'Round Town (June 12, 2019)

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There’s a challenge to all of us in this week’s column and it’s to just keep up! We have some people out there setting big goals for us to shoot for.

First on that agenda is Harold Gene Wells. Wells, the senior Vice President in the Cleveland Integrity Services’ Houston office leads a busy life, a lot of it on the road

“He entertains clients often,” said his daughter Leslie Wakefield. “For example, one weekend he went to Horseshoe Bay for the weekend, back to Centerville on Sunday, then to Houston Sunday afternoon. That same week on Wednesday he drove to San Antonio to take clients to lunch and was back in Houston by 6 p.m. He is the energizer bunny!”

And that he is, but H.G. Wells, as he is known in the business industry, found time to celebrate his 90th birthday last weekend at the Centerville home of his daughter Melanie and her husband Bruce Hulings. In addition to his family and close friends, several dignitaries from the Cleveland, Okla.-based company flew in to attend the party and presented him with a special rifle.

“They told him it was his, but when God calls him home, they want it back to put in a glass case in their conference room with his name so that the story of H.G. Wells will continue,” explained Leslie. “They also told me that if a pipeliner comes in and doesn’t know who H.G. Wells is, they don’t hire him.”

Neither was this just any rifle. “It was 25 out of 50 Henry rifles made and then it was made custom for Cleveland Integrity,” explained Well’s nephew John Christie. It is a Henry Repeating Arms Cal. .45-70, number 25 of 50.”

That wasn’t the only priceless present. Kasy Rudel operations manager and Wells’ right hand for a dozen years or more, presented him with a 90-old revolver to match his age.

Wells was reared in the Pee Dee community. He and his wife Pat then reared their children Becky (Broussard), Jeff Wells, Melanie (Hulings), Dawn (Knight) and Leslie (Wakefield). Because of his incredulous pipeline knowledge, the company called him when he was in his late 80s to start an inspection company in Houston. Wells and his wife Pat, having sold their Madisonville home in the 1990s, already owned a townhome in Houston as well as a home in Centerville.

Today, besides regular trips to San Antonio and other towns where clients might live, he and Pat spend weekends in Centerville, returning to Houston by Monday morning for the nonagenarian, yes that’s what those 90-99 years of age are called, to go to work.

It’s never too late to wish someone happy birthday, so send your cards to Harold Gene at P.O. Box 733, Centerville, TX 75833. Like I said, just keep up folks.

And here’s another goal for you married couples. Former Mayor Art Henson and his wife G.G. celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary last weekend in Houston. Besides their three children which includes Fred Henson, also of Madisonville, the couple have six grandchildren, one of which is Justin Henson also of Madisonville, and 11 great grandchildren.

“Our anniversary is really June 18,” shared G.G., “but last weekend was the best weekend for all to gather.”

The U.S. Census Bureau tracks the longevity of marriages only up to the 50th year and states that number of years at about 6% so Art and G.G. are in a small minority of long celebrated marriages. It’s the same minority as were former President George and Barbara Bush. They too, celebrated their 70th anniversary.

For all of us married couples, that’s quite a goal to shoot for. The address for the Henson family is P.O. Box 997, Madisonville Tx 77864.

Here’s what else is going on ‘round Madisonville.

First, life is always changing isn’t it? Almost six years ago, the Smith sisters Whitney and Brittney, daughters of Kathy and Billy Martin opened Lucille May Market. This July 27 Lucille May Market will close its doors.

Since its opening, Whitney and hubby John have added 4-year-old Jett and recently baby Bell Smith to their family. Brittney has become engaged and is busy planning a November wedding. Needless to say, these ladies have hectic schedules right now, so they feel it best to close the business. We are going to miss Lucille May Market!

The benefit for Scott and Sheri Miles, graduates of the class of 1982, was quite a success. More than 20 cakes and approximately 50 silent auction items were sold along with a money raffle. Nancy Jolly explained the raffle that brought in more than $1,000.

“The raffle was what they call a 50/50, meaning the winner can take half of the total amount raised. William Barrett was the winner and he generously donated his winnings back to the Miles family.”

