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BOM was a sponsor of the Village of Pleasant Hill’s Annual Christmas in the Country Parade. Pictured left to right: BOM’s Ashley Parrie and Mrs. Gloria Stewart (Mayor Pro Tem).
By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports
NATCHITOCHES — Early Thursday morning, Natchitoches mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. was checking his social media when a Shreveport-Bossier Journal headline on Facebook jumped out at him.
“Many’s Curtis is new Natchitoches Central football coach.”
The mayor, a proud 2004 NCHS graduate and an avid sports fan, knew all about Jess Curtis but had no clue about the hiring. He devoured the story and immediately fired off a one-word text to Natchitoches Parish schools superintendent Dr. Grant Eloi.
“My word was simply ‘HUGE’ in all caps. It’s a huge move to get somebody like Coach Curtis,” said Williams, a junior high teacher and coach before getting elected mayor two summers ago. “It’s going to change our program hopefully for a very long time. I’m very pleased.
“He’s going to create a winning culture. It’s a major move for us as a high school, as a community, for our kids, and I know he’s going to bring a level of expectation and a level of discipline that will set a great tone,” said Williams.
A mid-afternoon announcement on social media officially confirmed the news – that Curtis, the architect of one of Louisiana’s most dominant high school football programs in the past decade, had accepted the task of elevating a long-struggling football team into a consistent winner and championship contender.
In his 13 seasons leading his alma mater’s program, Curtis went 142-32 (.816) with state championships in 2014, 2020 and 2022, three more state runner-up finishes (2013, 2019, 2021) and another three state semifinal berths (2016-18). The Class 2A Tigers have won 50 of their last 53 games while making four straight state championship games, and are 6-0 in that stretch over Class 4A or 5A opponents.
Moving 25 miles east to NCHS, Curtis takes over a Class 5A program with only two winning seasons in that span. The Chiefs have not had consistent success since the mid-and-late 1990s, highlighted by a state semifinal appearance in 1996.
It was a stunning hire that captured statewide attention Thursday. Nearly 46,000 Twitter users clicked on the @s_bjournal account to read the story. The Facebook post was shared 93 times. Numerous other state and regional media outlets made their own social media posts about Curtis’ move.
“I’ve never been more surprised by coaching news than I was today,” said KTBS-TV sports anchor Alex Anderson.
Veteran Chiefs radio play-by-play announcer Steve Graf, who played professionally in the USFL in the mid-1980s, praised the move.
“So excited to see Natchitoches Central hire a high-quality football coach in Jess Curtis. He has more than proven himself as a quality coach but more importantly as a developer of talent. He knows how to build a program,” said Graf.
“I hope and encourage officials at Natchitoches Central to give him their total support in order for the Chiefs to return to prominence as a 5A football program,” he added.
The reaction in Sabine Parish was mixed, with some Many fans disappointed and even upset about their coach’s departure. But plenty of support was expressed on social media or in texts expressing gratitude for Curtis and sending him best wishes at Natchitoches Central.
Former Sabine Parish school board president Buddy Wood has a longstanding friendship with the new NCHS coach, and has been the public address announcer for Many home games for years.
“Jess and I coached Little League baseball together for seven years back in the mid-to late ‘90s and it was evident then he had a remarkable love for kids and young men. He wanted to help them succeed. He has a passion for winning but a greater passion for doing it the right way,” said Wood.
“But his greatest passion is teaching respect and having young men represent themselves and their families, their coaches and teammates with class. It’s spurred a remarkable winning formula at Many High School and created community support on a remarkable level. I expect the same result will come at NCHS and in the Natchitoches community.”
NCHS will introduce its new football coach to the media just after lunchtime today, and has invited supporters to meet Curtis at the Chief Dome gym on campus tonight at approximately 7 o’clock between the girls and boys home basketball games against District 1-5A foe Haughton.
“As a district, we want to excel in everything we do, whether it be academics or athletics,” said Eloi. “Coach Curtis, with his track record of leading young people, gives our students the opportunity to achieve success both on the classroom and on the field.”
NCHS principal Micah Coleman was ecstatic.
“It is hard for me to contain my excitement for our student-athletes, our athletics program and Natchitoches Central High School. Coach Curtis is a winner in every phase.
“One of the things that excited me most was Coach Curtis’ passion and competitiveness within his LEAP 2025 scores for U.S. History,” said Coleman. “Coach Curtis wins in the classroom, he wins the hallways, therefore he wins on the field.”
The NCHS announcement noted that Curtis’ son, Jesse, a key figure on his Many staff, will be the strength and conditioning coach for the Chiefs.
Contact Doug at email@example.com
|Jess Curtis at Many|
“Though the mountains may be moved into the sea. Though the ground beneath might crumble and give way, I can hear my father singing over me,,,It’s gonna be ok.” Tasha Layton, “Into the Sea.”
