Panola Crossroads – March-April 2015

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{CONTENTS} Panola Crossroads is a bi-monthly magazine written to pique readers’ interests with local stories and upcoming events in the vibrant community of Panola County.







OWNER/PUBLISHER Complete Printing & Publishing EDITOR Teresa Dennard DESIGNERS Mallory Bean Mark Nelson MAILING ADDRESS 1501 West Panola St. P.O. Box 417 Carthage, TX 75633 CONTACT US @ 903.693.9306 TO SUBMIT EDITORIALS OR COMMENTS Email us at FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION Call or come by our offices at 1501 W. Panola St. For the latest news and events, scan the QR Code on the back of this issue with your smart phone to visit our website,

John Ray Is Busy as a Bee


Keith Keeling Just Likes to Build Things


Steptoe Classic Golf Tournament


The Carthage Book Club


Heart Strings Making People Smile


Ainsley Ross Chasing a Dream


Lottie Sullivan Shows No Signs of Slowing Down


Billy Shoffner - Miracle After Miracle


Loblolly Reunion


Clean Up Carthage


The Perfect Tea Party


People and Places


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March | April 2015 PANOLA CROSSROADS

















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Valid only at Denny’s Carthage, TX location. One coupon per check per visit. Not valid with any other coupons or promotional offers. Coupon has no cash value. No change returned.Taxes and gratuity not included. Beverages not included. Valid at participating retaurants only. Selection and prices may vary. Only original coupon accepted. Photocopied and internet printed or purchased coupons are not valid. No substitutions. ©2012 DFO, LLC. Printed in the U.S.A.



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PANOLA CROSSROADS March | April 2015





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John Ray is...

Busy as a Bee John Ray Editorial


oneybees are interesting little critters. Brought to North America by early settlers, they have remained unchanged for 20 million years. Bees are the only insects that produce food for humans. The honey made by the bees includes all the ingredients necessary to sustain life, including water. Additionally, about every third bite of food we eat was pollinated by a bee. We owe a lot to the honeybees—they are some of the hardest working creatures on the planet. John Ray, who lives in the Del Ray community, is a beekeeping enthusiast. He and wife, Jane, became interested in the honeybees about 15 years ago when a migratory beekeeper came through the area looking for property to leave bees during the winter months. After seeing the operation, Ray’s interest grew and before long he had a few hives of his own. Living in Lake Jackson at the time, an administrator at Brazosport College, Ray had some good luck and some bad luck working with the bees from long distance. “When I retired and moved back here,” says Ray, “I thought I’d get a little more serious about it and get a few more hives. I still have good luck and bad luck.” According to Ray, interest in beekeeping is growing. “Years ago it seemed most farms had chickens, cattle and a bee hive, but as we’ve become more urban, there’s been an emerging interest in keeping bees. It’s something that requires as much work as you want to give it. You try to set things up for them and let them go. I wear gloves and a veil when working with them, but not all folks do that. I see no reason to invite a sting. Hives are individuals who have their own personalities and do their own thing. Some are more docile; some are more aggressive and will meet you on the way to the hive. Invariably you’re going to get 6

PANOLA CROSSROADS March | April 2015

stung occasionally, but the real danger is if you start moving around and slapping. They tend to get upset. In the summer when bees start to really get busy and put up more honey, if you crowd them too much, they swarm. When you start pulling honey, they get very protective. You “smoke” the bees and that calms them down. You’ll be surprised when you look at what work goes into making just a teaspoon of honey.” It takes about 500 bees to travel over 55,000 miles and visit approximately two million flowers to make one pound of honey. Not all of these bees are the same--three types exist —the queen bee, the worker bee and the drone bee. Each hive has only one queen bee who has two primary purposes: to produce a unique scent that helps regulate the unity of the colony and to lay eggs,

up to 2,000 per day. The other bees tend to her every need. The worker bees are all female. Their job is to bring pollen and nectar back from the field to feed the others, to guard the hive and to heat and cool the hive. Their life span is only six weeks during the active season. They usually die from wearing their wings out. Also, the worker bee has a barbed stinger that results in her death after stinging. The drones are the male bees whose only purpose is to mate with a queen. They’re expelled from the hive in the autumn because they have no use in the winter months.

the honey this year because I’m just going to have more than I can give away to friends and family.” Ray has no interest in buying an 18-wheeler and hauling boxes of bees all over the United States. Even though the migratory beekeepers make more money carrying bees for pollination for almonds in California, he enjoys working with the hives he has developed over the years and learning the tricks of the trade from other beekeepers. Many folks say bee stings are good for arthritis, and some say honey collected in this particular area helps with allergies. Jane enjoys cooking with the raw honey. A recipe she enjoys is the Mini Honey Fruitcakes listed on the next page. If you visit their home in the early morning sun, the bees are like little missiles, doing their own thing. They’re busy as bees!”

