Postcards Magazine Piney Woods January 2022

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Piney Woods

POSTCARDS Pat Oliphant / Sam Houston Republic of TX Presidential Library / Alex Boylan / Amaya’s Collision Center


January 2022 Postal Customer


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2  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

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January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 3


January 2022  |  Volume 12, Issue 1



Do You Know?

A Special Conversation Alex Boylan

Pat Oliphant

58 30

Texas Treasures A.D. Players and the George Theatre

Local Treasure Sam Houston Republic of Texas Presidential Library

82 Business Focus Amaya’s Collision Center


Photo shared by Judi Delesandri

6 9 20 24 28 35 38 50

From Our Readers Publisher’s Post Dear Gabby Star Students Pet Pals Glorious Grandkids 20 Questions Kidding Around

52 Creative Corner 56 Snapshots! 68 Things My Granddaddy Said 70 What’s Cookin’ 92 Sudoku Marketplace 96 Giggles and Grins 100 Community Calendar 102 Mustard Seed Moments

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4  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

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From Our Readers Thank you for writing this very thoughtful column. If you touched and changed just one heart, it was well worth.

Thank you, HISD Board of Trustees!

Trey Wharton President

Rissie Owens Vice President

Tracy Stoudt Secretary

I am a great-grandmother now and I hear the words you have written from many of my life long friendships. I, and they, have been in situations with family members that place more value on gifts (as one said recently, “she likes me as long as I am gifting”) than the comfort and everlasting gifts of love that keep on giving. Perhaps, we are living in a world of too much of everything. Could this be one of the reasons many have lost the true values in this life? In my eighties, I can still smell and feel the loving touch of my grandmother’s worn and wrinkled hands. Her hands now mirror the ones I see when I look down. Her gifts couldn’t be bought in a store or online! Hers were the ones that are imbedded in the woman I am today. Karen, you are a treasure, keep writing! Jo Keller

Ken Holland Trustee

J.T. Langley Trustee

Cathy Schweitzer Trustee

Dr. Karin Olson-Williams Trustee

I finished reading your 10-year anniversary edition of Postcards. Fantastic as usual. Love the whole magazine, but I really get a hoot out of the “Out of the Mouths of Babes.” I am always reminded of a couple of things my kids have said in their younger days.


Keep up the good work publishing Postcards. Wanda Gardner

6  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

Wishing you and your family a healthy and happy new year!! Best wishes for a joyous New Year from our family to yours!

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January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 7

We’re Moving!

New Location Coming Soon. We are pleased to break ground on our newest and more convenient Huntsville location at 2506 Pine Shadows. This beautiful, state-of-the-art branch will open soon to put You First!

YOU FIRST | | 936-295-2224

Susie Garza Vice President NMLS# 493275

8  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

Kyle Whisenhunt Senior Vice President NMLS# 1182532

Publisher’s Post Karen Altom

Your Local Community Magazine! @PostcardsMag

If you would like to receive our magazine and are not currently on our mailing list, subscriptions are available. MAILED to select postal routes in Huntsville, New Waverly, Midway, Madisonville, Riverside and Trinity. FREE rack copies at advertisers and businesses in towns listed above. Published Monthly by Altom Consulting & Marketing, Inc. Publisher Karen Altom Editor Wes Altom Advertising Team Nancy Jolly Jennifer Abbrat Marshall Altom Design Team Mary Partida April Key Social Media Management Abby Altom Boyd

Printed in Texas by Shweiki Media

Online: Address: PO Box 690 • Huntsville, TX 77342 Call our Office: 936.293.1188 We reserve the right to edit or reject any material submitted. The publisher assumes no responsibility for the return of any unsolicited material. No material from Postcards Magazine™ can be copied, faxed, electronically, or otherwise used without express written permission. Publication of articles, advertisements or product information does not constitute endorsement or approval by Postcards Magazine™ and/or its publisher. Business Focus stories printed in Postcards Magazine™ are drawn at random from contract advertisers. © 2022 by Altom Consulting & Marketing, Inc., All rights reserved.

Weighty Matters A new year tends to bring new resolve in many areas of life. This often manifests in the form of resolutions. For most, at least one usually has to do with weight. As I considered the new year and resolutions, I thought of weight first. And then I REALLY thought about weight…and decided 2022 could be the year to deal with it. To REALLY deal with things that weigh us down. Have you ever tried running while holding a sack of feed or carrying another person on your back? My guess is you may be doing it now. We all have things in life that weigh us down. While I can quickly think of things that apply in my life, yours may be different. Each carries our own baggage and cannot readily understand another’s. Here are a few things that may be weighing you down: ~ The way you’re accustomed to thinking. If you feel stuck in a never-ending cycle, stop to examine your thought processes. Changing the way you think can be the first step to changing your life, your reality, and your perspective! ~ Your perspective. The way you see the world differs from your friend or neighbor. Different memories, life lessons, and theories all shape perspective. A person’s perspective is their reality. Sometimes, it is good to view life from another perspective. ~ Wasted time. We all waste time, but the trick is minimizing time wasted. I am not advocating to fill every minute (sometimes the most productive thing you can do is lie on the couch and daydream). ~ Past failures and relationships. Every single one of us has failed. Even computers fail. Learn from failures. Let them go. ~ Habits. You may love them or hate them, but down deep, you also know they aren’t good for you. Lighten your load and make changes. ~ Information Overload. Never have we had as much access to information. It’s easy to be overwhelmed without even knowing it. Avoid processing worthless information that takes time, energy, and memory space. ~ A job you hate. Many of us have been there, but life is too short to be in a job that makes you never want to wake up. Ask yourself, “If I could do anything…what would I do?” Then do it and smile. ~ Negative people and friends that hold you back. Sometimes we outgrow friends. Sometimes we change. I once heard God brings people into your life - sometimes for a reason, and sometimes for a season. If they were “reason” or “season” friends, move on. ~ Unhealthy lifestyle. Why are you doing this? I bet if you answer this question, change will be easier. ~ Poor self-image. There’s only one of you, and God made you just the way you are. If you don’t like something, change it, but change it for yourself. You don’t need to be weighed down by what others think of you. God loves you…and so do I. Happy New Year - lose the weight!



January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 9

What Are You Reading? Charlotte McConnell reading

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day

Jason January

Jody Addy



Twelve Mighty Orphans

A Breath of Snow and Ashes

By Jim Dent

By Diana Gabaldon

By Mark Batterson

Tell us what you’re reading!

10  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

DEALERSHIPS All Top 8 Domestic Brands, One Convenient Place!



AT NO COST TO YOU on new & pre-owned vehicles purchased


LOVE IT OR WE’LL TAKE IT BACK January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 11

awesome apps!


This Month’s App


Want to star in your own sci-fi movie? Design a house fit for a sloth? Or just hang out with your friends at the mall? In Toca Life World, you’re the boss! There are more than 90 locations to explore and over 500 characters to play with. Feeling creative? Remember to check out the Character Creator and Home Designer tools. Start building your world today!

Created by Toca Boca, in Stockholm, Sweden, a premier maker of children’s apps for 10 years, with 45 current offerings.

Recently named iPhone App of the Year for 2021 by Apple App Store.

We want to share one of our favorite awesome apps with you. If you have an amazing app you’d like to share with our community, let us know online at

Cook Springs Baptist Church brings to the Huntsville area some of the very best in Southern Gospel Music. Satuday, January 8 @ 6:30 P.M. - Song of Praise & Worship & Prayer Service Sunday, January 9 @ 10:30 A.M. - Dr. Bob Pitman with Mark Trammel Quartet Sunday, January 9 @ 7:00 P.M. - Dr. Bob Pitman with Mark Trammel Quartet Monday, January 10 @ 7:00 P.M. - Dr. Bob Pitman with Mark Trammel Quartet 12  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

Tuesday, January 11 @ 7:00 P.M. - Dr. Bob Pitman with Mark Trammel Quartet Wednesday, January 12 @ 7:00 P.M. - Dr. Bob Pitman with The Kingsmen Quartet Thursday, January 13 @ 7:00 P.M. - Dr. Bob Pitman with Joseph Habedank

Featuring Dr. Bob Pitman - Nationally Renowned Evangelist

Let’s Celebrate! This Month’s Business Anniversaries: 1854


Celebrating 168 years

Celebrating 17 years

First Christian Church, DOC

Davis Wealth & Risk Management

See their ad on page 67

See their ad on page 61


Vick Lumber LLC

Celebrating 56 years

See their ad on page 78

Heartfield Florist See their ad on page 42

2016 Celebrating 6 years


Turnkey Custom Homes

Celebrating 37 years

See their ad on page 34

Kim’s Home and Garden Center See their ad on page 56

2021 Celebrating 1 year


RKJR Veteran’s Creation Point

Celebrating 30 years

Dr. Stephen H. Means & Associates See their ad on page 23

See their ad on page 94

Stoermer Solutions See their ad on page 93

2000 Celebrating 22 years

G2 Construction See their ad on page 88

May your heart and home be filled with all of the excitement and joy a new year brings. Happy New Year!

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January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 13

Do You Know? Story by Jo Hukill Photos by Tom Miller

Pat Oliphant What is it about someone that simply makes them special? Caring for others is one of the beautiful threads woven throughout the tapestry of Pat Oliphant’s life. She is a lifelong resident of Huntsville, Texas, as were her parents, Isiah and Margaret Kelly. Pat described a way of life growing up that included families taking in elderly grandparents and added, “When I was young, my grandparents were always around. Times were different then, and that is just the way it was done.” Pat explained that someone gave up their bed or their room to make space for those who could no longer care for themselves. She shared a special memory of time spent with her grandfather, who always had a watermelon patch. The grandkid who got up the earliest could pick out the best and largest watermelon. “Well,” Pat said, “I always got up the earliest, but I was too little to carry the one I chose, so later in the morning, my grandfather would go with me and carry the one I picked back to the house.”

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Pat was happy to lend a hand to care for her grandparents, all the while learning skills that became part of what would be her passion in life, to care for others. Fate also presented unfortunate circumstances. Her husband and son were in a serious accident, and she was called upon to provide care for them. She was quick to mention that the Huntsville and Phelps communities

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were there for her and her family during these difficult times. She feels grateful and has a strong desire to give back to the community and help others as they helped her. I asked if she had ever considered moving from Huntsville, and there was no hesitation as she shook her head ‘no.’ When I asked what was best about our community, she immediately said, “I like the people.” Pat developed a heart for those in need, but it took time before she came to embrace the driving force that would create her thriving group of caregivers. In high school, students who had acquired enough credits to graduate could learn life skills by working locally. Industrial Cooperative Training was a program that provided an opportunity for Pat to work at the hospital (then located in the Ella Smither building) and learn important aspects of nursing care. She is grateful for the chance and especially for Mr. J. I. Woods, who managed the program and helped the students. She said the nurses at the hospital took her under their wings and were willing to teach her procedures to care for the patients. She learned valuable skills and, in the years that followed, she was called on to help out at the hospital. Pat and James married while still in high school and had three children: Jay, head basketball coach at Huntsville High School; Patrick, a successful landscaping and janitorial business owner; and daughter Kim, who is an assistant athletic director at Forney ISD near Dallas. She also spoke of her daughter-in-law Torrie, who is employed at HHS. Pat happily told me about her grandchildren: Kerrington (21), Jordan (12), and Jayden (15). Sadly, Pat lost her husband James after 43 years together. She and her family are close, and once a year they plan a

special vacation. It does not matter to her where they go, she loves their ‘get togethers.’ Pat is the youngest of four siblings who join in the fun, including her sister Darlene; brother Anual and wife Marilyn; and sister Dolan and Jessie Nickens. Pat is a member of True Vine Missionary Baptist Church in the Phelps Community. She is an avid collector of crystal and ceramics when time permits. Her favorites include Lladro elephants, giraffes, and frogs. Pat shares her love of collecting porcelain figurines with her friend Linda Crisp. Pat is an avid gardener, and when asked what is in her garden, she said, “Anything that grows!” Although Pat worked for Southwestern Bell for about ten years and then accepted a position at TDC for another ten, neither of those pursuits were what she longed for. During that time, Pat also worked at a couple of the local assisted living facilities, and that is when, as they say, the plan came together. She found genuine satisfaction in helping others and started to understand what her mission in life would be. She told me, “People wouldn’t be asking for help if they could do it themselves. They need us and they are asking for help, so I had to help them.” That is exactly what she and her sister Darlene did. They got the word out that they were available to those in need of nursing care. Local residents have learned who to call when unfortunate circumstances come along, and whether for illness or accident, Pat will arrange to help them and improve their quality of life during a difficult time. God’s Giving Foundation Caregivers was founded in 2001 and started out small with only she and her sister Darlene for the next ten years. The need continued to grow, and more caregivers were added to manage the increased requests for assistance. Pat’s smile bursts with joy when


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January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 17

she speaks of her work, and she believes the only way to be successful is to be involved and provide firsthand management. She knows she is responsible for the actions of her staff and is an active influence on all aspects of her business. She requires the same excellent work ethic from her staff that she adheres to and is committed to providing the best possible care for her clients. She understands living in a small town makes it essential to have a good reputation. Pat uses her expertise to manage the care of her clients from the beginning of their relationship with her. When she gets a request for help from an individual or an agency, Pat personally visits with them to determine the services needed. Her next step is to choose the caregiver that will best meet the needs of the patient. Pat said that personalities and attitudes vary with everyone she serves, and she strives to find the correct person to help them. She and the caregiver go together when meeting with the client on their first visit to ensure the best possible experience. Pat asks her staff to adhere to the highest standards, including honesty and integrity in all interactions with clients in their care. Pat is certified as a nurse aide, but told me that on-the-job training was a strong factor in acquiring her nursing skills. She has worked with Dr. Thomas Cole and other professionals to learn different healthcare procedures. They have come to trust Pat and call on her to help out when needed. She and her group know how to assist patients with basic needs, monitor medication routines, transfer or position the client, plus assist with other medical needs. They also provide companionship and promote a feeling of wellbeing for those being cared for. Pat’s staff is available for patients who are in rehabilitation

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From our family to yours, we wish you a healthy and happy new year!