When one boards an airplane for a trip there is an unwritten rule that applies. Everyone who has flown more than once is acutely aware of this. No, you won’t hear this on a pre-recorded message nor will you see it in the safety-manual that is neatly placed on the seat in front of you. This could have been passed down from generations before us or even friends who travel more than we do. On my recent holiday voyage it was my delight to be able to teach this to my youngest daughter who flew with me.
The unwritten but understood rule is…yes, there will be turbulence but if the flight attendant is not concerned, you shouldn’t be either. I have always reasoned with myself that turbulence is like hitting a pothole on a poorly maintained road in the sky.
I have always enjoyed flying and have never had a bad experience but my daughter was very nervous this time. We spoke at length about bumpy flights and I encouraged to download her favorite shows or a book to entertain her while flying.
On our recent mother-daughter trip we flew through many snowstorms, waited while planes were de-iced, re-filled with fuel, delayed flights and changing of planes. We felt like we experienced everything the friendly skies had to offer. We mostly chose joy and tried not to complain to each other although we silently knew we would not be flying during the holidays again anytime soon.
On our flight from the lovely town of Idaho Falls to Denver, Colorado turned into a major concern not long after we hit the air. The flight attendant rolled out her drink cart as normal and was serving drinks with a cheerful smile until the pilot voice filled the background. In a calm but urgent way he advised everyone that we were about to hit “severe turbulence” due to the weather headed into Denver. He urged the attendant to put away the drink cart and return to her seat immediately and all of the passengers should stay buckled up while making sure all of our personal items were secure.
I looked over at my daughter and she was none the wiser. She was clueless that we were about to take a fiery dive into the Rocky Mountains. I glanced at the flight attendant who was rolling that cart faster than Mario Andretti could make a lap around a race track. She had lost her cheerful, genuine smile and traded it for a fake smile that was forced. I briefly thought that this would be the end but then the Holy Spirit reminded me that I had praise music downloaded and I should enjoy the calming music and close my eyes.
Into my Apple Music Library I dove. I have a wonderful playlist downloaded that I normally use for yard work so I will feel closer to the Lord. This was perfect, not knowing what would play next, I clicked “shuffle” and waited for the Lord to WOW me with his peace.
As the turbulence began so did the music. Please refer to the lyrics at the very beginning of this article. Does God have jokes? Yes, this is the song that the Lord sent my way to remind me of his goodness and bestow his peace all around me. “Can you make something from the wreckage…though the mountains may be moved into the sea…..”
While I realize we were not flying over a sea….the words “mountains, wreckage and ground crumbling” had me so tickled. The good Lord knows me so well and is aware that I love a good laugh and can find humor in practically any situation. I smiled so big at the thought of him sending this song my way….was he laughing at me? It’s okay, I was laughing at myself and enjoying his presence all at the same time.
The recurring message in the song does say, “It’s gonna be okay, you have never let me down and you won’t.” He didn’t let us down. We truly never felt the severe turbulence.
I know that he delights in his children and he wants us to experience his love, his kindness and his sense of humor. Yes, I am convinced that God has jokes. After all, we were made in his image.
“God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them.” – Genesis 1:27
Over the years I‘ve had the honor and the privilege to fish with some great anglers. Even though I think of myself as a pretty good angler, there’s probably never been a single person that’s gotten into my boat that I did not learn something from. Bass fishing is a sport where you never stop learning. New baits and techniques are developed every single year. Someone is always pushing the limits and trying to reinvent the wheel, so to speak.
Today, we’ll look at a connection I’ve made over the years and the impact he had on me as an angler and as a person.
My competitive fishing career started out with a former softball teammate of mine who asked me to fish a team tournament on Lake Bistineau in the spring of 1990. This was at a time when I was looking for something that would fill my competitive desires that I had during my playing days as a minor league baseball and USFL football player. Like all athletes, the day comes when you realize that your playing days are over. I needed and was looking for something that would fill that void in my life.
Randy Farrar, a Lake Bistineau legend, is the guy the responsible for the exorbitant amount of money I have invested in bass fishing! He’s the reason I’ve been a major donor with entry fees to fishing organizations all across the country. He’s the reason I have a fishing man-cave second to none! His invitation to fish a team tournament back in March of 1990 was the match that lit the fuse. He’s the one to blame for my bass fishing obsession.
All great anglers have had that one person who has taken them under their wing at some point and taught them the basics of how to catch bass. Not all great anglers are born with fishing instincts like a Kevin Van Dam, bass fishing’s greatest professional angler of all time. Randy was that angler for me. He taught me how to fish a jig, tweak a spinnerbait and understand the technique of pitching and flipping. To this day, he still possesses a wealth of knowledge and always thinks outside the box on why and how bass react to certain baits and techniques.
