Monday, October 22, 2012


Have you ever heard anyone in Crockett say, "There's just nothing to do here?"  Well, hold on there Pardner!  Maybe you just haven't looked hard enough!  Camp Street Cafe is a prime example. 

Last Saturday evening, the Gibson Brothers were in town with their five piece bluegrass band.  And what a show it was!  These guys just received Entertainer of the Year from the International Bluegrass Music Awards.  And they played right here in Crockett, Texas! 

A great big kudos goes out to Guy and Pipp Gillette at Camp Street Cafe for bringing to Crockett some amazingly talented musicians.  I have to admit that I'm not a huge bluegrass music fan but The Gibson Brothers made a believer out of me.  There is something awesome about catching a show at Camp Street.  It's a great venue with wonderful acoustics and there's not a bad seat in the house. 

So take my advice and go see a show at the Camp Street Cafe.   Another reason why I Love Crockett, Texas!  There's plenty to do here, you just have to look! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fresh Tomatoes for Christmas?

I know it's crazy but let me explain. Last September we were at a home improvement store nearby and I noticed they had heirloom tomato plants for sale. I bought a handful, along with the usual winter plants like broccoli, greens and such. I planted them all, not really knowing what to expect, especially with the tomatoes.
Well, it wasn't long before I had blooms and lots of little green, baby tomatoes all over my plants. But, along with the prospect of fresh tomatoes was another problem. We were about to get our first frost and if it's one thing tomatoes hate, it's cold weather. So I began covering them every night with old sheets and removing them each morning when it warmed up enough that it would not damage my precious tomato plants. If you've ever tried to keep this vigil up for very long, you know what a pain it is. So I devised a plan. I would build a hot house over my tomatoes!
I recycled some old concrete rebar, a busted up wooden frame cover from a duck blind and some roll plastic from Tractor Supply and wallah! We have ourselves a hot house, complete with fluorescent lights and a heater (don't ask how much these tomatoes are per pound when I figure in the cost of electricity). I placed a thermometer in the hot house and the temperature, even when it has dipped below freezing, has stayed between 70-90 degrees. I water them once a week with Miracle Gro, and used some of the shavings from my daughter's show goat as mulch around them. They seem pretty happy!
So, on Christmas day, we had fresh grown tomatoes from the garden to complement our salad and I've had sliced heirloom tomatoes with balsamic vinegar and feta cheese. I wish I had enough to share with all of you because I think these are some of the best tomatoes I've ever grown.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Am Running For Houston County Judge!

As a result of the recent resignation announcement by Houston County Judge Lonnie Hunt, I have decided to run for the office of Houston County Judge.

At this time, there are three candidates that have announced their candidacy for Houston County Judge- myself, Jesse Stephens and Frank Minton. I have a great deal of respect for both of these men, and want to go on record as saying that I am running for the office and not against either of them. I will run a clean campaign as I have each time I ran for Mayor.

I have been the Mayor of Crockett for seven terms, almost 13 years. Overall, it has been a very gratifying experience, and I have thoroughly enjoyed serving the citizens of Crockett. The City of Crockett has many great employees as well as a City Council that genuinely cares for this city. Now I want to take my same ideas, positive attitude and clear vision to the County, and continue my service to the residents in all of Houston County.

I have always believed that it is the responsibility of each of us to give back to the community in which you have been blessed to live and work. I enjoy public service and am passionate about seeing our part of East Texas grow and prosper. And I want you to know that if elected Houston County Judge, I will dedicate myself to the good of our entire county and to being a good steward to the taxpayers of Houston County.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Crockett Civic Center Storm Shelter Addition

Wow, that's a mouthful! Today, the City of Crockett had the dedication ceremony for the newly completed addition to the Crockett Civic Center. And for those of you that were in attendance, I don't have to tell you what a nice facility it is!

As a result of Hurricane Ike way back in 2008, the federal government designated a certain amount of funding to assist communities in doing two things: becoming better prepared for the effects of any storms in the future and repairing infrastructure that was damaged as a result of the storms.

As many of you know even though Hurricane Ike wasn't as severe, our city and county did reach out and shelter nearly 2,000 visitors from the Gulf Coast during Hurricane Rita in 2005. The Crockett Civic Center was a key facility in this effort and over the years, we have made efforts to improve the building in case we ever need it again for a storm shelter. The Civic Center has back up power generators, a shower and laundry facility as well as a commercial kitchen.

Under Hurricane Ike Round 1 Disaster Relief, the City applied for and received funding to construct a 3250 square foot addition to the Civic Center, to be used as a storm shelter in the future. If another hurricane forces folks from the Coast, we will be much better prepared to shelter those evacuees.