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Emergency Service Available 24/7 18  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

Haney, Paschal & Romoser ATTORNEYS AT LAW 1300 11th St. • Ste 405 • Huntsville • 936-295-3712

The gift of giving back!

Santa’s Helpers THANKS our 2021 Sponsors from illness or accident as well as for the elderly who need ongoing assistance. A person who has never been in the role of caregiver may find it difficult to understand the responsibility, joy, and heartbreak involved in the everyday tasks required to ensure the safety, recovery, and contentment of a patient. Motivational speaker Debbie Milam says it well, “As joy coalesces with pain, God creates the magnificent tapestry that is life.” There is another bright strand that runs deep and holds together the fabric of the life Pat Oliphant has built. I asked her how she manages the difficulties she encounters, and she responded reverently as she pointed to the sky, “God is number one. If I take Him with me, I’m not going to make a mistake; but even if I do, He will set me back right.” I also asked how Covid had affected her team and their patients. She said, “Not at all; we just kept on doing what we do. We took precautions, and we got vaccinated. That’s all we could do.” In addition to her healthcare responsibilities, her organization hosts an annual fund-raising event the third week in December, with gospel singers and great food and friends. She and her organization offer two scholarships each year, one for $800 to someone in need and one for $1000 in memory of her late husband James. The rest is used throughout the year to provide meals for the hungry, to help a family with funeral expenses, or to simply give a hand up to someone as the need arises. Under Pat’s leadership, she and her team serve as advocates for the elderly and infirmed in Huntsville, New Waverly, Point Blank, Riverside, and other nearby communities. Givers like Pat rarely ‘toot their own horn’ and often don’t even realize how crucial their role is in the lives of others. I asked her what she wanted everyone to know about her organization and the care she and her staff provide. Her answer, “We are honest, courteous, and respectful of other’s homes and belongings. We care.” Pat gets up each morning and strives to meet the needs of others, in their own homes or at one of the local nursing facilities. Pat is an inspiration and often works 7 days a week, 12 – 16 hours a day. Why? She flashed her beautiful smile and said, “I love people--especially old people.”

• Weisner of Huntsville • Sam Houston Memorial Funeral Home • Elliotts Jewelers • Rotary Club of Huntsville • BB's Boards • Frank's Taco Stand • Jersey Mikes • The SHSU Wesley Foundation • The Huntsville Item • Adams Furniture

Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church

Have a Happy and Blessed New Year

January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 19

Dear Gabby

February 13, 2022 and


Valentine's Show

Happy New Year, and welcome back to the Dear Gabby advice column! Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Is it weird that 2021 is pronounced “twenty-twenty won” and 2022 is pronounced “twenty-twenty too”? No, it’s scary! With that being said, I’d like to apologize for all my annoying behavior last year. Please give me another chance to do it again this year. My resolution advice this year is to ditch the “New Year, New Me” that never works and replace it with one I learned from my dog. “Pay more attention to the people that care and less to those that don’t.” It’s a win/win! Drop me a line to Dear Gabby at I’ll be waiting. DEAR GABBY When you’re trying to accomplish everything before the holidays in November and December, time seems to fly! Why does it stand still in January? WHAT GIVES? DEAR W G I guess you haven’t heard the adult version of the children’s rhyme--30 days hath September, April, June, and November. All the rest have 31, except January, which has about 234. GABBY

DEAR GABBY This is the time of year we usually do a little air travel. With tests and vaccines aside, what tips do you have to make the ordeal more survivable? GET OUT OF TOWN DEAR GOOT

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Fifty years ago, we used to wonder how luxurious airplanes would be in 50 years. Boy, did we get a wrong number! They tell you at the counter that your luggage is too heavy for the plane. Then they make you remove some items and put them in your carry-on, which is going on the same plane. And if a 747 could carry a space shuttle, I’m calling foul on overweight luggage fees, anyway! One important tip I will offer is to never complain about delays if you ever want to see your luggage again. GABBY


20  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

CONFIDENTIAL TO STRONG MAN: If you think women are the weaker sex, try pulling the blankets back over to your side

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936-295-5701 • January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 21

The Garden Post By Kim Bius

The Great Reset of American Gardening The Great Reset of American Gardening is in progress. What is the “great reset” you ask? It is a return to Truth. It is a return to the simple joy of creating, growing, and producing your own food source in one capacity or another. It is the journey in learning and creating. Many of us are not that far removed from working the garden with grandparents, pulling weeds, and knowing how and when to plant. The science/art became lost to the masses for about 30 years but is making a tremendous return. Why? Growing your own allows us to control our food source. Gardening is the most therapeutic activity (physically and mentally). It gives you physical exertion as well as joy and contentment in getting that rose to produce the most beautiful blooms. Gardening allows you to be creator and creative in the same mindset and enjoy the journey. Yes, even after 40 years of gardening, I will have a failure, and that is what keeps us learning and striving to correct mistakes and stay on course--sounds like life! It is very

exciting to share the enthusiasm and “knowhow” of gardening to these lost generations. A quick review of the top gardening trends for 2022 is much the same as it has been for years. Indoor/outdoor living with an emphasis on natural materials: stone, wood, glass, and gravel. In the plant world, new tissue cultures are being developed to give different twist to plants we know and love; variegation, longer blooming cycles, dwarf size, etc. Heirloom varieties and “own root stalk” over grafted varieties are also big. Many citrus and fruit trees are going “non-grafted.” So, what happens

then? Non-grafted citrus are in bush form, but can withstand colder temperatures…as is true, in the non-grafted fruit trees, such as peach, pear, and pecan (although yield and fruit size are diminished). Speaking of fruit trees, January is fruit tree planting season. The cold and wet is a tree’s perfect planting time, and January will give you the best selection. Ensure you shop at a garden center that is carrying trees specific to your area. This is almost 100% true in an independent garden center, but not so much in box stores. You will need to know the meaning of chilling hour. A chilling hour is the amount of time below 43 degrees a tree must receive to set fruit. For instance, a peach tree in the Dallas area requires a ch (chilling hour) of 850-900 to produce. So, if we plant this same tree in the lower Houston area, the chances of it getting the chilling time required to set fruit is slim to none. Last year was a doozy, and I suspect we received enough chilling hours to grow any variety of fruit tree for that year, if the tree was not damaged.

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January is also the time to plant winter bulbs. Winter bulbs actually bloom in early spring and can be planted later in the season in our area. Why? Our winters are often wet, and soft winter bulbs will rot if not planted in an area with excellent drainage. Bulbs such as tulips and hyacinth will require 6 weeks of pre-chilling hours before they will bloom. So, these bulbs will need to be stored in the refrigerator, away from apples (they exude a gas that will rot bulbs). Bulbs that naturalize in our area are daffodils and narcissi. For a bulb to naturalize, it must be planted in a full sun area with great drainage, and it will multiply and return year after year to grace your landscape with beauty. January is also the best time to find and plant roses. A good rule of thumb in gardening--if it’s blooming or producing fruit, the time to plant was two months prior. Refrain from purchasing roses coated in wax. The wax is to seal in the moisture, but you never know when that was. A waxed rose has a 60-day window to plant, and they never do very well. A healthy, premium quality rose bush is not going to be “cheap”…..nothing worth the time and effort to grow ever is. We have heard, “I do not want to buy an expensive rose, because they just die.” Why do they die? “I don’t know, we did everything we were supposed to do, but they never last more than two years.” My case exactly! Given the right growing conditions and care, roses will outlive us.

Our area was predicted to have a severe winter, but long-range weather is barely showing temperatures dropping to 32 degrees on 5 nights until March. We are due for an early spring, and this may just be the year! Wishing all a year filled with blessings, good health, prosperity, and successful gardening.








Dr. Stephen H. Means & Associates Therapeutic Optometrists









109 Medical Park Lane • Huntsville January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 23

Star Students Mason Wallace

Jensen Vienne

Alpha Omega Academy

Huntsville High School

Favorite Movie: White House Down Favorite Music/Artist: Country Favorite Movie: Vampire Diaries (TV)

Favorite Food: Steak (cooked medium)

Favorite Music/Artist: Chris Young

Favorite Quote: “Life is tough, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid.” -John Wayne

Favorite Food: Hibachi Favorite Quote: “The one who falls and gets up is so much stronger than the one who never fell.”


ensen is a senior at Huntsville High School and is the daughter of Kristy and Charlie Vienne. Her activities include softball, TAFE, FCCLA, National Technical Honor Society, National Honor Society, and class council. Jensen plans to attend Baylor University and play softball.


JANUARY Art ORGAN MEAT EXHIBITION January 13 - 22 Satellite Gallery Free Admission Art 62ND ANNUAL FACULTY EXHIBITION January 18 - February 26 Artist Talk | January 20 | 5 p.m. Reception | January 20 | 6 p.m. University Gallery Free Admission


ason is a senior at Alpha Omega Academy and is the son of Weldon and Amanda Wallace. His activities include basketball, football, and baseball. He plans to attend college to pursue a degree in general business. Mason believes “Work first, then you play.”

UPCOMING FEBRUARY EVENT Theatre & Musical Theatre

CREATURE By Heidi Schreck January 20 - 22 | 7:30 p.m. January 22 | Matinee | 2 p.m. Showcase Theatre, UTC Art STUDENT/ALUMNI EXHIBITION January 27 - February 12 Satellite Gallery Free Admission

School of Music CONCERT BAND AND SYMPHONIC BAND CONCERT February 17 | 7:30 p.m. Payne Concert Hall, GPAC UNIVERSITY GALLERY

Dana G. Hoyt Fine Arts Building 1741 Bobby K. Marks Dr. Huntsville, TX 77304 Monday - Friday | 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday | 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.


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24  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

A 1

Marco Solis Huntsville High School

2022 Happy New Year

Favorite Movie: Rush Hour Favorite Music/Artist: Young Thug, Travis Scott, Don Toliver Favorite Food: Pizza Favorite Quote: “Forget yesterday, live for today. Tomorrow will take care of itself.”


arco is a senior at Huntsville High School and is the son of Cruz and Alicia Solis. His activities include football, soccer, and Criminal Justice Club. He plans to attend Sam Houston State University to pursue a degree in criminal justice. Marco believes, “If you truly want something, then you have to first go get it.”

Stephanie Ruiz Trinity High School

Favorite Movie: The Notebook Favorite Music/Artist: George Strait Favorite Food: Wings Favorite Quote: “You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated.” –Maya Angelou

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tephanie is a senior at Trinity High School. Her activities include student council, FCCLA, HOSA, and powerlifting. Following graduation, she plans to work in phlebotomy, while attending an 8-month program in Laredo, Texas for three certifications in the medical field. Stephanie believes, “Strive for what you want! Be happy!”

POSTCARDSLIVE.COM January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 25

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Honoring teachers who work with our kids day in and day out. They go above and beyond and really do “Touch Tomorrow.”

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January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 27

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Care Center Huntsville BBQ FUNDRAISER Sunday, January 23rd • 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. McKenzie’s Barbeque • 1548 11th Street • Huntsville In honor of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday we invite you to a Barbecue Fundraiser. Due to Covid restrictions walk up or drive-thru options will be available this year. All workers will be wearing masks. McKenzie's regular menu will not be served. The menu will consist of a barbecue sandwich plate including chips and a drink.

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30  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

Big things have been happening at Sam Houston State University and the Sam Houston Memorial Museum. Longtime Museum Director Mac Woodward retired and has been succeeded by new Museum Director Derrick Birdsall. But even that news pales in comparison to an evolving project transitioning from planning to reality, the establishment of the Sam Houston Republic of Texas Presidential Library. Postcards Magazine recently visited with Woodward and Birdsall to learn more about how this designation came about and what it means for the University, the Museum, and the community. Derrick Birdsall and Mac Woodward


January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 31

Where did the idea for the Presidential Library originate? Woodward: I actually co-opted an idea from the from the 1993 bicentennial of Sam Houston State, which was the creation of a “Sam Center,” a place to identify everything related to Sam Houston. As we have evolved here at the Museum with our mission to educate and inform about Sam Houston and to carry his memory on, two other things have developed as additional priorities. First, we want to work to integrate the Museum into the University. We are a department, but we want to integrate into academics, social, the student population, and into campus life. The other thing we want to do is raise the recognition of Sam Houston as a national figure. He IS a national figure. Everybody knows about Texas and the Revolution, but he was the President of a nation, serving

two separate times. And when he was here after that, he also served as a United States Senator. So, he was on a national stage, and he deserves to have his place in history enhanced. Another factor is “The measure of a life is its service” is the University motto. Who better to exemplify that for this University than Sam Houston’s life? He had 50 years of serving his country as a military leader, a politician, a statesman, and a family man— all those things. We hope to educate and inspire graduates of this school to have some of the characteristics Sam Houston has and to go on to a life of service.

How did the designation come about? Woodward: First, we got the blessing of then University President Hoyt and the state university system. Then we went to State Representative Ernest Bailes. He

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introduced a bill in the 85th Legislature, co-sponsored by other SHSU grads in the Legislature, and it passed unanimously.