Even though we don’t fish as team partners much anymore, I still call on him from time to time to talk bass fishing. But there’s something even more important — he became one of my closest friends. We’ve shared some good times and some tough times together in both victory and defeat. Nothing brings people together more than spending a full day together in a bass boat. You learn who they are and what makes them tick while sharing stories of the past, some true and some totally made up, but who cares — it’s always great entertainment.
This relationship started out as teammates on a men’s travel softball team sponsored by Home Depot. The ‘80s and ‘90s were a time when men’s travel softball was huge. We roamed over the South winning championships that included two World Championships.
Randy was considered one of the best Shreveport-Bossier third basemen ever. He was a tremendous defensive player, but could also spray the ball all over the field with his bat. He was a great team player who cared nothing about accolades, but just wanted the team to win.
But it was during our time in a bass boat when we formed a tight bond that still exists today. Days and hours on in, we scouted, preparing for our next event. Some of these trips had a hiccup or two but that’s what happens when two competitive anglers get into the same boat.
We’ve laughed to the point of almost falling overboard! Several times our agility in a bass boat, or the lack of, was on full display, but no one ever really got hurt, other than maybe a wounded ego.
We did not always agree on where we should fish or what we should be doing to catch bass. Team fishing is like a marriage. You don’t always get along. But one thing was clear, when the dust settled, we both had the same competitive goal — to win!!! While we won our share of events and fished well together, it’s wasn’t the wins or high finishes that made it fun. It was the connection we had as friends that made every trip special.
Time is a funny thing. The times you share with anyone doing something you both love is always special. Good fishing partners are hard to find and not all teammates end up being great friends. In some cases, it can lead to the opposite — enemies forever. Team partners can come and go, but true friendship will last a lifetime.
Until next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget your sunscreen and regular visits to your dermatologist because Melanoma does not discriminate.
Contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org
By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports
In the past decade, Many High School’s football program has been one of Louisiana’s very best, guided by dynamic head coach and alumnus Jess Curtis.
That partnership came to an end today.
Curtis, who has led Many High School to three small school state championships in the last nine seasons and three more state runner-up finishes, is taking over as the Natchitoches Central football coach.
His hiring by NCHS was confirmed by the school in a mid-afternoon social media announcement today following a Many High football team meeting.
Very few prep football coaches in the state have a resume’ as impressive as Curtis does.
He has built one of the state’s powerhouse programs at any level. His unbeaten Division III Non-Select state champions this fall dominated one of NCHS’s District 1-5A colleagues, Haughton, 35-3, in September, and in recent years the program has thrashed bigger schools such as North DeSoto and DeRidder.
The Tigers have won 10 straight district championships and are unbeaten in district play during that time, reaching the state playoffs every year and advancing at least to the state semifinals in all but one season.
Since taking over at his alma mater in 2010, after serving as defensive coordinator there, Curtis posted a 163-24 (.871) record in 13 years and made the playoffs every season.
While Many was modestly successful when Curtis was named head coach, the Tigers hadn’t begun to approach the remarkable level of achievement they have since. Case in point: Curtis’ 2010 Many team was the No. 32 seed in a 32-team playoff bracket. That status skyrocketed in subsequent years.
Many reached the Class 2A state finals for the first time under Curtis in 2013, then won its first state championship the following season. The Tigers reached the playoff semifinals in 2016, 2017 and 2018, then lost in the 2019 state finals. They came back to win the 2020 2A championship, fell in the 2021 finals and beat Class 3A Union Parish last month to capture the Division III Non-Select state crown.
The Tigers are known for their physical style of play, aggressive defense and powerful running game. Curtis is a proponent of an immersive offseason strength and conditioning program, and has a large roster approaching 100 players, highly unusual at a Class 2A school. The Many powerlifting program has produced state champion lifters.
Also regarded as an exceptional history teacher, Curtis is the son of retired Sabine Parish businessman John T. Curtis. The coach’s nephew, Tackett Curtis, has been one of the nation’s top recruits in the Class of 2023 and recently signed with USC.
Tackett Curtis, the state Gatorade Player of the Year and the Class 2A Defensive MVP for a second straight season, is the latest in a string of Many players who have earned college scholarships.
The new NCHS coach is a Many native and played for the Tigers’ 1988 state finalist team.
He was offered an assistant coaching post when Brad Laird took over the Northwestern State program in 2018. A year later Curtis reportedly could not reach agreement with the prior NCHS administration and then-school board leaders to take the NCHS job. Natchitoches Parish superintendent of schools Eloi and NCHS principal Micah Coleman were not in place then.
The school has just finished building a new athletic fieldhouse adjacent to the current football practice field, and has erected a grandstand and press box. There are plans to develop the facility into a home field, in lieu of playing home games at NSU’s Turpin Stadium, as has been done for decades.