“The thing that interests me about them is the connection to the garden. They’re just fascinating critters. You don’t have to go out and give them any instruction. You don’t have to say, ‘get busy working today.’ They just come pre-programmed to do what they do. This is a hobby, but I will probably sell some of

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Culinary Crossroads

Mini Honey Fruitcakes

1 3/4 2 1 1½ ½ ⅟₃

⅟₄ 2 1 1 1 /4


cups all-purpose flour tsp baking powder tsp Coarse Salt sticks unsalted butter cup Sugar cup honey cup apricot jam large eggs cup ricotta cheese or 3/4 cup whole milk cup pecans or almonds, toasted and ground cup coarsley chopped dried apricots (5 ounces) cup chopped dried cranberries (5 ounces)

honey glaze (Makes 1/2 cup): ½ cup honey 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice 1 Pinch of salt Garnish: dried apricots, cranberries, or cherries

• Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. • Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in honey and jam, and then eggs. Add flour mixture, and beat, alternating with ricotta. Beat in nuts and dried fruit. • Press a square of parchment into each cup of a standard muffin tin to create a liner (you can also use baking cups). Divide batter evenly among liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer tin to a wire rack. Let stand for 10 minutes. • Meanwhile, make the honey glaze: Bring honey to a boil in a saucepan, and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and salt. • Brush fruitcakes with glaze, and garnish with dried fruit. Brush again with glaze. Remove from pans. Let cool. We are highlighting some of the great area cooks with their recipes in the upcoming issues. If you would like to submit a recipe, then send your entry to or drop it by Complete Printing, 1501 W. Panola Street. 8

PANOLA CROSSROADS March | April 2015

Build Things I just like to

Keith Keeling

“It doesn’t matter if it’s frame carpentry, finish carpentry, building cabinets, trim work--whatever. I just like to build things”


ost boys like to tinker and build things when they’re young, but Keith Keeling made it his lifelong passion. As a kid, he was constantly in the neighborhoods where houses were being built and hung out with the carpenters all day long. Down the street from where Keith grew up, Jodie Soape and his brother, Glenn, had a cabinet shop. If the shop was open, Keith was there. “When I got home from school, I’d go over and they’d teach me how to do all kinds of projects. I guess that really helped fuel my desire to build things. I also like to re-build things, take things apart, restore them. I like anything to do with carpentry. It doesn’t matter if it’s frame carpentry, finish carpentry, building cabinets, trim work--whatever. I just like to build things.”

In high school, Keeling continued to hone his carpentry skills by taking Mr. George Smith’s woodworking class. One of his projects was a nightstand that sits next to his bedside in his home today. When choosing a major for college, Keeling decided to go with his other passion--life science. “I loved putting together models of the human body, drawing the different organs. It was always something that fascinated me.” He went to Texas A&M and became a member of the Corps. After his third year, he was accepted to Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. He completed his internship and residency at John Peter Smith Hospital in Ft. Worth and moved back to Carthage to practice medicine with Drs. W.C. Smith and V.M. Holland. He married Lynda Soape from Longview, whose grandparents were the

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same Jodie and Grace Soape who lived across the street from Keith and taught him many of his woodworking skills. “My grandfather Keeling died when I was six years old, so Mr. Jodie would take me squirrel hunting and fishing. They were like my grandparents. They were special folks.” Sometime in the 1980s, Keeling decided to build a boot case for his older brother, Don, who also was an A&M graduate. Receiving a pair of cavalry-type boots is a long-standing tradition at A&M for Senior Cadets. The boots cost $1200-$1400 and are handmade of leather specifically measured to fit each Cadet. “The boots cost so much you want to wear them all the time, but what do you do with them after you graduate? You worked so hard to get them and they’re such a big deal, but most of the time they get put in a closet. That’s when I came up with an idea to display them.” Keeling made an octagon shaped case for his brother’s Christmas present. A few years later, he was asked to build a case as a wedding present for a nephew who was also an A&M Corps Cadet. “At the wedding reception, all his Corps buddies were there and said I should start a business building these cases. I didn’t really have time for that, but after more thought, I decided there was a market for it. I developed the case a little more, built some prototypes, built some jigs where I could turn them out a little bit easier and started building a square case and a hexagon case. I decided to build them out of native Texas hardwoods— oak, walnut or mesquite, and the finishes are all hand-rubbed. Nothing is painted or sprayed. I also added an etching of the Corps Stack on the glass.”


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Keith Keeling Story

Keeling advertised in the Texas Aggie magazine and orders began rolling in. He has shipped cases all over the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. Governor Rick Perry has a boot case and Dr. Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, has one in his office at the Pentagon. “I started building them in 1999 and I have no idea how many I’ve made over the years. I probably do 1520 a year. One of the cases I built went to a classmate of mine who is a 4-star general. He had just retired and his wife asked me to build the case. I’m constantly figuring out how to make it better, and I’m enough of a perfectionist that I want the joints on the top where you can’t even see them. That just takes a lot of experience. There have

been other people who have built these cases, but they’re not the same quality.” His business is called Hullabaloo Caseworks, named after the Aggie Fight Song. To add to his repertoire, he also makes cases for the Corps ceremonial saber as well as a triangular case for burial flags. Keeling has more time to devote to his woodworking craft now that he has retired from practicing medicine. After 33 years, he doesn’t regret the decision he made. “I really miss my patients and practicing medicine, I just didn’t like all the changes taking place.” For the past year he has been restoring an old house in Nevada, Texas. It’s a two story, five bedroom home that Keeling has done almost single handedly. “He’s tried his best not to do it to perfection, but he can’t do it any other way,” says Lynda. Many more examples of his expert craftsmanship can be seen throughout their home which includes custom-made cabinetry. His granddaughters gave him a new sketchpad to encourage him to get back to the pen and ink drawing he used to do. Along with his woodworking skills, he has also restored a Model A Ford and a 1950 M38 military jeep. “I sold the Model A, but I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of the old jeep. I’ve had it since high school.” According to Lynda, “He’s just so good at what he does and I’m so proud of him. I love his hobby.”