So, what comes after the designation? What is the vision? Woodward: Because of technology and our ability to digitize, our initial plan is to begin accumulating and digitizing EVERYTHING related to Sam Houston. Birdsall: While we have the largest single collection of Sam Houston information and artifacts, there is Sam Houston info and artifacts everywhere, spread out all over the United States, and there’s no one central place where you can go to access it. Rice University has some, Austin has some, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, the National Archives… Our goal is going to be to tie that together, and in the words of Michael Sproat,

2 decades old. New information has come to light. Things have been found, discovered, rediscovered that had been tucked away. Woodward: James Haley says, “The history of Texas is still in the attics of people all over the state.” We plan to work with all sources. We don’t have to physically have what’s in their possession. We can scan and maintain a copy. A lot of what we have are Sam Houston’s letters to people. We don’t have the other side of the correspondence, their letters to him, which is another part to the story. Birdsall: The Library of Congress has collections in boxes—and nobody knows what all is in the boxes. For example, they have a box of documents related to Abraham Lincoln. There might be correspondence in the box between Lincoln and Houston. Literally, someone could research this the rest of their life and not get caught up.

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If someone has documents or items of interest, who would they contact?

Have a safe & Happy New Year!

Birdsall: Our collections department, which is Mike Sproat and Rebecca Lewis [(936)-2944895].


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January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 33

What can local people do to be involved or to help? Will there be a distinction between what people now know as the Sam Houston Museum and the Presidential Library? Woodward: That’s to be determined and will evolve. At this point, the Presidential Library is a part of Sam Houston State University that’s housed at the Museum. At the outset, we looked at other presidential libraries, plus the Hermitage, Monticello, etc. to see what all they have. We have it all. We have the infrastructure, the facilities, 15 acres, an auditorium, a conference center, this museum, the homes…so we have everything, already in place. Birdsall: Acquisition of items may lead to new exhibits, which will initially be in the Museum.

What does the path forward look like? Birdsall: The way I wrap my head around this project is that you have to establish phases. We are in phase one. It gives us some impetus to reach out to people and institutions to share copies of what is in their possession. We need to do a roadmap. We know where we are. We have an idea of where we want to go. So how do we get there? We need to iron that out and figure out a process. Then, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I would like to firm up a general plan in early 2022. Woodward: We probably will put together a steering committee of people who can help us, both within the University and outside the University in other places that can benefit.

Woodward: They can be resources for information sources initially. We will create a website for information sharing and updates. Birdsall: As we gain momentum and get farther down the road, there will be aspects that will have a cost: time, effort, and money. If people want to get involved in any of those three, we will definitely use them. Woodward: Imagine a place to research public service and make it something to aspire to. Public service is a wonderful thing—to give back, whether it’s politically, or to your community, clubs, your church… You know, in today’s times, we might need a Sam Houston—at least people like him— statesmen, people who keep their word and you know where they stand, and they do things for the right reasons.

From Our Home to Yours, Happy New Year!

(936) 662-3672 34  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

Glorious Grandkids

Case Shirley

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Grandchild of Stacey & Sherry Shirley

Grandchild of John & Mary Kellar

Grandchild of Patty Maki

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January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 35


Congratulations to Marshall Altom, pictured here with son Walker, on his graduation from Sam Houston State University.

Congratulations to Dillon Loosier on his graduation from Air Force Basic Military Training. Dillon is pictured with proud parents Shane and Madilene Loosier.

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SCHOOL YOU ATTENDED? Denton High School, SHSU, Irving Barber College


FAVORITE MOVIE? White Christmas


HOW DID YOU MAKE YOUR FIRST DOLLAR? Working for my Papa at his feed store in Tupelo, Mississippi

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WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU RIDING DOWN THE ROAD LISTENING TO? A mixture of modern Praise and old rock and roll

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YOUR FAVORITE DISH? My wife Susie’s homemade King Ranch chicken

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FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY Throwing the football with my dad

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10 SOMETHING THAT WOULD SURPRISE US ABOUT YOU? I was the first DJ at the Jolly Fox in 1975

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11 WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING ON YOUR DAY OFF? At some athletic event or coaching something 12 HOW WOULD YOUR PERFECT DAY BEGIN? Great coffee and breakfast! 13 HOW DO YOU CLEAR YOUR MIND AFTER A BAD DAY? Psalms and prayer 14 ONE THING YOU’RE EPICALLY BAD AT? Saving money! 15 BUCKET LIST ITEM YOU’RE MOST GLAD YOU’VE DONE? The Masters golf tourney 16 TOP THING LEFT TO DO ON YOUR BUCKET LIST? Visit the Greek islands 17 IF YOU COULD LIVE ABROAD, WHERE WOULD THAT BE? I’d stay in the USA! 18 WHO DO YOU ADMIRE AND WHY? In general, I admire the moms. They do it all, and without griping. 19 BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER GOTTEN? Never, never, never quit! 20 ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF? Don’t give up, even when it looks like there is no chance.

38  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

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A Special Conversation Story by Courtney Burleson Submitted Photos

40  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

Alex Boylan,

Producer of The College Tour Ever wonder what college life is like at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville (or what it is like at any university, for that matter)? Now, anyone can experience a virtual college visit and hear about campus life directly from college students – including Sam Houston State University (SHSU) students. Created by reality television contestant, TV show host and producer Alex Boylan, The College Tour is a streaming series designed to help prospective students with the daunting task of choosing the college or university that is right for them. “Our mission is to tell real stories, through real students,” explained Boylan. “I knew from the get-go that I wanted a certain format and a diversified portfolio of schools from big universities to smaller state schools.” In the season 2 episode, ten SHSU students share their college experience and show what life is like to be a Bearkat. This includes a glimpse into the academic life, research opportunities, student life, athletics and friendships of SHSU students. The approximately 40-minute show highlights a variety of colleges located on the main campus in Huntsville, along with Conroe and The Woodlands. The James & Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center is described as a world class academic and performing center; the Criminal Justice Center is highlighted along with the Veterans Resource Center on campus; the Dan Rather Communications Building; and the College of Nursing in The Woodlands are all spotlighted with personal stories from students in each college. The students’ love, admiration and respect for SHSU and its faculty is evident in each segment. Season 2 aired November 8th and can still be viewed on any of the available platforms. Season three will begin airing on Amazon in early 2022.

» January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 41

Well, let’s start with the most obvious question. How did you come up with this original idea? Sometimes great TV shows come from simple places. Approximately two years ago, my niece was a junior in high school trying to figure out where she wanted to go to college. She is from a small town in Wisconsin, and my older sister granted her one college trip, so she decided to come see me in Venice, California. As the uncle guiding my niece on this journey, it was so fun! I took her to UCLA and all the schools around the Los Angeles area. During that trip, she said, ‘I also want to check out some schools in Texas, New York, Florida, and other places around the country.’

hit, and the country got shut down, so I started helping my niece navigate this process online. I quickly realized this was a huge challenge for me to try to find the right place for my niece. Every school has their own marketing approach, their own story, some have very high-end commercials – every school does their own thing. Being an outsider, trying to do this with my niece was very hard. That’s really where the lightbulb went off - higher education needs its own television series.

So, the journey began. The journey has led Boylan (and the approximately 50+ production team) to universities and colleges around the country, including the Lone Star State. Texas schools included thus far have been Baylor University, Texas Christian University, and the Piney Woods’ own SHSU in Huntsville (all Season 2). The University of North Texas will be featured in Season 3, and The University of Texas at Austin and St. Edwards University in Austin will be included in Season 4. University life is about finding your passion, your people, and learning who you are and your place in the world. I want students to know there is always a way to make it to college.

I could hear my older sister quickly say, ‘What do you think I’m made of money? She just got a trip to Los Angeles.’ Now, the average cost of a college trip outside of someone’s hometown is $2,500. So that wasn’t in the cards. Not long after that, COVID

How does the selection process work for the schools? We have a partnership team, and we are constantly looking for great universities. For us, the biggest thing right now is making sure we have a diversified series for the audience. If you want

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Wishing Everyone A Happy New Year!

to be an engineer and work in aerospace at NASA, Florida Tech might be a great fit for you. If you want to go to an awesome state university, Sam Houston State is an awesome opportunity, and you’re right outside of Houston. We really just want to go big, small, medium across the country.

to that university.

What are some of those unique aspects that stood out to you while filming? There are a lot of really amazing pieces in the forensic science program; it is top notch. That’s not something every university has. In

the episode, forensic science doctoral student Ryan Gutierrez shares the cutting-edge research and technology he uses every day, which is getting national attention. I recall that Gutierrez said, ‘My research focuses on improving DNA recovery from challenging


What made you choose SHSU for a spotlight? There are so many awesome things about Sam Houston University. The school is very historic, 140 years old, and there’s something about the motto. That motto penetrates throughout the university--through its student body, its faculty, and alumni. “The measure of a Life is its Service.” - I think that’s the easiest way to sum that up. It’s a great institution, great location, and it was a joy. The students were awesome! There are some really unique aspects

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samples, particularly those that crime labs have trouble with. I’m able to make an impact on a field I’m passionate about.’

we want to tell as many stories as possible about higher education across the country.

The College of Osteopathic Medicine was also rather impressive. The hands-on learning and hands-on experience inside their new facility is what university life is all about.

Why do you think it is important to have college students share their story and talk about the school?

You walk in there and feel like you’re in an actual doctor’s office or a live hospital. It is real-life simulation every minute of every day. It was as if I was filming in a real hospital with how everyone was handling every situation. They take it very seriously, and I think that hands-on experience is going to translate into great doctors. Another thing that stood out for me was the history connected to the university. Everywhere I went, I was asking questions, because there’s just so much history there. That was just a highlight for me and something really special. Also, another highlight of the university is that being an hour north of Houston is a huge advantage. You get the isolated university experience, but you’re not far from a big city where there are internships and big opportunities.









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What makes The College Tour different from just going online and looking at college websites or the high-end commercials you mentioned earlier? I knew from the get-go that we wanted to create a series which had a format the audience recognized and knew what they were going to get. If you watch The College Tour, you know what the format is going to look like, and you get a real authentic look at the school, regardless of where it’s located. It has been so important to us to tell that authentic story through real current students, and that’s what we’re most proud of. You’re going to get to know the students, the campus, and hear real stories. Hopefully, it will help students find their vibe, their tribe, and what’s the right location for them. These are all variables that high school students and their parents are trying to figure out what’s best. We now have this great television series on many platforms, all for free, to help students and their parents find the right fit. We want them to see places of higher institution outside their hometown. Some kids are going to go far away for college, and some are going to go right next door, but

44  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

What is really cool is that we are getting college students to talk to high school students. That doesn’t happen. High school students look up to college students; they want to be college students, but there’s a divide--and we’re finally bridging that gap. Instead of someone’s mom, some professor or guidance counselor, now it’s the student who is only three years ahead of them saying, ‘This is who I am, this is what I do here, and maybe it will be a good fit for you, too.’ How powerful is that? I think the show helps tell students why they need to go to college, and there’s always a way to get to college. In college, you are going to grow, think about things, and be exposed to things you never knew about, have relationships that last a lifetime, and have resources you will never have in the real world. I say this a lot to high school students, ‘These four years you can never get back, and the moment you graduate college - or decide not to go to college – you’re in the real world with the rest of us and that’s a really tough place to be. So, take this time to find your passion, find your purpose, and find your people.’

So, how do you put this series together, and how long does it take to produce? This really becomes a co-production with the university. We really become one team and work together as a family in order to make an episode. There are two months of hard work done before we ever step foot on a campus. We work with the university team, and we start with the basic conversations of what are we going to talk about on the show, what makes the university tick, what are the highlights, and what does the world need to know about this school. Then casting becomes key. We look for students who have genuine, authentic stories that co-align with the topics we’re going to talk about. Once we have the topics and students locked in, we focus on the student’s unique story. The first draft of their story is written by the student, not us. We need to know their story and what it is about the school’s program

that has changed their life. So, when you’re listening to the students on the show, it’s not complicated; it’s just their story.

of people, which is then distributed to their students. Our goal is to tell the stories of these institutions to high school students around the world, for free.

program and how it changed her life.

Then we shoot film on campus for a week, and we’re jamming. By the time we come on location to film, we are all seeing the same movie in our head. On location is the most fun for us and the university. We have very talented directors who have worked on the biggest shows in the world, so they know what to do. We keep a small crew and a small footprint in the field.

Tell us a little about yourself? How did you get into television?

From there, we wrap the week, and there’s about two months of post-production to put the show together.

So, what ever happened to your niece? Did she use The College Tour to decide on a school? That is a great question. She watched the episode we did on Arizona State University. On part of the episode, they talked about this Starbucks scholarship program at ASU. My niece was like ‘I work at Starbucks’ and checked into it. Then, boom--she had a full ride to ASU with this Starbucks scholarship she learned about from The College Tour.

That’s amazing. Do all the schools talk about scholarship or financial aid opportunities? Not typically, but we do talk about programs, so it all depends on the school. That particular episode featured a student who wouldn’t have been going to ASU if it wasn’t for this Starbucks

Where can a person find and view The College Tour ? We are on multiple platforms. The segments can be viewed online at www.collegetour. com, and the app may also be downloaded on IOS or Android phones. The show is also streamed on The College Tour Channel for free on television platforms around the world, including: Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Android TV, and on smart TVs from manufacturers such as LG, Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, Phillips, Sharp and other TCL Android-driven smart televisions. The series also airs on ImdbTV & Amazon Prime. We also work with about 60,000 high school college counselors across the country, and every episode gets distributed to that group

My first TV experience was being part of the winning team on The Amazing Race with my buddy Chris Luca, whom I have known since kindergarten. That is where my life changed. I saw the world of television production for the first time, and I was floored. I knew I was going to be a travel producer. I loved every second of it. Afterwards, I got an opportunity to work for a small production company in Florida and started hosting shows, then producing shows for them. Then I created and hosted Around the World for Free. It was the first online, interactive experience show that we did with the CBS network, and that turned into a little franchise. That catapulted my career, and I became known as this travel interactive specialist, which has definitely helped out with The College Tour. I learned to take a very small crew into the world and come back with a story.