Curtis takes over a program previously steered by former Byrd High School assistant James Wilkerson, who was released last month following a 3-7 season. Wilkerson guided the Chiefs to their best year this century in 2021, a 7-4 playoff run, including a 7-0 start until quarterback Brian Young was injured. Young was hurt again and missed the first half of the 2022 season.
That 2021 season produced the Chiefs’ first winning record since 2012. NCHS has not had sustained success in football since the mid-1990s. Now the Chiefs are hiring a proven winner to transform their program.
The foundation of the Many program is rock-solid, and the Tigers return a talented squad to defend their latest state championship. Now the question is who will step in as head coach and athletic director to lead the charge.
Contact Doug at email@example.com
Got a box of Moon Pies for Christmas. Nothing says peace on earth or goodwill to your colon quite like a pair of graham crackers divided by corn syrup and vegetable shortening disguised as marshmallows and dipped in chocolate.
Hand me an RC Cola and sing me back home.
Can’t eat an original big-boy-sized Moon Pie anymore, but I do love the occasional Mini-Moon pie, mainly for nostalgic reasons. Well, solely for nostalgic reasons. Definitely not for dietary ones.
It hurts me to type this but … I have to. Others might be in the same culinary boat, feeling guilty like me.
Sad to report that, through no fault of its own, Moon Pies have moved into a Food Group I invented in my maturing years. It’s not one that makes me happy.
It’s “Boy Food That Didn’t Grow Up While I Did.” I wish these foods had aged along with me, but instead, they remained young while I started getting mail from AARP and going to the bathroom three times a night.
I want to like them. Want to look forward to them like I did when I was a kid and my taste buds and digestive tract didn’t know what was good for it.
But in these more mature years, nostalgia and boyhood memory is easily trumped by things like handlebar fat and our old unwanted, rarely mentioned friend, constipation, or its bastard cousin, the-opposite-of-constipation.
In our Boy Food That Didn’t Grow Up While I Did list, Moon Pies don’t bat leadoff, but they’re in the lineup.
So is Vienna Sausage. A can or two and a sleeve of Saltines while on break from your summer job digging sewerage ditches was a welcome banquet. Shade. Water. Vienna Sausage. Welcoming and easy and filling but not too filling. Good times.
I couldn’t even look at a Vienna Sausage now.
They are in the same phylum as potted meat. The wrapper was white and the labeling was “Deviled Ham,” and a red devil with a pitchfork was the brand and packaging. Might still be; I haven’t looked for it since I signed on with a job that offered group insurance.
Keep in mind that its street name was/is “potted meat.” Well … it’s potted. Does not have the same marketing vibe as the playful “melts in your mouth, not in your hands.”
The most recent addition to the list is the youthful Sloppy Joe. There was a time when I could eat four and want more. That time died in the early 1980s. About once every five years I will try to eat one, get all excited, and then take the first bite. That first bite always reminds me that life is a struggle and that if we don’t learn from our mistakes, we are bound to repeat them.
Do you know what was really good in the 1970s? A frozen chicken pot pie cooked for an hour on the stove. Always eat them with a peanut butter foldover. Did that two years ago and started crying when I had a moment of clarity and realized that my dietary life had come to that. Sordid.
You make a homemade chicken pot pie and I’m the first in line, but my days with the little aluminum bake-at-450-for-60-minutes pie tin are over.
Spoiled? or wiser? Or maybe less hungry. Who knows?
All we know is that we’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’, you know that lovin’ feelin’ … It’s gone, gone, gone, baby, it’s gone.
One food remains on the fence: SPAM. Once every fall, during an NFL game on television, I fry SPAM and eat it on white bread. It’s once a year, has to be during an NFL game, has to be white bread, and that’s it. I must have seen a tremendous Cowboys-Redskins game on a perfect Sunday afternoon in 1972 while eating SPAM, and my subconscious won’t let me forget it. No other explanation.
Besides, SPAM helped win World War II for us; Eisenhower said so himself. Maybe that’s why my stomach tips a cap to it once a year.
Contact Teddy at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @MamaLuvsManning
By Brad Dison
Millions of meteors and other space debris enter the Earth’s atmosphere daily. Most of them are small and burn up before reaching the ground. The ones that enter the atmosphere in the daylight hours usually go unnoticed. Meteors which enter the atmosphere at night are more visible and are commonly called falling stars. An average of 17 meteors per day reach the Earth’s surface, whether it be land or sea, at which time they are called meteorites.
On November 30, 1954, one such meteor was traveling through space and heading towards Earth. The meteor entered the atmosphere at a high rate of speed and began to burn. The meteor was extremely hot and under immense pressure. At about 12:45 p.m., when the meteor was about 40 miles up in the Earth’s atmosphere, it could no longer take the heat and pressure and exploded.
