A cruise like no other


“It was the most fun I have ever had on a cruise,” said Sue Clements. “And I have been on a lot of them. It was a good bunch of Christians and it was just flat fun,” she reiterated.

Twenty-six members and friends including Rev. Dudley and Ursula Plaisance of Pirtle United Methodist Church sailed the deep blue sea recently aboard The Breeze, part of the Carnival Ship line. Leaving from Galveston Bay, the cruise took in Cozumel, Belize and the Honduras.

“All of the Mercer girls joined us, too, and they did behave even though they were Baptists,” Sue quipped. “We did some big time shopping and I mean big time,” she added. “And the best part was meeting for dinner each evening.”

“There were almost 4,000 guests aboard that ship and about 2,000 workers,” she continued. “There was a hairy man contest and nine men showed up to be judged. A young girl had to smell under their arms for the contest and the Cruise Director had a big time with that. And guess who got to judge the men’s chests,” she laughed. “The Cruise Director kept saying ‘Granny Sue keep it clean’ which had everyone laughing and probably the reason Dudley had you call me to see if I would tell it,” confessed Sue. “Of course, I had a thing or two to say of my own.”

“There were a lot of families aboard this time of year celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and the crew was just so nice. They helped make it fun for everyone. Lifeguards picked Laverne (Mercer) up and carried her from the beach out into the ocean then picked her up and carried her back to the ship when she was ready to leave. She will be 90 next month and she was just surrounded by their help,” said Sue.

“It was the first time ever for the Mercer girls to go somewhere without the guys,” said Laverne. “Sometimes it pays to get old. Everybody was so sweet and we had such a good time.”

This group is also very appreciative of the generosity extended to Ray Miller who provided transportation to and from Galveston.

SPEAKING about the Mercers, it seems to be quite a coincidence that T. Anderson put me on a quest to find out how Battle Ground Road received its name. Speculation had it the name might be related to the Civil War, but not so according to others in the area.

To clarify matters, the name given the road was Battlefield Road and is located off Dudley Road just before you get to the bypass. It is not CR195D but if you look hard enough there is a tree-lined road just past it that carries the name and though no sign marks the spot one can see it is the perfect spot for a battle.

And if you were within earshot during the time, one may have thought another Civil War had erupted. Nonetheless the search to put an end to the rumor and brought laughter to the Mercers.

“It was actually a family fight between my grandfather and his brothers,” said Jeff Mercer. “They traveled down a little dirt road or path to work the fields, probably to pick cotton and they got into it over something trivial in the heat of the day and just had a knock down drag out,” he laughed. “The next day they were all fine and back to work according to my Dad (Talmadge Mercer). They jokingly started calling it Battlefield Road and the name stuck.”

WITH KILGORE continuing as the most patriotic town in Texas, this Fourth of July story was told by Joe Johnston who was raised in the American Liberty Oil Camp owned by Agnes and Hadley Winn.

“There were six houses in the camp for pumpers and drivers and two big houses on the opposite end for the superintendents,” said Joe. “The camp was well maintained by the owners who kept up the roads as well as the water tanks. Electricity, water was provided for the families and yards were kept well mowed by the oil company.

“The oil companies took good care of the families back then,” he continued. “Picnics and reunions were company-wide and not just at individual camps. One year, on the Fourth of July the entire company met in Talco and the owners had hired an airplane to fly over and drop fliers with presents listed inside. I will never forget my father reaching up to grab one and gave it to me. I had won a pogo stick. I was eight years old and that pogo stick meant everything to me,” he said.

Revitalizing and making memories in Kilgore continues with more festivities next weekend. IN the meantime, May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes. We may be reached at 903-984-2593 or


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