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Pauline Reese

CMA Texas Female Vocalist of the Year


Featured in Southern Living, Texas Monthly & Texas Highways!

East Texas’ only professional theatre!

Much Ado About Nothing

The Marvelous Wonderettes

Directed by George Judy

Directed by Daniel Haley

Cyrano de Bergerac

Did You Hear Thunder?

Directed by Benjamin Reigel

Written & directed by Raymond Caldwell

Richard III

The Witch of Pickle Patch

Directed by Stephen Wyman

Written & directed by Jason Richards

June 29 – July 30 Van Cliburn Theatre in Kilgore, Texas TSF Ticket Office (903) 983-8601


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We’re ready to surprise you! JULY/AUGUST 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 3




24 S ummer musicals bring magic to the stage and the Texas Shakespeare Festival delivers its 32nd season.

FILM 26 A prequel to The Big Bang Theory features a young Sheldon Cooper growing up in East Texas.


28 East Texas welcomes Half Price Books, the Writers Guild’s conference, and two new books by author Tom Geddie as well as three summer-happy poems.




30 World famous Yo-Yo Ma comes to the region along with Bruce Robison, Curtis Grimes and Shoji Tabuchi. Don Henley celebrates a milestone, Brandon Rhyder has a new CD and Jimmy LaFave is remembered.

FOOD & DRINK 34 M  ineola has fun new restaurants, and Phinessè Farms serves muscadine wines in downtown Sulphur Springs.


38 Lindale house is built with energy efficiency in mind.



8 Pauline Reese Treasures Her East Texas Roots

DEPARTMENTS 5 Editor’s Note & Letters

The Pittsburg native was named 2017 CMA of Texas Female Vocalist of the Year and recently completed a new album. By Tracy Torma


18 Explore the Treasures

14 H  ead for the water to cool off this summer and don’t miss the Great American Eclipse of the Sun, plus event picks.

Along El Camino Real

This historic trail is full of history and also serves up some modern-day treats and interesting stops along the way. By Steve Freeman

44 The Poetry of Claire Simmons For six out of the last seven years Claire Simmons won a place in a regional annual poetry contest. Read all six here now that she wrote from the time she was 11 years old to her 2017 senior year.

40 Sreenidhi Vedartham and Crystal Bryce create paths for supporting diversity.


42 Summer fun ideas, insightful book, and a caution on violence in the media.

12 R  emembering Elvis, Lysius Gough, Tom Perryman, and Shorty the Squirrel.



16 G  etting to know Northeast Texans Yaziri Orrostieta, Jack Canson, and Danny Pickens.

THE ARTS 20 T he Browns in Edom continue to create beautiful pottery and the 2017 Congressional Art Competition winners are announced. Cover photo: Pauline Reese by Pixel Peach



county line Since 2000



CONTRIBUTORS Tracy Torma Tom Geddie Len Wheeler Peter Hoheisel Stephen F. Brewerton Claire Simmons Stan Johnson

ADMINISTRATION Marianne Eubanks Bridgette McKinney


SUBSCRIPTIONS County Line Magazine is published every other month, 6 times a year. Subscription costs: $15 per year. Bulk rate postage paid at Ben Wheeler, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to County Line Magazine, P.O. Box 608, Ben Wheeler, TX 75754. Contents COPYRIGHT 2017 County Line all rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without written permission. Opinions expressed in articles or advertising appearing in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Mailing address: P.O. Box 608, Ben Wheeler, TX 75754 Phone: 903.963.8306. E-mail: Website: Free listings are entered on a space available basis. Advertising space may be purchased by calling 903.963.8306. We reserve the right to refuse any advertisement we deem incompatible with our mission.

Serving the Upper East Side of Texas Member of

Covering the Upper East Side of Texas in July & August Read about all these places in this issue!

EDITOR’S NOTE East Texas is “cool.” The word “cool” perhaps belongs to another generation, but this issue of County Line truly offers up what’s cool in East Texas — and the timing is perfect. Summer’s here! It’s hot and we covet “cool.” What’s cool this time around, is Pauline Reese, topic of our cover and of a great interview. Besides recording her seventh CD and winning accolades from country and Americana enthusiasts, Pauline, really has connections. She’s often recorded with Willie Nelson, got tips from Michael Martin Murphy, and has kin folk who knew Clyde Barrow (of Bonnie and Clyde notoriety). That’s way cool! What else is cool? Check out our listing of places to dive into the water throughout East Texas. Okay, that’s an easy one. How about the house in Lindale that turns the sun’s hot rays into energy to help cool the place, saving money for more comfortable living? It’s transformationally cool.

Want more? There’s a 2,500-mile trail that’s hundreds of years old that cuts through East Texas. El Camino Real de los Tejas is now one of only 19 nationally recognized trails and, frankly, few know about it. We travel up portions of the old trail — many spots now covered in asphalt — to discover old and new treasures along the way. This issue also serves up lots of cool art, music, movies, restaurants, and stage shows. Highlights include a Tyler performance by the world-famous Yo-Yo Ma, coverage of the six summer musicals happening here, and the start of Texas Shakespeare Festival. And in a final salute to “cool,” we offer our readers a recipe for stuffed jalapeno peppers called “Atlanta Burning” (yes, a Gone with the Wind reference) and then introduce you to a new brewery to quench the fire. You’re welcome. Stay cool this summer. Steve Freeman

LETTERS Last week we attended the TTIA (Texas Travel Industry Association) Travel Fair in Amarillo. Our booth highlighted Emory as the land between the lakes, so we included information on Lake Fork and Lake Tawakoni. We brought the replica of the 18.18 pound bass holding the state record that was caught at Lake Fork, we had pictures and info regarding Eagle Fest and we also took copies of County Line Magazine that highlighted Emory/Rains County events (articles about the Rains County Heritage Park and this year’s Eagle Fest). Many of the travel agents visiting our booth told us that County Line Magazine is one of their very favorite publications. This speaks volumes to me about your magazine, and as an advertiser this adds value to our advertising dollars because if this is one of their favorite publications, then I know it is one they readily hand out to visitors coming to our area. Keeley Roan Director of Economic Development Emory

This (County Line Magazine) is one of the great things about East Texas. Sandy Mittelstet Callender Lake We love your magazine. John and Shara Wilkerson Chandler Note from Editor: Thank you, Wilkersons, for the FIVE-year subscription. Thank you for a great magazine of Upper East Texas and Franklin County/ Mount Vernon. Donna McFarland Mount Vernon

Please feel free to send us your comments. County Line Magazine P.O. Box 608, Ben Wheeler, TX 75754 email: Find us on Facebook and Twitter. Go to LETTERS on


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Enjoy Farmers’ Markets in the Upper East Side of Texas




Pauline Reese Treasures Her East Texas Roots By Tracy Torma Pauline Reese always knew she was destined to be a country music singer. At age five, she practiced her Grammy acceptance speech with a cassette tape recorder. Today, the singer with East Texas roots just wrapped up her seventh album featuring a duet with Willie Nelson, and was recently named the 2017 CMA (Country Music Association) of Texas Music Female Vocalist of the year. Reese’s formative years in East Texas impacted her outlook on life and influenced her music. “We lived in the country off a blacktop road between Mount Pleasant and Pittsburg in the middle of nowhere. I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Reese says. Her father, a mechanical engineer for a large firm in Houston, decided to leave the stress of a big city and open a Western Auto store in Mount Pleasant, where Reese was born, the seventh of eight children. “We had a garden and chickens, and spent a lot of time together as a family,” she remembers. “I enjoyed boating, camping, and playing softball.” And making music. Born to Sing and Play One could say music is in her DNA. Reese’s mother sang in and directed the church choir, and her father played the saxophone when he was younger. Both sets of grandparents were musically inclined. On one side, her grandmother was a concert pianist and her grandfather played sax in a big band. “On the other side, my grandfather played banjo, guitar, and fiddle, and enjoyed oldtime bluegrass and country music,” Reese says. “My grandmother was choir director at her Catholic church. They lived in Argentina and spoke fluent German and Spanish. She was fascinated with the Spanish culture and I grew up hearing that music. I still have all her records that she used to play. That’s where the Tex-Mex flair in my music comes from.” When Reese was 12, her family moved to Austin. While taking voice and guitar lessons at a local guitar shop as a teenager,

she impressed a member of a local band who then encouraged her to try out for the band. Two years later, she fronted it as The Pauline Reese Band, adding more original music to her song lists and traveling around Texas opening for national acts and local Texas music stars, including Johnny Lee, Rusty Weir and Johnny Rodriguez. A True Entertainer Reese earned a reputation as an entertainer, riding her horse Blue Diamond into shows at famed dance halls across Texas and singing the national anthem at local rodeos and sporting events. Her mentor — legendary American cowboy singer Michael Martin Murphy — told her, “You don’t sing for yourself. You sing for the audience, and that’s really rare.” Murphy is a major influence in her career, sending her books to study and videos to watch to help her in her songwriting craft. She also met some big names in the Austin progressive country music scene that changed her life, including country singer/songwriter Freddy Powers, who introduced her to his good friends Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. Reese performed at six Willie Nelson picnics and two Farm Aid festivals. She recorded a duet with Nelson called “Trail of Tears,” which is featured on her seventh recently-completed album, Lucky Number 7. Her music is described as a blend of alternative country, rock, Western Swing, honky-tonk, folk, and Tejano. Reese says the inspiration for her music used to come from her life, including an abusive marriage of seven years. “But I didn’t want my records to be sad. So now my music comes from my friends, their stories, and their lives,” she says. “I’m really fascinated with history and ancestry. My great grandfather ran with Clyde Barrow and I have a song about that. “Now everything I write is more of a global outlook of mankind. It’s Christian music without preaching to people — songs that you can relate to and actually help heal whatever you’re burdened with. It has a purpose.” Her latest single, “Save Your Breath,” is

available on her website at paulinereese. com. The site also features a list of upcoming performances. Upcoming Tour Reese is currently planning a tour to coincide with the release of her new record. She plans to travel with her family in a vintage Gulfstream camper and perform at public parks, including stops in East Texas, in hopes of attracting a broader audience. “Most bars cater to one age group. I want this tour to appeal to the broad range of people you see at a Willie Nelson concert: every age from eight to 80. I want people to bring their families.” When she’s not performing, she can be found on her 100-acre ranch just outside of Austin, where she and her husband, Bill Herbert, raise their two daughters: Heidi, 8, and Henli, 6. Her husband is a professional saddle bronc rider. Both girls are musically inclined, often singing and playing ukulele with their mom on stage. Where does she hope to be five years from now? “I see myself becoming an even better me,” she says. “That’s the goal of life, constantly striving to be better, not just as a musician or songwriter, but better as a person of God, a person who inspires others in a big way.” She’s particularly proud of her latest album, which features songs born from a different perspective after a personal tragedy three years ago — the loss of a child during pregnancy and a resulting stroke which caused her to have to learn how to speak again. “I’ve spent a lot of time in the past writing about other people’s experiences. But this album is something that is very personal for me,” she says, noting it has garnered great reviews from recording producers in Nashville and friends whom she respects. “Having recognition and respect is a big deal, but I don’t have to win a Grammy to be really proud of this record,” she says, adding with a laugh, “Although I wouldn’t turn it down.” And just in case, she still happens to have an acceptance speech she recorded on an old cassette tape when she was five.





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Neptune’s Car Ronny Cox and Band July 8


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July 29


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Dining, Music, Arts, & Entertainment



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Miss Demeanor & the Groove Felons

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DINE. SHOP. STAY. ARTS. ENTERTAINMENT. All shows start at 7:30 PM. Tickets available online at; Winnsboro Emporium, 212 Market St., 903-342-6140; and at the Winnsboro Center for the Arts.


205 N. Main - (903) 342-6800

r June 25 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Bluegrass Band September 16


John Fullbright

206 Market St. - (903) 347-6526


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October 7

April - October, 8 - Noon Every Saturday, rain or shine Downtown Winnsboro Highway 11 and Market St.



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Remembering Elvis in East Texas As people around the world honor “Elvis Week” August 11-19, East Texans are stepping up as well to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death on August 16, 1977. He was 42. Elvis remains a vital part of the conscience of millions of people for his new sound and moves he brought to the stage. But there was a time when he was just another struggling young musician touring the South with his band, trying to get noticed and his time in East Texas played a big part in his rise to stardom. In the 1950s, if a musician wanted to get noticed, the place to do it was the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport. Elvis first played there in 1954 and was signed to a one-year agreement to return. Since they had no money, he and band mates Scotty Moore and Bill Black sought out places to play along the way.