34-year-old Ann Elizabeth Fowler “Hewlett” Hodges was enjoying a peaceful afternoon nap in a home she rented on the outskirts of Sylacauga, Alabama. The day had been uneventful so far, and Mrs. Hodges expected the remainder of the day to be equally as lackluster. As she slept, the 12-pound meteorite struck the home, tore a three-foot-wide hole through the roof of the living room, ricocheted off Mrs. Hodges’ husband’s console radio, and struck Mrs. Hodges on her arm and hip as she slept. Even though it had reached a burning hot temperature as it passed through the atmosphere, by the time it reached Mrs. Hodges’ living room, it was “too cold to handle.” The meteorite left Mrs. Hodges with substantial bruising, but no serious injuries.
Witnesses in three states reported seeing a “bright flash” followed by an explosion in the sky. A resident of Smith’s Station, Alabama, about 90 miles southeast of Sylacauga, telephoned the Russell County military sheriff’s office and reported seeing the flash and hearing the explosion. Like many others, the resident thought she had witnessed a mid-air airplane disaster. Crews aboard two army helicopters from Fort Benning, Georgia, and several airplanes from Lawson Field began searching a 30-mile radius from the Chattahoochee River for the crash site. After several hours of searching, the search party received reports from Maxwell Air Force Base near Montgomery of a possible meteorite striking a house at Sylacauga. Searchers in Sylacauga, which included members of the national guard, the state police, reporters, and spectators, drove the backroads around Sylacauga. They followed army helicopters from Maxwell Air Force Base and converged on Mrs. Hodges’ home.
Newspapers reported in jest that “some meteorites” including the one that struck Mrs. Hodges’ “continue to travel with ‘great velocity’ after reaching the earth. An air force helicopter crew took possession of the meteorite so it could be studied at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. A few days later, the meteorite was flown to Washington, D.C. Finally, after being in our nation’s capital for just two days, Mrs. Hodges’ attorney retrieved the meteorite and returned it to her.
Within days of its crash, interest in Mrs. Hodges and her meteorite soared. The Hodges received nearly 100 offers for the meteorite. The Dayton Art Institute offered $5,000 for the meteorite, the highest price at the time. The Smithsonian Institute was interested in the object but was unwilling to pay more than $900 for it. In the midst of the media hype, Mrs. Hodges appeared on an episode of the television game show “I’ve Got a Secret,” in which a panel tried to guess what her secret was. Seeing how much interest there was in the meteor, the owner of the home Mrs. Hodges had rented sued Mrs. Hodges to take possession of the meteorite. Mrs. Hodges and the landlord settled out of court and Mrs. Hodges retained ownership of the meteorite. In 1955, Mrs. Hodges sold the meteorite to the Alabama Museum of Natural History at the University of Alabama where it and the console radio remain on display.
What are the odds of being struck by a meteorite? Michael Reynolds, author of “Falling Stars: A Guide to Meteors and Meteorites,” said “you have a better chance of getting hit by a tornado and a bolt of lightning and a hurricane all at the same time.” Although millions of meteors enter our atmosphere each day and an average of 17 reach the ground, Mrs. Hodges is the only person in recorded history to be injured by a meteorite.
1. “Ann Elizabeth Fowler Hodges (1920-1972) – Find A Grave” www.findagrave.com. Accessed December 28, 2022. findagrave.com/
2. The Columbus Ledger, December 1, 1954, p.1.
3. The Galion Inquirer, December 2, 1954, p.12.
4. Dayton Daily News, December 7, 1954, p.7.
5. Dayton Daily News, December 9, 1954, p.6.
6. “First Person Injured by a Meteorite.” Guinness World Records. Accessed December 29, 2022. guinnessworldrecords.com/
BOM’s Many location donated items to the SARC for Christmas. The Arc of Sabine, also known as SARC, is a program for special needs adults in our area. Pictured left to right: BOM’s Tiffany Miller and Tonya Hall, Alexis Rainer, BOM’s Twyla Lovelady, Kayla Sepulvado, and Linda Guay.
Christmas 2022 was going to be an epic one for the books. It was going to be the first time we forwent the traditional Christmas presents in exchange for a trip filled with precious memories to last a lifetime. My youngest daughter was not so thrilled. She always enjoyed a “Christmas Haul”. Tons of gifts wrapped in beautiful packaging under a perfectly lit tree.
Her Christmas Cup should always be overflowing with gifts.
This year I wanted to trade all of it for airline tickets to see my oldest daughter in Idaho. I didn’t want a repeat of last year‘s Christmas without having both daughters under one roof. In reality, I know that life is ever changing and not all holidays will look the same. Especially while your children are growing up and finding their own way in the world.
My Christmas Cup is a little selfish too, it should always be filled to the brim with my children, on Christmas Day in matching pajama and tons of laughs and memories.
We started planning in October by purchasing the airline tickets and a meticulously chosen route to ensure a holiday trip to remember. We originally planned to fly to Idaho then take a lovely drive to Banff, Canada. Passports, tickets, rental vehicle and rooms were all secured. Nothing to do except wait for Christmas Eve so we could fly out.