Besides the raffle and the silent auction those cakes raked in the money. If you remember, I shared last week you would have to shell out the bucks to get one of those awesome Madisonville cakes and it happened. Linda Hunter’s buttermilk pie brought $150

while Voyce Park’s cake brought $500 and those are just two that sold. The benefit raised $20,000 and donations are still being accepted.

Describing the day, Karen Stevens Altom, who helped orchestrate the event stated, “It’s easy to coordinate a group of folks like this who love each other and want to help more than anything. I am so thankful to have been raised in Madison County and live in Huntsville. The people in these communities are so special and they show up to help when help is needed. There’s no way to name everyone who was involved but the committee who oversaw this was amazing to work with!

“Marty and Lastell Fraley kicked the whole thing off; Tanya Farris Parrish runs a kitchen better than Gordon Ramsey; Judi Williams Delesandri was the silent auction guru, Gina Powell Turner and Marshall Altom were the raffle king and queen; Gregg Jolly, Jerry Reed and Donnie Caldwell take fish frying to a whole new level; Sonja Forrest Buffaloe and Wes Altom are the best worker bees you can ever have on your team.

“Robert Feliciano showed up from California and jumped in to help wherever he could; the Reeves family brought the talent with Billy Joe singing, Christi Blakley Reeves capturing the memories forever and B.J. keeping us cool with the fans; Hunter Jolly is the best fish runner you ever saw; Gaylon Cook was auctioneer extraordinaire; and finally my chief money counter and ticket taking partner Nancy Park Jolly, don’t know what I’d do without you. And to everyone who donated, bid, bought, and ate, you once again have my thanks.”

Karen is right. We live in a wonderful community.

The churches are gearing up for Vacation Bible Schools! June 17-20 the First United Church will host their Bible school for children entering pre-k through fifth grade. It’s a morning Bible school running from 9 a.m. until noon.

Crossroads Cowboy Church will host its Bible school later in July and it will be an evening Vacation Bible School. If your church has summer programs for the kiddos, send us that info!

This year is the fourth year for our annual July 4 celebration at Lake Madison Park. The festivities will kick off with a good old-fashioned parade, so start planning your entry and make some memories.

If you’re a member of an organization or association, now is a good time to find that flatbed trailer and start deciding on your theme to celebrate our Independence Day. Family bikes? Decorate them in red-white and blue and peddle away! How about a neighborhood march? You get the idea. But now is the time to start planning. July 4 is less than a month away.

We missed birthdays last week so here’s a few belated. Happy belated to Robert Tieperman who celebrated his birthday June 8 while Mary Martha Parrack and Kathy Gustavus celebrated their birthdays June 9.

Glenda Collard’s birthday was June 10, followed by Jordan Dartez and Bradley Collard, who celebrated birthdays June 11.

Cheryl Adams will blow out her candles Thursday, while Brandon Cook will do the same Friday. Kelle Harper celebrates her special day Sunday while Patricia Sowell does the same Monday.

Winding out this week’s birthday list is Donna Farris whose birthday is June 19.

And finally, Father’s Day is Sunday and most likely, if you haven’t purchased his gift, you’re trying to decide what to get.

Perhaps one of the best gifts anyone can give a father or a mentor is to wash his hands. Yes, wash his hands, no matter his age, no matter yours. Take a warm bowl of water, soap and a towel and sit in front of him, no matter his protests. Carefully study those hands as you wash them one at a time and see, perhaps for the first time, the hands toiled, that guided, that have loved and fed you. See the lifelines running across his palm deepening each year, the veins rising against the skin.

I didn’t come up with this, but rather found it among some of my keepsakes. As I read about this priceless gift any age child could give a father, I thought about my dad. Dad was a rancher and a house builder during the days when a hammer, a nail and a handsaw were the primary tools. I remember his hands well because as a child their roughness and painful tendency to crack intrigued me.

Many nights I ran my hands over his to feel the difference in our skin, never understanding they were rough and cracked partly because of me, because of his long hours of labor to feed, clothe and care for his family.

Dad died years ago. I wish I had known before he died to hold those special hands and wash them.

Happy Father’s Day Dads!

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