CHITCHAT CORNER

Hog Eye country welcomes Nashville musicians

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McCary’s Chapel United Methodist Church remains one of the most picturesque churches in Hog Eye Country now referred to as the Liberty City area. The number of weddings held over the years in the little white framed building with the cross above the door has not been counted, but many have reached out through members and friends of the congregation to request vows spoken in the sanctuary and the country setting. The former Reverend Charlotte Austin took great glee in having newlyweds start their journey through life in a building that was constructed in 1913 from useable lumber left from Mt. Moriah Church after it was torn down.

Yes, new buildings have been added and modern technology implemented through the years and the little congregation of 84 members is now under the direction of Rev. Sonya Meador.

“We are so excited to invite the public to attend the concert we are hosting for the Ernie and Jason Couch Revival out of Nashville,” said Rev. Meador. “We answered their e-mail and they are counting us in on their tour through Texas.”

The father and son team who will be at McCary’s Chapel on the evening of Saturday, Jan. 20 has dedicated their lives to presenting “the Good News” through song and music and has worked with some of the well-known greats in the music industry including the Plainsmen, George Beverly Shea, George Jones, Gaither Brothers and Jay Kiss.

“We have been working out of Nashville 29 years and have worked from coast to coast all the way from Portland, Maine to Portland Oregon,” said Ernie Couch. “We are too busy to do the bookings ourselves,” he admitted. “My daughter-in-law works for major booking agencies and is constantly e-mailing inquiries for bookings. We are normally out of Nashville two weeks at a time and then back in so I allow other people to handle where we go.

Once he heard about the rich history of McCary’s Chapel, he became even more excited to be performing in the area.

“I have performed in all size churches from mega churches like the one in Columbus, Ohio offering six worship services on Sunday morning to one room churches on the prairie,” he said. “I hope we can pack the walls of McCary’s Chapel with people. “Texas has played a huge part in the growth of the music industry.

We hope the duo will leave knowing the rich history of the area, including how Hog Eye got its name. Although many have second- guessed, the late Corine Odom, great- granddaughter of the first postmaster of Hog Eye, set the record straight in a letter she wrote in 2003: “Hog Eye got its name because it was the Eye (or central spot) for hog killing. People from surrounding areas such as Kilgore, Gladewater, Longview, Marshall, Laird Hill and even Dallas would come to buy all cuts of the hog, cracklings, backbone, chitterlings (chitlins), pork chops, tenderloins, ribs, pig feet, brains, sausage and lard. When I was a small tot, the first real cold spell was called hog-killing weather. Hog killing day was most exciting and a money-making day in Hog Eye, Texas. Along with the work, there was story-telling, good food, and friends and neighbors helping each other.”

The hog killing is long gone, but the community and McCary’s Chapel remains to carry on tradition and make the area worth visiting. Help them welcome the Nashville team of the Ernie & Jason Couch Revival at 6 p.m. next Saturday. The Rusk County Dulcimers will perform before the Couches beginning at 5 p.m. The church is located at 5758 N. Old Hwy. 135 Kilgore, Texas.

SPEAKING OF COLD FRONT, the second one for the year moved through the East Texas area Thursday evening. It has been reported the sprinklers were left on at Highland Park Baptist Church, which may have not been an accident considering the glimmer of icicles catching attention of those passing by.

TICKETS ARE on sale for the annual Kilgore Lions Club annual chili luncheon to be held from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, January 19 at the Community House, at 622 Kay Street. Tickets can be purchased in advance from any Lions Club member or at the door. See you there!

May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes. In the meantime we may be reached at chitchatlinda@aol.com or 903-984-2593.

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