DEAR FOLKS AND GENTLE PEOPLE

Back years ago there was a popular song with these words, “those dear folks and gentle people who live in my hometown.” I don’t recall exactly when that was or who sang it but I’m often reminded of that song by some of the great folks who live right here among us. I’m convinced you won’t find better people anywhere. It’s a privilege to know so many and share a piece of life with them. I find them in everyday life, just ordinary folks, women and men alike. So many of those good people I’ve known are no longer with us. Through life I’ve made friends along the way that were special but its people in general that I’m impressed with knowing. It would fill this column to name them all. Here’s a small example.  Last week I ran into Ross Smith who I had not seen since Corky Harmon’s funeral over a year ago. Ross is a prince of a guy, always the same, always sincere. I was sure glad to see him and his big smile showed he was glad to see me. Another guy who is always the same and genuine about his feelings towards people and is known to help others and that’s Robert Ramirez. This guy fights life’s battle and yet seems more concerned about the lives of others. Dan Mohon is also that kind of person, like Ross, Dan is just a prince of a guy. Also a great guy to know is Kenneth Smith, the other half of K-Dan’s. I’ve known Kenneth and his family since he was a boy. He’s just a great guy who has never changed. He’s genuine, sincere and makes the world a better place without even making waves. There are so many more dear folks we live with every day. We blessed by those who make our daily lives and Orange County such a great place to call home. *****I have to move on. Come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.

REPERCUSSIONS MAKE AMERICA LESS SAFE

A few weeks ago, after Trump was impeached, I wrote that I wouldn’t be surprised if he got involved in a conflict somewhere to divert attention from the impeachment and to use war in his re-election campaign. What surprised me was the targeted assassination of the leader in a solvent nation. Suleimani was a general, but he also was the number two man in Iran. Like Kim Jong Un, the Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman and Russia’s Putin, General Suleimani was a bad and ruthless guy, murders all of them. You don’t however target a nation’s leader. If you start that game, no national leader or ambassador is free to travel anywhere. Example: If VP Mike Pence landed in Ukraine for a meeting with their president, got in a car, was targeted, and he and his passengers were assassinated, that would be the same thing that happened to General Suleimani. He was on his way to a conference with the Iraqi president and was murdered. I don’t know of any United States general who was targeted for an assassination, even in war time. Trump took it upon himself, without congressional notification to create and act that will create consequences for the U.S. Since 1979 and Reagan’s Iran-Contra incident, the U.S. has sought to work through diplomacy with Iran. Four presidents sought an agreement that Iran would not develop nuclear weapons, with limits on uranium enrichment. After a deal hammered out by President George W. Bush, President Obama and our allies picked up the agreement and finished the long sought contract. In May 2018, new president Donald Trump tore the deal up and abandoned all the previous agreements that had been made. Today we find that a president, with no prior foreign policy experience, who claims to know more than the generals do, act as a dictator and put the U.S. in peril. Nothing but bad will come from this assassination. It might be a reelection ploy that I don’t believe will work this time. The American people will see through it. Social media, Twitter and Facebook weakens our filters and has become a wild west of disinformation noise. This Echo chamber doesn’t want to know the facts or what harm will be done to our nation; they are all about drinking Trump’s Kool-Aid. They need to remove the blinders. None of our allies are rushing to support a move that could bring us to the brink of war. Trump’s former top aid, John Bolton, is willing to testify in the senate impeachment trial. If Mitch, Trump and Republican leaders continue the cover up and refuse to hear Bolton’s testimony, in the eyes of the American people, Trump will appear to be guilty and hiding the facts. Seventy-seven percent of the American people want to hear what Bolton has to say, good or bad for Trump.

TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME

10 Years Ago-2010

What could have been didn’t happen, so often in life that is the case. I still believe, with Colt McCoy playing a full game, that Texas was a 10-point better team than Alabama. McCoy, knocked out of play after only five plays, all but eliminated any chance the Longhorns had of winning the national championship. *****As far as I know Earl Thomas is the first sophomore from this area to go in the NFL draft. Probably the youngest also. My guess is he will go in the top half of the second round. He will be another big Orange County star if he’s not caught up in “what could have been.” There are no guarantees in life. He’s taking the opportunity while it’s here and we wish that young man the best.*****Speaking of sports, Joe Kazmar’s column last week stirred up a lot of action on our Web site. The column about Mike Leach, Texas Tech’s former coach, got several thousand hits, including an e-mail from Coach Leach himself.*****Speaking of our Internet, we received response and notes from a lot of people who had known Bill Maddox and until they read it on our Web site, didn’t know he had died. We want to thank blue-eyed Pearl Stanfield for letting us know about his passing in San Antonio.*****We discovered pretty Ruby Snell McCarty working the morning shift at Gary’s Café in Bridge City. Ruby is one of the area’s best waitresses. It’s always service with a smile. She makes breakfast at Gary’s a pleasant outing. *****Special folks having birthdays this week. The lovely Lyndia Permenter, T.W.’s longtime bride celebrates her special day on Jan. 13. ***Our longtime buddy Mel Kemp Campbell celebrates this week. A great gal who could write one heck of a book. *** Erin Hanks, Pattie’s eldest, will be 31 on Jan. 17. The other day Pattie was that age and one of our editors. *****Many people, now in their 60s and beyond, spent many Saturday nights at the Big Oaks where the Boogie Kings were the hottest group in the south. Its leader Ned Theall died Friday. Jerry LeCroix, one of the great entertainers and the area’s best showman was a longtime member of the Boogie King group. Jerry is now in poor health, in a wheelchair and unable to attend Ned’s funeral – but many musicians from throughout the country did. Services were held in New Iberia, La. *****The Dallas Cowboys keep rolling on. The 34-14 win Sunday was their third win over the Eagles this season. Business gets serious Sunday when the Cowboys take on Brett Favre and the Vikings at their cold storage in Minnesota. The Vikings are a four-point favorite. *****This month, in 1987, big news broke that in 1986 President Ronald Reagan’s administration was involved in a definite link between U.S. arms sale to Iran and the release of American hostages in Lebanon. Ollie North was the go-between. Reagan got a free ride. Some folks choose to forget that. 

40 Years Ago-1980

Three seek judgeships. Judge David Dunn asks for re-election to 163rd District Court. Dunn, 37, was appointed judge of the county court at law in 1972. He served until 1976 then was appointed judge of the 163rd and elected to the unexpired term in 1978. *****Judge Pat Clark announced as a candidate for judge of the 128th District Court. Clark was the unopposed candidate for the county court at law judgeship in 1978. After the election, he was appointed to the position in September, 1978. A native of Orange, Judge Clark graduated from St. Mary Catholic School, Lamar and the University of Texas law school. After leaving the armed service in 1974, he became first assistant county attorney under county attorney Jim Sharon Bearden. Clark is married to the former Rosalie Todaro. The couple has three children. *****Mike Schuff has announced his candidacy for county court at law judge. Shuff previously worked as assistant county attorney, a graduate of Silsbee High School, Lamar and St. Mary University Law School, Shuff, 30, is married. Tommy Gunn, of the law firm of Wingate, Carlton and Gunn is his campaign treasurer. None of the three judge candidates are expected to have opponents. *****Folks having birthdays this week are Manson “Uncle Man” Duplantis, Jan. 13; Agnes Oubre, Jan. 13; Julia Bacom, Jan. 5; Fred Chapman, Jan. 11. (Editor’s note: Today they are all gone.)***Mel Campbell celebrates Jan. 14; Glenn Ladd will be a year old on Jan. 14; Joseph Pitre, Jan. 15; Vivian Holbrooks, Jan. 6; and Dwayne Young was one year old on Jan. 8.*****H.D. Pate and Ken Wyatt are sporting breads nowadays. *****Lia Chapman is home recovering from surgery. *****A.J. Judice and Roy Dunn have a diet contest going. They weigh in every Saturday. In March the winner gets an expense paid trip to New Orleans. *****Sharon Bearden starts his 16th Jan. 1 diet that started in 1964. He has lost 326 pounds during the yearly diets. *****Wayne Crull, a 1969 Bridge City graduate, received a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. He is now serving as pastor in Carney, Okla. He and wife, Mary Ann, have an 18-month-old son, David Wayne. (Editor’s note: Baby David Wayne is 42 years old now.)