It was then that legendary disc jockey Tom Perryman booked the young singer his first Texas dates. “I was playing his record,” Perryman says. “I had this promoter I worked with booking a lot of stuff in East Texas off the Hayride, and he asked me if I had a place to put these three boys who were broke, couldn’t get a motel and couldn’t get gas to get back to Memphis.” Perryman, then running KSIJ in Gladewater, was already an industry veteran and didn’t mind pulling a few favors to help a new artist. “I called a friend of mine that had a honky-tonk just across the river from Gladewater on the Tyler Highway called The Mint Club. Elvis was unheard of and I didn’t have long to promote it,” Tom says. “But I played ‘That’s All Right Mama’ and its B-side, ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky.’ “The total money — the first money Elvis made in the state of Texas — was $90. And I gave it all to him, ‘cause I knew they were broke,” Tom remembers. Later that year, Elvis came back and LEFT: Tom Perryman on stage with the young Elvis Presley and Scotty Moore at the Rio Palm Isle in Longview. BELOW l-r Ferlin Husky, Elvis, Faron Young, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and Tom Perryman in 1956.

played shows all over Northeast Texas for Perryman. Elvis also performed in Texarkana and high school auditoriums, rodeo arenas, and baseball fields in DeKalb, Gilmer, Hawkins, New Boston, and Paris. “He stayed a week in Gladewater,” says Tom. “I had Jim Ed and Maxine Brown with him. We worked about 15 dates in 1955, including Tyler at the Mayfair Building.” The next time he returned, Elvis was playing to what was then the largest audience in Texas history for an outdoor concert — in excess of 27,000 — at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Those around him while he was cutting his teeth as a live performer in the Upper East Side of Texas remember Elvis as a warm, friendly young man who was as genuine as they come. His imprint on the region remains. One group preserving the memories is the Regional Music Heritage Center in Texarkana. Find out more about Elvis’ time around Texarkana on Elvis’ fanatical fans know he stayed in Room 104 at the Res-Mor Motel in Gladewater even though there’s no historical marker commemorating its most famous guest, and although 104 was said to be his favorite room, he stayed in others at the motel as well. Among Gladewater history in the The Gladewater Museum at 116 West Pacific


Avenue is information on Elvis’ visits to the city during his early rise to fame. Much of the information comes from Perryman, including his recollections in narrative form. Copies of Perryman’s book, Keepin’ It Country (written by County Line Magazine’s P.A. Geddie), are at the museum and include accounts of his time with Elvis as well. No commemoration of Elvis in East Texas would be complete without music. Rafael and the gang at The Espinoza Music Academy in Mineola are celebrating the life, legacy, and the music of Elvis every single night from August 14 through 19. Each night features live performances with the first night featuring students of the music academy. Night two, August 15, features Dale “The C” Cummings who has performed in Branson and on the legendary Louisiana Hayride. August 16 offers “The Gospel Music of Elvis” performed by Espinoza, Gib Maynard, Buzz Payne, and others. Night four features The Rockabilly Railroad band paying homage to the early Sun Records’ sounds of Memphis, Tennessee. August 18 features world

champion Elvis tribute artist James Wages and the final night, August 19, features Elvis tribute artist Gib Maynard and his own live ETX-TCB band. Some of the events are free, some require tickets. Go to rafaelespinozamusic. com/etxelvisweek for more information or call 903.638.8023. A few weeks before “Elvis Week,” tribute artist Travis Powell takes the stage for “One Night with Elvis” at 7 p.m. July 21 at the Liberty Hall Theater in Tyler. During the concert, Powell performs songs from Elvis’ 1968 comeback TV special and 1970 concert years. Singing classics, wearing the king’s famous costumes, and putting on a smile, Powell said East Texans should be ready for an unforgettable performance. “Elvis was one of the greatest entertainers ever. Audience members should expect to have fun and go back in time to the ‘70s,” Powell said. “The audience is going to get the closest tribute that I can give to them, one that is worth watching.” Read more about Elvis’ time in East Texas in the County Line Magazine archives,

JULY 29, 1862

In the mid-1880s Gough obtained his teaching certificate and became principal of Pilot Point Institute, Pilot Point, Texas. During this time he also published his first book of cowboy

Let Freedom Ring! JULY 12, 1934

Kilgore’s Van Cliburn was born July 12, 1934. He took the world by storm when at 23 he won the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow during the Cold War. He went on to win numerous awards and accolades during his career including Kennedy Center Honors and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He died February 27, 2013. Read more about his life in the County Line Magazine archives, JULY 16, 1927

Cowboy Poet Is Gone But Not Forgotten

On this day in 1862, the cowboy “poet laureate,” Lysius Gough, was born in Lamar County. Gough was a man of diverse talents and interests. In 1876, at the age of 14, he ran away from home and got his first job as a cowboy for B.L. Murphy, who ran cattle in Hopkins and Hunt counties. Then he punched cattle on several drives and earned the nickname “Parson” at the T Anchor Ranch because he never swore.


verse, Western Travels and Other Rhymes. Eventually he studied law, married Ida Russell, and was one of the first settlers of Castro County, where he taught school at Dimmitt. He later engaged in real estate, irrigation well drilling, and farming. In the 1920s Gough served as president of the Texas Wheat Growers Association and also helped organize the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society. He published Spur Jingles and Saddle Songs in 1935. The last poem by Gough was still scrolled in the typewriter when he was found dead in his home in 1940. It was entitled “Gone.”  From Texas State Historical Association, cowboy gough2.htm

Legendary DJ Tom Perryman was born July 16, 1927, and grew up near Kerens, Texas. Awards he’s won over his 70-year career in radio include the National Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame, Texas Country Music Hall of Fame, Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame, and many others. He and his wife Billie celebrated 70 years together last year. Tom finally retired this past year but is still considering doing an internet show. Happy 90th birthday Tom Perryman — thanks for the beautiful music you brought into our lives.



Check out the eMAGAZINE for extended event listings.

Head for the Water to Cool Off This Summer

East Texas is fortunate to have an abundance of inviting cool water in the region — from diving ponds to massive lakes — so it’s no surprise how many choices people have to explore throughout the summer. Here are a few favorites: The Texas State Parks system does a great job of providing swimming holes and water activities for visitors and residents alike in Northeast Texas. Some of the favorites include Lake Bob Sandlin in Pittsburg, Tyler State Park, Lake Tawakoni, Cooper Lake near Sulphur Springs, Purtis Creek in Eustace, Daingerfield, Lake O’ the Pines near Avinger, and Wright Patman near Atlanta. Visit for information on each of the state parks in the region. Lake Ray Hubbard, one of the largest lakes in North Texas, spans 22,000 acres bordering Kaufman and Rockwall counties on the east side. It’s great for skiing, paddle boarding, tubing, and sailing. There are numerous parks around the lake with beaches, trails, and outdoor activities. Visit

Lake Jacksonville has two public swimming areas, screened shelters, and camping sites for tents and RVs. Go to or call 903.589.3510. Camp Tonkawa Springs in Garrison near Nacogdoches features a clear spring-fed pond that promises a rejuvenating swim. The pool is deep and no lifeguards are on duty so it’s important to buckle up little ones in life jackets. The sides of the pool were created by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930s. It is said to be a constant 68 degrees year round and is completely natural with no chemicals. Even the “diving boards” are natural as visitors use trees as jumping off places. Call 936.564.888 or visit camptonkawa. com for more information. Clear Springs Scuba Park in Terrell offers 22 acres of spring-fed lake with an approximate maximum depth of 63 feet. They have nine underwater platforms at approximately 20 feet and six entry docks. Main attractions include Sisco, the 50-foot shark, a cabin cruiser, and other surprises. Visit or call 972.524.6820 for more information.


Tyler Paddle is open Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 7 p.m. at the Lake Tyler Petroleum Club during the summer. They offer paddle boarding, swimming, fishing, and special events like full moon rides. Call 903.426.2056 or visit for more information. Lone Star Marina on Cedar Creek Lake is getting great reviews not only for its water activities, but for the Tiki Hut where they serve catfish, burgers, salads, appetizers, wine, and Cedar Creek Brewery beer. They have rentals for paddle boarding, tubing and several kinds of boats. Call 903.432.2268 or visit for more information. The Marina at Villages Resort on Lake Palestine offers boat rentals and more, including kayaks, pedal boats, and pontoons. Visit or call 903.561.1413. Waterparks in East Texas include Splash Kingdom locations in Canton, Nacogdoches, and Greenville. Visit

EVENTS Dates and times are subject to change. Always call ahead before planning a visit.


Farmers’ Markets. Chandler, Edom, Greenville, Marshall, Mineola, Mount Pleasant, Mount Vernon, Paris, Rockwall, Sulphur Springs and Winnsboro. Some open other days. Search Enjoy Farmers Markets on for link to each market.


Second Saturday at the Station. Chandler. Live music, area shops open late, ice cream, produce, fresh dairy, and more. 7-9 p.m. Stillwater Farm Market, 109 W. Main St. 903.515.3502,

Through September 24

Sunday Fun Day Family Matinee Train Ride. Rusk. Rush Depot, Texas State Railroad. 903.723.3014.

Through October 14

Main Street Market Days. Lufkin. Downtown Lufkin.

June-29 - July 1

Timpson Frontier Days. Timpson. 936.254. 2603

June 29-July2 & August 3-6

First Monday Trade Days. Canton. First Monday Trade Days Grounds.903.567.6556.

July 1

Dutch Oven Cooking. Bonham. Bonham State Park.

July 6-8

WAM! Watermelon Festival. Center. 936.598. 3682.

July 11

Pooches on the Patio. Tyler. Rotolo’s Pizzeria. 903.595.1160.

Get Ready for the Great American Eclipse of the Sun The eclipse of the sun occurring August 21 this year is dubbed the “Great American Solar Eclipse” because of how the path of totality crosses directly over the continental United States. It is only visible from the United States and parts of Canada and Mexico.

can go outside to watch the eclipse over the next few hours. They are passing out solar viewers and have solar telescopes set up for people to watch it in greater detail. The planetarium show will run again after the eclipse for those that may have missed it before.

In East Texas there will be about 80 percent coverage, according to Brian Kremer of the Center for Earth and Space Science Education in Tyler.

For those that want to watch the eclipse on their own, Kremer said the moon first starts to pass in front of the sun at 11:43 a.m. and the whole process takes about three hours, ending at about 2:43 p.m. The greatest eclipse is around 1:14 p.m. he said and it will be noticeably darker.

July 14-15

“It will absolutely be worth watching,” he said. “Solar eclipses are very rare, even partial ones.”

July 15

Kremer advises that anyone wanting to view the eclipse should have special eyewear so as not to damage the eyes.

Enoch’s White Grape Stomp. Harleton. Enoch’s Stomp.903.240.1587.

“There are a lot of options ranging from welders’glasses to solar viewers to things that can be made at home like a pinhole viewer.”

Paris Balloon & Music Festival. Paris Fair Grounds.903.784.2501. Tour de Paris Bicycle Rally. Paris. Love Civic Center. 903.784.2501.

July 15-16

Christmas in July. Tyler. Harvey Convention Center. 903.531.1214.

July 20

Pour and Explore. Lufkin. Pitser Garrison Convention Center. 936.633.0359. visitlufkin. com continued Page 17

The center will have a special daytime “star party” for guests to see the eclipse. They have a planetarium show about eclipses, how they work, and what is actually happening between the Earth, moon, and sun. After the show visitors

“If we were able to see the total solar eclipse, then you would be able to see stars in the sky during it,” Kremer said. “But since we are not going to see totality, we won’t see stars that well, but it will get darker.” The next total solar eclipse visible for East Texas will not occur until April 8, 2024, Kremer said. Learn more about planetarium activi-ties at or call 903.510.2312.


A Place is Only As Good As Its People.


Northeast Texas is a Really Good Place.