Have you always liked to travel? Before I was on The Amazing Race, I went to Jackson University in Jacksonville, Florida and was an International Business major. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with the degree, but I liked to travel. I knew that whatever I did, I wanted to live with passion and purpose. My


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Brandon Decker – a man who will earn your vote. January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 45

In high school, I was on a semi-pro soccer team and spent a year living in Brazil during my junior year. Soccer was a big part of my life when I was young. When I was a kid, my parents took my siblings and I on an amazing trip that has really helped me in life. It was the early 90s, and the last year all my siblings and I were going to be under one roof. I have two older siblings and a younger one. It was my freshman year of high school, and my parents pulled us out of school to spend three months together, backpacking across Europe as missionaries. We started in Ishmire, Turkey and backpacked through Turkey, Greece, down southern Europe, and ended up in Scotland. I’m talking about air B&B before it was a ‘thing,’ buses, trains, and couch surfing. I was at a really impressionable age, and the world was a lot bigger back then. My parents gave me experiences like this that shaped me into the human I am today. They didn’t have to, and they

father was a pastor and lived with so much passion, and he instilled that in us at an early age. I believe you only live once, so might as well make it awesome. I want to be excited every day when I wake up, be passionate, be driven, have some purpose, and leave the planet better than when I had it.

For a blue-collar kid from the north shore of Boston, Massachusetts, you’ve had a pretty amazing life. Are there any experiences you feel helped shape who you are and your career? It has been an awesome ride. I had great parents who exposed me to the world and definitely raised me in a way that I thought I could do anything.

Happy New Year! 281-731-6974 46  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

I .

y d , e h d e

didn’t necessarily have the money to do so, but they found a way because they felt it was that important. I tell my parents all the time, ‘Isn’t it interesting what I’ve gone on to do – tell stories from every corner of the world.’

Regardless of where his journey leads him, Boylan’s philosophy is simple: We are all born with a different size backpack; it’s what we do with that backpack on that matters. When looking back, I believe time is our greatest asset. Time can’t be bought, time can’t be stopped, and time spent following your passion or your purpose is ‘time’ you will never get back. That, I believe, is the synopsis of how I try to live life. And a big reason why we work so hard on The College Tour. There is so much passion and purpose behind this TV series.

people looking for more and more avenues of education, I think it’s a really nice way to express things about your school in which you’re passionate,” says Grant. “If it had been around when I was looking for schools – especially medical programs – I would have used it. It shows more than what a webpage and a page of text can.” Located in Conroe, Texas SHSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine is the university’s eighth college and only the third college of osteopathic medicine in Texas. According to SHSU, its mission is to develop osteopathic physicians, grounded in osteopathic principles, who will serve the healthcare needs of rural and underserved Texans. The facility serves as an all-inclusive campus complete with lecture halls, research and anatomy labs, library, full mock hospital suite with an emergency room and surgical suites, and a mock clinic with actors who have ailments which students diagnose and treat.

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Mini-Ex’s Trencher Kensley Grant Hailing from the small West Texas town of Paducah, Kensley Grant was one of the students spotlighted on The College Tour episode featuring SHSU. A second-year osteopathic medical student, Grant was elated to share his experience as a Bearkat and SHSU’s new state of the art Osteopathic Medical School. “The way the world is moving, we rely pretty heavily on technology for information. With

Students are even provided simulated patient mannequins that have full mobility and allow faculty members to set up different scenarios for the students.

Jack Hammer

“Their eyes move, you can take a pulse, hear respiration, and they are even hooked up to telemetry machines,” explained Grant. “We are trained exactly the same way as an M.D. (medical doctor), have all the same basic and advanced science classes, except we’re also trained in manipulative medicine,” said Grant.

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January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 47

“We practice hands-on patient care where we are manipulating different joints or bones to help muscular skeletal pain or what-haveyou.” Along with the basic body systems, Grant says they are trained in osteopathic medicine to look further into a patient’s health and consider their mind, body, and mental health. Factors such as nutrition and stress are even considered when looking at a patient through the osteopathic lens. “We use a more multi-faceted approach with our patients,” said Grant. After getting his undergraduate degree from The University of North Texas in Denton, Grant made his way to Huntsville and SHSU so he could train specifically to help the rural communities. “My hometown taught me so much about life in general and made me want to focus on rural medicine. My wife and I grew up in that area and like the small-town vibe. We want to raise a family in a smaller rural setting,” said Grant. “Plus, I’ve seen how underserved that population is healthcare wise, and there is such a need for more healthcare workers, not

just physicians.” Grant says the school’s mission and focus on rural medicine is part of what brought him to SHSU, along with the school’s dedication to primary care practices, developing compassionate physicians with cultural diversity awareness, and providing the training needed for rural communities. “To be in rural medicine, you must be well versed in multiple areas, because you might be the only doctor that patient sees and not have the option to refer them to a specialist,” explains Grant. “Even if you can, there’s no guarantee they will go see the specialist, if they are two or three hours away.”

from the college travel to the Salvation Army in Conroe once a month to give basic health care attention to anyone in need. They are accompied by faculty members who are licensed physicians.

Courtney Sumaya-Herrera Life may have started in Northern California for this Bearkat, but her heart is in Texas. As a firstgeneration college student and an ag teacher hopeful, Courtney Herrera couldn’t wait to

Grant is active in political advocacy for rural healthcare and has served for the last two years as student body president for the College of Medicine Student Council. Grant and other students

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48  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

get to Texas after graduating high school. Herrera also shared her story on The College Tour, representing the College of Agriculture and her experience working on Gibbs Ranch. Deeded to SHSU in 1993, it is an 1,800-acre working ranch with cattle and goats—and, for many ag students, it is a second home. With a major in interdisciplinary agriculture and a minor in secondary education, Herrera hopes to share her agricultural knowledge and experiences with young minds someday. “Agriculture has always been near and dear to my heart,” said Herrera. “My favorite memories as a young child are from helping out on the ranch back home. In high school, I was active in FFA, showed livestock, and earned the highest FFA degree possible – the American degree.”

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In the future, she hopes her varied experience in agriculture can help find common ground between Texas and her home state of California. “While political views between California and Texas may be different, they are very similar in the ag sector. My thought was that if I can thrive in my community back home, it would be great to experience another form of agriculture. Then if I do go home, I can bring that aspect to bridge the two sides,” said Herrera. “Even though the states have two different atmospheres, we are actually all together when it comes to the industry.” Along with a basic love for agriculture, Herrera loves SHSU’s dedication to using new innovative technology to get young people more involved in the industry and the personal connection she has with students and faculty. “Everyone here is so supportive--they won’t let you quit if you get discouraged, but rather tell you ‘keep going’,” said Herrera. “I gained a second family here at SHSU.”

January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 49

Kidding Around

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50  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

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day. Watching all that _________ snow fall makes me color

____________ for a bowl of _________, ___________! verb




__________ it’s still __________ and there’s a lot of it! verb/ing


Let’s go! Next is ___________ to go out in the cold. verb/ing

Once that is done, we need to get busy. We make a ________ and _________ it in the __________. It gets verb



so ___________ we can’t roll it anymore. Then we adjective

do _____ more and stack them on top of each other. number

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__________, eyes and ______. Mom gives us a scarf, hat noun


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he’s done! Finally. Now the best part, __________ ____________.



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Monday - Friday 5:00 AM - 6:30 PM January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 51

Creative Corner

The Laundry Fairy By Ryan Baker

Not long after I got married, the strangest thing started to occur. Every day, I would put my clothes in the hamper, and after a few days, they would appear back in the drawer clean and folded. It was utterly remarkable. Other things would find their way back home as well. Dishes placed in the sink would appear back in the cabinet, shoes, left in the living room, would be found in the closet later. It made no sense. Now, I will say that I have heard of other men telling tales of magical laundry fairies or the like, but I never thought I would experience it. I had to figure out how to keep the laundry fairy around. I could not go back to a life of doing my own laundry. I knew too much. I took steps to figure out what would keep the laundry fairy around. Flowers worked. Puppies also worked. Cooking dinner produced a coinflip of effects. if the dishes were too messy, the laundry fairy would not touch them. The same went for my clothes. Balance was key. If there was an argument happening with the wife, the laundry fairy was also absent. Clearly, the laundry fairy would run away, scared of my wife. Therefore, keeping a calm head when discussing things with my wife would keep her calm as well, and keep the laundry fairy around.

The laundry fairy would also disappear if my wife left for an extended period of time, or if I had to go on a work trip or travel without my wife. That was the oddest part of it all. I could only assume it was the flowers though, because I did not buy flowers for anyone but my wife. I had solved the mystery once and for all! Flowers keep laundry fairies around! So, fellas, if you too never want to do laundry again, find someone you love, buy them flowers, and you just might get lucky enough to get a laundry fairy.

Loved Ones deserve only the best

The local experts in Celebrating Life! 52  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

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Living with Children By: John K. Rosemond

The Problem With ‘I Feel Your Pain’ “I feel your pain” passes as a virtue, but it is anything but. However wellintentioned, it is the gist of codependency. When someone else is in a state of emotional pain, it is one thing to empathize, understand, have compassion, offer to give support, and render practical assistance. It is quite another to feel the person’s pain. In that event, the person feeling the other’s pain becomes inclined toward attempting to solve that person’s problem. Why? Because it is now his problem as well, and equally so. That attempt is known as “enabling.” In short order, the enablee becomes dependent upon the enabler’s assistance, and the enabler becomes dependent upon the illusion he is self-sacrificing; down the road of mutually assured destruction they waltz. They both need one another, one to confirm his victimhood and the other to confirm his heroism. “I feel your pain” seems to be the theme song of contemporary “parenting.” I put the word in quotes to distinguish that peculiar post-1960s pathology from mere childrearing. The pre-psychological form was “mere” because it did not, in and of itself, give rise to such aberrations as parents who felt their children’s pain and thus the obligation to solve their every problem. Consequential to being burdened (or so we sometimes thought) with non-codependent parents, we boomers were forced to develop the armor of emotional resilience, which translated to much better child mental health than has been the case since. When I complained to my parents that one of my fifth-grade teachers did not like me, they told me, in no uncertain terms, that her dislike of me best not be reflected on my next report card. “Besides,” said my mother, “it is high time you learned how to deal with people who don’t like you, making sure they have no reason to do so.” Where, these days, is the parent who talks this way to a child, who refuses to affirm in any way, shape, or form, the child’s claim to victimhood? My mother, I thought, was a cold-heart who took sadistic pleasure in standing by as I went under for the third time. What did I know? The sign of proper parenting is not a child’s affirmation. A working definition of “child” is “one who is ignorant of what is in his best interest.” Far more often than not, the more vehemently a child objects to a parental decision, the more said decision reflects the child’s best interest. That is why the best response to a child’s declaration of hate for said parent is, “If I were you, believe me, I’d hate me right now too! Do you feel the need to share any other earth-shaking news with me? If so, I’ll stick around for as long as you’d like. I want you to feel, after all, that you have freedom to speak your mind around here.” That is not the language of feeling a child’s pain. It is the language of informing a child his feelings do not define reality in the family, life is full of problems, problems are always painful, and the earlier he comes to grips with the foregoing, the better for him for a long time to come. A love that isn’t tough is always to be regarded skeptically.

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January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 55

Snapshots! The Senior Football Players at New Waverly HS Adrian Zamudio

Jordan Ellisor

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56  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

Congratulations to Alpha Omega Academy student Kayla Atkins for her first place finish in the 2021 Jr. FFA Creed Speaking contest.

Share your Milestone!