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March | April 2015 PANOLA CROSSROADS



ne thing always a constant at Easter is the annual Keith Steptoe Classic golf tournament. For 22 years, golfers have been gathering at the Carthage Country Club to not only try to place in the top three of the two flights, but to also support a cause that has been a labor of love for the Steptoe family. Coordinated by cousin Mark Roberson for years, the tournament changed hands last year. The Carthage Education Foundation is now directing the tournament. Foundation Director Cynthia Harkrider says, “Last year was a learning experience for us because we were new at this, but we’re better prepared now and expect a great tournament. I’ve got a great crew helping me that has many years of experience—Scott Lee, Tate Barber, Stacie Steptoe Smith and Pat Dorman.”

The Steptoe and Marshall families are still very involved and funds raised are going to 14

PANOLA CROSSROADS March | April 2015

the same organizations: the Keith Steptoe Memorial Scholarship, the Leukemia Society and the Education Foundation. The date for the event is Saturday, April 4, and as always is held at the Carthage Country Club. The tournament is a 3-man scramble with an entry fee of $80/golfer. Teams are divided into two flights, with the first teeing off at 7:30am, and the second at 1:30pm. The first three finishers in each flight receive prize money. Raffle tickets are being sold for a 40” TV, Yeti coolers and other great prizes. Leann Marshall is in charge of raffle tickets. One change this year will be the colors. The green and gold is being switched to red, white and black. Sponsorship levels include: $500 for a flag sponsor, $300 for T-shirt sponsor and $100 for hole sponsors. “We’ve been very fortunate that sponsors have returned every year to help with the

tournament,” says Harkrider. If interested in being added as a sponsor, contact Harkrider at the CISD administration building, 903.693.3806. Lunch is provided between the two flights for teams, and others may enjoy the lunch for $10/plate. Rob Anthony and Bud Worley cook the chickens donated by Tyson Foods and the sausage donated by Bill’s Meat Market. Desserts are provided by the Foundation members. How would Easter weekend be complete without an Easter egg hunt? Parrish Underwood is organizing the egg hunt which is open to all children beginning at 11:30am. The Steptoe tournament is a 501(c)(3) organization making all donations tax deductible. Entry forms may be obtained from the CISD Administration building or from Tate Barber Insurance at 1502 West Panola.

March | April 2015 PANOLA CROSSROADS


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PANOLA CROSSROADS March | April 2015

The Car thage


he Carthage Book Club is a civic organization made up of 26 women who dedicate themselves to giving back to the community. Jo Nell Phillips, this year’s Book Club President, chose “Literary Treasures from the Blue

Bonnet State” as the theme for the year’s events. Each of the Club’s meetings is centered on books that were written and published by Texas authors. “We’ve had some really interesting programs on the “True Blood” series by Charlaine Harris and also Patricia Highsmith’s, “Stranger on a Train”. Another Texas author is to be featured at the Club’s annual Spring Event. A review of the book, “Life Between the Letters, the Chuck and Mary Felder Story,” is the focus for the April gathering which is open to the public and free of charge. Written by Lana Lynne Higginbotham from White Oak, Texas, and co-authored by Mary Felder, from Slidell, Louisiana, the book focuses on love letters written during the World War II era. A synopsis: “The world was at war when a junior-grade naval lieutenant fi rst laid eyes on the love of his life. In December 1944, after his return from naval service in Europe, Lieutenant Charles E. Felder met Mary Kosko in New York City. Although Mary was engaged to another and “Chuck” was preparing to deploy to the Pacific, the certainty of


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their destined connection made them willing to face any challenges that would come. The unbreakable commitment of 19-year-old Mary and the surprising maturity of 24-year-old Chuck are a testament to the ‘Greatest Generation,’ and hold lessons for this generation.

With the entire country making sacrifices for the war effort, they found strength, resilience, and Life Between the Lines. Author Lana Lynne Higginbotham is a speech-language pathologist who holds three college degrees, including a Masters. She has written books of historical fiction under her pen name, Lana Lynne. Co-author, Mary K. Felder, was married to Chuck Felder for over 56 years, until his death in 2001. She carefully saved the hundreds of letters they exchanged during WWII. It was Susie Heller, Mary’s daughter, who insisted that her mother’s letters be preserved. The two women travelled to New Orleans to the National WWII Museum this past August for a book signing. They will review their book for the Spring Event on April 9 at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. The program begins at 9:30am with music provided by Bill and Betty Bailey. Bill will play the saxophone and Betty will accompany him on the piano with 40s-type music selections. The book review will begin at 10:00am. The Carthage Book Club has a long-standing reputation for fundraising to provide areas of beautification and enhancement within the City. The largest moneymaking project is the Home Tour held each December. With funds raised during this popular event, the Club has most recently been able to add artwork to the Civic Center, refurbish the Anderson Park gazebo on the square, donate a piano for the Hall of Fame, and make contributions to the Panola College and Carthage Education Foundations, just to name a few. The initial project completed by the organization was the addition of the fi rst concrete sidewalk in Panola County in 1914. Committee members for this year’s Spring Event are Pam Goodson, Walta Cooke, and Toni Biggs.

