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New Year New You ♦ Get into a healthy routine ♦ Break those bad habits ♦ Reach your goals


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Features Getting back on track with diet, fitness. . . . . . . . . . . 8


6 things to remember before voting . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Learn the ways to beat bad habits . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Plug in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Calendar of events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Simple ways to make time for family . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 3 strategies to help you achieve your goals in the year ahead . . . . . . . . . 15 Explore your culinary curiosity with Creole jambalaya. . . . . 18 History of “Auld Lang Syne� . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

14 WINTER 2020


Letter to readers A new decade is upon us. 2020 brings with it the promise of new beginnings. It’s time to start working on those New Year’s resolutions and coming up with a plan to sticking to those resolutions throughout the year. In this issue of Connect, we feature some tips on creating a “New You” in the “New Year.” You’ll find tips on getting healthy and fit, breaking bad habits, making more time for family and achieving your goals for the year ahead. We’ve also included some advice on preparing for the elections in the year ahead, including some tips on how to avoid long lines at the polls. And just for good measure, we’ve included a jambalaya recipe just in time for Mardi Gras. When putting together this issue’s plug in content, I included information about the 10-year anniversary of the discovery of the Runaway Bay chupacabra. It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade since one of our reporters took a call to the newsroom about the strange discovery, and the rest is history. What mysteries will the new year and decade bring? Let’s stay connected and find out together, shall we?

Brian Knox Special Projects Manager Wise County Messenger

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Roy J. Eaton President

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Life lessons from a local coach

The high school football season has wrapped up and the college bowl season and NFL playoffs are gearing up. While you’re still in the mood for football, pick up Decatur native and Hall of Fame high school football coach Ronnie Gage’s new book “the Life Coach.” The book written with one of his former players, Emmet Thompson, the oldest person to score a point in an NCAA football game, covers Gage’s career from the highlights of leading Lewisville to a pair of state titles and the lows of losing a father at early age and later mourning the loss of a daughter. Throughout the book that is dedicated to his daughter Jessica Bonesio, Gage shares the principles that have

been part of his coaching career and how his faith and mentors helped him. He hopes it will help inspire young coaches and others. “It’s dedicated to my daughter and it’s another way to keep your legacy alive,” Gage said. “I think there’s lessons to be learned about every day life and putting on your game face and taking on a challenge.” He offers many of those Gageisms — from doing the little things correctly and not looking for shortcuts, to demanding players show up every day to work as hard as they can and be coachable. “All that does is give you a chance.

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All you want is a chance,” Gage said. He said the toughest chapter was the one about Jessica getting ill and passing. He said it was an important story to tell because of how it renewed his faith. “Never give up on your faith. I had every opportunity to do that,” Gage said. “But because of my faith, I know I’ll be able to see [Jessica] again one day. My faith has grown stronger.”

Service spotlight

For families having a hard time making ends meet, Wise Area Relief Mission (WARM) is here to help. The organization is located at 300 N. Trinity in Decatur. Wise County residents are eligible to receive a food box once every 30 days. Food items are based on availability but can include items such as rice, pasta, corn, green beans, cereal, beef, chicken, soups, tuna, peanut butter, and/or snacks. There may also be frozen meats and vegetables and/or refrigerator items and fresh produce. Pantry hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The organization also provides utility assistance through appointment only at the beginning of each month. The day to call to schedule an appointment will be updated on WARM’s website and Facebook page each month. Emergency prescription assistance is also available as funds are available. WARM requires a quote from the pharmacy, including the name of the client, the name of the medicine, quantity and price for each. Call to check on available funds before turning in prescription or coming to WARM. Donations may be brought to the door on the south side of the building under the awning 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Monetary donations are also encouraged and can be brought by the office, mailed or donated through PayPal on the organization’s website, The gift is tax-deductible as a charitable donation to a 501(c)(3) organization. Volunteers are also always needed. Call 940-626-4676.

