A WELCOME SURPRISE

As I sat down Tuesday morning to start this column a nice northeast breeze was blowing. About 9 a.m. it brought in a welcomed shower. I went out and watched it for awhile. I was hoping that the shower would reach my place. It has been extremely hot with my temperature gage reading 99 degrees at 4 p.m. Sunday. When you have such a dry spell watering with city water doesn’t do much more than keep the plants alive. I noticed the raccoons are looking poor, no water to drink or berries to eat. Several of the mama coons are coming out with their younguns looking for food and water. One of the moms has four little ones and she’s starting to look really bad. Another mother has triplets and a couple have twins. Without rain animals in the wild have a difficult time. I put out several gallons of water every evening and the buckets are dry in the morning. I’m not allowed, by my partner, to feed them any more. I was feeding over two dozen twice daily but they were taking over the place and getting far too friendly. I was told to feed them away from the house so I quit. I still sneak them something now and then but you can’t be their friend, they will take advantage of you. I still have one old mother coon who taps at my window with a small rock held in both hands. She’s been coming around for years. I put a bird bath out and put fresh cool eater in every morning before daylight. I feed plenty of Cardinals, Blue Jays and other birds but my new best friends are White Wing Doves. They started coming about three years ago. Now the flock has grown to over a couple dozen. I feed them wild bird food and keep sunflower seeds for the Cardinals. Right now we have a lot of butterflies, all different colors, but with no rain it’s hard to keep all the lantanas blooming. Butterflies, like Humming Birds, fight but never with a butterfly of a different color. As you can tell, I love nature but I know nature takes rain to flourish. Everything needs food and water. Of all the birds, I’ve only spotted one Woodpecker, but he’s loyal and comes by daily. *****Well, I’d best get going. Please come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.

LABOR MADE OUR LIVES BETTER

Last week I ran into longtime friend Kenny Pigg, one of the great union guys I have known. It had been a while since I had seen him. Like most of the others, Kenny is the kind of guy you can go to the bank with what he tells you. There were a few times I would have liked to change his opinion but I always respected that he was truthful and aboveboard. When I visit with Kenny I’m reminded of all the labor bosses and workers in different crafts who played such an important part in the labor movement that brought most of the improvements to all workers in the area. Even the workers on Chemical Row would not enjoy the benefits of today without labor having gotten the pay scale up and also the benefits. In order to keep their employees from organizing, the companies met union wages. The four month Texaco strike in 1950, set wage standards that changed the tide throughout the country. Many families went hungry but local businesses helped with credit for food. Banks extended loans and deferred payments. When Millard “Neighbor” Cox went to work at Texaco in 1947, he earned $1.95 an hour, for a 40-hour week. When the strike ended, workers, for the first time, made $3 per hour, taking home $100 a week. In 1954, the Pipefitter’s Union, Local 195, established the wages at $3.65 an hour. This set the standard for other crafts to follow but Pipefitters always made a little more than the others. Nick Morrison was business agent with Sec. Treasurer Bulldog Evans. Some local business agents were Dewey “Teddy Bear” Cox, C.J. Vaughn, Dovie Sartin, Doug Egan, Pete Bean, Buford Herford, whose son Clay is now Boilermaker International vice-president over Texas and other states and Pigg, among others. Gene Edgerly, with IBEW, a longtime friend I don’t see often enough, only a couple times a year when Judge Flo lets him off the leach. Flo, for many years, worked for Harry Hubbard, the Big Texas union boss. George Crawford was just a kid I knew who climbed the union ladder. I could write a book on the influence labor had on local and statewide politics. Locally, we had a bad strike at Firestone in 1966 and someone put dynamite under a large pipe. Had they known what they were doing and placed it on top, it would have been awful. Union bosses stood up and condemned the action but labor still got a black eye for the deed. There was only a Democratic Party but it was split between the Liberals and Conservatives. Their political battles were legendary. I only recall once that Liberals turned against one of their own, supporting John Connolly against Ralph Yarborough. It was nice running into Kenny, it brought back many memories. It also reminded me of all the good labor accomplished to make life better. Sometimes today’s youth don’t appreciate what their grandfathers went through in times of war and peace.