Unless you have been hiding under a large, quiet rock, then you are aware of the Polar Vortex that hit the entire country and wrecked travel plans for millions of people. This made my Christmas Cup a little less full. I was beginning to worry.
I had been watching my United Airline app like a hawk. I checked it daily until our trip and everything was reported as “On time No Delay”. I’m the midst of watching the app, I was also stalking the Montana roads update on their website. Before we left our house it was deemed that Canada wouldn’t happen due to blizzard like conditions and road closures. The rooms were cancelled.
My Christmas Cup was draining little by little.
As Christmas Eve approached we made our way to the airport only to sit there through nine grueling delays. As strange as it may sound there was some comfort found in the camaraderie of all the other travelers. While we were all exhausted, drained, sad, and hopeless; we still felt joy when someone finally got to board a plane or when someone’s name was called who had been on standby.
We ended up missing a whole day of travel and had to spend the night in a town that was still an hour away from our destination.
My Christmas Cup was virtually empty and almost bone dry.
Even being a Christ follower who is full of faith, love and constant joy, it is so easy to be blindsided by our cup being empty. Several times during our travels I had to literally stop and remind myself that I am saved, sanctified and Jesus would not want me acting in a way that would land me on the evening news.
All through the holiday season our cups are filled and emptied with all of the ups and downs that life throws our way. I have learned through my own comedy of errors that my cup drains quickly when I am not putting Jesus first. It drains dry when I am not saturating myself with his word and reminders of why we even celebrate Christmas at all.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds things above, not on earthly things.” – Colossians 3:1-2
#38 Converse 10-10 33.52
Today, I’m venturing away from my fishing stories by wrapping up 2022 taking a hard look at where we are as a country. In so many ways 2022 was a great year, as we finally returned to a sense of normalcy. It seems like years ago that we were under mask mandates and trying to figure out the facts and fiction of Covid-19. It truly rocked our world like nothing ever has in my lifetime. We’re still trying to make sense of what this disease brings with it and the lasting effects it could have for generations.
But for now, I am going in a different direction as I reveal my observations on the state of our Union.
First, politics has come to the forefront now that Trump is no longer in office but has declared he’s running for office again in 2024, halfway through the Biden years. Never can I remember, in my 61 years of living in this great country, the political and moral division that exists today.
The 1960’s might be the closest era we’ve seen similar to now. Who’s responsible for this? EVERYONE!!! No one party can excuse themselves from this plain and simple fact that we are a nation divided. Republicans and Democrats and their leadership from within are all guilty of fueling the flames of this division. Yes, Trump had a hand as well with all of his idiotic Tweets and trying to communicate with Americans through social media — something no other president has ever done. While a lot of his policies were for the good of America, his mouth was nothing but pure venom and created a “take a side” mentality.
As a church-going member of the First United Methodist Church, I’ve seen a decline in the number of people attending church. Recently I counted 24 empty pews out of 40 during a church service. More than half of the church, and churches all across this country, are empty. People have walked away from the church but more devastating, they’ve walked away from God. Our schools and state officials have also taken God out of the equation with few willing to challenge the powers that be to bring back this one saving grace.
The family dynamic has all but disappeared from the American landscape. It used to be our foundation for what was right with this country. Divorce attorneys are in high demand and single parent dwellings are on the rise. People no longer see the importance of the family structure and the stability it brings to the next generation.
One common quote I hear so often amongst couples is, “I’m not happy.” I’m sorry, but I don’t recall seeing anywhere in my Christian upbringing where the good Lord above promises happiness. But he has given us the tools and the playbook (the Bible) to follow and work things out and to do what’s always in the best interest of the family and the children.
Kids need a mom and a dad under the same roof. This is critical for their total development as a boy or a girl. We have kids today who are so confused with who and what they are. Really?!!!
This is a total lack of parenting and not being exposed to the Word of God. Do you remember the slogan a few years ago for educating our children? “No child left behind.” Well, we have left the children behind, and they will turn in whatever direction they can to get the answers they’re looking for. The problem is they’re turning to the wrong people and looking in the wrong places.
People have become so consumed with their own selfish needs that they have forgotten what’s really important. Couples’ ability to communicate effectively and fight hard to save their marriages seemingly no longer exists. It’s easier to give up and just get a divorce.
Meanwhile, our churches are empty, we have turned our backs on God, and we wonder why we are in the shape we’re in. If this one concept of getting back in the church does not return to the American landscape, we are doomed to fall not only from God’s grace, but as a nation as well. We must start to rebuild our church base and bring back the family dynamics that are missing today.
We must elect officials who have the same moral compass as the church. Know what and who the people are you’re voting for and what they represent. If we as Christians don’t rise up and redirect our nation, we will be at a point of no return. I’m not so sure we’re not already there.
