'Tis the season


WE all have them. Christmas stories, that is. Those that make you laugh and those that can make you cry. No matter the situation ‘tis the season of sharing those unforgettable moments.

“LAST year, I got stuck in the Christmas parade,” said Dixie Wilson. Dixie works in Kilgore but lives in Longview. “I usually take Highway 80 going home, but didn’t want to get in all of the traffic trying to get to the parade, so I take off out of here and took Whaley Drive toward home, instead. So, here I am on Whaley and I see barricades ahead with two men motioning me to go to my right. Go to my right they kept pointing. I tried to let them know I needed to go left, but they kept motioning me to the right. So, I think, hmmm, maybe they are trying to detour me another way around the barricades. I cut to the right and noticed a truck pulling a float in front of me with another one carrying a Christmas tree behind me. Realization comes over me I am actually driving in the parade with no way out. I called my son. I am stuck in the parade. ‘So, you are watching the parade,’ he said. “No, I am in the parade and can’t get out. He called his dad.

“My husband called me. I tried to explain to him that I was just trying to get home and now I am in the parade and recognizing people sitting on bleachers as I go by. He told me to turn my flashers on. So, I turned my flashers on,” she laughed. “Then he told me to roll down my window and wave at the people as if I belonged! That’s my husband’s way of helping me out! I rode the parade out, flashers on, but no way was I going to roll down the windows and start waving!”

“My friends already know I am crazy because things like that just happen to me,” laughed Dixie. “But, this week at 6:30 a.m. the day of the Longview parade, one of those friends called me to remind me not to take Whaley Drive home that evening. Believe you me, I didn’t!”

Dixie was born in Texas, moved to Michigan and then returned to Texas in 1981. She worked for Fleetwood for 31 years, then Frontier RVs and then in 2010 was hired by Danny Males. Currently, you can catch up with Dixie and her stories at Iron Farm Meat Market where she has been employed for over two years.

ROBBIN HEDRICK was definitely the belle of the ball last weekend according to her husband Terry. The couple attended the annual Christmas ball held in Vicksburg, Mississippi and she was dressed in a royal blue gown that would make even Scarlet O’Hara envious.

“It is the re-enactment of the 1862 Christmas ball,” said Robbin. “We attended our first one in 1999 and since then have only missed twice. It is held the second weekend of December. Our attire is authentic to that time.”

“It is also known as the Balfour Ball,” said Terry. “Dr. William and Emma Balfour hosted a ball on Christmas Eve of 1862 celebrating the defeat of Grant’s forces in north Mississippi. There were Confederate Army officers and ladies at the ball including Brig. Gen. Martin Luther Smith and Lt. General Stephen D. Lee. It was that night telegrapher Colonel Fall received a message that the Union Expenditionary Force led by William Sherman was due to arrive. Col. Fall crossed the river arriving dirty and muddy at the ball to deliver the message. He was shunned for the way he looked.

“But the message was delivered to General Smith and an apology was issued to him and the ball immediately shut down. A few days later, because of that message, Sherman’s force was defeated along the banks of the Chickasaw Bayou,” said Terry. “There is so much more to the story, but anyway, the mansion remained standing throughout the Civil War and re-enactments take place. The Christmas ball is something we both enjoy.”

Always on the move, Robbin and Terry will be at a weight-lifting meet this weekend. They are members of the Natural Athletic Strength Association (NASA).

“Quite a switch from a ball gown to weight lifting suits don’t you think,” laughed Robbin. “Terry and I are the only couple that has won overall athlete in 2002 and in 2011. I won athlete of the year and Terry won two years later,” said Robbin. “This year, we won’t be competing in the meet. We are working and training and Terry will be spotting and loading. We have been training an eighteen-year-old by the name of Michael French. He is from Kilgore. We will be helping him while there.”

To top it off, this couple had just left the bowling alley Wednesday evening to respond to this interview. Robbin had made four strikes in a row – a first for her.

She works at Laird Insurance Agency.

“FA LA LA la la, la la la la,” sang Mitzi Hartfiel as she stuck her head in to say hello to people she knew during a Christmas party at the Cherokee Club last week. Pianist and soloist David Berryhill invited her to stay and sing but an early morning for her husband kept her from doing so that evening.

“You know my singing schedule has been quite strange this year,” said Mitzi. “Usually, I am running all over the place trying to be where I need to be to sing for friends at parties. So far, it has been quiet…but, we haven’t made it to Christmas, yet,” she said.

It is believed her singing talent has caught the attention of the FBI. At least she has been dubbed their most recent agent by her closest friends. It seems her son bought her an Apple watch and she is forever being caught bent over whispering into it to watch the messages flash across the face. Her son didn’t know he was entertaining more than his mother with the gift.

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.


Special Sections