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Heart Strings making people smile


hese people have a passion for making people smile. They do it with their music. Known as “Heart Strings,” the group travels to local nursing homes playing tunes that range from folk to gospel music to the delight of the residents. Their instrument of choice

is the dulcimer. A stringed instrument whose name comes from words that mean “sweet sound,” it looks similar to a guitar, but is played on the lap. Terry Morris is the person responsible for organizing the group. As a member of Hopewell Baptist Church, Morris wanted to become

more involved with the church, so the pastor suggested he start a nursing home ministry. Morris got in touch with Mary Linhart, director of Carthage Healthcare and the partnership began. “I thought I’d go there and visit an hour each week, then it turned into a day a week, and then an hour a day.” He was soon holding church services on Sunday afternoons. While visiting the nursing home one day, Morris was playing a bowed psaltry (an instrument closely related to the dulcimer). “A little lady asked if I was playing a dulcimer, and said I should get with this group in Rusk County. That’s where I met Brenda Clifton.” Brenda worked at a nursing home in Kilgore and had seen the Rusk County group perform for its residents. “I had never heard a dulcimer before and was fascinated by it. They asked me to join their group, but I said I don’t read music. The guitar player asked me if I could keep a beat and read numbers. If you can do those two things, Continued on page 22


PANOLA CROSSROADS March | April 2015

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Continued from page 20

you can play a dulcimer. And he was right!” In August of 2014, Morris formed a local group with Steve Sowell, Lillie Fae Nail and his mother, Barbara, and they began performing at nursing homes and local events like the Gary Festival of Lights. Each member came with a unique reason for choosing the dulcimer. Sowell had wanted a dulcimer for about 25 years. “When I walked into a shop and heard somebody playing one, I just loved it.” Terry bought his first dulcimer in Branson, Missouri. He and Steve also own hammer dulcimers made by Russell Cook from Oklahoma who was the national champion for several years. Mrs. Lillie Fae has been playing the autoharp for 18 years. “I got my first autoharp on my 66th birthday, so don’t tell me old people can’t learn! A few years back I also played the ukulele with the Silver Strummers, a group led by Brenda Milstead.” Oftentimes, Mrs. Lillie Fae’s husband, D.B., goes with the group and plays the spoons. Barbara, whose husband is a retired preacher, joined the group because of the ministry they provide to the residents at the nursing homes. “The main thing is seeing the way they respond when we play. It’s healing for them and it’s such a blessing for each of us.” The latest addition to the group is Jane Cammack from Beckville. “I wanted to do something outside the home and decided to learn how to play. My husband surprised me with a dulcimer for our 49th anniversary, but I didn’t have anyone to teach me. Through Ms. Lillie Fae and a friend in Beckville, I was able to get in touch with Terry.”

The mountain dulcimer is an easy instrument to play. Rather than having to learn chords on a guitar, the frets are numbered and no knowledge of music is required. The group meets every Monday at Hopewell Baptist at 3:30 to practice and prepare a set of music for their next event. “We don’t do anything on a set time frame. We learn a set of music then go to a nursing home and play it,” states Terry. We don’t really want to get too busy. Everybody has other things to do, and we want to keep it enjoyable.” Terry’s wife, Mandy, travels with the group also. She sings, narrates, announces or just whatever is needed. She’s amazed at how people respond to the group. “All you have to do is be there when they start playing and you’ll see the

reaction they get from the residents. It’s such an uplifting experience to have them join in with us and see their faces light up. When we went to Winkler Place, Mrs. Soape started singing and then everybody else joined in. It gave us all goose bumps. Lillie Fae played “There is a River” and they all joined in with us. We try to adapt to them and play songs they know. We’re going to have to find the music to “Turkey in the Straw” because one of the ladies at Marion Place asked if we could play that song. We’ve all become family and we consider the nursing home our family also. Each member of the group has the same heart. That’s where we came up with the name Heart Strings, because music does pull on the strings of the heart.” The group played for a friend in the nursing home who died a week later. That friend received a blessing, but the group got an even bigger blessing. The scripture “It’s more blessed to give than receive” is never understood more. “When you give of who you really are in your heart, you receive more than you could ever give, and that scripture takes on a whole new meaning. We all feel that way and that’s what makes everybody mesh so well together. Our faith is belonging to this group. The goal is to use this as a ministry, not for our own recognition.” To find out more about the group and learning to play a dulcimer, contact Terry Morris at 936.536.3376.


PANOLA CROSSROADS March | April 2015

The Hawthorn Gardens


The Hawthorn Gardens surround the colonnade and building. They feature sculptures and a beautiful fish pond shaded by philodendrons. In the winter we see the yellow pansies, green rye grass and the camellia bush Mrs. Alice planted so many years earlier which I finally got Mark to quit cutting as a hedge! Now the camellia is about 4’ tall and shows beautiful pink blooms in the winter. Then the seasons change and the formal copper plants give color as they stand at attention in a perfect row of ten. The soft lantana surrounds the building as potato vines encroach on every garden bench, column and the wrought iron furnishings. Hydrangea plants bloom in conjunction with the seasons and hanging baskets of wandering Jew fill between every column along the colonnade. Yes each year the pansies are yellow and the copper plants are planted, it’s called Tradition, something we like around here and you can count on at a time you need it most.