45 Years Ago-1975

Bridge City basket ball team features Richard Slaydon, Billy James, Robbie Truncale, Steve Harmon, Terry Landry and coach Railey.*****The Pittsburgh Steelers and Terry Bradshaw win the Super Bowl, 17-13, over the Vikings.*****Don Burgess moves his law office to Bridge City where he will join H.D. Pate.*****Peveto Packing Co. on Texas 62 does custom slaughtering. They also offer half or whole baby beef, 200-300 pounds, for 69 cents per pound, hind quarters, 81 cents per pound and forequarter, 59 cents per pound.

A FEW HAPPENINGS

The National College Football Championship between LSU AND Clemson is Monday, Jan. 13, to be aired on ESPN. LSU is a five point favorite. *****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch meets at Robert’s this week and at Guadalajara next week. Robert’s Restaurant will now be closed on Monday but will be open the other six days of the week. Great food and good service. *****Tuesday, January 14, the Democratic presidential candidates will debate on CNN. It will be reduced in the number of debaters before the Iowa caucus. *****We really enjoyed some of the ducks Capt. Chuck Uzzle killed in Oklahoma last month. We made a big gumbo and also our annual duck jerky thanks to Allen Dunn. *****Special thanks to Port Commissioner Carroll Holt for his homemade vanilla. Carroll makes pure vanilla from the beans. We were completely out and the gift was right in time to make pecan pies. Carroll’s trademark, when passing out his vanilla, is his gift of an old-time marble. *****If you have a need for a gate or any fencing needs call P.C. Fence. They come highly recommend by Quincy Procell. See business card ad. *****A few folks we know celebrating in the next week. Jan. 8, on this day we find Lanston Fall celebrating a birthday. We have known him since he was in short pants. He was the fullback on Coach Chief Wilson’s last team at Bridge City in 1973 and went on to star at Lamar. ***Also celebrating is Heather Montagne Mankopt, one of Darlene and Johnny’s lovely daughters and Blaze’s mom.***Pretty Terrie Gauthier celebrates today as does Sandra Cole and Sean Brinson.*****Celebrating Jan. 9 is pretty Melissa Butler, the Business Women. Also celebrating today is Caitlin Pastrana and Brenda Hearn. *****Jan. 10 is a big day for Collin “Billy Jack” Gros, who has just returned from a cruise with his dad George. *****The head of the Uzzle family, pretty Sandy, celebrates. Also having a birthday is our friend Frank Skeeler. *****Jan. 11, finds Davie Thompson and Teresa Franklin sharing birthdays. Also congrats to Margie and Harry Stephens on their 34th anniversary.*****Jan. 12, finds Beth Linder, Dana Sandlin and Jimmie Allen all getting a year older today.*****Jan. 13, T.W.’s pretty wife of many years, Lyndia Permenter, celebrates a birthday today as does Robert Viator, Ashton Sezer and Kent Hannegan.*****Jan. 14, finds several great folks celebrating. Mel Kemp Campbell, who we’ve known always, celebrates today. Also celebrating is lovely Stephanie Sehon Hurst, Brittany Trantham, Judge Jerry Pennington, Rodney Townsend and Joy’s other half Robert Simonton, all share a birthday.***** It was a long drive home for devoted Saints fan Sean Gros who witnessed the defeat of his Saints in New Orleans Sunday. The Saints fell 26-to 20 to the Vikings in overtime knocking the home team out of the playoffs. Sean has followed the Saints even in out of town games. He dreamed of another Super Bowl appearance. Meanwhile, Dallas Cowboys, who went 8-8, released nine-year Cowboy coach Jason Garrett after Dallas failed to make the playoffs. Garrett is the kind of guy you would wish to be successful. Dallas has hired Mike McCarthy, former Green Bay Packer coach. Garrett’s record at Dallas is 87-70. The bright spot was a Houston Texan overtime win, 22-19 against the Buffalo Bills. The Texans advance in the playoffs and will take on the Chiefs at Kansas City Sunday, 2:05 p.m. on CBS.*****My guess, despite being knocked out of the playoffs, Patriot’s QB Tom Brady, who is a free agent, will play football next year. It might not be with New England but he’s not done yet. Neither is Drew Brees, the fans want him back. I think Brees will end his career in two years when Coach Sean Payton leaves the Saints.