Link to the past

1958 airplane collision This March will mark 62 years since perhaps the worst aviation disaster in Wise County history. On March 27, 1958, two Air Force transport planes collided in midair near Bridgeport, killing 18 servicemen. A Wise County Messenger story on the crash between a C-119 Flying Boxcar and a C-124 Globemaster called it “one of the nation’s worst air disasters of the year.” A Bridgeport Index article said, “Mr. W.J. Mann was riding a tractor plowing his field when an engine from the C-119 fell to earth

beside him and about 100 feet away. He said he looked up and saw airplane wreckage falling all around him.” Everyone aboard both planes died. The Index reported the Globemaster was flying from Kelley AFB in San Antonio to Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City while the Flying Boxcar was headed from Carswell AFB in Fort Worth to Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls.

Why is... ...Runaway Bay associated with the chupacabra? On January 13, 2010, Tony Potter, a groundskeeper at the Runaway Bay golf course, discovered an odd looking dead creature on the 14th hole. He and many others in the community couldn’t figure out what the hairless creature was, but many thought it might be the mythical chupacabra. While biologists would later identify the creature as a hairless raccoon, the legend quickly took hold. T-shirts were printed with a cartoon likeness of the creature. And the chupacabra’s name was used on several local items, everything from a burger at a local gas station to a Texas Parks and Wildlife paddling trail. Ten years later, the legend continues.

Good to know

Home winterization tips There are a number of ways to conserve water this winter. The Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District offers the following tips to save water and money: ♦ Repair indoor water leaks from toilets and faucets. Adding some food coloring dye tablets to toilet tanks is an easy way to identify leaks. ♦ Install water saving devices such as lower flow toilets, shower heads and faucets which can all significantly decrease your household water consumption. ♦ Make sure to check or install faucet coverings and insulation around all outdoor water fixtures. When temperatures drop below freezing outdoor fixtures can freeze which can cause pipes and faucets to crack or burst resulting in a huge headache for you as well as a tremendous waste of water.

♦ If you have a private water well, remember to avoid storing pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals left over from the spring or summer near your wellhead. Also, consider using items such as older towels or fabric to help insulate your wellhead and pipes. ♦ Start planning for the warmer months. Composting leftover food, those troublesome leaves that have littered your yard and other organic material for use in your garden or landscaping will help retain soil moisture and add much needed nutrients to your plants. And, don’t forget to add mulch to your landscaping once the temperatures start to rise. For more water saving ideas, visit the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District’s website, or call the office at 817-523-5200. WINTER 2020


Getting back on track with diet, fitness BY RICHARD GREENE

“Why would you want to have the perfect diet but not be active at all? Or why would you go to the gym five days a week, if you’re going to eat junk all the time?” Wise Health System Director of Nutrition Services Hayley Mayo

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hrough hustle and bustle of the holidays and the extra sugar cookies and glasses of egg nog, it’s not surprising to see a few extra pounds and an inch or two being packed on. With the dawn of a new year, many of us will be looking to make a few changes to get healthier and get back into shape. That could include making regular trips back to the gym and trading sugary snacks and lattes for an apple or banana and water.

To get you on the right path with a new exercise routine and set some healthy eating habits, we got a few tips from Wise Health System Director of Nutrition Services Hayley Mayo and Fit-N-Wise Sports Performance Coordinator CJ Kerr. Mayo and Kerr are quick to point out a healthy lifestyle requires both attention to what you are putting in your body and also putting your body to work. “Why would you want to have the perfect diet but not be active at all? Or why would you go to the gym five days a week, if you’re going to eat junk all the time?” Mayo asked. “My diet is not perfect by any means. But you try to balance it with activity.”

Nutrition, reading labels

If you are going to begin hitting the gym or just looking to trim a few pounds, the best place to start is making sure you’re getting the proper nutrition. “It starts with nutrition. You need energy to get started,” Kerr said. “I’d recommend your nutrition being on point up to a week before you start working out to make sure you have a good base.” A good start is learning about what you are eating and forming a good plan. Learning how to read food labels and decipher the calorie content, serving size and ingredients is a good start. In her years as an inpatient and outpatient dietitian, Mayo said she’s been surprised by how many people don’t know how to read labels properly. “The biggest thing is educating yourself on food labels — calories and contents of foods,” Mayo said. And that’s not just for food. Soft drinks, sugary caffeinated beverages, juices, sports drinks and alcoholic drinks are filled with calories. “Most people don’t realize it’s not just what you’re eating, but it’s what you’re drinking also, whether it’s sodas, Kool-Aid, alcoholic drinks or fancy coffee drinks,” Mayo said. “One can of soda a day adds about 15 pounds per year. Just think about someone drinking two cans of soda per day, if they cut out that alone and nothing else, there goes 30 pounds.”