REMEMBERING A GOOD LADY

We were sorry to learn of the death of Laverne Hubbard, age 93, who passed away on July 15. Funeral service was held at Claybar Funeral Home Sunday, July 22. She was an Orange native whose father, Thomas Landrum, owned the ABC Grocery stores. He was the builder and first shop keeper of the store in West Orange that is now occupied by Danny’s. The other ABC store was located on 5th Street. Laverne was married to Raymond Hubbard, who took over the stores after his father-in-laws death. After leaving the store business he trained to become a lie detector technician, working for the Sheriff’s Dept. and other business establishments. Laverne worked as a nurse for Dr. Ingram. After Raymond’s death she became the constant companion of Leon Parish, accountant and WWII hero. We had known this wonderful lady for nearly 60 years. To her son John, niece Judy, family and friends, our sincere condolence.

TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME

10 Years Ago-2008

This train is just running too fast. Only 97 days left until the United States presidential election. Just a little over five months before the Bush / Cheney Administration is history. A report out today shows record deficits or $490 billion and expected to go to $520 billion. Even though those good old boys inherited a surplus, the national debt has nearly doubled since 2000 from $5 trillion to nearly $10 trillion in eight years, gas at the pump was 98 cents to $1.10 per gallon now its $4. U.S. reputation around the world is at an all time low. All in the name of conservative leadership. ***** Congrats to Sissy Lemons Yeaman and husband Jason, on the birth of their first child, daughter Jensyn Aubree. The new baby arrived midday Wednesday, July 23. The little cutie tipped the scales at 8 pounds, 4 ounces. She stands one foot, 8 inches tall. .*****I understand that Toby Latiolias, former Bridge City football player, and Darrell Brock, former B.C. coach, are both teaching and coaching at Crockett High in Austin. Coach Brock worked for Coach Les Johnson at Bridge City. *****Our longtime friend, beautiful Jean Lapeyrolerie celebrates her special day Aug. 2. She’s had some rough times since an auto accident but she deserves the best and that’s our wish. ***** Tuesday, Aug. 5 is Dr. Mike Shahan’s special day. On Aug. 5, 1962, 46 years ago, Marilyn Monroe died. Many stars have been copied but no one has ever been a good imitation of Marilyn. The world will never know another who had it all and that was before implants and plastic surgery. ***** Last week Scott McClellan, former Bush press secretary, admitted what we have known a long time. Scott says the administration’s talking points (propaganda) was put out through FOX News, owned by Rupert Murdoch and run by Roger Ales, longtime Republican strategist. The real prostitute for the Bush/Cheney talking points is Sean Hannity. They even created a Sunday show for him to spin. O’Reilly, the Beltway Boys and others spread the propaganda while claiming to be ‘fair and balanced.***** We told you a few months ago, in this column, that gas prices would start dropping as we approached the November presidential elections. I paid $3.72 a gallon yesterday. Ten days ago I paid $4. ***** Our buddy Pat Pate had a pin removed from her ankle at Bone and Joint in Beaumont Monday morning. That girl is tough. She sure has been through a lot. H.D. is scheduled to have heart work done in Houston Aug. 12. The doctors claim they will make his ticker good as new, however, they can’t change the color of it.*****Our Ridgeback, Raz, won a couple of blue ribbons and a point at the Longview dog show Saturday but didn’t do so good Sunday. Mark, who showed him, said the pretty girl Ridgeback out of Dallas was in heat and Raz had his mind on something other than performing in the ring.
***** Congrats to pretty Hanna Dunahoe, former Bridge City Strutter, accepted to be a Kilgore Rangerette. Not too many years ago Cathy Riley, current Strutter instructor, was a Rangerette. It’s quite an honor for Hanna to follow in her footsteps.***** Don Pate is starting to build apartments on Professional Park, in Mr. Cox’s Neighborhood and across from the Creaux’s Nest.*****Debbie, our girl Friday, who has been down this newspaper beat with the Dunn’s the last 35 years, is missing one of the few Monday deadlines. The doctor put Ms. Fusilier in the hospital for observation because of chest pains. A new EKG didn’t match up to the last one.