Mr. Carlton H. Shamburger.



insley Ross is a fascinating young lady who is smart, beautiful, and vivacious. She knows where she’s headed in life, and she’s only 14. Most girls her age spend their waking hours on a smartphone either texting or tweeting or posting on Instagram or Facebook. She doesn’t have time for that. She’s busy honing her talents—singing, acting, and writing. “I kept getting a calling from Jesus that I should be in the entertainment industry. I initially began with acting, but it’s funny how God works. He just weaves that in. I found out I had writing skills and it’s just grown, and out of that my singing career took off.” Raised in Beckville with a strong, supportive family, Ainsley is home schooled in order to accommodate her busy schedule. Although her mother and


father are no longer married, it’s not the usual divorce situation. The two families are very close. “I wish more families could have a relationship like ours,” says Mom Aubrey Cohorst. “It only affects the kids when they can’t. There’s nothing but love with us.” It is this firm foundation with family that has helped steer Ainsley in the right direction. “My family has always been in church,” states Ainsley, “I grew up going to church camp and youth groups which built a strong base for me.” Her home church is Mt. Zion in Harris Chapel. She learned the value of helping others by watching church members, like her grandmother Elizabeth Ross, helping others and not expecting anything in return. Ainsley collaborated on a song with “MawMaw” called The Simple Life. “I asked her what she would want a song to be about,” recalls Ainsley, “and she said

PANOLA CROSSROADS March | April 2015

how life was simple—when families used to come together, no matter the hardships, and work together with God’s grace.” A verse from the song: “Times were hard and things were bad, everyone shared the load; prayed for the harvest that didn’t come, we stood firm on God’s holy word.” An average day for Ainsley is not like one of a typical 14 year old. The day begins with schoolwork, but then changes gears quickly. She may have a couple of interviews, a performance, a speech to inspire little kids, auditions, memorizing scripts, and then some songwriting thrown in there as well. She classifies herself as a Christian pop artist and writes songs about anything that inspires her. Her first CD, Just Be You, was produced by Tate Music Group of Mustang, Oklahoma. She is currently signed with the Campbell

Master’s Blend where she met Branton Reeves who is now teaching her to play the guitar. She also met James McRight, youth pastor at First Baptist Church who is teaching her all about horses and tack, and how to get a little bit of grit! Mom Aubrey stated, “It just shows you how God works and fits all the puzzle pieces together. It’s like we’ve known these people all our lives. They feel like family. This is a hard profession to be in and it’s not all glamour like people think. You have to work hard. We told Ainsley she doesn’t have to do this, but she insists, ‘Mama, this is what I’m supposed to do…I’m called to do, and I’m going to work hard. When you really love something, it isn’t work.’”

Agency in Dallas, and Discover Management in Studio City, California with Debralynn Findon as her manager. Her latest venture is landing the role of a Christian singer/songwriter in the movie The Reins Maker. The movie, written by Michael Arnold and filmed by Firecatcher Productions, is a heartwarming story about courage, faith and redemption of a young girl who grows up chasing a dream to become the world’s top female jockey. “It’s going to be an amazing movie. I can’t wait for everyone to see it. I have a love for horses as well, so I’m going to encourage the main character, Penny, to follow her dreams.”

and nails done, massages, door prizes, and refreshments, all by volunteers that came together to make it a special event. According to Ainsley, “That was one of the most blessed experiences I’ve ever had. Amy is a force to be reckoned with. Anything she does is first class.” Ainsley also had the opportunity to perform at

Ainsley is spending most of her days now in California preparing for her new movie role and continuing to write songs. According to her Uncle Bubba, “God’s got her!” Her goal is to show people that “being good is amazing.” She wants to be a light in a dark tunnel and be the kind of person young girls can look up to. She’s a yes m’am, no m’am kind of girl and she’s all genuine. She’s had every opportunity to change, but she won’t. Ainsley encourages kids by telling them, “If you try to be like somebody else, you are basically telling God He didn’t know what He was doing because you’re trying to be someone other than who He made you to be. The only requirement of having a dream is believing in it.” To follow Ainsley, visit Ainsley E Ross on Facebook or listen to her music at Also visit The Reins Maker page on Facebook.

While visiting family and friends in Beckville recently, Ainsley met Amy English and James Bogs and the three bonded immediately. Bogs, band director at Beckville, began teaching Ainsley to play the piano to add to her repertoire of skills, while Amy planned a “Just Be You” event for girls in 4th through 6th grades in which Ainsley sang and spoke words of encouragement to the girls. More than 60 girls were treated to having their hair

March | April 2015 PANOLA CROSSROADS



PANOLA CROSSROADS March | April 2015


ottie Sullivan will turn 106 years old her next birthday, March 8, and she’s showing no signs of slowing down. Born in the small Texas town of Denson Springs in 1909, she was the 13th of 15 children born to Thomas Franklin Lee Hassell and Henrietta Martha Ann Ferguson. It was a close-knit community where families went to church on Sunday and as many as 20 additional people would gather at the Hassell home for a dinner cooked by her mother and older sisters. The family moved to Beulah when Lottie was in the 2nd grade. They were the only family to have a vehicle, a 1912 Overland, which her daddy bought instead of a Ford because all the kids could fit in it. But he wouldn’t drive it, he had someone else do the driving.