Portioning food

A good way to make sure you’re not overeating is portioning for meals and snacks. If you are snacking, try putting a few chips on a plate instead of sitting down with the whole bag, Mayo said. For meals, she suggests dividing a plate in half. One side should be non-starchy colorful vegetables and greens. The other half should contain lean proteins and complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and fruit. Why you may be tempted to save a few calories and skip breakfast or lunch, Mayo and Kerr warn against it. “Don’t starve yourself. A lot of the fad diets are just about caloric intake and you may lose weight but it’ll kill your metabolism and it’ll eat away the muscle that you’re trying to gain.” And Mayo points out that building that muscle through physical activity is a key to getting weight under control. “One thing about physical activity is you’re not just burning calories while you’re doing it, but after you finish you continue burning calories,” Mayo said. “Muscle is your major main calorie burner.”

Start slowly

While you are gung ho and fired up to get started working out, remember to start slow and prepare. A good starting point is making sure you have the proper footwear, especially if you’re adding some cardio — running, walking or stair climber. “Getting a good pair of shoes is extremely important,” Kerr said. “It helps also to ignite that passion. You know when you put your workout shoes on, it gets you in that mindset.” If you are just getting back to the gym or to hitting the pavement, start gradually and take time to condition muscle before and after. Kerr said warming up and cooling down will help keep you from suffering an injury that can stop your momentum. That may include visiting the sauna and also doing some warmup reps. “Most of working out is making sure you keep working WINTER 2020


Getting back on track ... out and preventing injury,” Kerr said. He points out if you do have a setback there are local sports medicine experts that can help you get back on track. Also when getting back in the weight room for the first time in a while realize that you’re not 17 anymore and you may not be able to squat 300 pounds like in high school or run a six-minute mile. Kerr again cautions people to start slow and work their way back into it, perhaps even start in the pool with some swimming and water weights.

Finding the right balance

Changes don’t happen overnight. You didn’t add a few pounds or an inch or two in a few days and it won’t disappear that quick either. While shedding pounds is a good starting point and will help you set a goal, Mayo and Kerr say don’t be a slave to the scales. As you start working out and adding muscle, you may actually gain some weight at first. “If you’ve not been active for years and you’ve lost muscle, chances are your weight may go up a little bit at first before it starts going down,” Mayo said. “That really frustrates people. Go by how your clothes fit and not the weight.”

Kerr added: “If you’re working out, you’re going to be thirsty and your water weight will fluctuate. That’s why it’s best not to check the scale every day. If you need to check the scale, check once per week.” Setting goals and rewarding yourself for accomplishing those goals is important. Kerr and Mayo said it will keep you motivated to continue. “Moderation is the key. But celebrate your success,” Mayo said.

Ask for help

And whether it’s working out or trying to fix your diet, Mayo and Kerr encourage people to consult with professional trainers and dietitians for assistance. They can help you through the intimidation factor in the gym or give you the proper start to fixing your diet. “That’s our job. We’re happy to help,” Kerr said.

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6 things to remember before voting



o matter which political party you support, interest in elections has been running high in recent years.

In the last presidential election in 2016, 63.4 percent of registered voters in Wise County went to the polls, the largest percentage since 1992. With another presidential election year in 2020, the March primary and November general election is likely to once again have a historical turnout. Here are a few things to keep in mind when getting ready for Election 2020:


Make sure you are registered to vote. If you’ve recently moved to Wise County or have never registered to vote before, go by the Wise County Elections Office at 200 S. Trinity St. in Decatur to fill out a voter registration card. In order to be eligible to register in Texas, you must: ♦ be a U.S. citizen; ♦ be a resident of the county; ♦ be 18 years old (you may register at 17 years and 10 months); ♦ not be a convicted felon (unless your sentence is completed, including any probation or parole); and ♦ not declared mentally incapacitated by a court of law. The deadline to register to vote in time for the March 3 primary election is Feb. 3. If you are not sure if you are registered, visit and click on the “Register to Vote” option. Voter registration information can also be found on the Wise County elections page by visiting co.wise. and clicking on the “Wise County Elections” button.