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

Obituaries 10 Years Ago-2008

James “Jim” Mike Griffin, 72, of Orange, died Friday, July 25. Funeral services were held Sunday, July 27. He served in the U.S. Army and was retired from Firestone Polymer. Survivors included his wife of 48 years, Loretta Anne Bilbo Griffin, children, James (Andy) Griffin Sr., Cindy Griffin Burks, Carol Griffin Lopez, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. ***** Jerry “Boo Boo” Marks, 77, of Orange, passed away Saturday, July 19. Funeral services were held Thursday, July 24. He was a lifelong resident of the Orange area, he enjoyed sports, was involved in the local little league baseball as a coach, umpire and commissioner. He was a veteran of the United States Army. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Barbara Marks, daughters, Bobbie Howeth, Debbie Smith, Sherry Smecca, and Debra Hunt, step-daughters, Barbara Woods and Brenda Cagle, sons, Jerry Dean Marks, Henry Maddox, and Joe Maddox, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME

40 Years Ago-1978

Roy Dunn and friend, the late Conley Windell, continue their trip through the great southwest, staying mostly on the back roads. Here are some excerpts from Roy’s “Down Life’s Highway” column written July 1978. “The sights while looking down on Vegas from a mountain top 20 miles away, at 10:30 p.m., were breath-taking. Millions of lights down below, a scene I wasn’t expecting. I pulled over and took in the view. As we approached the city, the lights got brighter and brighter, we pulled into the Stardust where we had connections from Orange that would take care of our stay. Junior was the Pit Boss and ‘compted’ us to everything in the city. The Stardust is said to have a million lights. (Editor’s note: In 2018 the hotel no longer exists). A bathtub, filled to the brim, was my first indoor bath since I left home on July 4. A big meal and I was ready to make the rounds. Conley conked out on me. For the next three days I took in all I could.” There are two things that are the mainstream of American today in 1978. One is the recreation vehicle, which we saw thousands of. Every shape and size, as families travel this giant country. Of the near half-million people visiting Vegas, 200,000 came by RV. The other is the CB radio. It’s foolish to be without one. Remember this was before cell phones. Quick assistance is always nearby. Channel 19 is a must to avoid a radar trap and “Smokey.” From the Gulf Coast of Texas to the sands of the Mojave there is so much to see and enjoy. No cares, no worries, no goals. In the morning we never knew where night would find us. Ready to get back on the road, make a big circle through Arizona, New Mexico and back to Texas. My eyes were amazed by every curve and mountaintop. (Next week part four.)*****Twenty-nine Little League Sweethearts raised more than $7,500. Named queens were Sunni Dorman, Shandi Brister, Kristy Harris, Kelly Jacobs and Mary LeBlanc.*****KLVI-AM has announced that Johnny Janot will air a “Pure Cajun” show each Sunday from 9:30 to 11 a.m. (Editor’s note: When Tee Bruce took over the show it ran from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Johnny died several years after the show was first aired.

A FEW HAPPENINGS

Last week I enjoyed reading Mayor David Rutledge’s recollection of the Gulf Chemical plant fire 40 years ago. It was a detailed account of a terrible accident. Having had a son and grandson who were burn victims I fully understood the recovery David suffered. Like his conclusion said, he played the hand that was dealt him well.*****I was proud to hear that my friend of a lifetime, Essie Bellfield, had been honored by the city of Orange with the naming of the downtown community center in her honor. The first and only woman mayor, she also was the first black to be elected mayor. Essie is the least racial person I know. She stands up for her people but is the first to blame them if they are wrong. Essie loves people and treats everyone the same. For 60 years our love for each other has been colored blind.***** This week, on July 29, 2008, the storm called Kartina hit New Orleans leaving vast destruction and loss of life. The city still hasn’t fully recovered. *****Three years have gone by since the death of Daryl King, who died on July 22, 2015. Our thoughts are with his mother and family. *****Friday, July 27, we are having a full moon. Strange things happen on full moon. Maybe the moon will bring a tweet from Trump that Putin will get to sleep in  the Lincoln bedroom while he’s a guest at the White House.*****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch dines at Novrozsky’s this week and next week at Robert’s. Everyone always welcome. *****We haven’t seen Judge Hershel Stagner lately. Maybe the Justice of the Peace and wife Donna have been on a trip. *****Speaking of vacations, Judge Derry Dunn took his first full week of vacation ever. The family reunion, 46 of them, spent a week at Chrystal Beach. The cabin accommodated 40 so I don’t know what the extra six people did. Derry didn’t go near the water. The last time he did produced bad results. *****We got to see Commissioner Johnny Trahan last week. He is always fun to be around. Everyone should have as good an attitude as Johnny does. *****Some folks have asked why I didn’t attend Judge Buddie Hahn’s retirement party. I didn’t know about it till Monday and it was held on Friday. I didn’t get an invite but I’m sure that wasn’t Buddie’s fault. By the way, it’s like he never left, he’s been filling in as a guest judge. Still no word from Gov. Abbott as to when he will fill the job. *****Steve Parkhurst was elected to the post effective Jan. 1. He will probably be appointed before long. *****I’m headed to Burger Town to let Bruce make me one of those Pizza Burgers. You can always get good food at Burger Town. Donna Self makes sure of that.