With 15 children in the family, tricks were always being played on somebody. Lottie recalls her brother, Mart, teaching her to sing this verse: “At the Cross, at the Cross where I first saw the light and the burden of my heart rolls away. It was there by faith I received my Sunday pants, and now I have to wear them every day.” The next time they sang the song in church, Lottie was sitting by her mother and sang it really loudly, proud that she knew all the words. “I sang it just the way Mart taught me. Needless to say, Mother was really embarrassed and let Mart know he was never to teach me anything like that again…especially with a church song.” Lottie’s father raised cattle and sold the beef to two of the neighboring sawmill towns. She and her brothers would go Continued on page 31


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Continued from page 28

out and play “rodeo,” riding the steers and getting bucked off, but when it was time for the beef to be skinned out, the meat had big bruises all in it. When Mr. Hassell discovered it was the result of his children’s play, he was really upset. As Lottie got old enough to date, it just so happened all her boyfriends lived in Rusk, and to get to Rusk from Beulah, you had to go around this big mountain. “While I was getting dressed for my date, Will would come in and sing ‘He’ll be coming ‘round the mountain when he comes.’ It sure made me mad!” Then there was brother Roy who always bossed everybody. “When my date and I found a seat in the movies, we’d look around and Roy would always be sitting behind me. When he got older and married, I’m sure that’s why God gave him all boys.” Even after all the shenanigans the Hassell kids played on each other, “It’s a wonderful thought to know that we all turned out to be good people.” Lottie played basketball in high school and was good at it. She still has the pair of Keds that were her game shoes. At the age of 19, Lottie married Adam Sullivan. He started out as a teacher, but soon realized he couldn’t make enough money to support his family and enlisted in the Army. He went in as a Private E-1, worked his way up through the ranks, served in World War II and Korea and retired in 1954 as a Colonel. During that time, he and Lottie had four children—Kathy, Eileen, Billie and John. A favorite pastime for Adam and Lottie was fishing which they did every chance they got. According to Lottie, “I had the best husband. Whatever I cooked, he’d eat it. He was such a nice fella and he always tried to help everybody.” Adam passed away in 1979.

it here. It’s a nice, friendly community. There are some elderly ladies that come to visit occasionally and I enjoy that.” John says even at 105 years of age, Lottie is still very independent. “I say I’m here taking care of her, but she does most of it herself. When she turned 95, I took her to Montana with me and while we were there she learned to ride a 4-wheeler. She rode it by herself with no help from me and she loved it.” John also inherited his parents’ love for fishing and goes to Murvaul frequently. “One of the last times she went fishing with me, she caught an 8lb. 7 oz. bass.” A typical day for Lottie begins with a cup of coffee, an egg or a Pop Tart and a couple of cookies. She loves Pecan Sandies and goes through a bag of them every day or two. Every Monday for lunch, she, John and neighbor Ruth Shull go to the Citgo station in Riderville and have the special—a chicken fried steak dinner. At 5:30 every afternoon, daughter Eileen comes over and they watch Wheel of Fortune together. They never miss. Friday is beauty-shop day. At 9:30am sharp, she goes to Nan Powell and has her hair done. She finishes off each day with a bowl of Kellogg’s Mini Wheat cereal before going to bed. On March 14, Lottie will celebrate her 106th birthday with family and friends at Milano’s Pizza. The festivities begin at 2:00pm. Stop by and wish her well. She’s getting really good at blowing out candles!

When Lottie turned 95, she fell while running up some steps with a bag of groceries in her arms. As a result, she broke several bones and had to have 19 staples in her head. She was living with daughter, Eileen, at the time who was also caring for her husband that had prostate cancer. The youngest of Lottie’s children, John, came to the rescue. He quit his job in Austin and moved in to help with his mother’s care. A few years later, the decision was made to move to Carthage to be close to Eileen’s son and wife, Jim and Brenda Milstead. Lottie says, “We like

March | April 2015 PANOLA CROSSROADS


Miracle after Miracle B

rother Billy Shoffner has an amazing story that is filled with many miracles. His new book Fields of Grace, tells of God’s plan for his life and how he has served Him faithfully for over 60 years. Shoffner was raised as a Christian and knew Jesus as his savior, but once he graduated from high school, he became careless in his relationship with the Lord. He began to wander away from the church and it seemed as though nothing could turn him around. Fields of Grace relays the story of miracle after miracle that occurred in Shoffner’s life that led him back on the right path and into God’s grace.


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In 1954 at the age of 24, Shoffner received his calling. “I had an experience with the Lord, and he mandated ministry to me in my spirit. I had no formal Bible school training and had very little study of the Word, but doors began to open and I took every opportunity possible to preach the Gospel.” He met Betty Williams at a revival in Cut Hand, Texas, and they married in June of 1954. They have three children—Mike, Becky, and Dave--and recently celebrated 60 years of marriage. After pastoring at several churches and revivals, the Shoffners knew they needed to put down roots somewhere.