Take advantage of early voting. While local elections officials work to make sure voters get in and out of the polls as quickly as possible, there are always lines on election days where presidential candidates are on the ballot. The best way to avoid the lines is to vote at any of the four early voting locations in Wise L I F E + F A M I LY + C O M M U N I T Y


County during the two-week early voting period. If you work during the day and don’t have a chance to go by between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., extended voting hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. are available on the two Tuesdays during early voting.


Know where to vote on Election Day. Election Day voting is precinct-based, meaning you have to go to a specific polling location. To find out where you need to go to vote, first locate your voter registration card. It will contain a lot of numbers showing which various local, state and federal districts you reside in, but what you are looking for is in a box above your name that says “Prec. No.” short for “Precinct Number.” That’s your voting precinct. A list of precinct voting locations will be listed on the local elections office website and in the Wise County Messenger prior to Election Day.


Bring a photo ID. State law requires a voter to present a photo ID at the polls. If you do not have a valid photo ID, you can fill out a reasonable impediment declaration form as long as you present one of the other acceptable forms of identification including: ♦ certified birth certificate (original); ♦ current utility bill; ♦ current bank statement; ♦ current government check;

♦ current paycheck; or ♦ any other government document with the individual’s name including your Voter Registration Certificate.


Fill out a sample ballot. The elections office routinely makes sample ballots available to the public prior to an election. You are permitted to fill out a sample ballot and bring it to the polling booth to assist you with voting. While most voters will be familiar with local candidates and statewide or presidential candidates, others on the ballot may not be so well-known. The non-partisan League of Women Voters of Texas publishes a Voters Guide prior to early voting which includes candidate responses to questions. Visit


Straight party voting is no longer an option. Straight party voting has never been an option in the primary elections because you are already voting either Republican or Democrat. In the past, straight party voting has been an option in the general election, and nearly 70 percent of Wise County voters did just that in the 2016 presidential election. However, a recent change in state law has removed the straight party voting option, meaning you’ll have to mark each race individually. That might lead to a little more time at the polls, so you might want to revisit tip No. 2. ♦

Learn the ways to beat bad habits


he start of a new year can be a rejuvenating time when people take inventory of their lives and make positive changes. In a quest for personal growth, many people resolve to reduce or eliminate bad habits.

Habits are one of the ways in which the brain establishes patterns for neurons to follow. Habits help people work on autopilot some of the time, which can save time and energy, according to, an information site educating the public on a wide array of timely topics. Good habits, like showing up to work on time, are worth maintaining. But bad habits can be problematic and potentially unhealthy. Strategies to break bad habits might work for some but not for others. Perseverance is essential to kicking bad habits, and the following are some additional tips that can help people as they try to ditch certain behaviors once and for all. ♦ Recognize the habit. No person is perfect, and each of us has our strengths and weaknesses. Recognizing a bad habit is the first step toward breaking it. ♦ Break the pattern by offering a new one. As noted, when a habit is established, neurons form a pattern. Establishing a new, better habit, rather than just trying to quit the bad habit cold turkey, can be an effective way to help the brain adjust to a new pattern, advises neuroscientist Elliot Berkman. He says the brain finds it easier to do something new than to simply stop doing something it’s accustomed to. So if you’re a nail-biter, do something else with your hands, like play a musical instrument, to create a new pattern. ♦ Penalize yourself within reason. Making a habit painful in one way or another may make it easier to quit. Penalizing yourself by paying a dollar each time you say a curse word, or extending a workout for an extra

30 minutes for each one you miss are some examples of simple punishments. ♦ Reward yourself for beating habits. Rewards for kicking bad habits can be just as effective as penalizing bad behavior. Reward yourself with something unusual and meaningful after you kick a bad habit. ♦ Learn your triggers and avoid them. The self-improvement blog Pick the Brain indicates every bad habit has a cue that can trigger it. Triggers fall into these categories: location, time, emotional state, other people, and an immediately preceding action. By learning your triggers, you can work to avoid them. If eating junk food comes on the tails of a stressful commute, try a different way home. If you smoke when you’re around a particular person who eggs you on, take a break from hanging out with this person. Breaking bad habits is challenging, but it can happen with focus and dedication. ♦

Did you know?