But in the meantime, the new addition can be used for meetings, receptions, luncheons, conferences and the like. The new addition is designed to be used as one large meeting room or divided with a partition into two smaller meeting rooms. It is a first class facility that I know will get a tremendous amount of use.

A very special thank you to Knox Furniture for helping to stage the new room with beautiful furnishings as well as donating two flat screen TVs in memory of H.B. and Dottie Knox. They are a great additions to the new foyer and will provide vital information in the case of another storm.

Thank you as well to all who attended and assisted with the ceremony. It was a real treat to have as special speakers Houston County Judge Lonnie Hunt, U. S. Congressman Kevin Brady and DETCOG Executive Director Walter Diggles. I think all will agree it was a great event and just one more reason why I love Crockett, Texas !

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

This Isn't Supposed To Happen This Close To Home!

Unfortunately, we now have the distinction of being a community, like so many others across this great state and nation, dramatically touched by wildfires. As of this morning, the 5000 plus acre Arbor Fire as it's being called, is contained but still not totally controlled. If you travelled around the loop last night, there was an eerie orange glow on the horizon east of Crockett, a reminder of the devastation and destruction that wildfires cause.

I want to say a special thank you to the firefighters, emergency responders, law enforcement and support teams involved in this huge effort. They've spent countless days and nights, in harm's way, doing their best to protect property and life. A tragic event of this magnitude boggles the mind when it comes to logistics, but methodically and without hesitation, firefighters and emergency personnel from our area as well as other cities and states, continue to battle this beast. And if I know them well enough, they won't quit until it is safely controlled.

There have been some that have lost homes, barns, equipment, farms and ranches. My heart goes out to you but I can assure you that we as a community will do our part to lend a helping hand to those of you in need. There's still work to be done, and there will be many opportunities to assist in the near future. Keep all involved in your prayers as we pray for rain and for the weather to cooperate.

Monday, August 1, 2011

One of My Favorite People

One of our first patients when we moved to Crockett and 'hung our shingle out' about 22 years ago was Mrs. Estella Brown. She was a fiery Christian lady who at the time, was the camp nurse for Frontier Camp. She talked a lot about God and the many ministries she was part of. She had a delightful smile and an infectious, can-do attitude.

Many years ago before we had children, she invited Amanda and I out to the camp for a visit. We didn't know many people in Crockett, so one evening we did just that. Mrs. Brown gave us a tour of the camp. She brought us back to her cabin, cranked up her hot plate and cooked us a delicious pancake supper. She played songs on the piano while we sang along and we ended the evening with a prayer. It was a very special evening and one I will never forget.

Well, she recently came by for a visit, having celebrated her 100th birthday last month. She is an inspiration to me and one of my heroes. If you know her, you know she loves the Lord and is not shy about wanting others to know Him as well.

Mrs. Brown, you are one-of-a-kind and a blessing to all who meet you. Thank you for being such a wonderful Godly example to all. You are one of my favorite people and I feel blessed to know you!

Friday, July 8, 2011

BBQ Friday!

A few months back, I blogged one Friday about burgers. Well, this Friday, I want to tell you about a place to get some great BBQ- Smitty's Bar-BQ to be exact. There are lots of good BBQ eateries in East Texas, and as many different flavors as there is ways to spell 'BBQ', but in my opinion Smitty's is one of the best.

Smitty's Bar-BQ is located on South Fourth Street (or Hwy. 19 South inside the Loop, it's one and the same). The building is as well seasoned as the delicious BBQ and has tons of character.

Speaking of character, when we first moved to Crockett until a few years ago, it was be owned and managed by a delightful lady, Mrs. Iva Smith. Mrs. Smith was as consistent as her BBQ. Here is some interesting history about Smitty's Bar-BQ I learned from Patsy Barney: Mrs. Iva's husband James A."Smitty" Smith started it with her help. He was very personable, he would go around to the tables and asked how the food was and so forth. That was 1984. Jesse Stephens bought it from his mother before she died and she kept running it until her grandson Darrell took over. In spite of the few changes over the years, the food has stayed consistently good.

The sliced beef sandwich, one of my faves, is made with a mountain of sliced brisket. The meat is tender and cooked to perfection. Add your fixins (pickles, onions, peppers) and choose from hot or mild sauce. Add a side of cole slaw (my favorite) or potato salad (my wife's favorite), grab a glass of their sweet tea, and you have yourself the perfect lunch.

But that's just the tip of the BBQ iceberg. You can't go wrong with Smitty's ribs, their sausage is to die for, and the BBQ baked potato is so good, you'll want to take the rest of the day off. The only thing on the menu I haven't tried is the BBQ frito pie, and because everything else is so good, I just haven't tried it yet.

Stop in Smitty's Bar-BQ on South Fourth Street for some sure 'nuff good BBQ. It's another of the many reasons why I Love Crockett, Texas!