Yaziri Orrostieta Tyler

Yaziri Orrostieta (who goes by “YO”) is the marketing director at Heritage Land Bank. Prior to her current position, she served as the marketing manager at Mentoring Minds. She has spent the last 26 years of her life in East Texas. “Growing up in East Texas has allowed me to have the open mind of a big city and the heart of a small town,” she says. “Professionally I’ve been exposed to a very diverse business environment, but I also have seen the East Texas community come together multiple times for the good of our neighbors and those in need.” Orrostieta earned her MBA in Marketing from the University of North Texas and her BBA in Marketing from the University of Texas at Tyler. Throughout her career, she has successfully led initiatives in various marketing channels such as direct mail, event marketing, trade shows, marketing research, web development, email automation, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), publications, and public relations. She also has five years’ experience in retail banking and lending.

Danny Pickens Whitehouse

Danny Pickens has lived in East Texas for 47 years. “I love it,” he says. “I went to John Tyler, met and married my high school sweetheart (Paula) owned a business here, and was called to ministry here. I am a Southern Baptist minister with a love for people, travel, falconry, birding, and photography.” Pickens travels overseas on mission trips (29 different countries to date) at least once a year where his photography comes in handy. He also likes to take photos locally at places like Mineola Nature Preserve, Caddo Lake, Lake Tyler, Hagerman Wildlife Management Area, and Richland Creek Wildlife Management Area. See his photos at Pickens is also a licensed falconer and serves as the editor for The Texas Hawking Association. “They are the fastest animals on the planet, diving at over 225 mph,” Pickens says. “I am currently without a bird. My last falcon was hit and killed by a car while chasing a duck last season. I will get another this fall.”

styles, Rockabilly and even Rock and Roll — originated in the Marshall area in the 1870s. That title was established seven years ago, and Jack said, “I’m still involved with efforts to celebrate the rich musical heritage that is unique to Marshall and the Ark-La-Tex region.” Jack and his wife often coordinate educational and entertainment events.

Jack Canson Marshall

Jack Canson of Marshall is the town’s very own muse. Together with his wife, Nancy, the couple helped Marshall claim the title of “Birthplace of Boogie Woogie.” It started with research by Dr. John Tennison, a San Antonio psychiatrist and musicologist, who claimed the rollicking musical style — which influenced big band

“We manage the Boogie Woogie Wednesday shows at the OS2 Pub in downtown Marshall and produce the free Second Saturday concerts for Marshall Main Street and do occasional Sunday Cabaret Concerts featuring international Boogie Woogie stars,” he said. Jack Canson was born and raised in Marshall. He served in the U.S. Army and attended Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches and the University of Texas at Austin, where he was awarded


the J. Frank Dobie Paisano Fellowship. He settled in Austin, working as a public relations consultant and speechwriter and developed public awareness campaigns in the field of traffic safety. Next, he opened an office in Los Angeles and created the “You Could Learn a Lot from a Dummy” seatbelt campaign for the State of California, later adopted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He also worked in film production and wrote a number of lowbudget films under the name Jackson Barr. After returning to Marshall, he became involved in Caddo Lake protection activities, working for the Caddo Lake Institute, and the “Birthplace” effort. The “Birthplace” program itself gets a place to call home once the restored Marshall Memorial City Hall and Performance Center, a 1927-era music hall in historic courthouse square, is completed in 2018.

EVENTS continued from page 15

In Memory of Shorty the Squirrel

July 28-29

Quilt Hop. Bonham. Sam Rayburn House. thc.

July 29-30

Great Texas Balloon Race. Longview. 903. 753.3281.

August 5

Fish Fry Benefit. Ben Wheeler. Moore’s Store. 903.833.5100.

August 18

Wine Down on Willow Street. Bonham. Creative Arts Center.

August 19

Enoch’s Red Grape Stomp. Harleton. Enoch’s Stomp.903.240.1587.

September 1-2

Labor Day Celebration. Jefferson. Downtown Jefferson.903.665.3733

See July 4th celebrations on and call local city offices for more.

Shorty lived outside the Smith County courthouse for 15 years. He was a panhandler and a beggar, but beloved by the town — and particularly by Miss Geneva Pillow, who fed him daily. The citizens of Tyler honored Shorty with free medical care, a special pedestrian crossing, and a lower speed limit on Broadway — all with the goal of prolonging his life. But no squirrel lives forever (or even for very long) and Shorty died in 1963. He was buried in a park across the street from the courthouse, his grave surrounded by a brick wall, marked by a Georgia granite headstone engraved with his likeness. A replacement squirrel was quickly run over by a car (another testament to Shorty’s genius for survival). With no one to fill his snack-grubbing shoes, Shorty’s legend grew. Paul Harvey told his story on the radio. He became even more famous in death than in life. Photos by Stan Johnson.

Explore the Upper East Side of Texas JULY/AUGUST 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 17

Explore the Treasures Along El Camino Real By Steve Freeman Early Spanish explorers, traveling from Mexico City, embarked upon the untamed wilderness that was Texas 300 years ago. They followed a series of trails first trodden by Native Americans like the Caddo tribe. Their mission was to find treasure, expand the Spanish empire, convert others to Christianity (establishing four Catholic missions in East Texas), buy and sell merchandise, and at times move troops to protect the land. Their paths were many, but their direction was the same, and over time the trails became known as one: El Camino Real (pronounced “Ree-Owl”) de los Tejas. It became the primary overland route from the Rio Grande to the Red River Valley of Louisiana. Today, the historic “King’s Highway” awaits those who want to discover many treasures through East Texas and beyond. It offers travelers many historic gems — forts, missions, towns, and homes of early settlers — and even contemporary “finds” like quaint shops, museums, eateries, and outdoor fun. Texas Route 21 best identifies the trail today as it comes up from Laredo on the Texas-Mexico border, through San Antonio and Austin to pass through Crockett, Nacogdoches, San Augustine and Toledo Bend Lake at the state line before ending in Natchitoches, Louisiana, not far from the first capital of Spanish Texas, which was in Robeline,

Louisiana. The National Park Service dubbed the trail a National Historic Trail in 2004 — one of 19 in the nation. Much of the original trail through rural areas is still visible. Geologists and historians regularly visit the mostly private land to view great indentions to the earth’s surface that should not be there based on the natural lay of the land, but formed by an untold amount of foot traffic, livestock, and wagon wheels. “When you’re standing looking at these trails, you can see what the landscape looks like that these people traveled on,” says Jeff Williams, a researcher of the trail from Stephen F. Austin State University.

Bend Resort on Louisiana’s lake side of the state line. The old trail enters East Texas up from Bryan-College Station through the town of Crockett and continues through two national forests, named Davy Crockett and Angelina. The town of Crockett dates back to the state’s origin (1837) and is believed to have a “Davy Crockett slept here” claim to fame on his way to fight and die at the Battle of the Alamo. Check out the Monroe-Crook House, built in 1854 by the grandnephew of President James Monroe who chose Crockett as his new home.

Over time, much of the pathways turned into dirt roads on the 1,500-mile section in today’s Texas. History buffs and researchers often visit some of the more trodden sections to experience the royal highway in person. Geologists often look for remnants of previous travelers.

Further down the road, Caddo Mounds State Historic Site near Alto shows how the Native Americans dating back 1,200 years lived on the land also eventually linked to El Camino. The park includes a replica of a grasshouse and a museum displaying artifacts from archeological digs there. A self-guided trail along an original section of the El Camino Real trail allows visitors to learn about the historic road and see a piece of the road.

El Camino stretches some 120 miles in East Texas before reaching the Texas border of Toledo Bend Reservoir. The distance fits well with either a full daytrip or a more leisurely weekend to include more sightseeing and shopping. Besides the numerous hotels along the way, overnight accommodations range from beautiful bed and breakfasts or the Pine Creek Country Inn, a “hotel in the woods,” in Nacogdoches to Cypress

Nacogdoches’ claim to fame is as the oldest city in the state. El Camino’s linkage is partly why nine flags have flown over the city on the then Texas frontier. A statue — “Gateway” — on the city’s historic square recalls Anglo settlers walking westward into the new land. A pamphlet at the visitors center offers a self-led walking tour of that statue and 10 others that depict the town’s solid place in Texas history.


LEFT PAGE l-r: Fort St. Jean Baptiste in Natchitoches, Louisiana, once protected French interest on the border with Spanish Texas. National Park Service photo; The Lobanillo Swales in Sabine County are the most pronounced visual representation of the El Camino trail, according to Jeff Williams, a researcher with Stephen F. Austin State University. Photo by Steve Freeman; ABOVE l-r: A replica of a dining hall at Fort St. Jean Baptiste shows that frontier survival had a few comforts of home. Photo by Steve Freeman; Explorers today enjoy boating, fishing, and golf at Toledo Bend Reservoir, the largest man-made lake in the South. Photo by Sabine Parish Tourist Commission.

The influences of Nacogdoches’ 240year history are still found on its brick streets, noteworthy structures, and early neighborhoods. The Opera House (now Cole Art Center) was where, in about 1916, the touring Marx Brothers, originally a humorless music act, allegedly turned into a comedy act after they made light of a runaway mule outside that briefly interrupted their performance inside. Not to be missed are the numerous shops in the old downtown that make Nac a unique place to visit. Some excellent antique shops are common, but other welcoming establishments include Glass Castles, packed with colorful stained and etched glass merchandise; Yarnia, with knitting and crocheting; and Blue Horse Bakery, offering delicious cupcakes and cookies. For lunch or dinner, Liberty Bell Restaurant offers travelers tasty dishes and frequent live music. The more informal Dolli’s Diner features paintings of local artisans hanging on the walls. Another option is Pine Creek Country Inn. Its menu featuring black Angus steaks, lamb chops and roasted rabbit is well worth the drive to its location in nearby piney woods. If staying overnight, Nacogdoches offers 12 B&Bs, some dating back 100 years. Also, the beloved and stylish Fredonia Hotel in downtown reopens this summer following an $11-million

renovation. First welcoming guests in 1955, the six-story mid-century modern boutique hotel is one of the few “community-owned” hotels in the nation; average city residents bought more than 50 percent of the stock that greatly complemented gifts by big donors. Eastbound on the trail, travelers can visit the new Naca Valley Vineyard or the new Front Porch Distillery for adult beverages or can take the whole family on a zooming journey among the treetops at Zip Line Nac. San Augustine was founded in 1832, but its nearby Mission Dolores began 100-plus years earlier when the Spanish believed converting Native Americans was the best way to settle the region. While the original walls no longer exist, the Mission Dolores State Historic Site — listed as a national landmark — provides an informative retelling of the story of its part in Texas history. It’s the county seat of San Augustine County. James Pinckney Henderson was the first governor of Texas. His statue graces the county courthouse. His home still stands, along with 24 other state historic houses and eight historic churches, making San Augustine a sightseer’s dream. The city holds recognition from the Texas State Society of Architects as one of the 25 places of special significance in the Lone Star State.

More evidence of the original trail greets travelers next. On Highway 21 in Sabine County are two sets of deep and parallel swales extending about one-quarter mile through the Sabine National Forest. Called the Lobanillo Swales, the curvature of the land — a gulf that is 20feet deep and 12-feet wide — is the best visible remnant of this “superhighway.” The ancient trail winds out of Texas at a place where some modern-day explorers’ journey came to an end. The Patricia Huffman Smith NASA “Remembering Columbia” Museum in Hemphill pays tribute to the fateful NASA voyage and its seven astronauts that came to rest in Sabine County in 2003 after a tragic reentry explosion. The museum’s theater offers an inspiring film which tells the stories of some of the thousands of local volunteers who helped with the search and recovery effort. The final leg of El Camino extends into the heart of west central Louisiana. Continuing on, travelers can visit Los Adeas Historical Site, the first state capital of Spanish Texas; fish on Toledo Bend Reservoir, the largest man-made lake in the South; stay at Cypress Bend Resort and take in a game of golf; visit Fort St. Jean Baptiste, a 1716 French stronghold made of a quarter-million feet of pine logs; and get a taste of Cajun life in ever-popular Natchitoches. For more information, visit elte/index.htm.