New Year’s resolutions may not have much staying power, but the tradition of making them is an enduring one that dates back thousands of years. According to, ancient Babylonians are credited with being the first people to make New Year’s resolutions. During Akitu, a 12-day religious festival, the Babylonians would make promises to their gods, and these promises typically focused on being a better person in the coming year. Celebrants of the festival, which was held when crops were planted, a time that marked the beginning of a new year to individuals in certain ancient societies, would promise the gods they would repay their debts and return any items they had borrowed in the previous year. While these promises might have been the forerunners to modern New Year’s resolutions, there is one distinct difference that separates ancient Babylonians from people in modern times. Babylonians believed keeping their word to the gods would curry favor for them in the coming year, while failure to keep their promises would do the opposite. People who make resolutions today typically do so to better themselves and do not fear reprisal if they fail to live up to their pledges. That’s likely a good thing, as various reports suggest that as many as 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by the second week of February. ♦ WINTER 2020


Simple ways to make more time for family


or the majority of working professionals, finding quality time to spend with loved ones can be a delicate balancing act. But working parents do not have to wait until retirement to enjoy being in the company of their families. With some fine tuning, anyone can find ways to spend more time with their children, spouse, extended families and friends.

♦ Eat dinner together every night. Eating dinner as a family enables everyone to be a part of one another’s day and discuss important issues facing the family. According to The Family Dinner Project, eating as a family can boost kids’ academic performance, lower their risk of substance abuse and provide an opportunity for parents to gauge the emotional and physical well-being of their children. Avoid activities that cut into dinner time and rearrange work schedules to accommodate nightly meals with the family. ♦ Switch work hours. Many employers understand the benefits of flex L I F E + F A M I LY + C O M M U N I T Y


time. If possible, leave the office at 4 p.m. to make it home for family time, and then log back on remotely at 7 p.m. to finish the day’s work. Working from home also reduces commute time, which can free up more time to spend with loved ones. ♦ Put it on the calendar. Many families have to abide by a calendar to stay organized. Family time may fall by the wayside unless it is scheduled. Treat it as any important event so it becomes a priority. ♦ Work together. Family time need not be limited to recreation or leisure. Get the entire family involved

in a chore or project so you can work together toward a common goal. Landscaping, painting a room in the house or even grocery shopping are some examples of chores that can be turned into family time. ♦ Enjoy family media. Instead of retiring to separate corners of the house with tablets or mobile phones in tow, find a TV series everyone can enjoy together. Spend some bingeworthy hours seeing how stories unfold, taking time to discuss each episode when it ends. Family time is something that takes work, but making it a priority can offer real benefits.♦

3 strategies to help you achieve your goals in the year ahead


hen the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, many people are living it up and toasting the dawn of a new year. Come the afternoon of Jan. 1, those same people might have shifted their focus to the year ahead.

January is a great time to set professional and personal goals. Setting goals can have a greater impact than people may know. Studies examining the importance of setting goals are few and far between, and some have even been revealed as fallacies after being accepted as authentic for years. But a 1979 study that asked newly minted Harvard MBA graduates about setting goals found that 13 percent had set goals. When interviewers followed up with survey participants a decade later, they found that the 13 percent who had set goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent of participants who had set no specific goals at all. While there’s no universal formula for success, successful people often cite the importance of setting goals and how doing so was integral to their success. The following are some strat-

egies that may help people achieve their goals in the years ahead.

1. Make it a group effort.

A 2013 study from a University of Connecticut researcher found that there is a high level of correlation between users’ exercise activities and their participation in these digital health communities. Such communities served as motivating factors for people aiming to live healthier lives. Relying on others for support, insight and motivation can be a great way to achieve your goals, no matter what those goals are.

2. Set goals big and small.

No goal is too small, and no big goal should be considered beyond reach. In fact, achieving small goals can provide motivation and inspiration along the way to realizing your larger goals. Devise a one-month plan, a six-month

plan and a 12-month plan for the year ahead. The one-year plan can serve as your big goal, while the one- and six-month plans can serve as small motivators and great ways to track your progress en route to achieving your larger goal.