Self-Care is not Selfish The holiday season is over, and I’m sure none of you splurged on extra calories in the festive meals you ate with family and friends. I, on the other hand, ate a lot of things I really enjoyed and was glad to have indulged. Sadly though, the scale never lies, and an extra five pounds have shown up! Like many, I have resolved to get those extra pounds off ASAP because I know I feel much better at a lower weight. Not only is weight management important, but I would also recommend you take an inventory of other aspects of your life that may have been “overworked” during the holidays, especially with consideration to the physical and emotional stress caused by “COVID.” Believe it or not, stress not only messes with you physically, it also can play havoc with your oral health as well. Unfortunately, our mouths have just as much of a chance of being affected by stressful situations as our bodies and minds do. Researchers have found a significant link between stress and poor oral health. It is common for me to see changes in patients mouths who have been under some sort of stress and anxiety. Without knowing their situation, we often ask if they have been under any recent stress because of the changes we see in their mouths.

can exacerbate dry mouth, gum disease, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (also known as TMJ), or grinding, which can leave you with headaches, jaw pain, tooth pain, or dental problems. Stress can cause a compromise in your immune system, and the chemicals in your body can become “unbalanced,” which often shows up in the mouth as inflamed, bleeding gums. On top of that, your restorative sleep is often compromised and, unfortunately, when going through a tough time, oral and personal hygiene patterns can become erratic. Taking care of yourself and your teeth can drop low on the priority list. So, with the start of the new year, let me encourage you to focus on both your physical and oral health. It’s OK to be a little selfish and take care of yourself. Try turning down all the negative news in this world to better enjoy life for a healthy body and smile. I pray for us all to have a blessed, “destressed” 2022! If you have a question or a topic you want to be discussed, send an email to

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Scott Logan, DDS January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 57

Texas Treasures Story by Linda Perkins Submitted Photos

The A.D. Players at

The Jeannette & L.M. George Theater

The George Theater’s physical presence is noticeable, especially at night when the lights shine brightly through its giant plate glass windows, illuminating what used to be an open field on Westheimer, just west of the Galleria. During the day, the 35,000-squarefoot building sparkles in the sunlight, and the fact it is set back from the road a bit makes it even more eye-catching. It is hard to believe the theater company for which this is home – A.D. Players – began in people’s living rooms. A.D. Players Artistic Director Kevin Dean showed me around The George like someone giving a tour of their house. Inside, the theater is impressive, with its spacious lobby, its 450seat auditorium, and a backstage area filled with props and pulleys that enable the theater techs to “fly” backdrops on and off stage between scenes. To Dean, however, this is just a place to call home for a theater company he has been a part of for literally half his life. Now in its 55th season, A.D. Players has become one of the country’s preeminent community theaters, making a unique name for itself as a theater committed to producing shows with a distinctly Christian worldview. The A.D. in its name often makes people think of the abbreviation for “Anno Domini” (Latin for “in the year of (Our) Lord”), the dating designation used to signify years after Christ’s birth. However, in A.D. Players it actually

Kevin Dean in You Can’t Take It With You (The George) stands for “After Dinner” and points to its origin as a traveling acting group that would perform in people’s homes in exchange for meals served to them beforehand. Dean shared a bit about the theater company’s history and the life of its founder and former artistic director.

“We were founded in 1967 by Jeannette Clift George, a native of Houston. She was an only child, the daughter of a wildcatter. She decided she wanted to be an actress, so after graduating from the University of Texas, she went straight to New York City. She studied under Harold Clurman and was involved in


Jeannette and Kevin in The Importance of Being Earnest (Grace Theater)

Jeannette Clift George

January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 59

the theater scene there during the 1950s, a really fascinating time in the history of the theater. Then the Alley Theatre got a grant from the Ford Foundation to bring actors from New York to start a resident company in Houston, and Jeannette came down to audition for it,” Dean said.

Mrs. George became a company member at the Alley Theatre and performed in many of its productions, including Dear Liar, Ring Around the Bathtub, Romeo and Juliet, and The Rivals. She eventually got the urge to start something herself.

– after you feed us. We will come to your house, we will come to your coffee house, we will come to your church…wherever you are. Then after dinner, we will put on a play for you,” he said. “So that’s how it got started, and it evolved into a touring company

Dean explained that Nina Vance, the founder of the Alley Theatre, gave her a scene from Golden Boy to read, not realizing Mrs. George had done her college senior thesis on the play. “Of course, knowing the play as well as she did, Jeannette nailed it,” Dean continued. “And Nina Vance came down and told the casting director ‘We’ve got to hire that actress. She has the best cold read I’ve ever seen!’ It wasn’t until years later Nina discovered Jeannette’s prior history with Golden Boy.”

Grace Theater renovation in 1982

where Jeannette and the cast would rehearse in friends’ living rooms and then drive across Texas to perform.”

Jeanette and Corrie Ten Boom

“She loved the Alley, but I also think she was inspired by Nina Vance, who is considered one of the matriarchs of the modern regional theater movement and founded the Alley. She wanted to do something like that herself.” Dean expounded, “She was a Christian and couldn’t find plays that really said what she wanted to say about her faith, so she started writing her own plays. In 1967, she started the After Dinner (A.D.) Players.” “The idea was that we will come and perform for you after dinner

60  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

In 1975, Mrs. George was cast in the lead role of Corrie Ten Boom in the movie The Hiding Place, which was produced by Billy Graham and tells the story of a Christian who hid Jews from the Nazis during World War II. For her role, she was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Golden Apple Award and was named “Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles” by the British Academy of Arts and Sciences. “That movie pretty much put Jeannette on the map nationally. She got offers to move to LA and do all those things, but she wanted to come back and continue to grow the theater, so that’s what she did,” Dean explained. “But because she had gotten some fame from the movie, she would travel around and speak at schools, churches, and universities. And everywhere she went to speak, she would bring the A.D. Players with her, and they would perform. So, they became known as a national touring company.”

In 1979, A.D. Players purchased a church building on West Alabama and Kirby, which became Grace Theater, home to the theater’s mainstage productions for the next 40 years. In the early productions, seating was actually in the original church pews.

Jeanette and Wayne DeHart in Driving Miss Daisy

Mrs. George continued to promote her vision for A.D. Players, which was to offer a theater experience that would uphold human value, nurture creativity, and promote artistic excellence. In addition to writing and directing her own plays, Mrs. George also performed the leading role in numerous productions, including Driving Miss Daisy, The Glass Menagerie, The Trip to Bountiful, and The Importance of Being Earnest. Once A.D. Players established itself as a resident theater company, offering seasons of shows, it expanded to include a theater

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January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 61

arts academy, offering a variety of drama classes to children, teenagers, and adults. In 1992, it opened Houston’s first year-round children’s theater. While maintaining its strong presence at Grace Theater in Houston, the acting company continued to tour regionally, nationally, and internationally. In 1997, A.D. Players made its Off-Broadway debut performing George’s original play John, His Story at Lamb’s Theater in New York City.

Kevin Dean in Around The World in 80 Days (George Theater)

In 2003, A.D. Players purchased the land where the company’s current building sits. After nearly 14 years of fundraising, which was helped along by a $2 million gift by the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, The Jeannette and L.M. George Theater opened in February 2017 with its first production, To Kill a Mockingbird. The building, designed by Houston architect John Gabriel, enabled A.D. Players to double its seating capacity from what it had at Grace Theater, as well as tripling its height backstage to around 75 feet. Attached backstage is a workshop that allows sets to be built on-site, as well as an alcove for lights that can project scenery onto screens. In addition to hosting its own performances,



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A.D. Players also rents out The George to various entities. From productions hosted in people’s living rooms in 1967, A.D. Players has grown to a resident theater company with a preCOVID budget of $4 million, five mainstage productions a year, and a local and regional touring company. Its performing arts academy now offers classes on-campus as well as at local area schools such as First Baptist Academy. It also has a program called Arts for All, for students with cognitive and learning differences. Dean has been a part of A.D. Players’ growth for more than 20 years. A native of Odessa, he studied acting at KD Conservatory College of Film and Dramatic Arts in Dallas. Afterward, it didn’t take him long to find A.D. Players. “After I got out of school, I poked around the Dallas area for a while, doing commercials and television and theater. I was The Penguin and the host of the Batman stage show at Six Flags, and then a friend I was in church with told me about A.D. Players in Houston. I checked into it, and they mailed me information about their internship position,” Dean said. “I came down and auditioned; they hired me, and my plan at that time was to just stay for a year, then move to New York, Chicago, or L.A.” A year later, Dean wasn’t ready to leave. He had fallen in love – not just with A.D. Players,

but with another member of the acting company, Jennifer, who would eventually become his wife. “I joined the touring company; at that time, we were touring nationally. We did a whole Christmas tour, all the way up to South Bend, Indiana, and back down again. We were doing a play Jeannette had written A Christmas of Many Parts about a group of actors doing a nativity play, but half the cast gets snowed in at the airport, so the other cast members have to do the play by themselves. It’s like ‘the show must go on’ as we say in the business, and it’s about all the crazy things that happen having to do that.”

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Dean explained that Jennifer began her internship a year after his, and they toured together. A few years later, she left A.D. Players to teach school, but has come back to the company in several different capacities and currently serves as the marketing director for the theater group. Dean himself has held eight different positions since he started with A.D. Players in September of 1999. After he completed his internship and toured with the company as an actor for a couple of years, he oversaw the personnel department and scheduling before becoming the director of the children’s program, a position he held for 10 years. From there, he became the company’s associate artistic director.


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January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 63

“As Mrs. George got a little older, she needed somebody to help her oversee not only the children’s theater, but the main stage as well,” Dean explained. Not long afterwards, A.D. Players began making plans to move into the new building. Jake Speck, an accomplished actor, theater arts producer, and administrator, was hired as the theater’s executive director in 2017. Mrs. George, who had served as its artistic director since A.D. Players’ inception, passed away in December of that same year at age 92. Dean was moved into the role of interim artistic director in 2018, and March of 2019 the board of directors unanimously voted to appoint him as the company’s new artistic director.

In his role as artistic director, Dean wears a number of hats as both a creative and an administrator. He oversees the programming, selecting the productions each season; he assembles the creative teams for each performance including the directors, set designers, costume designers, lighting and sound designers; he works with the directors on casting all of the shows; he oversees the show productions, and will sometimes take on acting and/or directing roles himself. He shares responsibility with the executive director

Kevin Dean and Jake Speck at the 2021 After Dinner Affair

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for overseeing the education department and touring units, each of which have directors reporting up to Dean and Speck. Ultimately, he is responsible for making sure A.D. Players’ mission is fulfilled with each season of productions.



“Our mission is to produce compelling theater from a Christian worldview that engages with a diverse audience,” Dean explained. “The Christian worldview is the lens through which we see the world, through which we select our scripts, and through which we run our organization.”


“Not every play we do will have an evangelical message,” he continued. “Some might, but we also have done shows like To Kill a Mockingbird, West Side Story, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner that deal with tough issues but are hopeful. We gravitate towards shows that have messages of hope. Not every story is going to have a happy ending, but is there a through-line of hope, a through-line of faith to some degree or another? We did Miracle on 34th Street last Christmas. It’s about Santa Claus, but the essence of the play is ‘Faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to.’ We enjoy stories that explore those themes.”

District Clerk

Kevin Dean in Jeannete’s script John, His Story

Republican for


Vote Early 2/14-2/25 | Election Day 3/1/2022

A 9th generation Texan and resident of Walker County from age 19, Madilene graduated from SHSU with a BM in Music Therapy in 1996. A proud Air Force Mom and Army Veteran Wife, she has been married to Pct. 2 Constable Shane Loosier for 27 years and they have 3 adult sons-Tommy, Brandon & Dillon. They are members of First Baptist Church-Huntsville where Madilene leads with the worship team. Active in the community, she is a member of Huntsville Study Club, Newcomers and WCRW, as well as a Lifetime Member of the WCFA, SHSU Alumni Assoc. & NRA.

“I will add value with my diverse background and proven

• Over 25 years of Leadership, Management Experience & Training • Small Business Owner for 18 years- Madilene’s Piano Tuning & Repair • Over 14 years of first-hand experience participating in District Court processes

To that end, a couple of years ago, A.D. Players launched the Metzler New Works Festival – named after board members Gina and Jeff Metzler, who funded the first three years of the program as a gift to A.D. Players. Dean talks about the festival with excitement, explaining that the timing of its inception was not ideal due to the pandemic. “With the new play festival, we solicit or commission scripts that explore where faith and storytelling collide,” he explained. “The first season for the festival was supposed to happen in the spring of 2020, but it was cancelled due to the COVD shutdown. Then last year’s festival had to be produced digitally due to the pandemic, so we did virtual stage readings of the plays,” he said. “So this season will be

• Huntsville Leadership Institute Class 38 and current Vice Chair of the Board • Former Walker County Sheriff’s Office 911 Dispatcher • Personnel Manager for over 100 musicians with the Conroe Symphony Orchestra • 2018 Marquis Who’s Who for Professional Excellence in Consumer Services • Holds the honor of ‘Woman of the Year’ by Nat’l Assoc. of Professional Women

• The only candidate with a vested interest in the community having served as President, VP & Secretary of Walker Co. Republican Women, President & VP of Huntsville Area Newcomers Club, President & Current VP of SHSU Walker Co. Area Alumni & Friends Club along with Secretary of the Board of HEARTS Veterans Museum • The only candidate with a proven record as a dedicated Republican with long time membership in the Republican Party of Walker Co. & Walker Co. Republican Women • Delegate to numerous GOP State Conventions, Elected to serve as Walker County’s representative on the State GOP Legislative Priorities Committee for 2018 & 2020

Pol. Adv. Paid for by Madilene Loosier Campaign P.O. Box 9411 Huntsville, TX 77340

Professionalism, Ethics and Integrity”

January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 65


the first year of in-person performances for the festival.”

1711 E Main St • Madisonville

(936) 348-2118

1548 11th St • Huntsville

Open: Tue. - Wed. 10:30 am - 2 pm Thurs. • 10:30 am - 8 pm Fri. - Sat. • 10:30 am - 9 pm

Open: Mon.-Thurs. • 10:30 am - 8 pm Fri. - Sat. • 10:30 am - 9 pm

(936) 291-7347

What our advertisers are saying...

“Three of our plays this season are world premieres that were commissioned through the festival – The Christmas Shoes, No One Owns Me, and Apollo 8.” The Christmas Shoes, which ran November 24 through December 23, was an adaptation of the bestselling novel by the same name. No One Owns Me, which opens January 26, tackles the subject of sex trafficking, specifically in the Houston area, and will be produced as a two-person show with “black box thrust” seating, similar to theater-in-the-round, for a more intimate viewing experience. Apollo 8, which runs from May 4 through June 5, explores the 1968 mission to orbit the moon.



Postcards has consistently been the most effective form of advertising we use. Customers come in from all over, and we have seen specific growth from using the Lake Conroe edition of Postcards! Just recently a couple came in and said the photos of our store in our ads were so pretty, they just had to come up and see it for themselves! We hear this all the time. Postcards is a good quality form of advertising that people notice and pay attention to!

