light turn out in the March Primary. The last county judges race drew 6,000 votes out of 50,000 registered. That elected a county judge. Many of the candidates and office holders who declare themselves as Republicans do it as a matter of convenience and because of straight party vote. Their hope is not to face opposition, first in the primary and especially in November. The March Primary will be a little larger because of the presidential race and Texas still having a chance to pick the Republican nominee. So far, I haven’t noticed any ground swell of support for any of them in this county.*****A lot of good local office holders deserve to be re-elected but none more than Sheriff Keith Merritt, who is a good, dedicated sheriff and leader. County Commissioner John Banken is also doing a good job representing Pct. 3, which takes in West Orange, Orangefield and Bridge City. Banken, a former city councilman and mayor of Bridge City, is sincere about his service. He’s not a yes man and can be counted on to speak up when he feels something is not in the best interest of the citizens. For years he has been active in the community and in the Ministerial Alliance. He’s doing a good job and shouldn’t draw any opposition. If he does, he deserves to be re-elected.*****More on politics later but for now my time is up. Thanks for yours. Please read us cover to cover, shop our family of advertisers when you can. A blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours. Stay safe on the road. God Bless.