Potters Brown Still Playing in the Mud After 46 Years

Deep in the Art of Texas

“A Pop Art Portrait of John Wayne” by artist Cheryl Hicks is one of the pieces of art found in the latest exhibit “Deep in the Art of Texas” at Gallery 211 in Athens through August 12. The gallery’s next exhibit, “Earth, Air, Fire, Water —Elemental” premieres August 19 with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information, call 903.292.1746 or visit

Potter Doug Brown started the Edom arts community when he moved to East Texas in 1971. The very next year he and other artists started the Edom Art Festival which marks 45 years with this year’s event October 14 and 15. Doug and his wife Beth continue to create decorative and functional stoneware that graces the shelves and tables of fans nationwide. The Browns make their own clay several times during the year using five different kinds from various parts of the country to produce stoneware that handles their high-firing process. Once the piece is made — either by hand or throwing it on a wheel, or a combination of both such as the tray featured here — they fire it in the kiln at 1,800 degrees, which takes two days including the cooling process. The pieces are then glazed using a waxresist method first by basing the piece

in one color of glaze and then applying wax and hand-painting layers of colors over the base glaze. When the piece is fired again to 2,400 degrees, the wax burns off and is replaced with the beautiful under glaze showing through. They do not use commercial glazes, choosing instead to use formulas Doug perfected through 50 years of trial and error. Achieving these colors is a very difficult process that makes it their signature. Their design ideas are influenced by tribal, religious, and cultural designs including Japanese shields, crop circles, Moko or Maori designs, religious symbols, and a combination of all of the above including nature’s geometry. Learn more about Potters Brown in the County Line Magazine archives on and visit their website at


East Texas Artists

Longview Museum of Fine Arts is proud to present “East Texas Collects,” an exhibition featuring notable works of art from more than 30 artists from the East Texas area. The exhibition includes contemporary and traditional styles in almost every genre including paintings, photography, glass, sculpture, and Native American baskets and weavings. This show highlights portraiture and landscape in realistic, primitive, and abstract art styles. Pictured is a piece by Bill Phinnie. Contact or call 903.753.8103 for more information.

Congressional Art Competition Winners Announced Each spring the United States House of Representatives sponsors a nationwide high school visual arts competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation. Since its beginning in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students participated. Congressional districts ask students to submit entries and panels of district artists select the winning entries. Those winners are recognized both in their district and at an annual

awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. The winning works are displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol and on content/educate/art_competition. This years’ winners in Northeast Texas include Yiling Cao of Bullard with “Urban Sunset” from District 1; Brittany Ables of Rockwall with her submission of “Eyes of Imagination” in District 4 (pictured above); and Amanda Villareal of Forney with “Friday Night Lights” in District 5.

ARTS EVENTS Through August 12

Deep in the Art of Texas Exhibition. Athens. Gallery 211.

Through August 20

Double Take: Works by Ed Blackburn. Tyler. Tyler Museum of Art. 903.595.1001. tylermuseum. org

July 8-September 4

Color Blind 6x6 Exhibit. Tyler. Gallery Main Street. 903.593.6905.

July 15

12 x 12 Art Scholarship Fundraiser. Nacogdoches. Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House. 936.468.6557. visitnacogdoches. org

August 12-September 2

A Summer of Creative Fun Winnsboro. 903.342.0686.

August 19

Earth, Air, Fire, and Water -- Elemental Opening. Athens. Gallery 211. 903.292.1746.

Making a Splash.

Three contemporary Texas artists are featured in a celebration of summertime in Tyler Museum of Art’s exhibit “Making a Splash” that runs through September 17. The exhibit features images of Disneyland and other familiar destinations, water guns, swimming pools, and other nostalgic and Americana themes. The artists are Shannon Cannings of Lubbock, Leigh Merrill of Dallas, and Kelly O’Connor of San Antonio. Pictured is O’Connor’s “Bottom of the Pool 18,” 2015, a digitally printed image with collage, 13 3/4 x 20 inches from the collection of Jay Salitza, Houston. JULY/AUGUST 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 21




Oct 14-15, 2017





903.852.3897 903.749.1682 22 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • JULY/AUGUST 2017

ZEKE & MARTY 903-852.3311


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Take our survey through July 25

county line SURVEY MAIN STREET FARMERS’ MARKET Every Saturday May-October 8 a.m.-Noon.


LIVE MUSIC & ARTS Throughout the year 903.569.2087



114 Pacific St (Hwy. 69) Open Thur, Fri, Sat 10 a.m.-3 p.m.


Restored 1906 Mineola Depot 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. 7 days a week. FREE


Designated Daily Stop 1-800-669-8509




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1.800.MINEOLA •


STAGE Summer Musicals Show the Magic of Live Theatre

Northeast Texas continues to grow its offerings for summer musicals each year and this one is no exception. Stages in Greenville, Lindale, Longview, Nacogdoches, Palestine, and Tyler are bringing great entertainment to audiences of all ages with some classic and comedic favorites. Nunsense Lindale Community Theater presents Nunsense July 7-9 and 14-16. The show begins when the Little Sisters of Hoboken discover that their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, has accidentally poisoned 52 of the sisters, and they are in dire need of funds for the burials. The sisters decide that the best way to raise the money is to put on a variety show, so they take over the school auditorium, which is currently set up for the eighth grade production of Grease. The characters include Reverend Mother Regina, a former circus performer; Sister Mary Hubert, the Mistress of Novices; a streetwise nun from Brooklyn named Sister Robert Anne; Sister Mary Leo, a novice who is a wannabe ballerina; and the delightfully wacky Sister Mary Amnesia, the nun who lost her memory when a crucifix fell on her head. Get tickets at or call 903.638.0402 for more information. Singin’ in the Rain The Greenville Family Theater presents Singin’ in the Rain July 7-8 and 14-15 at the Greenville Municipal Auditorium. The show is set in 1927 Hollywood and features the silent-film romantic team of Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont as the toast of Tinseltown. While Don and Lina personify smoldering passions onscreen, in real life the down-to-earth Don can’t stand the egotistical, brainless Lina. He prefers the company of aspiring actress Kathy Selden, whom he met while escaping his screaming fans. Watching these intrigues from the sidelines is Cosmo Brown, Don’s best pal and on-set

pianist. Cosmo is promoted to musical director of Monumental Pictures by studio head R.F. Simpson when the talking-picture revolution commences. Don, an accomplished song-and-dance man, should have no trouble adapting to the microphone. Lina, however, is another matter — put as charitably as possible, she has a voice that sounds like fingernails on a blackboard. Singin’ in the Rain features many musical favorites including “You Are My Lucky Star,” “Good Morning,” and of course the title song “Singin’ in the Rain.”  For times and tickets, call 903.457.3126 or visit The Wizard of Oz Nita Hudson, Jennifer Weems, and Sarah McMullan team up to lead a cast of 30plus adults and children “down the yellow brick road” this summer at the Lamp-Lite Theatre in Nacogdoches. The Wizard of Oz is presented July 7-9 and 14-16. The story has a tornado ripping through Kansas that takes a young girl, Dorothy, and her dog, Toto, away to the magical land of Oz. They follow the yellow brick road to Emerald City to meet the Wizard and along the way they befriend a Tin Man missing a heart, a Scarecrow that needs a brain, and a Cowardly Lion who wants courage. The show features the ever-popular song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and timeless quotes from the characters including Dorothy’s statement, “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” Go to for tickets or call 936.564.8300 for more information. The Pirates of Penzance Jr. ArtsView Children’s Theatre presents The Pirates of Penzance Jr. July 27-30 in Longview. This classic comedy features the wit and whimsy of Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic score suffused with a modern sensibility


in this swashbuckling musical journey. Set on the rocky coast of Cornwall, England, The Pirates of Penzance Jr. begins with a group of pirates celebrating the birthday of Frederic, who has reached his 21st year. Having served his time with the pirates, he decides to strike off on his own and become an upstanding citizen — which may even mean bringing the pirates to justice. This turns out to be a tricky prospect indeed. Get tickets through or call 903.236.7535 for more information. Legally Blonde Presented by the Tyler Civic Theatre, Legally Blonde, The Musical follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes, snobbery, and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. The action-packed musical explodes on the stage with memorable songs and dynamic dances. Equal parts hilarious and heart-warming, the musical takes the audience from the sorority house to the halls of justice with Elle and her Chihuahua Bruiser. Sarah Smith plays Elle, leading a lengthy cast of talent during performances July 20-23, 27-30, and August 3-6. Visit for tickets and call 903.592.0561 for more information. James and the Giant Peach The Palestine Community Theatre presents  James and the Giant Peach July 28-30 and August 4-6. As a full-length, child-friendly musical, the show is about a boy and his insect friends and their amazing journey across the ocean on a giant piece of fruit. When James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic potion that results in a tremendous peach and launches a journey of enormous proportions. The dangerous voyage is a success, but the adventure takes a whole new twist once they land on the Empire State Building. For more information, go to


Texas Shakespeare Festival Presents Season 32

Dates and times are subject to change. Always call ahead before planning a visit.

Through July 30

Texas Shakespeare Festival. Kilgore. Van Cliburn Auditorium. 903.983.8601.

June 23

Arsenic and Old Lace. Mineola. Lake Country Playhouse.903.569.2300. lakecountryplayhouse. com

June 30-July 4

Marvelous Wonderttes Act II. Jefferson. Jefferson Playhouse. 903.665.3733. tourism@

July 6-15

The Miracle Worker. Nacogdoches. Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House.936.468.6557.

July 7

Singing in the Rain. Greenville. Greenville Municipal Auditorium. 903.457.3126. showtime

July 7-15

The Wizard of Oz. Nacogdoches. 936.564. 8300.

July 15

Card 53. Tyler. Liberty Hall.903.595.7274. Elvis Tribute Artist Donny Edwards with Fever, The Band. Palestine. Palestine Civic Center. 903.729.8074.

July 20- August 6

Legally Blonde. Tyler. Tyler Civic Theater. 903.592.0561.

July 27-30

The Pirates of Penzance Jr. Longview. ArtsView Childrens Theatre. 903.236.7535.

July 28-August 6

James and the Giant Peach. Palestine. Texas Theatre. 903.922.1327. Hank and Patsy. Tyler. Liberty Hall. 903.595. 7274.

September 8-17

Yankee Tavern. Mineola. Lake Country Play house. 903.569.2300.


Now in its 32nd season, the Texas Shakespeare Festival is a strong and vital cultural asset for all of East Texas. The festival’s 2017 summer shows features six plays performed from June 29 through July 30 at The Festival Center, 815 Houston Street in Kilgore. Much Ado About Nothing follows the on-again, off-again love story of two of Shakespeare’s most lovable leads: Beatrice and Benedick. Directed by George Judy, this romantic comedy is filled with biting wit while seeking to unite these old flames. The play is perhaps best summed up by the line “Some cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.” Cyrano de Bergerac is directed by Ben Reigel. This play explores the inner conflict of Cyrano, a true Renaissance man of many talents who is held back by his self-doubt over his physical attributes — particularly his unusually large nose. This doubt prevents him from expressing his feelings to his one true love. Richard III is a historical tragedy featuring a title character who sends shivers down many spines as he makes a Machiavellian rise to power. The humpback king is “determined to prove a villain and hate the idle pleasures of these days.” His short-lived reign of terror makes for a dramatic play with amazing twists and turns. The play is directed by Stephen Wyman. The Marvelous Wonderettes, directed by Daniel Haley, features four women

doing four-part harmony versions of classic pop songs from the 1950s and ’60s like “Lollipop,” “Dream Lover,” “It’s My Party,” “It’s in His Kiss,” and “Leader of the Pack.” This alternative performance from Shakespeare is perfect for those who enjoy nostalgic music, delightful characters, and having a good time. Did You Hear Thunder is written and directed by TSF Founder and Artistic Director Raymond Caldwell. It features a prose poem about human beings’ solitary journey through life — the loneliness of searching for connections when young, and the aloneness of questioning life’s purpose as people grow old. Four generic strangers (Woman, Boy, Man, and Girl) meet by chance in a public pavilion and share personal confessions in their pleas for mutual acceptance and understanding. The Witch of Pickle Patch is a children’s production written and directed by Jason Richards. After being banned from the town of Pickle Patch, Hazel the witch has a plan to get even with everyone. No one is safe from her wrath as she begins to poison all of the apples in town. But after a surprising act of courage, the town learns what it truly means to accept others just as they are. Richards offers this imaginative story that entertains playgoers of all ages. For show times and tickets, go to or call 903.983.8119 or the box office at 903.983.8601.



Young Sheldon Grows Up in East Texas DVD REVIEWS by Tom Geddie

Phoebe in Wonderland

Fans of The Big Bang Theory are used to hearing Sheldon Cooper talk about his colorful East Texas roots. Now a spinoff actually depicts his character’s life as a child growing up in East Texas. Premiering on CBS in September, the half-hour sitcom Young Sheldon features Iain Armitage (HBO’s Big Little Lies) as the young Sheldon and follows him through his formative years and then to high school. Big Bang actor and real-life East Texan Jim Parsons narrates. Created by Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro, the series features Zoe Perry as Sheldon-thechild’s mother, Mary. Perry is the real-life daughter of Laurie Metcalf who plays grown up Sheldon’s mother on Big Bang. Young Sheldon gets a special preview debut on September 25, after the Season 11 premiere of Big Bang.