BIRTHDAYS

A few folks we know celebrating birthdays in the next few days. July 25: Misty Cappel, Ryan Kimbrough celebrates. Joining them are actors Matt LeBlanc, 50, Meg Donnelly, 17 and James Lafferty, 32.*****July 26: Allison LeLeux and Sherry Collins celebrate. Also Rolling Stone singer Mick Jagger, 74, actors Sandra Bullock, 53, Helen Mirren, 72 and Kevin Spacey, 58.***** July 27: Marie Slaton, Doug Richter, Helen Philen and Ty Manuel are a year older today. Joining them are golfer Jordan Spieth, 24, baseball player Alex Rodriquez, 42 and wrestler Triple H., 48.*****July 28: Allison Donnell, Angela Rhodes, Chaelynn Wilson celebrates and Blaze Montagne, turns 19-years-old today. Celebrities celebrating are baseball player Manu Ginobili, 40, actress Lori Laughlin, 53. *****July 29: Hannah O’Grady, Millie Lemoine, Lisa Faulk, Art Miller and Laurie Davis celebrate today. Also celebrating are country singer Martina McBride, 51, football player Dak Prescott, 24, and actor Timothy Omundson, 48.*****July 30: Celebrating birthdays today are Lisa McCall, Keith Gross, Ronda Hale, Conner Godwin and Daniel Faircloth. They are joined by former California governor and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, 70, actors Lisa Kudrow, 54, Terry Crews, 49 and Hilary Swank, 43.*****July 31: Laci Braus, Nancy Lancaster, Debbie Moerbe, Marie Pittman and Amber Weidmer have birthdays today. Celebs joining them are entrepreneur Mark Cuban, 59, country singer Zac Brown, 39 and Dean Cain, 51.

CAJUN STORY OF THE WEEK

Eighty-five year old Nolan Guilbeaux who loss his wife Agnes bout five years ago now spends his time fishing. Da old man loves to fish and it keeps him from being lonely. He was sitting in his boat da utta day wen he heard a voice say, “Pick me up.” Nolan him, he looked around and don’t see nuttin. He’s tinking maybe he was dreaming. Ten he heard da voice again, “Pick me up.” Nolan looked in da water and dere, floating on da top, was a frog. Nolan axe, “Are you talking to me, hanh?”

Da frog say, “Mais yea, I’m talking to you, pick me up, den kiss me and I’ll turn into the most beautiful Cajun woman you have ever seen. I’ll make sure dat all you friends are envious and jealous because me, I will be your bride.”

Nolan look at dat frog for a short while den he reach over, pick up da frog carefully and put it in his front shirt pocket. Den da lady frog say, “Are you nuts? Didn’t you hear wat I said? I said kiss me and I will be your beautiful bride. I’ll sleep wit you and love you a lot.”

Old man Guilbeaux opened his pocket and look at dat frog real hard and den he say, “Nah, at my age me, I’d rather have a talking frog.”

(Editor’s note: Wit age comes wisdom.)

C’EST TOUT

Martin Van Buren, the eighth president of the United States was the first president to have been born in the U.S. in 1782. He died at the age of 79, in 1862. Seven previous presidents were not natives. *****On Sept. 10, “Good Morning America” will launch its third hour. ABC News has announced two familiar faces, Michael Strahan and Sara Haines, will co-host the new GMA Day, at 12 noon Central time.*****I never thought I’d live long enough to see our great country run like a ‘Banana Republic.’ Shameful. Thanks for your time. I’m out of here. Take care and God bless America.