to accomplish that. While I was standing under a Mango tree, the Lord spoke to me again. He said, ‘You’ll plant corn this year. Next year you’ll plant churches.’” For 15 years, Shoffner had a hand in building at least 30 churches. He made his final trip in July, 2014. On all the trips to Nicaragua, he had never gotten sick, but the last trip he became very ill. “The Lord led me to know it was time. He had covered me for 15 years and that was enough.” An excerpt from the book gives some insight into Shoffner’s writing: “After 60 years of pastoral ministry, my family has been perpetually blessed to witness the unfolding of God’s wonderful grace in our lives and the life of the church. I am now beginning to understand the grace of God working and providing strength and encouragement through a family’s love and support. It suddenly dawned upon me that God had given me one of the greatest and most vital gifts that a

preacher can ever hope for: a family who loves one another, loves and respects God and parents, and who stands with you through any kind of problem that may arise in a church setting. And believe me, church problems come as long as people fill the pews and preachers take their stand behind the pulpit. Problems are inevitable. This is when only a loyal and loving family can reach out to you in a way that God has provided for preachers. You can always count on their loving care. Jesus said, ‘In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’” The Fields of Grace covers a great deal of pastor/people relationship plus many experiences. “There may be treasures waiting on the pages of this book that will give you courage and faith to help make your journey of life much better.” The book is available on Amazon or you can contact Shoffner at BandBShoffner@ or 903.693.2894.

In 1961, he was asked to preach at Northside Assembly in Carthage until they could find a permanent preacher. Forty years later, he was still there. The church became Northside Christian Center and the members had a vision for a Christian education project which turned into the Northside Christian Academy. Many in the community thought it would not work, that public education was the only way to reach children. But 28 years later, the Academy has an administration staff of four and a staff of seven teachers who are well-trained and qualified to handle the 82 students now enrolled. In 1999 Shoffner was praying on a Sunday evening just before the evening service, and heard a small voice speak in his heart, “Nicaragua.” It threw him off because he didn’t even know where Nicaragua was located, but he knew he needed to pursue the voice he heard. That evening he announced to the congregation that he would be going to Nicaragua. “Hurricane Mitch had come through there the year before and had wiped out a big part of the country. We met with the leadership of the villages and while there, the Lord gave me directions. We bought grain to seed their land and obtained enough money from the church

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uesday, April 18, 2015, M.P. Baker library at Panola College will host the Lunchbox Lecture Loblolly Reunion. Those who attend will be able to view the newly digitized editions of the Gary High School Loblolly Magazines, hear the story of how Loblolly began, visit with former Loblolly staff members and sponsor, Mr. Lincoln King, and hear some of the great stories that made Loblolly Magazine so popular. Recently, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) awarded funding to the Library under its TexTreasures Grant program. The project is one of 70 made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. Continued on page 37


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Continued from page 34

Karen Whiteside McAlister, a former Loblolly editor, commented, “I think it’s great that they are digitizing the old Loblolly books/magazines. Mr. King was, without a doubt, the best teacher I ever had. He’s the reason I became a teacher. I had so much fun and learned so much working on the Loblolly staff. Some of my best memories of high school are from my time spent working on it with my friends, and the trips we took together. Once, on a trip to Austin, I sang the entire Hank Williams, Jr. Greatest Hits album. It was BAD, but everyone was laughing. Another thing we enjoyed was going to the Magic Time Machine; but it wasn’t just about the trips, we had fun just being together, listening to music, and working on the book. I can’t wait to see my old classmates and Mr. King at the reunion.”

According to Cristie Ferguson, “This grant is significant not only for those that created and contributed to Loblolly, but for all future generations as well. Loblolly magazine preserved the rich history of the lifestyle and culture of people here in East Texas. Now that the magazine will be available online everyone in the world will be able to access and enjoy our history. Not only will it be available on the library’s website, but it will also be added to the Portal to Texas History at the University of North Texas. Many historical and genealogical groups all over the world link to that Portal for research purposes. Our sister libraries here in town, The Old Jail and Sammy Brown Libraries, will be able to link to our page and give their patrons access to it also.” Ferguson was instrumental in not only getting this grant awarded, but in organizing the “reunion” of former students of Mr. King. She has asked on the Loblolly Facebook page for volunteers to speak at the reunion and share their memories of working with Mr. King and what it meant to the community to have the magazine. She also has asked those planning to attend to let her know so she can make final arrangements for the event. The Loblolly Facebook page is a great source of information and has over 140 members who keep in contact with each other. One such member is Phil Davis of Ft. Worth, Texas. He wrote, “Because of your hard work on getting the grant, I got to listen to my grandad’s interview! Thank you Cristie.” That comment is the very reason these magazines have been preserved, so that future generations can have a connection to their heritage and the history of their community.

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t’s time for a little city-wide spring cleaning…are you up for it? Put on your gloves, lace up your shoes and get your “picker-uppers” ready to scan the streets for unwanted trash that makes our city look tacky! Main Street Manager Cindy Deloney, in charge of the operation, is encouraging civic organizations, churches, youth groups, and businesses to join forces and come out to support the event. “Let’s take pride in the way our city looks and make this our biggest turnout ever!” 38

The 6th Annual Clean-Up Carthage Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 11, and will begin at 9:30am at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. The event is held each year in conjunction with the Don’t Mess With Texas Trash-Off program held throughout Texas. Reflective vests, gloves and trash bags will be furnished for each participant. STS Electronic Recycling will again be on hand to provide a free, safe and efficient means for recycling

PANOLA CROSSROADS March | April 2015

electronic equipment. They also offer 100% free data and hard drive destruction which exceeds Department of Defense and HIPAA standards. At noon, all those that help with the clean-up will be treated to a hot dog lunch and the chance to win lots of great door prizes. Mark the date on your calendar NOW and begin organizing your group. Let’s tackle this problem together and help get the trash off the streets!