Congratulations on 10 years! David & Jackie Ward Ward Furniture & Flooring 66  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

“What’s really cool about the Apollo 8 mission is that it was broadcast live on Christmas Eve to the largest TV audience ever at the time, and the astronauts read the first seven or eight chapters of Genesis. It was the first time the people on earth had ever seen our planet as viewed from the heavens.” While A.D. Players doesn’t shy away from serious subjects – one of Dean’s favorite plays he performed in is 12 Angry Men, a story of an allWhite jury determining the fate of a young Latino boy accused of killing his father – the theater company offers lighthearted material of all sorts as well. Another of Dean’s all-time A.D. Players favorite performances is

Physical therapy keeps you


Kevin in Smoke on The Mountain (Grace Theater)

Charlie’s Aunt, a three-act farce about college kids, one of which pretends to be a rich elderly aunt, and the shenanigans that follow. I try to imagine Dean in the lead role as the rich aunt and Robin Williams’ performance in Mrs. Doubtfire immediately comes to mind. Of course, playing dress-up is all part of being an actor, and Dean isn’t afraid to take on different roles on and off the stage. That includes being a golfer, a baseball and football fan, a husband, and a father to his five-year-old daughter Livey. “I’m a total girl dad, you know, and I didn’t see that coming!” he exclaimed. “I get my toenails painted, you know. She likes to paint my fingernails. We have tea parties.” And of course, with him doing all the different character voices, story time is their favorite time together. “She hasn’t taken any acting lessons yet, so we aren’t sure whether that will be her jam, but she sure loves make-believe.”

A.D. Players at The George Theater is located at 5420 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas 77056. The box office number is 713-526-2721. Tickets run between $20 and $75, with student and senior discounts available. For more information on A.D. Players, its 2021-22 season, the touring company, and The George Theater, visit

Together, we can... v improve your mobility and motion v reduce pain without medication in many cases v improve surgical outcomes

Huntsville 936.294.0283

• 127 Medical Park Lane • 227 Hwy 75 N Suite 245

Conroe 936.494.1292

• 1020 Riverwood Ct. Suite 120

January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 67






Things my Grandaddy said... Even if you’re on the right track, you will get run over----if you just sit there.

First Christian Church

At First Christian Church, we serve our community through various programs including:

Only a mediocre person is always at his/her best.

• Boys & Girls Club of Walker County • CASA of Walker County

He who has no money is poor; he who has nothing but money is even poorer.

• Good Shepherd Mission • Care Center of Southeast Texas • Relay For Life • Blood drives and much more!

First Christian Church is a wonderful place to worship, and we invite you to come see for yourself!

If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you haven’t been in bed with a mosquito.

It is better to have a wife on your team than on your back.

First Christian Church

(Disciples of Christ) Sunday worship service @ 10:45 AM Sunday School @ 9:30 AM Bible Study @ 10:00 AM on Wednesdays via Zoom See our website for more fun activities

Worship services are live streamed on our FB page First Christian Church - Huntsville, TX 1800 Ave. R. • Huntsville, Texas 77340 Rev. Larry Garcia, Interim Pastor (936)295-3677 Becky Larkin, Music Minister Email -

68  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

The reason some people get lost in thought is because it is unfamiliar territory.

The Grands



Pennye LISLE 1

What is your grandparent name and does it have a special meaning? Nana. My daughter also called my mother that name.


Number of grandchildren and age range? Three ranging from 16 to 23.


Favorite activity with them? Sports - watching them play whatever they are in.


Advice to other/new grandparents? Love them every day.


What do you hope your grandchildren will remember about you? That I was always around to help them with whatever they needed.

Madison County Judge Bringing level-headed business experience to Madison County. We have made great improvements in our county during the past three years: • Upgraded communication systems


What’s your fondest memory of your grandparents? I loved sitting and talking to my great-grandmother and listening to the stories about her childhood and how they came to Texas in covered wagons. I also loved going fishing with my Granddad because it was a time for us to just sit and talk.

Our law enforcement officers can finally talk to each other from one side of the county to the other • Update to County Library facilities • Replaced outdated body armor for law officers • Repaired leaks in County Courthouse • New vehicles with computers for Sheriff's office • Body cameras for Sheriff's uniforms • Upgraded dispatch system

...and more! All with NO tax increase! But, there is more to do, and I would appreciate your vote once again.

Share Your Grandkid Photos with Us!

POLITICAL ADVERTISING PAID BY THE TONY LEAGO CAMPAIGN January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 69

What’s Cookin’ Oreo Cookie Balls Ingredients 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened 36 Oreo cookies, finely crushed 16 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted

Directions Step 1: Mix cream cheese and cookie crumbs until well blended. Step 2: Shape into 48 (1-inch) balls. Freeze 10 min. Dip balls in melted chocolate; place in single layer in shallow waxed paper-lined pan.

Slow Cooker Low-Carb Santa Fe Chicken

Step 3: Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Ingredients 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained 1 (14.5 oz) can fat-free chicken broth 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers 1 (8 oz) bag frozen corn ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro 3 scallions, chopped 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp onion powder 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste salt to taste 1 ½ lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Zippy Tuna Ingredients 1 (5 oz) can chunk light tuna in water, drained and flaked 2 Tbs mayonnaise 1 Tbs prepared yellow mustard

Directions Step 1: Combine black beans, chicken broth, diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, corn, cilantro, scallions, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt in the crock pot. Season chicken breast with salt and lay atop the bean mixture.

1 ½ tsp creamy prepared horseradish 1 tsp lemon juice 1 tsp garlic powder 1 pinch salt

Directions Step 1: Mix tuna, mayonnaise, yellow mustard, horseradish, lemon juice, garlic powder, and salt together in a bowl. 70  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

Step 2: Cook on low for 9 1/2 hours or high for 6 hours. Step 3: Remove chicken from slow cooker to a cutting board; shred into strands, return to the slow cooker, and stir into the bean mixture. Step 4: Continue cooking on low for 30 minutes more.

Creamy Pasta with Cauliflower Ingredients 1 med head cauliflower, broken into small florets ½ cup salted butter 1 med onion, diced 1 Tbs red pepper flakes, or to taste 2 pints heavy cream 1 (16 oz) pkg farfalle pasta 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or more to taste

Directions Step 1: Place cauliflower into a large pot of salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove cauliflower with a strainer, reserving the cooking water in the pot.

Step 4: Add tomatoes to the cauliflower sauce; cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup Parmesan cheese to the cauliflower sauce; cook and stir until melted, about 1 minute more.

Step 2: Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower florets and red pepper flakes; saute until browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Add heavy cream; cook until reduced by half, 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 5: Combine pasta and sauce; toss until well coated. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese to serve.

Step 3: Meanwhile, bring the cauliflower cooking water back to a boil. Add farfalle and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Drain.

Bakers Tip: When melting chocolate use a double boiler. Don’t fully boil the water in your double boiler. Get it hot enough to melt the chocolate, but not to a rolling boil.

• • •

16 year Trial Attorney who was raised in Madison County • Currently First Assistant District Attorney in Grimes County • Lecturer Professor at Sam Houston State University teaching Fundamentals of Criminal Law • Extensive FELONY trial experience handling cases involving Murder, Sexual Abuse of Children, Sexual Assault, Robbery, Manufacturing and Delivery of Drugs, and Child Pornography • Extensive Experience handling Felony and Misdemeanor cases • Have handled thousands of criminal cases • Tried approximately 50 Felony Jury trials • Sentenced Defendants to thousands of years • Specialized Experience serving on: Major Crimes team, Gang Violence, and Crimes Against Children teams • Top Gun Trial Award Consecutive Years-Excellence in Trial Work • 1998 Graduate of Madisonvillle High School • Bachelor’s Degree from UT Austin • Law Degree from University of Tulsa


January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 71

Crispy (No-Fry) Potato Pancake Poppers

the top with more cold water. Swish the potatoes around with your hands to rinse off the starch, then pour off most of the water and refill with more cold water. Continue this process until the water runs almost clear. Pour potatoes into a colander and let drain for a few minutes.

Ingredients 3 Tbs butter, melted

Step 3: Transfer grated potatoes to a clean kitchen towel. Wrap potatoes in the towel and squeeze over a bowl until no more liquid comes out.

2 large russet potatoes, peeled ½ Tbs garlic powder 1 ½ tsp kosher salt

Step 4: Transfer potatoes to a clean bowl and add garlic powder, salt, pepper, cayenne, and olive oil. Sprinkle flour over top, then add Parmigiano-Reggiano. Mix and toss gently with your hands until thoroughly combined and mixture feels damp.

¼ tsp ground black pepper 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste 1 Tbs olive oil 1 Tbs all-purpose flour ½ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Step 5: Grab potato mixture from the bottom of the bowl to get as much moisture as possible; fill the prepared muffin cups. It’s okay if the mixture comes up above the pan by 1/2 to 1 inch.

Directions Step 1: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Very generously brush melted butter into the bottom and sides of 24 mini muffin cups. Place the tin(s) on a baking sheet and set aside until needed. Step 2: Add cold water to a large bowl until 1/3 full. Grate potatoes into the cold water, then fill the bowl almost to

Step 6: Bake in the center of the preheated oven until golden brown on top, caramelized on the bottom, and crispy all over, 40 to 45 minutes. Step 7: Remove from the oven and let sit in the pan for 5 minutes before flipping them over onto the baking sheet.

Manage Your Future Well!

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We Guide You Through The Entire Process!

1011 11th St. • Huntsville (936) 295-5747

Reliable Parts Co. Monday - Saturday 7:30 am - 7:00 pm

• Lawn Mower Parts • Batteries • Tires Brian B. Smith, CFP

Bryan M. Masten, CFP

Paula Armstrong

Linda Smith

Riley W. Smith

Ally Grounds




(936) 294-0201

1211 Financial Plaza • Huntsville

Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a broker-dealer, member, FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a registered investment advisor. Cambridge and Global Financial Partners are not affiliated. Cambridge does not provide tax advice.

72  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

• Electrical & More

Main Street Auto Parts Bryan Jones

110 East Main St. • Trinity, TX (936) 594-0325 Monday - Saturday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

Toddler Muffins

Ingredients ½ cup butter, softened ½ cup brown sugar, or to taste 2 large bananas, mashed 1 (4.5 oz) jar baby food squash

sugar until smooth. Mix in the mashed bananas, squash, carrots, and eggs. Stir in the flour, oat bran, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt until just combined. Spoon the batter equally into the prepared muffin cups. Step 3: Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. Store at room temperature for up to two days, or freeze.

2 carrots, grated 2 eggs, beaten 1 cup all-purpose flour ½ cup oat bran 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Mini muffins for finicky toddlers with the addition of fruit and veggies. My son is 2 and has been eating these for a year. I always keep a supply in the freezer; he loves them frozen, especially when new teeth are coming in! Adults love them, too. Great for play groups!

½ tsp salt

Directions Step 1: Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Grease 24 mini muffin cups or 12 standard muffin cups.

Recipe makes 24 mini muffins or 12 regularsize muffins.

Step 2: In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown

Woods Tree Service

Texans Serving Texans


Buying or selling in the New Year? Experience a New Level of Service. From my family to yours, Happy New Year!

Owner: Gene Woods

Resident of Walker County for 45 Years Graduate of HHS & SHSU

936-661-8180 Satisfaction Guaranteed!


January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 73


• Currently employed as a Federal Grant Project Currently Employed as Federal Grant Coordinator the Texas Department Projectwith Coordinator/ Project Director - of CriminalTexas Justice overseeing a $1 Department of Criminalmillion Justice dollar budget program. 30 Years of Experience in the Justice field at

• The Only Candidate over 30 Years of Paid Local, Statewith and Federal Levels Working Management Experience the Criminal Paid Court Experience in Walkerin County Justice Field at Local, State & Federal levels. Administered State & Federal Monthly/ Quarterly/ Reports & Audits • Administered State andAnnual Federal Monthly,

Quarterly, Annual and Audits. Former Reports Program Director for Texas Department of Criminal Justice • Former Program Director and Parole Officer for & Employee Management the TexasOffice Department of Criminal Justice.

Compliance, Evaluations, Budget Reviews, Hiring Boards

• The Only Candidate with Paid Court Experience.

TrainingTexas / Qualifications / Awards Public Information Act,

• A Native of Walker CountyServices, who is the Only Crime Records Candidate who is a Lifetime Member of HIPPA Training, Directors ManagementTraining, the Walker County Republican Party and a Management and Development in Programs, member of the Walker County Republicans Governor's Management Program Women Party. Leadership Management Development,

• The Only Candidate who is Trained in Texas Texas DPS Crime Records Services, DPS Crime Records and HIPPA compliance. Cultural Diversity Training, Senior Level • Governor’s Leadership LeadershipManagement DevelopmentTraining, Confidential Development Training. Information Training, Texas DPS-Ethics Training,

• MemberDepartment of SHSU Alumni. as on an Officer of Justice Served Symposium in Lambda Alpha EpsilonPrograms, (LAE) American Rehabilitative Justice Association. Senior Level Leadership Development CMIT,

• Member of Fellowship of Huntsville Church National Geographic 100: - Profile World PortraitTop Finalist, and former Sunday School Teacher. Lifetime Member - Walker County Republican Party, •Huntsville Graduated SchoolState 1984, SHSU High Huntsville School 1984, High Sam Houston University­ BS -Justice Criminal1988 Justice 1988 - B.S. Criminal

Over 30 Years of Public Service in the State of Texas and Walker County

Cajun Crab Soup

Ingredients ½ cup unsalted butter 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced ¼ cup all-purpose flour 2 cups clam juice 2 cups chicken broth 1 (10 oz) pkg frozen white corn 1 tsp salt ½ tsp ground white pepper ¼ tsp dried thyme ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper 2 cups heavy cream 1 lb lump crabmeat, drained 4 green onions, chopped

Directions Step 1: Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until onion is tender. Whisk in flour, and cook 2 minutes. Stir in clam juice and chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Mix in corn, and season with salt, white pepper, thyme, and cayenne. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Step 2: Stir in cream, crab meat, and green onions. Heat through, but do not boil once the cream has been added.