COMMUNITY – COMPASSION CREATIVITY Celebrating the United Nations International Day of Peace September 15 – 21, 2017 Art & Poetry Submissions Open May 1

An unexpected, extraordinary performance can turn an average movie into an emotional masterpiece, which is one fact of Phoebe in Wonderland. The 2009 movie from Red Envelope Entertainment features Felicity Huffman, Patricia Clarkson, Bill Pullman, and young Elle Fanning. Fanning plays a gifted 9-year-old girl with emerging Tourette syndrome and obsessive-compulsive behavior issues. Her character, Phoebe, immersed in the “Alice in Wonderland” story, wins the role of Alice in her elementary school’s telling of that story. The stage is the only place the scared girl feels comfortable, but she loses the role because of her classroom behavior. (Hint: she gets the role back, of course, and saves the whole production.) Fanning, in her first lead role in a feature film, is marvelous as the intelligent girl who wants to do well and be accepted, and who doesn’t understand why she acts the way she sometimes does. The 96-minute independent film — the writing and directing debut of Daniel Barnz — is spot on for the first hour or so (the setup and the struggle), carried past the broadly played parents (Huffman and Pullman), principal, classroom teachers, and theater teacher (Clarkson) by Fanning’s emotional expressiveness. It settles, though, for a simplistic solution in the last half hour, which pulls the story back into the ordinary. The GLAAD Media Awards-nominated film includes some adult language.


While Denzel Washington gives a showy, memorable performance in Fences, it was the quieter performance by Viola Davis that won an Oscar this year. Washington plays the bitter Troy Maxson, a former baseball player who because of his race never got the chance he deserved to


play in the big leagues. He dominates the screen and was nominated for best actor. Davis, playing his, won for best supporting actress in the film that also was nominated for best movie and best adapted screenplay. August Wilson wrote the screenplay based on his Pulitzerwinning novel. The first fence in the title is the one Maxson has promised to build — and slowly worked on — in the small backyard of their 1950s Pittsburgh home. The bigger fences — the ones that seem impossible to climb — are the ones that isolate Maxson from his sons and ultimately himself, as well as the one that isolates his loving but long-suffering wife. Washington played the same role in a 2010 Broadway revival of Fences, and was assured that the movie version would remain true to Wilson’s vision. Released last December, Fences is a compelling, introspective movie that, many say, should have won the best picture Oscar.


How does someone prove that the Holocaust actually existed, that Nazi Germany murdered six million Jews, gypsies, and homosexuals during World War II? That’s the odd task American professor of Holocaust studies Deborah Lipstadt, played by Rachel Weisz, faces when Hitler historian David Irving, played by Timothy Spall, sues her for libel. In U.S. courts, the burden of proof is on Irving; in England, where the case is tried, the burden is on Lipstadt. Based on an actual case and directed by Mick Jackson, the formidable actress’ character is the less sympathetic character for much of the movie. Her adversary, Spall, is multifaceted and seemingly emotionally vulnerable because his living — writing his books and speaking mostly to fringe, supportive groups — is at stake. Spall was nominated as best supporting actor in a 2016 movie by both the AARP Annual Movies for Grownups Awards and the Denver Film Critics Society. The big question in the well-reviewed Denial is this: Are my facts just as valid as your facts?

One of the Coolest Small Towns in Texas

Kids Eat Free Tues. Unplug & Wine Down Wed. Live Music Fri. & Sat. Open 7 Days a Week

903.833.5100 •


Texas Highways

Open Wednesday – Sunday

Live Music

903.833.5970 •

Summer Celebration

live music. hotdogs. face painting. flag dedications. fireworks and more!

MUSIC Series Every Sunday Evening

July 16 - August 20 6-8 p.m.


Pickin Porch



Steel & Magnolia’s

BE’s Records

Ben Here Yet? •


LITERARY East Texas Writers Guild Hosts Conference

The East Texas Writers Guild’s 14th Annual Summer Writing Conference, “Keys to Successful Writing,” is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 15 at Tyler Junior College West Campus, 1530 S SW Loop 323 in Tyler. Targeted for writers of all genres, the conference is packed with tools and information to improve the craft of writing and offers the opportunity to network with fellow writers. The outstanding line-up of speakers and their topics includes Patricia (Pooks) Burroughs, Writing with Passion; Claire Sanders, How I Learned to Show and Not Tell; and Jaime Jones, The Craft of Rewrite, When Revising is Not Enough. Each speaking session is followed by a question-and-answer opportunity.

 browse through aisles and aisles of books, search for musical recordings or movies, or sit and read or people-watch. Half Price also runs a popular buy-back service. “Over the years, we’ve received countless requests to put a Half Price Books in Tyler,” said Kathy Doyle Thomas, executive vice president of Half Price Books. “We’re thrilled to have found this great location in The Village at Cumberland Park and look forward to being a part of the Tyler community for years to come.” The new store occupies a near 9,000-square-foot retail space at 8966 South Broadway Avenue. It is the newest of the company’s 122 stores in 17 states. Based in Dallas, the company has a total of 44 stores in Texas and celebrates its 45th anniversary this year.

An additional highlight of the conference is the announcement of winners of the ETWG international Blue Ribbon Book Cover Contest. For complete contest details, visit

At the official opening, visitors receive free tote bags as a gift. The first 100 people entering the store also get $5 Half Price Books gift cards. Also for opening weekend, one lucky shopper wins a $100 gift card each day and all merchandise is 20-percent off.

The conference fee, including lunch, is $65 for guild members and $75 for non-members. The student rate is $25. Register online at etwritersguild. org/2017-writers-conference.

The store opens at 9 a.m. every day.

Geddie Releases Two New Books

Formed in May 2004, the East Texas Writers Guild is a professional organization whose primary purpose is to provide support, education, and the opportunity to learn about publishing for East Texas writers of all genres.

high school through college far away from home into adulthood. One now teaches anthropology and the other is a counselor and executive director for the not-for-profit Guadalupe Wilde Society, which the girls – and just about everybody else now – calls the Wilde Bunch. One is now married and has a precocious four-year-old daughter; the other is the godmother. Both have — as most people do — matured and changed in the past 10 years without losing the cores of who they are. “Once the characters ‘tell me who they are,’ I toss a few pebbles and, from time to time, a couple of boulders in their paths just to see how they react,” Geddie says. In the series, one faced a horrendous, personal trauma in high school that still shapes her life, but the pain has eased through the years. The other has learned more about herself, and the friendship persists. Readers praise the series. “This particular series is profoundly compelling,” said educator Ariel Marie Furman Cooksey. “I was honestly floored by the authenticity of the characters and the power of their stories.” Geddie’s eighth poetry collection, A Secret Traveler’s Private Notes, draws similar praise. Bookstore owner Marquette Herring called the work “kind of blue and cool, like jazz blown in from somewhere not so far from here.” Singer-songwriter Amanda Shires said the poetry “crashes me like a computer.”

Half Price Books Opens First East Texas Store

The nation’s largest family-owned new and used bookstore chain opens its first store in East Texas soon. A new Half Price Books store celebrates its grand opening in Tyler with special festivities over Labor Day weekend, August 31 through September 4.

East Texas author Tom Geddie has published the ninth book, Under a Forever Sky, in his character-driven Desert Magicians series and a new book of free verse poetry, A Secret Traveler’s Private Notes.

The bookstore offers new and used books, magazines, comics, records, videos, CDs, DVDs, collectible items, games, and gifts. Customers can

The novel series follows the friendship between elite young women, elite scholars, and elite athletes Magan Marshall and Jonnie Meadows from


Singer-songwriter Nathan Hamilton wrote that “Tom Geddie’s poetry falls somewhere between Wallace Stevens’ subtle layers of thoughtfulness and the blunt, brutal grit of Bukowski.” Geddie’s output includes 29 books, including four in a related novel series, five collections of short fiction, two memoirs, and a collection of “Americana, Texas” columns he wrote for Dallas-based Buddy Magazine. To order books search “Tom Geddie” on


Ode to a Long, Hot Summer School closes. The stage is about to morph.

Time for drive-in movies, Popsicles, red tongues, Grandparents to visit, family reunions, Lightning bugs to put in Mason jars, Harnessed locusts to race above our heads. Out come the sunglasses, sunhats, Swimsuits and flip-flops, Repellents for sun and bugs, Ice chests, binoculars for bird watching And star gazing (are they gazing back?) Kids run across hot pavement, bare feet ablaze. Hot asphalt vapors obscure the view. Condensation drips from cold glasses, Beer, lemonade, sweet tea. Eyes sting from briny sweat; The drink and dampness cool bodies. The park spotted with elderly and their sunbrellas, With fried chicken eaters: humans, birds, Ants, bees and butterflies. Delightful screeches arrive from the swimmers, Outcries heard from tubers with hiney river rash, Sensations of rhythm float across the water. Smells from the grill: hot dogs, burgers, kabobs, Fresh corn on the cob, watermelon, ice cream, All dripping down from the chin. At night, smores around the fire. Wow! July is here! Flags wave, bands march in, Parades by and for veterans. Fireworks light up the night: Some scream, some sparkle out Some shoot out of bottles and Others scatter colors into the ether, Super bouquets that disappear Whoops! Snake sunning in the garden! Time to harvest and can tomatoes, squash, Make preserves of plums, peaches, Pickle cucumbers, shell peas. Prepare the soil for beans, broccoli and chard. Cows crowd under the one big tree. Aromas of freshly mown hay, The meadow now brown at its edges. Stock tanks dry up: oxygen-sucking heat. Sun-burnt cheeks come ashore; Boaters, tubers, swimmers, Longing for a hike in the mountains Or a cool desert night. School opens. The stage is in transition. Len Wheeler, Mineola Inspired by “The Renaissance Rowdies: Ann, Kathy, Len, Sue, Stacy,” Texas Summer, 2016

Simpler Unpretentious Days

Across a fanciful field of emerald clover And down a staggering, slender slope, The path ambled to the sight of a young girl On a worn bald tire hanging on a long lash. Underneath the sprawling canopy Of a gnarly, century old oak tree A twisting blur of blond hair swishing the air, A whirlwind in the midst of a clearing, The path continuing, dancing its way to the edge Of a cool inviting pond in the stagnate air. I remember that serendipitous day At the farm of my father’s friend, A frog croaking a raggedy, raucous song In the oppressive heat of the early afternoon. A bug lolling on a leaf in the water, A sinuous stream of air currents Gently, gingerly transporting it downwind Beneath the silhouette of wings fluttering, The sun-drenched shadow of a butterfly Seeking solace upon a soft breeze. Mile-high pillows of puffed vapor Occasionally vanquished the sparkle of the sun, Sporadically shading the landscape As squares of a patchwork quilt, The shade temporarily unclenching my eyes As the gentle ripple of undercurrents Gently twisted my inner tube Upon that shimmering summer pond In the simpler unpretentious days Of the springtime of my life. Stephen F. Brewerton, Tyler

An Old Couple Selling Vegetables

I had passed them twice, Thundering down highway 175 In my shiny black van. I said Someday I have to stop and buy something. They sat there quietly, Selling vegetables from a rickety stand, An old couple, who looked like They had themselves grown out of the soil. Sometimes we only get One chance at something. But fortune favored me this time. I did stop, the third time, and Got onions, potatoes with the dirt Still clinging to them, and tomatoes So red you thought the rising sun Had incarnated in them, which of course it had. I picture them, year after year, Rising in the cool of the morning To tend the children they have planted With their own hands—Rising So that spoiled scholars like me Can stop at the side of the road And buy some real food, grown by real people. Peter Hoheisel, Jacksonville JULY/AUGUST 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 29


Renowned Cellist Yo-Yo Ma Performs in East Texas ensemble. His career as a recording artist has resulted in more than 100 albums and earned 18 Grammy awards, often in collaboration with the world’s leading artists. Yo-Yo Ma is also dedicated to bringing music to new generations through teaching, unique collaborations, and special projects. 