3. Write down why you’re setting goals.

People set goals for various reasons, and writing down the reasons they’re pursuing their goals can serve as inspiration when challenges arise. For example, if you aspire to change careers to spend more time with your family, writing that down can provide motivation to keep looking for opportunities when a job search stalls or feels fruitless. A new year is a great time to set goals. A handful of strategies can help people set their goals and keep them on track toward achieving them. ♦ WINTER 2020


OF EVENTS Breakfast with Santa Dec. 14 The annual pancake breakfast sponsored by the Decatur Fire Department includes a visit from Santa. Decatur Fire Hall / Decatur Fire Department on Facebook

DECEMBER Santa on the Streets Dec. 1519 The Decatur Fire Department provides the escort for Santa as he visits all the neighborhoods in town during the week. Decatur / Decatur Fire Department on Facebook

Gift of Lights at Texas Motor Speedway Nov. 28Jan. 5 The drive-through light display at TMS near Justin is open 6 to 9 p.m. nightly. Cost is $30 per car or truck with no trailer and $50 for RVs and trucks with trailers. Texas Motor Speedway / / 800-276-6344

Saturday on the Square Dec. 21 The monthly Saturday on the Square event will include vendors, music and horsedrawn carriage rides from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Downtown Decatur / 940389-3900

JANUARY Mother/Son Dance Jan. 11 The Bridgeport Parks and Recreation Department hosts this annual event that features dancing, prizes, photos and more. Bridgeport Community Center

Bridal Show Jan. 19

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The Bridgeport Parks and Recreation Department hosts a bridal and quinceanera show 1 to 4 p.m. Bridgeport Community Center

FEBRUARY Decatur Daddy Daughter Dance Feb. 1 Dads and daughters enjoy a night of dancing, food, photos and making memories. This year’s theme is “Frozen, A Winter Wonderland.” Decatur Conference Center /

Southern Rock Bouncing Feb. 21-22

High horsepower buggies tackle rocks and hills in this off-road competition. Northwest OHV Park in Bridgeport /

Decatur Swap Meet Feb. 21-23 Antique car enthusiasts from across the United States flock to the annual Decatur Swap Meet. The event typically features more than 3,000 vendor spaces, and at least 80 percent of vendors’ items must be automobile related. The event is sponsored by the Wise County Antique Auto Club. Wise County Fairgrounds in Decatur / 940-389-0054 /

Mardi Gras Nocona Style Feb. 20-22 The 10th annual event features a kids parade, dog parade, ATV parade and lots of food. The Big Parade is Feb. 22. Downtown Nocona / 940-825-3526

Wise County Youth Fair Feb. 24-29

The annual youth stock show draws participants from all across Wise County for a weeklong event that culminates with the Sale of Champions auction. Wise County Fairgrounds in Decatur /

Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce Banquet Feb. 22

The banquet features live and silent auctions and annual awards. Decatur Conference Center /

Bridgeport DaddyDaughter Dance Feb. 29 The Bridgeport Parks and Recreation Department puts on this much-loved event around Valentine’s Day each year. Bridgeport Community Center

MARCH Wise County Health Fair March 21

Sponsored by United Way of Wise County, the fair promotes a healthier Wise County through community awareness and education. Decatur Conference Center /

Grasslands Trail Run March 21

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The 22nd annual event features running trails that loop among rolling hills and through a mixture of pine and oak grove forests, open fields and livestock. It includes 50-mile, marathon or half marathon races. LBJ National Grasslands /

The XFINITY Series returns to Texas. Texas Motor Speedway near Justin / / 817-215-8500

Movie at the Arcadia March 17 and 19 Bridgeport Parks and Recreation will hold a screening of a kid-friendly movie. Arcadia Theater in Downtown Bridgeport

March 28

O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 March 29 The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series features the best drivers in the world all looking to lock themselves in to the playoffs. Texas Motor Speedway near Justin / / 817-215-8500 WINTER 2020


Explore your culinary curiosity with Creole jambalaya You don’t need to live in Louisiana to enjoy jambalaya. But perhaps nowhere is jambalaya more serious business than it is in the Pelican State. Cajun jambalaya might be the dish most familiar to the masses, but Creole jambalaya is just as tasty. Creole chefs in New Orleans serve this type of jambalaya, which is different from the Cajun dish due to the inclusion of tomatoes. Tomatoes might have been hard to come by in the Louisiana bayous, which might be why they were not included in traditional Cajun jambalaya recipes. Mardi Gras and its focus on food and drink is a perfect time to explore one’s culinary horizons, and those curious about Creole jambalaya can do just that by whipping up this recipe from Neal Corman and Chris Peterson’s “Virgil’s Barbecue Road Trip Cookbook” (St. Martin’s Press).