Political Ad Pd for by Leslie Woolley for Walker County District Clerk Campaign

74  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

Herbed Pomegranate Salsa



Ingredients 1 ½ sprigs fresh mint, chopped 1 ½ bunches fresh cilantro, chopped 1 ½ bunches Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

for Republican

1 small red onion, chopped


1 pomegranate, skin and light-colored membrane removed 6 Tbs fresh lime juice

of Walker County

2 tsp grated lime zest 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped 1 serrano pepper, chopped 1 small tomato, diced 2 Tbs olive oil salt to taste ground white pepper to taste

Paid for by the Campaign to Elect Frank Olivares//Sulma Olivares - Treasurer

Directions Step 1: In a medium bowl, toss together mint, cilantro, Italian flat leaf parsley, red onion, pomegranate, lime juice, lime zest, jalapeno pepper, serrano pepper, tomato, and olive oil. Season with salt and white pepper.

“In God We Trust!”

Step 2: Cover, and chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.

Roasted Green Beans

i s d o a n M

Ingredients 2 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed 1 Tbs olive oil, or as needed

County Museum

1 tsp kosher salt ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper


Keeping Madison County History and Traditions Alive

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Step 2: Pat green beans dry with paper towels if necessary; spread onto a jellyroll pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use your fingers to coat beans evenly with olive oil and spread them out so they don’t overlap. Step 3: Roast in the preheated oven until beans are slightly shriveled and have brown spots, 20 to 25 minutes.

Open Wed - Sat 10 am - 2 pm



201 N. Madison • Madisonville, Tx One block off the Downtown Square

January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 75

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables 1 cup dry breadcrumbs 2 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese 2 Tbs butter, melted

Directions Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a medium baking dish. Step 2: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place fusilli pasta in the pot, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.

Chicken and Pasta Casserole with Mixed Vegetables

Step 3: Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place chicken in the skillet, and season with minced onion, salt and pepper, garlic powder, basil, and parsley. Cook until chicken juices run clear. Mix in the cooked pasta, cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, and mixed vegetables. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Step 4: In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and butter. Spread evenly over the casserole.

Ingredients 1 cup dry fusilli pasta

Step 5: Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven until bubbly and lightly browned.

3 Tbs olive oil 6 chicken tenderloins, cut into chunks 1 Tbs dried minced onion salt and pepper to taste garlic powder to taste 1 Tbs dried basil 1 Tbs dried parsley 1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup 1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

Bakers Tip: When cooking pasta, let the water come to a boil first. Wait until the water comes to a rapid, aggressive boil before adding your pasta. Throwing in the pasta too early when the water isn’t hot enough can result in some sticky, gummy noodles.

Let us be your #1 call for your #2 problem! • 25 Years of Plumbing Experience. • Residential & Commercial Plumbing • Drainage, Natural Gas & LP Certified. • Dependable & High Quality Workmanship 76  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

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Crock Pot Green Enchilada Chicken Soup

Ingredients 2.5 lbs of skinless chicken 28 oz can of green enchilada sauce 24 oz of chicken broth 1 cup heavy whipping cream 2 cups Monterey jack cheese 4 oz cream cheese, cubed at room temp 4 oz green salsa Salt & Pepper to taste Directions Step 1: In Crock Pot add chicken, green enchilada sauce and chicken broth. Cook on low for 6-8 hours

Step 4: Optional: Top with sliced avocado, cilantro, green onion and sour cream. Serve with strips of crisp tortillas.

Step 2: About 30 minutes before serving, remove chicken and shred. Step 3: Add shredded chicken, Monterey jack cheese, cream cheese, and green salsa. Stir until cheeses are melted.

We have what it takes.


Huntsville Truck & Tractor

Serving Walker County for over 30 years.


2124 HIGHWAY 30 EAST • HUNTSVILLE, TX 77320 † For complete warranty, safety and product information, consult your local Kubota dealer and the product operator’s manual. Power (HP/KW) and other specifications are based on various standards or recommended practices. KCDA-04-HTT-PM-1

January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 77

IT’S FINALLY HERE! 2022!!! DO YOU HAVE ANY HEALTH GOALS? Baked Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Jan Nell

COPE Certified Health Coach

281-850-6426 jannell.healthcoach


¾ cup melted butter 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds 1 tablespoon dried minced onion 24 mini sandwich rolls 1 pound thinly sliced cooked deli ham 1 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese Directions Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.


Mon. - Fri. 7 am - 5 pm • Sat. 7 am - 12 pm 206 West Magnolia Street • Madisonville, TX

936-348-3522 We can handle all your building material needs! ~ Randy & Rita Lowery Owners 78  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022


Step 2: In a bowl, mix together butter, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds, and dried onion. Separate the tops from bottoms of the rolls, and place the bottom pieces into the prepared baking dish. Layer about half the ham onto the rolls. Arrange the Swiss cheese over the ham, and top with remaining ham slices in a layer. Place the tops of the rolls onto the sandwiches. Pour the mustard mixture evenly over the rolls. Step 3: Bake in the preheated oven until the rolls are lightly browned and the cheese has melted, about 20 minutes. Slice into individual rolls through the ham and cheese layers to serve.

Stewed Cabbage

until translucent. Stir in cabbage, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Step 2: Pour in tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover pan and cook over medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes, or until cabbage is tender.

Ingredients ¼ cup butter 2 onions, chopped 1 stalk celery, chopped 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 medium head cabbage, cut into squares 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, with liquid salt and pepper to taste Directions Step 1: Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, or

Committed to quality workmanship and 100% customer satisfaction. Family owned and operated since 1999

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Wishing each of you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR! January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 79

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January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 81

Business Focus Story by Rosa Coss Photos by Tom Miller

Oscar & Oscar Amaya

Achieving the “American Dream” does not come without hard work and sacrifice, and (most certainly) it does not happen overnight.

82  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

In 1982, at the age of 20, Oscar Amaya was living in his home country of El Salvador. At the time, the country was at war. With his father’s blessing, Oscar made the decision to flee from the country and come to the United States. Fortunately, prior to leaving El Salvador, he had gained a very valuable skill. During his 7-9th grade school years, he attended a trade school to learn how to do autobody work. Little did he know learning this craft would prepare him for a successful career. Once he arrived in the U.S., Oscar wanted to put his learned skill to work, but quickly discovered that, in order to do this, he would have to have his own tools. He took a job at the Monterey Mushrooms plant in Madisonville, and he worked there for about three years, long enough to save some money. Then, he went to work for a local auto dealer; however, in the early 80s, the economy was not in a good place, and dealerships were struggling to stay open. Soon Oscar found himself unemployed, but by this time, he had earned a good reputation as a reliable autobody repairperson in that area. One day, he was approached by Mr. Nelson Drake, owner of Drake’s Mechanic Shop, and offered a job and an opportunity for a partnership. He accepted the position, and as part of their agreement, he would earn 50/50 from the labor. It wasn’t long before they were able to expand the business to include autobody repair, and eventually

renamed it Drake’s Collision Center, which is still in business today. Overall, Oscar lived in Madisonville for 12 years before moving to Huntsville. By this time, the 12-year war in El Salvador was coming to an end, but not before claiming the lives of thousands of innocent civilians. ( Salvador).

In 1999, Oscar decided to venture out on his

own and moved to Huntsville to start his own business. Huntsville was a bigger town with more opportunities. He also felt it was a great place to raise a family, which was important to him, because he already had a family of his own. After searching and finding the right location for his new business, Amaya’s Collision Center was inaugurated at 686 I-45 South, Huntsville, TX 77340, the same place where it is today. According to Oscar, he started off with only three employees and his brother Nelson, who would work there part-time to help out. Oscar’s reputation as a trusted autobody repairman preceded him,


January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 83

and the business began to prosper. Amaya’s Collision Center is a small, family owned and operated business. For the past 20+ years, Oscar has paved the way for his older son and namesake to one day take over the business. Currently, they work side by side and have a team of 17 employees who are highly trained in the most up-to-date methods of collision repair. Each team member receives yearly training and is certified through Gold Class I-Car Collision Repair. Prior to the pandemic, they had a team of over 20, but at the beginning of the 2020, their work declined, “because no one was driving,” said Oscar (son), “but

it’s amazing how God works. That year, there was an unprecedented hailstorm. For us, that hailstorm was a Godsend, because without it, we may not still be here. It brought stability to our work, and it has gradually been getting back to normal, especially since everything has re-opened. We are very grateful for our

team members,” Oscar (son) added. “In appreciation for all they do every year, Amaya’s Collision Center hosts a Christmas Banquet for the employees and their families. Everyone gets to mingle, participate in a Secret Santa gift exchange, and just have a great time.” Although RV repair is not something they advertise, nor is it Amaya’s specialization, they do provide this service as well. In fact, in the future, Oscar plans to include RV repair as part of their routine repair service. They have also dabbled in boat and jet ski repair, since these also are made of fiberglass. Besides autobody repair services, Amaya’s also has a mechanic onsite for general

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tune ups (does not rebuild engines or transmissions), collision repair and painting, and much more. Their parts are ordered from local parts stores and dealerships. According to Oscar (son), the majority of their repairs come from insurance claims, but he added they get a lot of “out-of-pocket” claims as well. “Simple things such as door dings, bumper, or

grill replacements. People sometimes prefer to pay for these rather than deal with having their insurance premiums increase because they filed a claim.” When Mr. Amaya arrived in Huntsville, he said he didn’t know anyone. He had to work hard to earn people’s trust and respect as a reputable autobody specialist. At the time,

there were other well-established autobody shops in the area, but he believes, “The only competition we have is with ourselves. The idea is to strive to do your best work and find ways to improve on that each time.” Over the years, Mr. Amaya has been able to build a good rapport with his customers. They know him and rely on the quality of his work. His






January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 85

customers have been loyal and often refer their friends and family. Amaya’s Collision Center is a member of the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce. As a way of “paying it forward,” Mr. Amaya would like to create an opportunity for high school students who, for personal or financial reasons, are unable to go to college, to learn all that is involved in repairing, refinishing, or replacing the bodies and frames of damaged vehicles. Those interested will be able to learn and get paid while they learn. Currently, they have one employee who is a student at Sam Houston State University, and a recent Huntsville High School graduate who has been accepted to Universal Technical Institute. Both students are gaining experience in autobody repair at Amaya’s Collision Center. Whether it’s a career choice, or simply an interest in the craft, the knowledge and skills they gain will

be invaluable. Located off the freeway, it’s not uncommon for passersby to drive into their parking lot and ask for help. Frequently, it’s just a flat tire, and Amaya’s crew is always willing to lend a hand. Last year, during the pandemic, “a woman came in and said her blinker lights were not working” said Oscar (son). “She was worried she would get stopped by a police officer. She was driving an old 80s Chevy van, and it was apparent she was living out of her van. It was right at closing time, but we really wanted to help her out, so we ordered the part from a local parts store, and it was delivered in less than 15 minutes. We replaced it and fixed the problem. It’s good to help people in their time of need, without expecting anything in return.” When he is not at work, Mr. Amaya serves as

a pastor of the Huntsville Pentecostal Church for the Spanish-speaking members. He has been a pastor for the past 7 years. He and his parishioners are searching for a place to relocate, but in the meantime, the floor room at Amaya’s Collision Center is transformed into their house of worship, at least until they are able to find a new location. Oscar (son) is following in dad’s footsteps, not only in his drive for business, but also as a spiritual leader. He attends Abundant Life Church in Willis, and serves as a youth pastor for his church. Mr. Amaya is happily married to Lucy, his wife of 14 years. Together, they have a son named Sam. He is 13, and goes to school at Huntsville Junior High. Mr. Amaya is also the proud father of 3 other children from a previous marriage. Elizabeth, the oldest, is a practicing attorney in Florida. Celene is an RN in the

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Serving Walker, Grimes, Madison, Trinity and Montgomery Counties 86  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

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C s i a d i

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Conroe area, but she and her son Isaac live in Huntsville. Oscar (son), the youngest, attended Sam Houston State University and obtained his degree in business management. He is married and also lives in Huntsville.

Oscar Amaya may not have initially come to the U.S. in search of the American Dream, but his hard work and perseverance helped him find it.

To find out more about their services, visit:, or call: 936.295.6556.

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Vet Connect: By Kim VanWagner, D.V.M.

