A little bit of paradise

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Paradise is where you make it and according to Lori Russell, activity coordinator over the memory care unit at Arabella’s Senior Living, their garden area fits the description.

“We have some of the prettiest tomato plants I have ever seen in our garden. We planted tomatoes out front last year, but they got too much sunlight. Now, they are in the garden area of the center and growing so big. They receive just enough sunlight. Some of our residents help keep up the garden tend to the flowers; feed the birds and the squirrels. The garden gives the residents something to do and makes them feel useful,” she added excitedly. “Those who cannot go outside can see the beauty of the garden through windows; it truly is our own little paradise.”

The tomato plants are growing with vines neatly tied up in an attractive planter box near the center of the garden and if you didn’t see those green tomatoes hanging, you would think they were flowers.

“We just want to add a big slice of tomato to the resident’s meals, keeping with a good southern tradition,” she laughed. “And maybe even fry some of the green ones.”

Lori is originally from Iowa and knows about corn, she readily admits, but not so much about tomatoes or cotton planting. The residents gave her a good lesson this week on how to plant both.

“Aw, they just have a few plants,” laughed Glen Lee, Arabella resident of two years. “Not the rows of tomatoes we planted when I grew up in Kilgore.

“I was raised on a farm about two miles from here. We grew everything we ate and planted cotton and peanuts. I didn’t realize it then but, we lived like kings. There was a depression going on and we didn’t know it. We had 3 or 4 cows for milk and butter, kept 4 or 5 hogs and cured the meat, and gardens filled with rows of peas, corn, turnip greens, radishes, onions, cucumbers, watermelons. What was not canned was taken to town to swap or sell for staples so you wouldn’t have a grocery bill,” he said.

“I despised cotton at the time,” he admitted. “Cotton was planted in the middle of April, chopped or thinned out about the time school was out and picked the first of September and hauled to gins. A lot of work involved.

Housework for women in those days was not good. The kitchen was very hot and they spent days canning food which was mighty good to have during the winter months.

“When I was born, my parents used horses and buggies. My father bought our first car when I was five years old. And I just thought we were poor until I saw what some of the others brought to school for lunch.”

“Our farm took up part of Big Head Creek that runs through the golf course,” he continued. “Oh, we had the coolest watering hole around and kids would come over after school to play in it. Yes, I had a very good childhood and good parents. I never saw them fighting or carrying-on and only heard my father use a cuss word one time and that was at a stubborn horse.”

Glen became known throughout the states and even beyond for his violin repair. He had a beautiful workshop nestled in trees at his home in Kilgore where he took pride in his restoration work.

His hobby became full time after retirement following thirty years employment with Sabine Pipe and Supply. When he lost movement in one of his hands due to a stroke, he turned the violin repair over to a Kilgore High School student that loved playing the strings. His two sons live close by. They visit him often which brings him much enjoyment.

At Arabella, it appears the residents are having a good time teaching the staff about the “good life” and southern traditions.

A TRIP to the London Museum for lunch and a tour has been planned for Saturday and Lori will be cooking hamburgers and hotdogs for Father’s Day. We hope she gets to add some home-grown tomatoes to that meal.

WELCOME TO KILGORE Quenna Henly! She made it to Kilgore last Sunday to be near her daughter, Jacque. She was living in Havana, Illinois and plans to make Kilgore her permanent home.

Currently attempting to adjust to the humidity she said, “I lived in Texas for thirty years before moving to Illinois, so I knew this (the humidity) was coming,” she laughed. “But, I am here and so glad!”

Among other interests, she spent the last 12-and-a-half years working missions and helping to make their thrift shop a valuable resource to the community. Right now, she can be found at Everything That Blings helping her daughter and looking forward to meeting others in the community. Stop by and give her a good Texas welcome.

DAY TRIPS are thoroughly enjoyed by Jean Robertson and Ferrol Whitfield. In April, they enjoyed the Bluebonnet Festival in Ennis where Jean will be providing the 2019 program on behalf of the Kilgore Garden Club. Recently, they went to the Athens Arboretum and took in the sights and the trails. Can’t wait to hear what’s next on her agenda.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! Let us know what is going on around you. In the meantime, May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes Throughout the Week. We may be reached at chitchatlinda@aol.com or 903-984-2593.

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