For those of you who have made a point to acknowledge my articles this year, I say, “Thank you!” It always makes my day to know that what I’m writing has touched someone in a good way. I’m always very appreciative of the kind words you’ve sent in person, by text or by email.
I hope each of you have a healthy and prosperous 2023! See you on the other side! Until then, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget your sunscreen.
BOM was a gold sponsor of the Sabine Freestate Festival. Pictured left to right: Clancy Stewart and BOM’s Tiffany Miller.
February 7, 1935 – December 27, 2022
Service: Saturday, December 31 at 10 am at Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – A hot start Tuesday night inside Reed Arena put the Northwestern State men’s basketball team within reach of its second win against a Power Five opponent this season.
The Demons, however, were unable to sustain that momentum in the second half and fell to Texas A&M, 64-52, in their final non-conference game of the regular season.
Playing for the first time in seven days, NSU (8-5) broke quickly and built as much as a 15-point lead in the first half against the Aggies (7-5).
Starting with Ja’Monta Black’s 3-pointer 14 seconds into the game, the Demons did not trail in the first half thanks in large part to a hot shooting performance from beyond the arc.
NSU hit seven of its 15 first-half 3-pointers, nearly reaching its average of almost nine made 3s in a game. Both Isaac Haney and Black connected on three 3s in the opening half.
Black’s final 3 of the first half gave NSU its largest lead of the game, a 27-12 advantage with 9:04 to play in the half.
That’s when the Aggies began to find their legs, finishing the half by holding NSU to 2-for-8 shooting to end the half with both baskets coming from Haney 3-pointers. Buoyed by that defensive prowess, Texas A&M sliced the lead to five at the break, Northwestern State’s smallest advantage since a 14-10 lead with 14:38 to play.
Even with the sluggish finish, the Demons shot 46.7 percent (7 for 15) from 3-point range in the opening half.
The Aggies were the faster-starting team in the second half, starting on a 9-0 run across the first 3:04 of the second stanza.
Again, it was a Demon 3-pointer that quelled the run as DeMarcus Sharp knocked down a step-back 3 to pull NSU within one.
With both defenses tightening, the Demons were able to pull even again on a Black 3 with 13:14 to play, squaring the game at 42.
The 3 remained nearly the Demons’ sole source of offense in the second half. NSU missed all seven of its two-point field goal attempts in the half and hit six of 25 3-point tries.
NSU finished with a season-best 13 made 3s on a school single-game record 40 3-point attempts.
The only second-half point for Northwestern State that did not come from a 3-pointer was a Jalen Hampton free throw with 3:11 to play.
The Aggies got 13 second-half points from Tyrece Radford as part of a 121-point, 10-rebound double-double. Radford and Henry Coleman III (24 points) keyed a 36-6 advantage for the Aggies in points in the paint.
Haney (16), Sharp (15) and Black (15) led Northwestern State in scoring while Sharp grabbed a team-leading seven rebounds and handed out six assists.
The Demons return to action Saturday when they host Texas A&M-Corpus Christ in the Southland Conference opener for both teams. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m. in Prather Coliseum.
In good ol’ 2022, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of Love Languages, a lady named Amy earned $1 million-plus and made the Jeopardy! TV game show cry “Uncle!”, LSU’s football team won more games than even the Tigers’ most loyal and optimistic fan thought possible, and Port-O-Lets again made their presence known during Mardi Gras as one of the best inventions since indoor plumbing — which turned out to be heavy plastic outdoor plumbing.
These were just some of the more light-hearted and trivial happenings of a somewhat gray 2022, a year that had this One Big Thing going for it: it wasn’t 2021 or, Lord help us all, 2020, when our leaders didn’t.
I was born at night, but not last night.
Actually, I was born at 8:15 in the morning, just in time to clock in, and have been carrying my little tool box and lunch pail since. Like you, the past two years have beaten all I’ve ever seen and have tried, overly hard, to beat us down.
But here we are, still flying the flag, like the old man in Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, a little thinner and gaunt, showing some deep wrinkles and splotches, some deep-creased scars, but our eyes are bright and cheerful and undefeated.
We can hardly afford to buy the toot off a whistle if they were selling for a nickel apiece, but we soldier on. The world keeps spinning and we’re happy to be along for the ride into what we trust will be a more upbeat 2023.
2022 was the year that brought us Wordle. Remember last year this time when everybody was Wordleing? The fad has worn off a bit, but last spring, Wordle was almost as popular as Taylor Swift.
2022 was also the year when Top Gun: Maverick became required viewing. Is it the best sequel since The Godfather Part II?
Fair Grounds Field was demolished in 2022 — until it wasn’t. Red tape and bat poop sort of sums up the year; the higher-ups don’t want to admit a mistake and get things back on greased grooves.
