January 23, 2017

 

Young US Air Force serviceman, Stephen Badeaux, who is based in Japan wanted to spend some R&R in Australia. He invited his mom, Melissa (Mullins) Jones and his sister, Sara, to meet him in Australia. Sara is an accounting major at Lamar University and having studied about the Great Barrier Reef quickly decided it would be a good trip. A good friend of theirs from Teague, Linda Ward, also accepted the invitation to travel with the girls. The threesome left from Dallas and were met by Stephen in Sydney, Australia 17 hours later. They jumped in their rented vehicle with its snorkel, cattle guard and steering wheel on the wrong side and tried to adjust to driving on the opposite side of the street. They did not take the time to sightsee around Sydney but drove toward Cairns where they had a 3rd story apartment rented for the entire time.

With more than two weeks to explore Australia, one of the first adventures was a two hour train ride on the Kuranda Scenic Railway which has been in operation for over a century. The train took them through lush regions, mountainous scenery and several waterfalls. The destination, Kuranda, is a beautiful village hidden by tropical rainforest. Fig trees line the main street while colorful parrots and butterflies flock among ferns and orchids. There are galleries, markets, boutiques and places where they tasted crocodile, kangaroo and emu. They returned via the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, a 90- minute experience that took them over and through the World Heritage Rainforest, allowing stops at two rainforest stations. During the entire trip they saw multitudes of waterfalls including Babinda Boulders, Crystal Cascades and Josephone Falls.

The group spent New Year’s Eve on the Cairns Esplanade which is a picturesque long stretch of boardwalk and shoreline in the heart of Cairns overlooking the Coral Sea with incredible sunsets. It also has parks, playgrounds, Lagoon and recreational facilities that are all free. One day was spent in a habitat observing kangaroos, tropical birds, wallabies and the popular Koalas bear which they petted. Linda enjoyed a tour of the living history of the Tjapukai Aboriginal people, the Australian indigenous people from Queensland’s far north and learned about the boomerang, didgeridoo and fire making. As a souvenir and because of his love to play guitar, Charlie Mullins received an Australian Didgeridoo which is the world’s oldest wind instrument made and used by the Aborigines. Another day was spent stepping back in time taking an umbrella tour of the Paronella Park with its recreated tropical gardens, remarkable architecture, wildlife and fresh local produce. They also enjoyed touring the Chillagoe Caves. During their stay, the group enjoyed eating lots of shrimp or fish n chips; hamburgers with beets (ugh!); French fries were called “hot chips” that had chicken salt on them. They also saw lots of acreage with sugar cane, bananas, different fruits and coffee beans.

The group took two different boat trips to the Great Barrier Reef to enjoy snorkeling in their “stinger” suits which were required to protect from the stings of the jelly ray fish. They witnessed a couple of swimmers that had to be air-lifted due to being stung. This group also noticed that sharks were swimming nearby but were told not to worry about them. (Must be “fake” news that I recently saw that swimmers were hospitalized due to sharks in this same area?). After two weeks of fun, everyone returned to their homes safely. Melissa is looking forward to July when Stephen will be living in England and is already planning another trip to visit him. Thank you for sharing your memories.

Donnie Kee stopped by the round table. He was going stir crazy staying in the house too much watching it rain. Delbert and Carolyn Ellison came in for fishing licenses to go fishing when the sun comes out. We are glad when customers bring us good stuff to eat. Recently, Mary Lou Havard’s daughter, Mary Beth Boatner, who lives in Lafayette brought us a Mardi Gras King cake as she has done for years. It was really good but having the “baby” taped to the cake plate is not as much fun as when it was baked inside the cake. The tradition was whoever found the baby had to bring the cake next time. A lot of times we get “left overs” and certainly proud that folks think of the round table. That was the case when Mike Gibson brought several cupcakes piled high with creamy colorfully icing left from a birthday celebration.  A grateful thank you to Bettye Greer who baked and brought us a delicious King Ranch Chicken Casserole “just because she wanted to.” Margie Bass is always bringing us something. Sometimes it cute creations she has made from Pinterest and sometimes it new recipes she tries. The Ham Sliders with Pepper jack cheese were a big hit. Thank you all and remember, we don’t, or haven’t yet, refused anything!

Vernon Glass frequents the round table pretty often. He came in after New Year’s Day and showed me part of his billfold where he carries a few black eye peas year round for good luck. Vernon was born in the logging camp at Fastrill. His mother died when he was two and his father, Doyle Winston Glass, married Corrine (Thames) Flowers; her children were: J. D. “Sonny”, Kenneth, Travis and Mollie Sue. They moved to Diboll where Doyle was the “company” plumber and later had two children: Sambo and Jerry Nell Glass and then there was always, Vernon. While going to school Vernon worked in and around several mechanics that influenced him. Some of them included: Benny Rector; Jack Vaught; Weldon Bowman; Harry Nivens; and Lee Estes. Vernon graduated from DHS in 1957 and worked 15 years as a machinist for DEMCO until the devastating fire when he went back to mechanicing in his own shop and earned a reputation for knowing how to work on Model T’s and Model A’s. He has lived in Pine Valley for 48 years where he continues to “mechanic” and farm 12 acres. He is presently rebuilding a 1955 Ford Flathead motor and can be seen driving around town in his 1929 T-model or his 1945 Ford pickup truck.

The Masonic Bodies of Districts 20-21A is hosting an important Fundraiser Event. They will be taking orders for Smoked Pork Butts that can be picked up on Saturday, February 11 at the Lufkin Lodge #669 at 508 N. John Redditt Drive between the hours of 9 AM and 1 PM. Fundraisers show how good folks in East Texas are compassionate and come together to help when there is a critical need. It is with a sad heart to let you know the proceeds will benefit Kim (Baker) Vann with her medical treatments and expenses incurred traveling to M.D. Anderson in Houston. Kim is the precious daughter and only child of Bobby and Rosemary Baker of Diboll. She and her husband Paul live in Wells where Kim has resigned from teaching. They have two young daughters, Kaylee and Krista. Previously, Kim taught music in the Diboll ISD for several years. PLEASE continue to keep this family in your prayers. To pre order, contact one of these gentlemen which all have a 936 area code: David Lawson. 676-0692; Shon Laird 240-2478 or Les Bradshaw, 645-6676. The cost is $30 each and this compassionate organization says “Thank You” in advance for your support.

Tell someone about the conference sponsored by the Diboll ISD Family Education Center that will be Friday, January 27 from 8:30 until 2:30. There will be several speakers and topics to choose from that will encourage strong families. A free breakfast and lunch, door prizes and the opening motivational speaker will be Melissa Radke. This beautiful center is located at 209 S. Neil Pickett Dr. in Diboll.

The Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council of Deep East Texas “ADAC” will benefit from the proceeds of the Oscar Brookshire Memorial Concert at the Pines Theater, February 2nd at 7PM. The concert will feature 2015 Grammy Award Winner, Mike Farris, a solo acoustic show. Tickets are $30 and available at www.thepineslufkin.com

Come see us…round the table.