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The University of Texas at Tyler and the East Texas Symphony Orchestra co-presents a performance by renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma at 7 p.m. September 17 at the UT Tyler Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center. The performance with the East Texas Symphony Orchestra with conductor Richard Lee includes Dvorák’s “Humoresque,” and Sibelius’ “Symphony No.1 in E Minor.” The evening features Ma performing Dvorák’s dramatic “Cello Concerto in B Minor.” A child prodigy, Ma began performing at age four and a half. A graduate of the Juilliard School and Harvard University, he is considered to be the reigning cellist of his generation. His prolific career as a soloist performing with orchestras around the world has brought collaborations with virtually every major conductor and musical

Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age 4 and soon came with his family to New York, where he spent most of his formative years. Later, his principal teacher was Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School. He sought out a traditional liberal arts education to expand upon his conservatory training, graduating from Harvard University in 1976. He has received numerous awards, including the National Medal of the Arts (2001), the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award (2008), and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010). In 2011, Ma was recognized as a Kennedy Center Honoree. Appointed a Culture Connect Ambassador by the United States Department of State in 2002, Ma has met with, trained, and mentored thousands of students worldwide in countries including Lithuania, Korea, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, and China. He also serves as a UN Messenger of Peace. He has performed for eight American presidents. He plays two instruments, a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius. East Texas Symphony Orchestra fiveconcert series subscribers and UT Tyler Cowan Center Braithwaite Intimate Gatherings Series subscribers have the first opportunity to purchase tickets beginning July 17. Public sales begin August 21. Call 903.566.7424 or visit for more information. RESTAURANT LIVE MUSIC FULL BAR MOORE FUN! Ben Wheeler, TX 903.833.5100 30 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • JULY/AUGUST 2017

MUSIC Dates and times are subject to change. Always call ahead before planning a visit. EVERY SUNDAY July 16 - August 20 Summer Celebration Music Series. Ben Wheeler. Pickin Porch. 903.984.8141. ben July 1 East Texas Jazz Orchestra. Ben Wheeler. Moore’s Store. 903.833.5100. LeAnn Rimes and Trace Adkins. Durant, OK. Choctaw Casinos & Resorts. 800.788.2464. July 6 Heather Cloninger. Kilgore. The Back Porch. 903.984.8141. Luke Prater. Nacogdoches. Liberty Bell Bar. 936.622.6425. July 7 Ted Hefko and The Thousandaires. Tyler. Stanley’s. 903.593.0311. Cody Wayne. Ben Wheeler. Moore’s Store. 903.833.5100. July 7-8 Santana. Durant, OK. Choctaw Casinos & Resorts. 800.788.2464. July 8 Ronny Cox & Band. Winnsboro. The Bowery Stage @ Winnsboro Center for the Arts. 903.342.6140. Susan Gibson Concert. Greenville. Texan Theater. Jason Roberts. Tyler. Liberty Hall. 903.595.7274. The Dagnabbit Band. Kilgore. The Back Porch. 903.984.8141. July 14 Seek the Peace. Ben Wheeler. Moore’s Store. 903.833.5100. Darin Morris Band. Kilgore. The Back Porch. 903.984.8141. July 15 Tuxedo Cats. Ben Wheeler. Moore’s Store. 903. 833.5100. Todd Freeman & Bullet Proof. Kilgore. The Back Porch. 903.984.8141. July 19 Pierce Pettis. Kilgore. The Back 903.984.8141.


July 21 Tuxedo Cats. Kilgore. The Back Porch. 903.984. 8141. Tyler and the Tribe. Ben Wheeler. Moore’s Store. 903.833.5100. continued Page 32

Bruce Robison and Brother Song Swap in Greenville Bruce Robison — along with his brother Charlie — performs July 14 at the Texan Theater in Greenville. Bruce recently released his latest record, Bruce Robison & The Back Porch Band. He is one of the most respected songwriters within the Country and Americana genres, with songs that became hits for George Strait (“Desperately”), Tim McGraw (“Angry All the Time”) and the Dixie Chicks (“Travelin’ Soldier”), to name a few. Robison is also the mastermind behind The Next Waltz, a web series and multi-platform music delivery concept. The Next Waltz harkens back to the days of Guy Clark and his wife Susanna providing a living, breathing space in which artists could thrive. With an understanding that community is everything, Robison created a new space for artists to create and share directly with fans. Check out his episodes with Jacksonville native Lee Ann Womack, Longview’s Sunny Sweeney, and many others at Robison has topped the Americana charts numerous times as a solo artist, as well as with his talented wife Kelly Willis. He makes a return visit to the Texan Theater in Greenville with Kelly September 8. For tickets and more information on his Greenville shows, go to Photo by Kenny Braun

Wills Point native and Texas singersongwriter Jimmy LaFave passed away May 21 at the age of 61 after a year-long battle with cancer. His courageous, graceful exit from this earth is chronicled in numerous media outlets that show him playing his music for appreciative fans almost to the very end. Family and friends gathered for a tribute at the Paramount Theatre in Austin just three days before he died. A weak, but determined LaFave entered the stage in a wheelchair at the end of the show and led his fellow musicians and the audience in a heart-wrenching version of “Goodnight Irene.” He asked the musical community to take care of his 15-year-old son Jackson and thanked the fans for their support. LaFave is remembered for his soulful voice like no other and heartfelt songwriting and his covers like “Walk Away Renee” that quickly became the favorite version of that song for many. County Line Magazine covered his performances in his native East Texas and his multiple appearances on favorite CD lists over the last two decades.

Rain Falling Down

In Loving Memory

Jimmy LaFave July 12, 1955 — May 21, 2017

Blue Nightfall by Jimmy LaFave

Glory hallelujah, what a sight for sore eyes Beauty everlasting comes at such a price If you break my heart, you won’t even hear a sound I’m the restless wind, you are the rain falling down So come on, come on, take a ride with me We’ll travel down life’s highway mysteriously Lost in that illusion, can you tell me where you are bound I’m the restless wind, you are the rain falling down

Courtesy Photo

Glory hallelujah, what a sight for sore eyes But beauty everlasting comes at such a price And when you break my heart, I’ll be hoping to be found I’m the restless wind, you are the rain falling down JULY/AUGUST 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 31


Curtis Grimes Plays Multiple Venues in East Texas This Summer

MUSIC continued from page 30 July 22 Ben Lowery. Ben Wheeler. Moore’s Store. 903.833.5100. Patrick James Freden. Tyler. On the deck at Stanley’s. 903.593.0311 July 27 Austin Layne. Kilgore. The Back Porch. 903. 984.8141. July 29 Miss Demeanor & The Groove Felons. Winnsboro. The Bowery Stage. 903.342.6140. Cody Wayne. Kilgore. The Back Porch. 903.984.8141. Finding Shade. Ben Wheeler. Moore’s Store. 903.833.5100. July 30 Walt Wilkins. Lindale. Love & War in Texas.

Gilmer native Curtis Grimes was raised on a steady diet of George Strait and Alan Jackson, and he possesses the everyman charm of both his heroes along with a refreshingly mature voice that truly stands out. After a successful career as a collegiate baseball player, in 2011 Grimes was given a chance to appear on a new reality TV show called The Voice and ended up finishing in the top 10. Following success from the show, Grimes hit the ground running, releasing new music and performing shows all across Texas and other states in the region. In 2014, Grimes and his hit single “Home to Me” was picked up by national salon chain “Supercuts” and placed in the mainstream spotlight. That same year Grimes started to see the hard work pay

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August 4 Wes Jeans & Louisiana Rocket. Kilgore. Back Porch. 903.984.8141.

off when he was awarded “New Male Vocalist of the Year” at the annual Texas Regional Radio Award Show.

August 5 Roger Creager. Texarkana. Scottie’s Grill. 903.838.4745.

Fast forward to 2016. Grimes now has a handful of number 1 songs under his belt and has played hundreds of shows across the U.S. His most recent album, Undeniably Country, was released in November 2016 and debuted at number 16 on Billboard’s “Heatseekers” song chart. This year is shaping up to be a great year for Curtis Grimes — on the verge of yet another number 1 single. This summer fans can see him in his native East Texas at Banita Creek Hall in Nacogdoches August 12, Love & War in Texas in Lindale August 13, and at the Drunken Mule Saloon in Commerce August 26.

Shoji Tabuchi Brings Branson Show to Greenville Branson entertainer Shoji Tabuchi performs August 5 at the Greenville Municipal Auditorium along with his family and large cast presenting a sparkling family variety show. Music includes country, bluegrass, big band, Cajun, Broadway tunes, pop, jazz, and even some Led Zeppelin. Get tickets and more information at 903.457.3126 or at 32 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • JULY/AUGUST 2017

Alley Venable Band. Kilgore. The Back Porch. 903.984.8141. August 11 Little Big Town. Durant, OK. Choctaw Casinos & Resorts. 800.788.2464. August 12 Ambush. Kilgore. The Back Porch. 903.984.8141. August 19 Ryan Dougherty Band. Kilgore. The Back Porch. 903.984.8141. August 23 Lyle Lovett And His Large Band presented by Angelina Arts Alliance. Lufkin. Temple Theater at Angelina College campus. 936.633.3220. August 26 Michael O’Neal. Athens. Athens Brewing Co.. 903.952.7493. Teazur. Kilgore. The Back Porch. 903.984.8141. Brett Hendrix Band. Ben Wheeler. Moore’s Store. 903.833.5100. Clint Black/Steve Wariner. Durant., OK. Choctaw Casinos & Resorts. 800.788.2464.


Don Henley’s Still Rockin’ at 70 Henley and his Eagles band mates will also perform a few more times this summer. The Eagles join Fleetwood Mac; Steely Dan; Journey; Earth, Wind & Fire; and The Doobie Brothers for performances with The Classic West at Dodger Stadium in Los Angles July 1516 and The Classic East at Citi Field in New York City July 29-30. This marks the first time in history these six legendary bands will share the same stage. Tickets are available at

Photo by Danny Clinch

Linden native and Eagles cofounder Don Henley is celebrating his 70th birthday July 22 in Dallas at the American Airlines Center. The event features songs by Henley spanning his entire career from the Eagles and his solo catalog. Some of his guests include Eagles band mates Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh, along with Stevie Nicks and others. To buy tickets or learn more, visit

Later this year Henley performs for the Rock Getaway event in Mexico, an all-inclusive experience taking place at the Hard Rock Hotel Rivera Maya from October 26 to November 5. Besides Henley, the lineup includes the Steve Miller Band, Roger Daltrey, Bad Company, Santana, Foreigner, and many others. See for more information. Read more about Henley in County Line Magazine’s archives at countyline


Gun Barrel City ...a straight shot to Cedar Creek Lake

Come Stay & Play. We Aim to Please!


Brandon Rhyder Releases New CD

July 8

Jason Roberts July 15

Card 53 July 21

Photo by Cameron Gott

East Texas native and singer-songwriter Brandon Rhyder recently returned to the studio after a four-year hiatus. His new self-titled album (out July 14) features his latest single, “They Need Each Other,” a collaboration written and performed with Grammywinning singer-songwriter Lori McKenna. The collection is Rhyder’s response to taking a step back over the past four years. A 15-year veteran of the road, he took time to rethink who he was and what he was doing — and to

decide what was most important to him: family, his relationships, a legacy. The big things. Those themes are woven throughout the new album, which was produced by industry stalwart, mentor, and friend Walt Wilkins. The album includes four co-writes with revered songsmiths including Keith Gattis, Michael Hearne, Bri Bagwell, and Lori McKenna. For more information, visit brandonrhyder. com.

One Night with Elvis featuring Travis Powell August 4

Hank & Patsy

Starring Jake Penrod & Lisa Layne August 19

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Bluegrass Band Tickets available at



New Mineola Restaurants Add to the Town’s Culinary Spreads Long-time favorite restaurants in Mineola like East Texas Burger Company, La Waffalata and Kitchen’s Hardware and Deli continue to serve up award-winning delicious foods to residents and visitors alike.

downtown Mineola recently. In addition to the barbecue, they have eight taps and many kinds of craft beers and — new to the area — they offer “growlers” to go, containers of specialty beers customers can take home with them.

About a year ago, Claw Daddy’s opened up at 120 South Johnson Street serving up boiled crawfish, shrimp, snow crab, gumbo, red beans and rice and more, bringing a Cajon flare to the downtown area. The restaurant has karaoke on Friday nights and live music on Saturdays. Guests can opt for BYOB, too.

