Archive for September, 2011


September 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Day has always been a special family day to me.  The last few years I have tried to plan for different ways and places to celebrate this holiday.

Most of my life we have sat around the dining table loaded with all the traditional foods and stuffed ourselves with one more plateful after we were already full.  Then it was time for a nap and/or watch the annual Turkey Day football game between the Longhorns and the Aggies.  It doesn’t really make much sense to overstuff and be miserable…but that’s what we did.  Now I just eat like a normal human being instead of a starving pig.

After Lyndsey’s graduation from The University of Texas, our Thanksgiving Days have been a little different.  She lived in Daytona Beach, Florida on one Thanksgiving and in Stockton, California the next.  Pam and I adjusted our traditions and dreamed up different ways to celebrate and be thankful.

Years ago when Lyndsey was much, much younger, Pam was very ill and in the hospital for a couple of weeks prior to Thanksgiving Day.  I was trying to take her place at home being both Mom and Dad to Lyndsey and all that requires.  So, this particular Thanksgiving, we didn’t know whether Pam would be home or not.  I made plans for the Thanksgiving meal with the hope that our little family would all be together.  My plans included all the traditional foods…turkey, dressing, many pies, etc.  Our friends asked about our plans and were told she would be home (I had faith).  I also informed them we would have turkey and all the trimmings.  Some offered to bake the turkey…some offered to make the dressing…some offered to bake pies.  I was thankful for their offers, but it was important to me that everything would be as normal as possible.  Pam was able to come home and we had Thanksgiving as usual.

We traveled to Kansas City for Thanksgiving when Lyndsey was living there.  The location was different, but the celebration was the same.  When Lyndsey lived far away, Pam and I began to think of different ways and places to have our Thanksgiving meal.  We have learned to enjoy this holiday in less traditional ways.  Last year, Pam and I traveled to Austin and ate a mid-afternoon Thanksgiving meal at Hudson’s on the Bend.  They specialize in wild game and had a special Thanksgiving Day menu.  It was both unusual and great…and then we watch the Turkey Day Game at the hotel.

Now that Lyndsey has moved back to Texas, it’s much easier to get together.  I have been thinking of some unusual way for our family holiday.  I began this “thinking” process a couple of months ago and didn’t let anyone know about my plans.  Finally, after a lot of thinking, dreaming, and searching, I had my plan.  When I told Pam and Lyndsey about the plan, they very excitedly said “Let’s do it!”  Now I am really excited about our adventure and am looking forward to it more than I can say.

It is going to be different.  But, I can’t tell.  It’s family secret.  This is our “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.  I will tell you about it after the adventure.

Thanksgiving Day in the United States began in 1621 at Plymouth, but did not become an annual affair until 1660.  Lest we forget, it was a day set aside for thanking God.  Each day is a time for being thankful to God.  If we are thankful each day for 364 days and then on that special Thanksgiving Day, accumulate all of that thankfulness into one package and present it to God I can only imagine how pleasing that would be to Him.  So, Thanksgiving Day is not about the turkey and dressing.  It’s not about the Turkey Day Longhorn vs. Aggie football game.  It’s about thanking God for his goodness and love for us.  But, it’s still okay to watch the game.



September 23, 2011

Sabine County Courthouse – Hemphill, Texas

The Sabine County Courthouse was originally at Milam, Texas and was built in 1875.  In 1906 the county seat was moved to Hemphill and work began on a new courthouse.  The courthouse was damaged by fire by fire in 1909 and the clock tower and dome were destroyed.  When the damage was repaired the tower and dome were not replaced.

The courthouses in Texas are places of serious business.  I have a friend who is an attorney.  He told about an experience he had at the Sabine County Courthouse.  He was in trial one day and when court adjourned for the day, he stopped in the restroom before heading back to Jasper.  When I first moved to Jasper, I was told that when 5:00 PM arrived, everything closed…which means be gone at 4:45.  Well, my friend John, made his visit to the restroom and when he tried to leave.  The doors were locked.  As you can see from the above picture, the entrance is on the second floor.  With everyone gone, John was unable to get the necessary attention to be freed from the courthouse.  John is a man of action, so he opened a window on the second floor, dropped his briefcase to the ground, and dropped to the ground wearing his best trial suit.