March | April 2015 PANOLA CROSSROADS



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March | April 2015 PANOLA CROSSROADS



ittle girls love to dress up--high heels, feathery boas, sparkly jewelry, fancy hats, lots of makeup. All those make a perfect combination for a tea party. Thanks to Main Street Manager Cindy Deloney, girls will get the opportunity to demonstrate their social skills at such an event. The party will be held in conjunction with the Piney Woods Quilt Festival on April 18. Beginning at 10:00am in the Carthage Civic Center conference rooms, the tea party will include lessons on etiquette and party manners and have finger foods, sweets and an assortment of teas and drinks. A contest will be part of the event and prizes will be awarded for most beautiful, most original, most fun, silliest and biggest hats. To add to the fun, a photo booth will be set up and each


child will get to tour the quilt show, plus go home with a goodie bag. Tickets are $5 for the tea party and go on sale March 23 at 9am at the Panola County Chamber of Commerce. An adult must accompany children who attend. Space is limited, so tickets should be purchased early. The Quilt Festival begins on Friday from 10am – 5pm and continues through Saturday from 9am – 4pm. Admission for the Festival is $5. Another new addition to the Quilt Festival is the 16 and under category. Over $1500 in prizes will be awarded in seven categories, including seven $100 first place awards. The donation quilt, named the “Texas Two Step” is currently on display at the Whistling Chicken, located in the

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Brookshires Plaza. Tickets for a chance to win the quilt are $1, or 6 for $5, and may be purchased from club members or at the Whistling Chicken. Each year the festival is fortunate to attract an increasing number of quality and interesting quilt projects for display. The event also features a select group of vendors exhibiting new tools, fabrics, and products. There will also be a “Country Store” with quilted crafts, small quilts and a potpourri of patterns, blocks, books, and other “no longer loved” items donated from the quilters’ collections. For more information about the quilt festival or the local quilt clubs, contact Nancilee Katz, 903.685.2487, Susie Evers, 903.693.4403 or Cindy Deloney, 903.693.0160.

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Lions Club Show 2015


PANOLA CROSSROADS March | April 2015

March | April 2015 PANOLA CROSSROADS


Email your Events to

Calendar of Events Mar.

March 4-6 March 6 March 14

March 17

March 20 March 28 March 31


April 4

April 5 April 9

April 11 April 17-18 April 21


May 8-9 May 10 May 14 May 16 May 15-16


Panola County Jr. Livestock Show, Expo Hall, Contact Lee Dudley, 903.693.0380 Panola County Jr. Livestock Show auction Irish Fest, 6pm, St. Williams Catholic Church, 4088 NW Loop, Carthage; performances by Project String Power, Super Group String Orchestra, Silver Dew Bluegrass Band, Pineywoods Harp Ensemble, Tori Windham & the Kessler Family; baked potato meal following the show; Tickets-$10 Senior Community Bingo Day, sponsored by Whispering Light Organization, Panola County Nursing and Rehabilitation, 501 Cottage Rd., 1:30pm-3:00pm; contact Tami 903.664.5084 or Linda 903.407.7835 Tribute Quartet, KGAS Gospel Concert, 7pm, Carthage Civic Center; tickets-$12 advance, door-$15; contact 903.693.6668 Baskets of Hope, 6pm, First United Methodist Church; contact: 903.692.2223, 903.693.2325; fundraiser for Mission Carthage ETMC Jewelry Sale, 7am-5pm, ETMC lobby; contact Martha Arnold 903.690.0978

Keith Steptoe Classic Golf Tournament; Carthage Country Club; sponsored by CISD Education Foundation; $80 entry; 3-man scramble; contact Cynthia Harkrider, 903.693.8306 Easter Carthage Book Club Spring Event - Book Review Life Between the Lines, the Chuck and Melba Felder Story; Texas Country Music Hall of Fame; 9:30am-music by Bill & Betty Bailey; 10am- free admission Carthage Clean-Up Day; Texas Country Music Hall of Fame; 9:30am; contact-Cindy Deloney, 903.693.0160 Pineywoods Quilt Festival, sponsored by Main Street, Friday, 10am-5pm, Saturday, 9am 4pm; admission $5; Carthage Civic Center Lunchbox Lecture Loblolly Reunion, Noon, M.P. Baker Library, Panola College, contact Cristie Ferguson, Director of Library Services 903.693.2091

Relay for Life, American Cancer Society; Carthage Jr. High Track/Football Field, 7pm7am; Brandi Peace, Event Chair 903.754.2548 Mother’s Day Rodeo BBQ on the Square & Parade; Downtown Carthage, 10am-1pm (BBQ), 6pm (parade); Sandi Pinkston 903.241.2419 Rodeo Jamboree -9am-4pm, Downtown Carthage, Sponsored by Main Street; vendor booths-$20; contact Cindy Deloney 903.736.2273 Panola County Cattleman’s Association PRCA Rodeo; Rodeo arena-Hwy 79N; Grand Entry8pm; contact Sandi Pinkston 903.241.2419

PANOLA CROSSROADS March | April 2015

We’re here for you...

and we’ll be here for him too.

Farmers STATE BANK Member FDIC

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1501 W. Panola St., Carthage, TX 75633


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