They have live music and special dinner sessions on the weekends with beer and food pairings. The restaurant offers large seating areas both downstairs and up. For more information, visit their Facebook page or call 972.533.9337.

Recently two new restaurants opened to continue to expand the Mineola fun dining experiences. Cowburner’s BBQ and Taproom started as a food trailer a year ago and became popular enough to open a brick-and-mortar location at 109 North Johnson Street in

Sonny Man’s Dogs and Brew is another gem that recently opened in downtown Mineola at 118 West Broad Street. A favorite local hangout already for some, they serve gourmet hotdogs and sandwiches and tacos in an inviting atmosphere. Beer and wine are also available and they promise an evolving menu. For more information, call 903.638.6996.

Two new restaurants are livening things up in downtown Mineola with specialty hot dogs, barbecue, and craft beers. Sonny Man’s (below) has an inviting atmosphere with bar seating as well as tables. Cowburners is a two-story building offering seating upstairs or down. Courtesy Photos


e t a r b e l e Come C s! With U

Best Steakhouse

County Line Magazine Hall of Fame

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Mixed Green Salad Choice of Fresh Fish of the Day, Ribeye Steak, or Filet Mignon Served with Whipped Potatoes and Green Beans $27.00

“Where the Locals Eat!”

Top 100 American Steakhouses

MORE FOOD & FUN! Go to County Line eMagazine for more fun food and drink articles, recipes, dining ideas, wineries, farmers markets, and events. Food-Drink

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Phinessé Farms Offers Wines in Downtown Sulphur Springs

You’ll Never Be Hungry Again Recipes from Scarlett O’Hardy’s Gone With the Wind Museum Jefferson

The fourth edition of You’ll Never Be Hungry Again was recently published by Bobbie Smith Hardy, owner of the Gone With the Wind Museum in Jefferson.

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Phil and Vanessa Williams have a vineyard and orchard, begun in 2009, on 35 acres near Sulphur Springs. They found the climate and soil of the region perfect for growing Noble and Magnolia muscadine grapes, blackberries, and peaches. They soon began making their own wines and experimented and perfected them until they now have several unique wines under the Phinessé Farms brand from sweet fruity blends and

ports to dry reds and whites. The Phinessé Farms Winery, located at 223 Main Street in downtown Sulphur Springs, serves 16 varieties with many different tastes. Their signature wine is Noblianti, a rustic, earthy semi-dry red wine. They are open evenings Tuesdays through Thursdays with extended hours Fridays and Saturdays. Learn more at or call 903.582.2222.

Pawpa’s House in the country

This edition has 484 recipes in eight sections and features recipes named after GWTW characters such as “Atlanta Burning,” “Bonnie Blueberry Coffee Cake,” “Mammy’s Hammies,” and “Miss Scarlett’s Sweet Potato Muffins.” The 230-page book is $14.95 plus shipping. Call 903.665.1939 to order by credit card or to get the total for mailing a check or pick one up at the museum located at 408 East Taylor Street. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. most Thursdays-Saturdays and by appointment. Best to call the above number before making a trip. By all reviews it does not disappoint. Below is a sample of the recipes in the book.

Atlanta Burning A Great Getaway!


1 cup seeded and chopped jalapeno peppers, or to taste 4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese 4 eggs, well beaten

Near Canton, Ben Wheeler, Lindale, Tyler, Mineola. One hour to Dallas. 1601 VZ County Road 1512 Van Texas

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place jalapenos in bottom of 9-inch pie pan. Sprinkle on cheese. Pour beaten eggs over mixture. Bake 40 minutes.

Growth on Tap for Brewing Company

God Bless


Courtesy Photo

Founding brewmasters and brothers Brian and Matt Gilstrap, along with coowner Annie Gilstrap, opened East Texas Brewing Company in the downtown area of Tyler earlier this year in response to the area’s demand for more craft beer. Recently the company was awarded a $20,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas and member institution American State Bank. As a result of the grant, ETX Brewing Company is purchasing additional kegs and a one-barrel microbrew system. Additionally, the working capital creates more jobs at the downtown brewery.

VISIT THE DISTILLERY AT KIEPERSOL Jimmy’s Bourbon ∙ Pierre’s Rum ∙ Dirk’s Vodka

The extra kegs allow ETX Brewing Company to increase distribution to local restaurants and pubs. “We are a family-owned-and-operated business,” Brian Gilstrap said. “We are doing what we love, and our hearts are fully invested in this business.” The brothers have been brewing beer for 12 years and spent the last four years preparing to launch their business. Renovations of the retail tire store at 221 South Broadway Avenue began in May 2016. ETX Brewing Company celebrated its official opening April 22. “Tyler is fortunate to have the ETX Brewing Company invest in our community,” said Tom Mullins, president and CEO of the Tyler Economic Development Council. “They provide a great venue for additional downtown entertainment that residents and visitors alike can enjoy.” JULY/AUGUST 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 37


Solar-Powered Residence Marries Common Sense with Energy Creation

Many people consider using solar energy to power their homes, businesses, and even motor homes. Installing solar panels can help reduce utility bills and some buyers appreciate using the sun as their main source of energy for independence and sustainability. Others like its environmentally friendly aspects as opposed to other energy sources like fossil fuels that create noise and pollutants. Adding technology to generate solar power has advanced to a place in which energy-conscious efforts don’t detract from enjoying all the comforts of home. A farm home in rural Lindale is proof positive. The 3,280-square-foot residence may be powered by the sun, but it incorporates many prudent features past generations designed into their homes. It is the result of combining old-fashioned common sense with the latest architectural and engineering concepts. The progressive ranch style home was designed by preservation architect Mark Thacker, AIA. Energy efficiency was a primary goal when the owners began the design process. They elected to participate in a certification program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in which most decisions on materials and systems are based on LEED-rated products. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED for short, uses a point system on materials and designs that shows the extent of energy efficiency and conservation. This house achieved the highest level attainable, LEED Platinum.

A significant number of points were awarded for the installation of a solar system capable of generating a maximum of 10,000 watts of power. The solar system, used in conjunction with other design features, has resulted in a monthly electricity bill savings for four out of 12 months during a year.

the roof was installed. Natural stone was introduced to enclose steel columns, create a wainscoat wrapping the exterior walls, and to create a fireplace as a focal point to the living room. The interior is enveloped with a combination of spruce and aspen wood not only for aesthetics, but for insulating purposes.

Individually attached to south-facing standing seam roof panels, 40 photovoltaic panels generate electricity during the day which the Green Mountain Energy Company purchases. During the night the homeowners buy it back. Unlike some, this system does not include a battery storage system, but during a power outage a portable generator can be plugged into the house to power a few lights, refrigerator, freezer, and the fireplace fan. The panels are so sensitive the owner has witnessed a generation of a small amount of power on a clear and full moon night.

Other aspects are unconventional as well. The home is designed on an east-west axis with a southern porch where a roof overhang extends the length of the house to prevent direct sunlight from entering windows. Energy-efficient plumbing fixtures along with EnergyStar appliances conserve water and reduce hot water requirements. LED lighting minimizes electricity usage. Double-paned insulated windows reduce heating and cooling. Walls and the roof need spray foam insulation. A standing seam metal roof system should have reflective qualities. Ceiling heights ranging from 10 to 24 feet allow for 13 ceiling fans throughout the house to circulate air. These are a few compliments to a solar system, with the objective to limit the amount of power required to support normal day-to-day household activities.

Reaping the benefits of solar innovation goes one step further than tech installment. “A solar system placed on a building with disregard of a multitude of compliments is about as worthless as a house with no roof,” Thacker says. That’s why architectural, construction and engineering decisions can and should complement solar decisions. The Lindale residence is a pre-engineered metal building structure designed on modular bay spacing even while supporting steel beams, purlins, and the metal roof. Wood framing was used to create the interior and exterior walls after


ABOVE: Solar panels run along the top of the roof to catch the suns rays. OPPOSITE PAGE top to bottom: The inside of the house uses a combination of spruce and aspen woods that provide insulation. Natural stone on the house encloses steel columns. At night the homeowners use energy they’ve stored up during the day for light. Photos by Elizabeth “Bee” Thacker




Still just $15 per year! SUBMIT ORDER ON WEBSITE OR MAIL TO P.O. BOX 608 BEN WHEELER, TX 75754

county line Upper East Side of Texas Regional Magazine

fl&g 903.963.8306



Diverse Women Are Building Better Communities By P.A. Geddie Crystal Bryce and Sreenidhi Vedartham bonded this past year over their desire to help women entrepreneurs. Their group, Embark Women, is a diverse network of professional women in East Texas supporting each other through networking, discussions, workshops, and more. Bryce says getting to know Vedartham and women of other cultures is enriching her life. “I grew up as a rather sheltered child,” she says. “I had few experiences outside of my hometown in South Texas and the only out-of-country experience I had was crossing the border in Laredo with my parents so they could purchase Mexican merchandise. In my adult years, I have been fortunate enough to travel to countries in Asia and South America. I thought I was fairly wise, open-minded, and educated in the ways of other peoples and places. Recently, I have realized how sheltered I still was.” As she focused on building deep, personal relationships with a few international residents, her perspective began to broaden. “I realized how little I truly understood about people from other backgrounds and cultures. I count myself fortunate to have these close relationships and that new self-awareness now. Through oneon-one honest conversations, I believe I have finally begun to understand cultures other than my own. At the very least, I now understand how little I truly understand. Unless I have personally experienced something similar, I just ‘don’t get it.’ I wish I did, but the truth is that I don’t. I can sympathize, but it’s difficult to empathize no matter how much I wish to.  “For me, these one-on-one relationships have been invaluable. Through these personal relationships, my perspective has evolved. I believe confessing, ‘I want to learn. I want to understand.’ But, I just ‘don’t get it,’ is a huge step in the beginning of truly becoming compassionate and understanding of

Sreenidhi Vedartham (left) and Crystal Bryce are learning about each others cultures and finding the things they have in common. They work together on their organization called Embark Women with a mission to create a diverse network of professional women in East Texas and an environment for open, thought-provoking discussion as well as developing a platform for growth and innovation with an entrepreneurial focus. They also have a series of videos on YouTube also promoting multicultural support.

those unique individuals from other cultures and backgrounds. Admitting my own ignorance is embarrassingly humbling at times, but I now believe it’s the most helpful and educated thing I can do.”

all want to be heard, understood, loved and supported.”

Bryce says she’s learned that while it is not necessary to completely understand other cultures, it is important that people realize that all kinds of humans must share the same space and life is better for all when they support each other.

“It’s important to get to know outside cultures living in our community for many reasons,” she says. “Being exposed to new ideas and ways of doing things expands our minds. It helps push us past our narrow, ignorant safe zone, which might be uncomfortable but growth usually is. Personal betterment should be something we all strive for. Ignorance hurts our entire community and holds us back from the wonderful potential of our beautiful town.”

“We never know what the person standing next to us is going through — not unless they bare their soul to us,” Bryce says. “Learning what I have, I’m determined to support all people — those I don’t relate with included — because one thing I can definitely relate to is feeling insecure, scared, and alone. Let’s support each other no matter where we’re from. Regardless of the land we hail from, we’re all from Planet Earth and we’re all human. We


Besides human compassion, Bryce says befriending other cultures makes communities better.

One of Bryce’s new friends is Vedartham who moved to Tyler in early 2015 from Chennai, Tamil Nadu in South India to pursue a master’s degree in electrical engineering. “I wanted to study more,” Vedartham says. “So, I took the plunge of my life.”

Leaving her family behind in India does not come without consequences. “My family can be referred to as Brahmins (Priest Class) and they care a lot about studies,” Vedartham says. “So it was easy to convince them to let me pursue my higher studies in the U.S. It was a huge decision, though, because I am traveling alone for the first time and living on my own after 22 years of living with my family. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to start exploring. But loneliness was a major factor, too, because I missed my family and friends back home.”

in,” she says. “We have a healthy mix of diverse cultures, but most of the time, we are not culturally aware. Starting a conversation about other cultures means you are reaching out to them and saying, ‘Hey, I like you and I want to get to know you better. I am there for you and I want to understand your community and you can understand mine.’