 Domino Game on Courthouse Square

Cedar Tree Giving Shade for the Domino Game

Not all the business carried on at the courthouse is serious business.  Unless you are a true domino player.  So it depends on who is placing the level of importance on the activities at the courthouse.  I’ve played dominoes all my life, so I know that to the men who played under the cedar tree on the square daily… was serious business.  For many years you could pass through Hemphill and witness the marathon games of dominoes.

Jasper County Courthouse

When I first moved to Jasper, I worked for a CPA firm in the Belle Jim Hotel (now a bread and breakfast) across from the Jasper County Courthouse.  There was a daily game of dominoes under a shade tree on the courthouse square.  Domino players are really serious about the game.  One day the local theater caught fire.  It was on the other side of the courthouse square from the “game.”  As smoke began to spread across the square, the “game” moved into a portable building nearby.  Players, table, chairs, and dominoes quickly moved out of the smoke and the “game” continued.  Now that is “serious business.”

We need to always be about serious business.  We must be serious in our responsibilities to our families, our jobs and/or business, and our Lord.  There is no separating these different areas of our life.  It is not possible to separate the secular and the spiritual.  You may disagree momentarily…until you think about it.  But, God’s Word tells us that whatever we do, do it unto the Lord.  So, whatever we do in this life is serious business.


September 22, 2011

After much delay, my project for Pam has been completed.  It took about nine months to complete.  This spring, if you can believe it, was Longhorn baseball season.  That always makes for a busy time for Pam and I.  We are Texas Longhorn fans in general, but we are very serious Longhorn baseball fans.  After the season was over, the Texas heat arrived and so many days it was just too hot to get enthused about anything….except getting cool.

So, I’m finished with Pam’s bookcase or cabinet…I really don’t know what to call it.  She wanted this built to place in Lyndsey’s bedroom.  As you can see, she does a great job of decorating.  In our home, and Lyndsey’s apartment in Austin, you can witness her decorating talents.  She changes the decoration in our home as the seasons change.  Now everything is decorated with autumn objects and colors.

I finished this project a couple of weeks ago while Pam was visiting her parents in Panhandle and spending some time at her high school reunion.  She was real excited when she returned home…excited about filling the cabinet with her “stuff.”

So, I’m finished…with this project.  But I am in no way finished.  Lyndsey has been next in line and waiting patiently.

She has requested a queen size sleigh bed.

This project will be quite a challenge.  There will be about 70 to 80 pieces requiring very precise measurements and cuts.  Most of my projects have been done from pictures in catalogues, etc. where I had to draw my own plans.  This time I actually have detailed plans for the sleigh bed.  I have shown pictures of the entertainment center I built for Lyndsey.  The only reason for these pictures is to show the  color of stain to be used on her bed.  It is the same as the entertainment center…Ebony.  It’s actually a dye rather than a stain.  The wood is dyed and then five coats of finish are applied.  The last step is to hand rub the piece with steel wool, oil, and rottenstone.

So, she will not have a blond bed….it will be Ebony.

There will be many hours involved in the new project, so I also must work on scheduling problem.  I work five days each week, every other Saturday is yard mowing time, Longhorn football games, and just the normal things that pop up in life.  That’s not the real problem.  Not only is Thanksgiving and Christmas coming soon, Longhorn baseball will begin in late February.  So, in February, I really need to be to the point of saying, “I’m finished!!”

Speaking of finished:  I am so thankful for the words Jesus said on the Cross as He gave Himself freely for our sins.  “IT IS FINISHED.”  His presence and work in this world was finished.  He was going to heaven to sit at the right hand of The Father on our behalf.  It was then that His work was continued through The Spirit….that work continues today.  We are not finished.  We are a work in progress and we will not be completed until we join a loving God in Heaven.  So, I guess the truth is:  “I’M NOT FINISHED!”