Jambalaya Seasoning Mix 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes 1¼ teaspoons cracked black pepper 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1¼ teaspoons sweet paprika ½ teaspoon dried basil 1½ teaspoons dried thyme ¾ teaspoon ground white pepper 1½ teaspoons onion powder 1½ teaspoons garlic powder

Serves 4 to 6

Jambalaya 2 pounds boneless, skin-on chicken thighs 12 shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail on 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided ¼ cup olive oil, divided 5 ounces andouille sausage, finely diced 4 ounces Tasso ham, finely diced 2 cups finely diced yellow onions 1 cup finely diced celery 1½ cups finely diced green bell pepper 1 tablespoon chopped garlic 3 dried bay leaves 1¾ cups converted rice 2 cups finely diced fresh plum tomatoes 1 cup clam juice 2 cups chicken stock Salt and pepper, to taste

about 11⁄2 teaspoons of the mix. 3. In a low and wide 6-quart (or larger) stockpot, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sauté the shrimp for about 1 minute per side. Remove the shrimp and set aside. 4. Repeat the process with the chicken, using the remaining oil. Remove the chicken and set aside. 5. In the same pot, brown the sausage and ham. Add the remaining butter, onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic and bay leaves, and cook for 4 minutes. 6. Add the rice, stirring to coat it with the mixture. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes more.

1. In a small bowl, blend the seasoning mix together and set aside.

7. Add the clam juice, chicken stock and chicken thighs. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, and then check the rice for tenderness and ensure the chicken is cooked through.

2. Cut each chicken thigh in half, and evenly dust the thighs with 11⁄2 tablespoons of the seasoning mix. Dust the shrimp with

8. Fold in the shrimp and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, taste, add salt and pepper, as desired and serve. ♦

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Did you know? “Auld Lang Syne” is a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788. Burns claimed when he sent the poem to the Scots Musical Museum that “Auld Lang Syne” was an ancient song, but he had been the first to record the words and music on paper. According to, the phrase “auld lang syne” translates roughly to “for old times’ sake.” Others have translated it to mean “time goes by” or even as “once upon a time.” The song is about preserving old friendships and reminiscing about events that occurred during the year. Many people sing it to evoke fellowship and nostalgia, though most cannot get past the first verse. Its lyrics are a challenge to the unfamiliar — even among those who grew up in the United Kingdom. According to a 2018 poll by the British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, 3 percent of people who live in England know the words to “Auld Lang Syne.” Among Scots, 7 percent know all the lyrics. Even still, people may be content to hum along when “Auld Lang Syne” is traditionally sung on New Year’s Eve.

Lyrics Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And auld lang syne. Chorus: For auld lang syne, my jo, For auld lang syne, We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, For auld lang syne,

Should old acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot, And long, long ago. Chorus And for long, long ago, my dear For long, long ago, We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, For long, long ago

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp! And surely I’ll be mine! And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, For auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint-jug! And surely I’ll buy mine! And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, For long, long ago.



We twa hae run about the braes And pu’d the gowans fine; But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot Sin auld lang syne.

We two have run about the hills And pulled the daisies fine; But we’ve wandered manys the weary foot Since long, long ago.



We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn, Frae mornin’ sun till dine; But seas between us braid hae roar’d Sin auld lang syne.

We two have paddled in the stream, From morning sun till dine; But seas between us broad have roared Since long, long ago.

Randy W. Parker Owner/Broker R

2200 S. FM 51, Suite 300 . Decatur 206 W. Main St . Decatur

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Chorus And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere! And gie’s a hand o’ thine! And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught, For auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty friend! And give us a hand of yours! And we’ll take a deep draught of good-will For long, long ago.





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