New Year Pet Resolutions What better time of the year than now to begin making changes for a healthier lifestyle? The holidays have just passed and if you’re like me, now is the time to make compensations for all the holiday indulgences. The start of a new year can signal a fresh start for your pets as well. Some may be needing a change in their routine or just encouraged to become more active, especially if the recent weather has caused them to lay around and not get as much activity as they typically do. There’s no better time for you to commit to a new diet and exercise regimen for your pets, esp. if you are considering that for yourself. This might also be a good time to enrich and enhance their environments. Here are some ideas to help your pet live a healthier lifestyle: 1. Take the time to measure your pet’s food every time! Many owners “eyeball” their pet’s daily intake usually resulting in overfeeding and weight gain, not to mention the extra calories consumed in treats. Instead, use an actual 8 oz measuring cup, not Big Gulps or Folgers coffee cans. For example, did you know that large dog greenie dental treats have 145 kilocalories, which is 20% of a 50lb dog’s daily needs? Recommended feeding guidelines on bags are a good place to start to figure your pets’ daily needs, but make sure

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88  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

to choose age appropriate diets. Growing pets have very specific nutrient requirements to ensure their bodies grow healthy and strong. Some senior pets may have lower energy requirements, and have other medical issues like degenerative joint disease that may be helped with appropriate diets. You can also offer your pet a smaller food bowl if you are working on weight management. Both you and your pet will perceive to actually have more food instead of a smaller portion when a smaller bowl is used. 2. Try a new activity with your pet. It is easier than ever for people to incorporate their pet into a new exercise routine. It’s a great way to bond, it’ll get you both moving around and maybe out of the house, and both of you will reap the rewards of healthy physical activities. There are several apps available such as Charity Miles that encourage dog walking. Interact with your cat using laser and feather toys and cardboard boxes to enrich their environment by stimulating that predatory instinct, getting them off the couch and engaged in a little aerobic activity. Try putting pet food and treats in puzzle bowls and other reward based systems to enrich their minds while they’re eating. 3. Make a Date with your Vet. Veterinary visits are also the perfect time to ask for advice, update your pet’s food, or get an expert opinion on any behavioral issues that may be affecting your bonding with your pet or even training advice. It is also a good time to update Pet ID info, microchip status, and wellness visits if needed. 4. Practice Good Oral Hygiene Habits. Daily tooth brushing is the best way to keep tarter and plaque at bay, just be sure to use toothpaste meant for pets, no fluoride. Water additives, dental diets, and treats designed to reduce tarter can also be helpful tools in protecting teeth. Oravet chews are a great dental treat if used daily to help clean and apply a temporary sealant over the teeth. Even with all these tricks, regular cleanings under the care of a licensed vet are the best way to keep those pearly whites in tip top shape long into your pet’s senior years. With dental month right around the corner in February, be on the lookout for discounted dental prices. 5. Consider fostering or adopting. You think you want a new pet but you’re not 100% sure it’s right for you? Try fostering. Many animal shelters and rescues are in great need of loving homes to provide safe and temporary living arrangements for pets. It’s the perfect way to test the waters of pet ownership without the lifelong commitment, since you are simply hosting a pet while they wait for their forever home. If you’re not able to adopt or even offer fostering care, your local shelter and rescue groups would love other forms of support financially or through volunteering. Make the beginning of this new decade count for you and your furry family members! Happy New Year and a new beginning.

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January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 89

Wildlife Wonders TEAMWORK LESSONS FROM GEESE By Cheryl Conley


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Look, up in the sky. It’s a bird, it’s a plane. No, it’s Canadian geese flying south in their iconic “v” formation, typically during the months of September and October. However, I just saw a flock last week, so obviously it can be later in the year. Normally, I hear them before I see them because they “honk” while they’re flying. This is their way of keeping the flock together. They don’t let bad weather or nighttime keep them from flying, so when it’s cloudy or dark with limited visibility, they are able to keep track of each other by honking.

As human beings, we often (but not always) choose our leaders because of their knowledge and abilities. Not so with geese. When migrating, the duty of leading the flock (or skein) is a shared responsibility. The vertex of the formation is a difficult and exhausting position to be in, so it changes frequently. Each bird in the “V” flies a little higher than the bird in front of them. This reduces wind resistance and conserves energy for every bird in the formation except the lead bird…so when the leader tires, it will fall back, and another bird will take the lead. This is teamwork in action.

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Migrating Canada geese can fly up to 1500 miles in 24 hours and fly 2,000 to 3,000 miles in total to get to their destination. Some will spend their winters in the southern United States or Mexico. It’s interesting to note, however, that some geese don’t migrate at all. If there’s open water and available food, they may become year-round residents. They are highly adaptable.

A goose’s body size can range from 30 to 43 inches with a wingspan of 4.2 feet to 5.6 feet. You’ll be pleased to know that wild Canadian geese mate for life, but

90  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

domesticated geese prefer to play the field and can have many mates. Wild geese will stay loyal to their mates until death, at which time they may seek out another mate. Interestingly, geese exhibit signs of mourning when they lose a mate. They separate from the flock and will often make mourning-type sounds. Come spring, you may hear or see geese heading north. Normally they will return to the same nesting site every year. The female chooses the nesting site and does most of the nest construction while dad stands guard. The female lays between 4 and 9 eggs and will lay one every 1-2 days. The incubation period is about 30 days; during this time, she will only leave the nest for very short periods of time to eat and drink. Soon after hatching, the goslings are taken to the water to eat. Mom and dad are very protective of their broods for 10-12 weeks after hatching. As the goslings grow older and learn to fly, the parents become less protective.

The Canada Goose is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. This means that it is illegal to capture, kill, trade, transport, or damage eggs or their nests without permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. There is, however, a hunting season for geese in Texas. Here is the link for the regulations: outdoor-annual/regs/animals/goose

Along the Road

The Original Texas Rangers In 1823, empresario Stephen F. Austin announced he would supplement the Mexican government’s militia patrols with his own force of ten men, whom he paid out of his own pocket. The company was led by Lieutenant Moses Morrison. Thus, the Texas Rangers were born. Unsatisfied with the protection the Mexican government provided, Stephen F. Austin created his own force of “rangers” to protect the men and women living in his colony. Austin tasked the Rangers with patrolling the roads and wilderness around the colony for “errant thieves united with Indians.” Many of the men who volunteered as Rangers lived in Austin’s colony and hoped their service would help protect their own families from attacks by American Indians. Some were also motivated by the desire to take revenge on American Indians for past raids. During the Texas Revolution in 1836, the provisional government authorized the first official, government-sanctioned Ranger force to patrol the Texas frontier and protect settlers from raids by American Indians. Though this force was reorganized after Texas won its independence from Mexico, it continued to function in much the same way: groups of volunteers were organized as they were needed to patrol and protect the frontier, then disbanded when their specific missions were done. Image courtesy Stephen F. Austin Papers, di_08980, The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 91

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Giggles & Grins Q: What do you call it when a hen spots some lettuce? A: Chicken sees-a salad

Q: What do you call a pencil that has two erasers? A: Pointless.

Q: Why did the astronaut’s restaurant on the moon fail? A: The food was good, but there was no atmosphere.

Q: What do you call stolen cheese? A: Nacho cheese.

Q: What’s a pirate’s favorite letter? A: You may think it’s “R”, but it’s really the “C” that they love.

Q: Where do bad rainbows go? A: Prism. It’s a light sentence.

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Health Matters By James W. Jones, MD, PhD, MHA

Do Not Have Confusions About Resolutions—Instead, Let Them Provide Solutions By the time you read this, we will be into the month of January (named after the Roman god Janus, which is the god of beginnings and endings). Indeed, having a unique profile of two faces: One in the back of the head to survey pasts and in the front looking to futures. Learn from your past to shape your future and thrive. So as the phrase “New Year’s Resolution” suggests, January is a wonderful opportunity to better our lives by means of thoughtful examination of our lifestyle practices and how they can be enriched. First, it is important to consider what is most important in your life. What will give you the most long-term lifespan satisfaction? Consider that question sincerely (which I do each time I log in another 584-million-mile trip around the sun). My answer is a resolute retain GOOD HEALTH and perhaps even improve it. The word “health” derives from Old English roots meaning wholeness (or in olden times, the state of being uninjured). Originally, the word meant, “being

fit” for life— having health was a good omen for all of one’s activities. Well-being is a near synonym. Health’s meaning, however, currently has abridged to mean freedom from physical maladies. The World Health Organization defines health as: “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” AMEN! Ask what small but meaningful improvements can be made to lifestyle, nothing major, because going overboard with resolutions is a foremost reason for failure within the first month. First, realize that gaining a healthier lifestyle will have many benefits for you, your loved ones, and friends. You will be able to function better with value-added physical, mental, emotional, or social living, especially if you are older. You don’t have to just let your abilities sag in some aspect of your functioning. GET GOING.

Carefully plan the details of how you will accomplish reaching the goals you desire and the satisfactions you will enjoy as you do so. If you are increasing your exercise routine, outline the place you will go and the times you will be there. To eat healthier, plan for a more nutritious diet by serving more fish, vegetables, and fruits. Reduce fatty meats, sugar, and reduce portions. Include incremental improvements over time. A foremost New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight, and the obvious answer is to reduce calorie intake, get your body to burn more calories, or both. There are a number of successful plans; the safest and most reliable is to join a medical weight loss clinic. You might desire to expand your knowledge base by enrolling in courses online. I personally am going to return to a habit of reading at least one nonfiction book a week. I did that for many years, but have gotten out of that habit, I resolve to resume in January.

January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 97

The Latest Texas Talent

Janet Batchelor Celebrating an incredible year

Parents and grandparents get ready to add to your favorite Visit to child’s library. Author Janet read the original story in the March 2021 issue. Batchelor, featured in the March 2021 edition of Postcards Magazine, has done it again. And again! Since the Postcards article, Janet has had the opportunity to read Al and the Owligator to more than 1,000 children at schools and libraries across the state. Janet says, “That’s the fun part! It’s what I love.” This summer Janet’s second book, Princess, Fred Frog, and the Thing on the Log, debuted. Described as “no ordinary fairy tale that involves any smooching between a real princess and a frog,” instead, it is a story about helping others and not being judgmental without knowing all the facts, plus finding new friends in unexpected places. Janet said the cute characters in

Al and the Owligator inspired her to create the story surrounding these cute frogs. Unbeknownst to us, the day Postcards contacted Janet to “catch up” was also the day her newest book ‘Fraidy Fox was released on Amazon and on the Barnes and Noble website. Said Janet, “I originally wrote this story back in 2002 and found it in my computer again.” ‘Fraidy Fox is written specifically for children who are afraid of the dark, but is perfect for any child who enjoys stories about lovable animals. Both of Janet’s newest creations again utilize the talent of illustrator Mike Motz. Janet’s website, has all three books available for order along with some cute video trailers! Janet said she is sure having fun – one visit to her website makes it easy to understand why!

Covenant Fellowship

Come as you are ! Worship Time: Sunday Mornings 10:30am

Celebrate Recovery: Tuesdays 7 pm Church Email: Church Website:

Lead Pastor: David Valentine

Address: Church Phone:

606 FM 1791 N. • Huntsville (936) 435-0993

So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer. ~ Ezra 8:23

98  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

“Seens” from our World

Large blackbird (her name really is Feather!)

Bet he’s not even punctual for dinner!

Seen by: PC Staff

Seen by: Gayle Metcalf

We want to see what you’ve seen! When you see the unusual, funny or absurd, break out your camera, take a picture, and submit to us with a description at:

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281-909-7722 • January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 99




Thru 4 Conroe Affordable Art





Houston “Hadestown”

Conroe “The Rainmaker”

Houston Elton John




Galveston Mavis Staples in Concert

Rockport Gospel Music Festival


George Lopez: OMG Hi! Comedy Show

22-23 Galveston The Oak Ridge Boys in Concert


College Station Aaron Watson in Concert


Houston Hops n’ Hot Sauce Festival

14-15 Galveston Yaga’s Chili Quest and Beer Fest

Orange CeCe Winans in Concert




Dave Halston: The Sinatra Experience



Sugar Land

Montgomery The Fun One-Day Wedding Expo

20-22 Huntsville “Creature”

26-Feb 20 Houston Houston Auto Show

21-30 Clute “The Lion in Winter”

Houston “No One Owns Me”

Due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus, some events may have schedule changes. Please make sure to check the event website, social media, or call ahead to confirm an event is still taking place if you are interested in attending.


Corsicana Asia in Concert


Sugar Land Tom Segura


Bay City Wild Game and Camofest



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Monster Jam

Lake Jackson Paul Shaffer in Concert


Galveston “Neil Berg’s 50 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll 2”

January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 101


Mustard Seed Moments by Scott Moore

Be a Peacemaker I saw a scripture misquoted today, and it’s been bugging me. In fact, I often see this scripture misquoted, and I felt the need to speak out. Today, I saw a perfectly well-intentioned group in a public forum misquote Matthew 5:9. Their version read, “Blessed are the peaceKEEPERS (my emphasis), for they shall be called the children of God.”


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Check out our event on Facebook! 102  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition  |  January 2022

I have no doubt that this group meant well. In fact, I fully and wholly support this group. But, the misquoting of this scripture is very problematic for our understanding of peace. I referenced seven different translations and versions of the Bible to check myself. I chose some colloquial versions and some academic translations. These included: NIV, NRSV, CEB, Good News, HCSB, KJV, and NLT.

Every single one of these translations/versions quotes Matthew 5:9 in a different way—but every one refers to “peaceMAKERS” or “those who WORK for peace.” This is not simple semantics. There is a huge difference in “keeping” and “making.” I KEEP a cake someone else baked for me. I MAKE a cake from scratch using my own efforts. A peaceKEEPER merely maintains the status quo of a state of nonconflict. There is no action. There is no intention. A peaceKEEPER gets by on “not rocking the boat” and not causing any problems.

A peaceMAKER actively works toward mediating a peace in times of conflict. There is action. There is intentionality.

Jesus clearly said that those who ACTIVELY seek peace over conflict will be the ones blessed. There is no such promise to those who simply don’t rock the boat. May we all strive to be peacemakers.


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Online Banking Available: January 2022  |  Postcards Magazine: Piney Woods Edition 103