Closer to home, we became grandparents in July 2022, a definite highlight. She’s a healthy five months old. Because we are good grandparents, we took her to see Top Gun: Maverick five times and sold all we have except our toothbrushes to get her a Taylor Swift concert ticket. She’ll have to go alone because one is all we could afford but the kid has got to learn to stand on her own at some point.
We did not get her a ticket to Monday’s Cheez-It Citrus Bowl in Orlando when 9-4 LSU takes on 8-5 Purdue/Purdon’t because although we love Chees-Its, one of the highest quality dairy foods you can eat, who knew LSU could threaten a 10-win season? This is a team that started a receiver at quarterback and had 38 players on scholarship in last year’s bowl game, something called the TaxAct Texas Bowl when Kansas State beat what was left of the Tigers, 42-20.
Hat tippage to new coach Brian Kelly and Tiger fans everywhere for their expectation-exceeding results this fall.
Since this is the first time ever the two programs have met and since the only alum of Purdue people in these parts might know is New Orleans Saints forever-hero Drew Brees, you might find it of interest that the nice lady who invented Stovetop Stuffing, Ruth Siems, went to Purdue, as did Orville Redenbacher, the popcorn magnate. Doubtful that either of those things will come into play during Monday’s game — unless the Boilermakers have Stovetop Stuffing and popcorn for pregame. Then we really like LSU to cover the two-touchdown spread. Kick is at noon Monday, Jan. 2.
2023 kicks off the day before.
Contact Teddy at email@example.com
By Brad Dison
The coming of a new year brings hope for us all. It is a chance to wipe the slate clean and start anew. Many of us will set goals which we could never achieve, but we must believe that we can achieve anything. We much believe in ourselves. No matter what happens this coming year, don’t stop believing in yourself.
In the early 1970s, Jonathan moved from his hometown of Chicago to Los Angeles, California. The only being Jonathan knew in “the City of Angels” was his beloved dog that he brought with him from Chicago. Jonathan, a talented musician, hoped to “make it big” in the music industry. At eight years old, Jonathan began taking accordion lessons. As a teenager, he made extra money playing accordion and piano in clubs and at parties. Following high school, Jonathan attended the Chicago Conservatory of Music. His parents, teachers, and friends all thought he had the talent required to “make it,” and encouraged him to give it a shot.
Jonathan was hopeful when he arrived in Los Angeles, but he quickly began to struggle just to survive. There were opportunities for up-and-coming musicians to play, but the market was saturated with fine musicians who often played for little or no pay. More often than not, Jonathan’s income from playing music was too little to allow him to pay his bills and to eat, too. He became one of Los Angeles’s many starving artists. When he became desperate, which happened often, Jonathan ashamedly called his father and asked for a small loan. His father always sent Jonathan what money he could and reassured him that one day things would be better.
Then, an event happened which brought Jonathan to the point of giving up on his dream, his beloved dog was hit by a car and severely injured. He had no money to pay the vet. Once again, he called his father for another loan. His father could hear the discouragement in his voice more than any other time that Jonathan had called. “Dad,” Jonathan asked in a dispirited voice, “should I just give up on this thing and come home?” His father reassured him as he always had. “No. Don’t come home,” his father said. Always full of encouragement, his father gave him another piece of advice which Jonathan thought important enough to jot down in his notebook.
With his father’s reassurance, Jonathan kept searching for the right opportunity. He thought that opportunity had finally arrived in 1976 when he recorded a solo album which he named after his hometown, “Windy City Breakdown.” The album failed to chart, and Jonathan’s struggle continued. In 1978, Jonathan joined a British rock group called The Babys. Jonathan recorded two albums with The Babys, but the band failed to achieve the level of success they had hoped for and, in 1980, the group disbanded. In that same year, Jonathan joined another band and began working on an album with them. The band needed two more songs to complete the album, and the band’s lead singer asked Jonathan if he had any song ideas. Jonathan flipped through his notebook and read again the advice his father had given him several years earlier. Those three simple words of encouragement became the inspiration of and title of one of Jonathan’s band’s biggest hits. It has been described as the “perfect rock song” which featured Jonathan playing “one of the best opening keyboard riffs in rock.” The song was the best-selling digital track from the 20th century. The band was Journey. The name of the song and the advice his father gave Jonathan Cain was,… “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
Those three words were good advice from Jonathan’s father then and have remained good advice to listeners for over forty years. If we “Don’t Stop Believin’” in ourselves, we can accomplish anything in the coming new year.
Happy New Year!
Source: Elkins, Kimberly, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” Guideposts, p.75.
December 6, 1924 – December 21, 2022
Visitation: Will be in the church before the service, beginning at 8:30 am.
Service: Wednesday, December 28, 2022 at 10 am at Trinity Episcopal Church, Natchitoches.
October 30, 1970 – December 25, 2022