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS

Jan. 8: actors Sam Riley,  40, Rachel Nichols,  40 and Noah Cyrus  20.***** Jan. 9: British Duchess Kate Middleton,  38,  actors Julie Chrisley,  47 and J.K. Simmons,  65,  Jimmy Page,  76  Guitarist.*****Jan. 10: singers Rod Stewart,  75,  Pat Benatar,  67 and boxer George Foreman,  71.  Jan. 11: actress Amanda Peet, 48, singers Mary J. Blige, 49 and Cody Simpson, 23. *****Jan. 12: radio hosts Howard Stern, 66 and Rush Limbaugh, 69, actors Rachel Harris, 52 and Kristie Alley, 69.***** Jan. 13: actors Patrick Dempsey, 54, Orlando Bloom, 43 and Liam Hemsworth, 30 and country singer Trace Adkins, 58.*****Jan. 14: singer Dave Grohl, 51, actors Jason Bateman, 51, Emily Watson, 53 and Faye Dunaway, 79.

CAJUN STORY OF THE WEEK

Blackie Dartez’s boy, Calvin, is in his turd year as a freshman at LS&U. Calvin was sit in his United States Government class wen da professor him axe him if he knew wat Roe vs. Wade was about.

“Mais yea,” Calvin responded, “I had dat question last year me, dat was da decision George Washington had to make before he crossed da Delaware him.”

C’EST TOUT’

Straight Party Voting a Thing of the Past

The upcoming general election in November will be the first time in many years that we won’t have straight-party voting. The ruling party in Texas, the Republicans, has found that straight-party voting in this state hurts their party. That may be true state wide, mostly in big cities. State officials feel it’s too easy to teach people to vote by voting just one box which ends up voting for the entire ticket. Straight-Party voting worked in favor of the GOP in Orange County. It flipped total Democratic office holders to totally Republican dominance. Some serving today were first elected as Democrats. For that reason and with no Democratic candidates in November, Orange County won’t be affected this time but I suspect this is the last election without Democratic challengers. Personally, I don’t believe a voter should vote party in local elections. They should vote for the best qualified or experienced candidate. Straight Party voting is likely to elect unqualified people down ballot. That’s where the change will come. Many voters will just vote the top of the ticket in both parties and neglect the down ballot candidates that would get a vote in straight party voting. That won’t be a problem here this time. If a Republican candidate gets one vote in the General Election he’s elected. Over the last few years, since Marc Carter was Democratic chairman, there has been very little effort to build and promote the Party. John “Jack” Smith, who is running for Democratic chairman, says his effort is to build up a state and national Democratic Party and not consecrate on local races. My belief is that you have to build the Party from the bottom and encourage Democrats to run in local races. I would prefer that candidates not run under any banner. Races, especially to elect judges, city officials, school boards, port officials, drainage boards, etc. should be open races. I’ve never known a judge who asked if you are Democrat or Republican. Statewide, the election is most important because of putting an end to gerrymandering. The district lines that have been drawn the last 20 years are almost criminal. Orange County is one of the counties being screwed. We have lost any political power because it’s a given how the county will vote.

(Editor’s Note) The opinions and views in this column are those of this writer alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication. If you disagree with this column there is lots of other good reading throughout these pages. I try my best to be accurate and also entertaining. I’m thankful for the people who have followed this column through the years and made it the area’s best read column. Thanks for your loyalty and if it upsets you in some way, just don’t read it. There is plenty other stuff to read or you can listen to talk radio.*****Until next time take care and God bless.