“Embracing other cultures is embracing other human beings. We need each other to build a healthy environment for the future. What more than to start with our own diverse community to show that we stand together?” To learn more about Vedartham and Bryce’s group, Embark Women, visit

Copper Leaf Day Spa Enlarges Space and Services

Learning to adjust to new cultures is a challenge, she says, but one she’s willing to take, and often the similarities to her background are greater than the differences — sometimes she just has to take the time to look at things from a different perspective. “When I came to Texas for the first time, people kept asking me ‘How are you?’ and hugging me,” she says. “It was bizarre because the place I come from, we don’t do a lot of hugging or talk to people on the street. It was just strange, but then they told me something called ‘Southern hospitality’ and it made a lot of sense. In India, we treat our guests like family and hospitality is a very important part of our culture.” She also learned that life in America is not exactly how it is portrayed in media. “I had watched a lot of movies and TV shows to prepare myself to understand the American lifestyle,” she says. “In hindsight, I should have known how different it would be. I came expecting a movie setup, but I relaxed once I saw it was not that different from my home.” She also adjusted from her native drink of hot tea to the state’s favorite, ice tea.

Copper Leaf Day Spa and Salon in Winnsboro recently expanded their space to include the building at 213 North Main Street in Winnsboro where they operate their Directional Wellness division. It offers bioidentical hormone treatment, Well Woman exams, Soza lifestyle and weight management programs, nutritional and healthy educational classes, yoga classes and a girls fun and games reception room.

The spa offers an extensive list of services including massage, reflexology, sauna, skin care, and medical spa services. The salon services include haircuts and style, color, perms, extensions and manicures and pedicures. Copper Leaf and Directional Wellness are located in the heart of downtown Winnsboro. Learn more about this daytime oasis online at or directional and call 903.342.7772.

“When I heard the concept of “sweet ice tea” I was so blown away. Tea is meant to be consumed hot, not cold,” she thought. “Now I love ‘sweet ice tea,” without which, now I cannot survive.” Vedartham wholeheartedly agrees with Bryce on the importance of supporting other humans whether their cultures are different than hers or not. “Globalization and sharing of cultures has been a big part of the country I came from and the country I am living JULY/AUGUST 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 41



Adventures of Seri & Abi Tyler State Park

harmed. Social workers and child psychology experts suggest that pediatricians and other child health care providers can advocate for a safer media environment for children by encouraging media literacy, more thoughtful and proactive use of media by children and their parents, more responsible portrayal of violence by media producers, and more useful and effective media ratings. If children demonstrate any of the aforementioned signs of exposure to media violence, office counseling has been shown to be effective. Read more by searching “Media Violence” on

Seri and Abi show kids and adults alike how to have a fun afternoon at Tyler State Park. The girls took their tambourine and tiny guitar with them and sang songs by the lake. Then they went for a canoe ride. There are also pedal boats, kayaks and fishing boats for rent. Seri and Abi and their moms had their lunch right in the canoe. The girls really enjoyed the view and touching the water, although the fragile balancing act of the canoe was a challenge. The adventurers then went to a play area on land and were treated to a treasure hunt set up by their moms. Next trip they hope to go swimming and maybe camp overnight. Find more exploring ideas from this team at

Take A Stand Against Media Violence

No one’s arguing about this anymore. Exposure to violence in media, including television, movies, music, and video games, represents a significant risk to the health of children and adolescents. Extensive research evidence indicates that media violence can contribute to aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence, nightmares, and fear of being

Shaping the Future of the Upper East Side of Texas

Founding Mothers

For a little summer reading that celebrates women who made their mark on history, New York Times bestselling author Cokie Roberts’ 2014 children’s book Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies is a follow-up to her acclaimed  Founding Mothers adult offerings and is worth a family trip to a local library.  Beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Honor–winning artist Diane Goode, it presents the contributions of the women who fought in the American Revolution as courageously and heroically as the men.

weekday appointments and in the summer. Curious offers a Summer Family Tinkering Lab developed by ICEE Success Foundation. The acronym stands for Institute of Creativity Empowering Education and the organization is devoted to promoting opportunities to increase vital creative and innovative thinking skills in students and adults of all ages. Items available at an on-site store include fun finds like a travel spirograph, a potato clock kit, a tin can robot, KEVA catapult, and a window-mounted rainbow maker. With a new location at 1301 South Royall Street, Curious is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays. Admission is $5 for ages 5 and up. Learn more at

Livingston’s Night at the Museum

Livingston the Lion, a stuffed animal from the late 1800s, is hosting an event for kids and their stuffed animals, dolls, or action figures on August 4 at the Sam Bell Maxey House State Historic Site in Paris. Sign-in is from 6:30 to 7 p.m. After introductions, Livingston is inviting all his new friends to stay for an early bedtime story and snack beginning at 7 p.m. At the end of the story, the children leave their toys behind for a sleepover.


The toys are picked up any time between 1 and 3 p.m. the next day at which time organizers give photos of all the fun that was had at the sleepover. Activities and yard games — including some of the activities the toys did during their sleepover — are then available for all to participate in on Saturday.

A hands-on exhibit in Palestine, “Curious” is based on the world-famous Exploratorium in San Francisco and operates on the premise of “igniting imagination.” The exhibit is available by reservation for

Pre-registration for this event is required as space is limited. Call 903.785.5716 by August 2. There is no cost to participate in the event. The Maxey House is located at 812 South Church Street.


ETMC Medical Weight Management

A Workable Way To a Healthier

Y U from a doctor, dietitian and fitness specialist

All plans include • Comprehensive physical examination and history by physician • Complete fitness assessment by certified exercise specialist • Electrocardiogram (EKG) • Resting metabolic rate (metabolism) testing • Nutrition consultations • Personal training • Regular physician follow-up visits

Because we care for East Texas, we developed a program to help you lose weight and take control of your health: ETMC Medical Weight Management. The program is directed by Katie Root, MD, FACP, board-certified in internal medicine and an obesity medicine specialist. Also on your team are registered dietitian Misti Odefey, MS, RD, and Cassie Ebert, an exercise specialist with the ETMC Olympic Katie Root, MD, FACP Center. Choose a six-month or three-month plan, with several add-on options, such as a month-by-month maintenance plan. All are flexible to fit your schedule. This program is not a fad. It works because we start with your current medical condition, dietary habits and level of fitness. Then we help you reach and keep the goals you set for your weight and health.

[ For information call 903-594-2081 or visit A not-for-profit organization committed to improving the quality of life in East Texas communities.

We care for East Texas JULY/AUGUST 2017 • COUNTYLINEMAGAZINE.COM • 43

The Poetry of Claire Simmons

Ed Blackburn (b. 1940). Painting No. 8 (detail), 1986. Oil on canvas, 78 x 100 inches. Tyler Museum of Art General Acquisition Fund

DOUBLE TAKE Works by Ed blackburn

May 14 – august 20, 2017

Tyler Museum of Art

(903) 595-1001 •


Upper East Side of Texas

ABOVE LEFT: Claire Simmons today as she prepares to embark upon her journey to college. ABOVE RIGHT: Claire with her teacher and poetry supporter Deanna Egan. BOTTOM: Claire at the age of 11 when she started writing poetry.

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Claire Simmons won a place in six of the last seven years of poetry contests held by or in partnership with County Line Magazine and including thousands of entries from all over Northeast Texas. She started entering poems at age 11 in 2011 at the encouragement of her sixth grade teacher, Deanna Egan, with the Cushing school system near Nacogdoches.




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Egan went on to teach Claire in her English classes through the eighth grade and then even after she was no longer in her classes, Egan encouraged Claire to continue writing poetry and entering the contests. “I am so proud of her,” Egan says. “She loves competing in the poetry contests and wrote one for me to enter each year. We are a small school with junior high and high school in the same building, so it’s easy to stay


close. She refers to spring as ‘poetry season’ and is always eager to enter.” Claire won second place in her grade for five years and then this year she took first place as a senior in high school. “Writing poetry gave me a creative outlet that I had never had before,” Claire remembers. “I’ve always loved to write, but I had never written poetry until my first County Line contest in sixth grade.” It’s a skill she plans to continue. “Poetry has given me a way to express myself,” she says. “No matter what I am feeling, if I write it into a poem, I feel free from my problems. I’m going to write poetry for the rest of my life.” Claire is attending Texas State University in the fall and majoring in Communication Studies. Here are her six winning poems from over the years.

In the Cold She stood outside, Laughing and crying. She thought about everything good, Smiling for no reason, Walking barefoot on the beach, Dancing to no music, Standing when everyone is sitting, Sitting when everyone is standing, Being loud in a quiet place, Going into the rain with no umbrella, The sun shining on her face, Looking down at her faded shoes, Praying for her fading spirit. She realized All these good things Are also her burdens that bring her Into the cold. 2011, Sixth Grade

In the Rain

She stood there In the pouring rain wondering, How much is too much? Why do bad things happen? Why do I always find my way back here? She wondered about Heaven and if going there was worth living on Earth, The spotlight and if it all was just in vain. She wondered If wearing her heart on her sleeve would make her bleed to death, If leaving was a better way to find peace, If she would ever breathe new air, Why the man in the moon never answered her questions, And if rain could possibly be part of a cycle when it seems just like tears of angels. She prayed for help once again, And found her answer. All that wonder is what keeps her going, But it is also her curse that brings her Into the rain. 2012, Seventh Grade

In the Wind

She stood there In the furious wind alone once again. She remembered the day in the cold, And she remembered the day in the rain. Things always got better before they fell apart again. She remembered when she was happy,

Even when life was hopeless life still made sense, She remembered angels, And how they once seemed so real. Why would they have wings if they couldn’t fly down to you? She remembered fairy tales, And how they put so much false faith in a young girl; Happily ever after never felt so far away. She remembered the seventeenth night of December, And the look upon his face, How for a moment everything mistakenly seemed okay. She remembered laughing; she hadn’t done it in so long. Everyone around her changed, Or maybe she was the change all along. When push comes to shove and end comes to love, And she had been pushed too far, She remembered when she hallowed his heart, And the broken promises he made. She remembered things would someday be better, So she bowed her head and prayed. Memories are what make her stronger but they are also her weakness, That lead her into the wind. 2013, Eighth Grade


You hold yourself high above on a pedestal refusing love, You never let yourself fall do you? You run, you hide, you see the light, But you shut it out, you prefer the night, Where you can rest in all your hallelujahs. Hush sweet child please hush now, The devil hears what you speak aloud, Silent prayers will shield your heart, Your soul evolves when you choose the dark, But you don’t choose the dark you live in do you? Hide the halo with our golden hair, Then angel cries if she sees you stare, And on her face is written hallelujah. You can climb the ivory tower alone, But you can’t escape your own tortured throne, The magic word will free you hallelujah. The things you chase they’re all in vain, Read the Book and say His name, Close the door of unsacred lies, Love’s a waste if it’s love you hide, Share it with every hallelujah. 2014, Ninth Grade

Roots and Trees

You and I are forever bound, You’re twisted and tangled when it comes to me, You appear to be helping, But really you’re killing me, You are the roots and I am the tree, The oldest love story in all of history, You hide underground and grip the earth, So I can sprout and grow to be tall, But what you enjoy more than anything, Is how the sky tempts me, I crave to be free, to fly, to live, and breathe, But with you holding me to the ground, I can’t ever leave, If you get hurt I’m the one who suffers, You control me, I’ve grown tired of serving to gravity, You gave me a home, Nourished me, and gave me all I need, I truly do love you, But I hate what I am, And you’re the only thing, That keeps me a tree. 2015, Tenth Grade

It’s About Love

That sound, that sound of Canon in D, as you play the violin with a broken string, that sound holds a whole new meaning, beyond the scratches and screeches, I can hear it, it’s about Love. That sight, that sight of an upturn at the corners of your mouth, looking at you now I finally see, with fresh eyes a smile really wipes a soul clean, not politeness or white teeth, I can see it, it’s about Love. That feeling, that feeling of rested butterflies and four o’clock cups of tea, holding hands and brown eyes make lines easily read between, these extraordinary daily routines, it’s not boredom or resigned fatigue, I can feel it, it’s about Love. 2017, Twelfth Grade




“Comedy and Western” group mixes classic Western music with wacky humor, way out wit

September 14 LUFKIN’S BISTRO

Music, food and an incredible selection of wines and beers


Scenic biking routes of 25, 52, 72, and 102 miles

October 7 FARM FEAST

Local chefs, using the freshest ingredients from East Texas farmers, prepare a farm-to-table dinner that is expertly paired with fine wines

October 26 936-633-0349



Fruits and Veggies at Your LOCAL Farmers Market

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