Monkey business going on


It was called Bob’s Gulf Station back in the day, as the old-timers would say. It was a full service station which meant more complete costumer service – get the windshields washed, an engine checked if needed, tires checked and fuel. Bob’s was located in Kilgore on Hwy 259 N. where Mr. Bubbles Laundromat and Car Wash now sits. There were several things that made this particular station unique. First and foremost was the owner, Luther Terry, who was a fireman for 30 years, kept up the gas station and owned a hot-shot service.

“He was off one night a week,” said his son, Terry. “He would work from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. at the fire station, open up the gas station at 7 a.m., work through the day and allowed himself only one day off. My dad just worked all the time and it was like that until I turned 16 years-old.”

And then there was Augie, a pet monkey kept in a cage in the filling station during the day. Augie drew a lot of attention, especially from the women visitors.

“Augie was given to Dad by a friend who had him for several years and just kind of grew tired of fooling with him,” laughed Bob. “He was a Capuchin monkey, the ones that organ grinders used. He really became the talk of the town and he loved the women who would coo and talk to him. He was quick as lightning, though, and the next thing you knew he had both hands full of their hair and pulling them closer to the cage. One time he got hold of a lady’s hoop earrings and dad had to come in and make him let go of those earrings.

“At night, Dad would walk in grab him by the tail and he would jump on his shoulder for the ride home,” continued Bob. “Mom did not like the monkey and the monkey did not like her. She tried to make him mind like a child and if she tried to swing a belt at him he was so quick he would have her bit before the belt could get to him. He liked Dad though, that’s for sure.”

After owning the monkey for 6-7 years, Luther gave him to a friend. “The friend didn’t care of Augie the way Dad did and left him in a cage outside in bad weather. And he was basically abusive to Augie,” said Bob. “After several weeks, Dad heard about it and went to get Augie and brought him home. He was so mad at Dad he jumped on him and Dad ended up having to go to the emergency room and get 28 stitches in the arm. Augie was then donated to the Gainesville Zoo where he found a girlfriend and ended up with babies. So, everything turned out good for Augie, and Mom and Dad would go at least once a year to visit with him.”

Boetcher’s Lumber Yard was where McDonald’s is located now, Bob noted.

“I remember Mr. Boetcher wanting to sell it to Dad for $50,000 and Dad thought it was too high. A few years later, McDonald’s came in and paid Mr. Boetcher several million for the spot. Boy, Dad was sick,” he said.

For those who know the family, Bob and his wife now live in Idabel, Oklahoma. He hitchhiked twice across America before turning 21, spent 16 years in the oilfield and the last 28 years in the insurance business.

“We wanted out of the city and this is where we came through Horace Mann Insurance Company,” said Bob. “It is definitely not a dried-up little town like some may think; it is rich in history.”

His sister, Debbie, is a nurse and has worked in the mission field the past 45 years. Her son and daughter speak Hindi so well that English is basically their second language. Bob’s brother is a physician in the Dallas area, having retired twice and recently started a new medical service by using a set fee and not fooling with insurance or enormous lab fees. It seems to be doing extremely well according to Bob.

Just goes to show a little monkey business in Kilgore goes a long way. Now, I have heard of a talking Mynah bird in another business, but that’s for another time.

DEBBIE VANDOREN’S daughter has been staying with her for the last 10 days while preparing to move to Alaska.

“They are moving away from me,” said Debbie. “But, that is what God has in mind for them and mission work is what we are all about.”

Although Steve and Mandy Cantine have not yet sold their house, Steve was driving the moving van into Alaska on Thursday of this week to start getting things set up for the big move. Steve, who is a Texas State Trooper, recently became an Alaskan State Trooper. Once settled and after getting to know people, the couple plans to eventually partner with the mission organization SEND North working with families in rural villages.

MITCHELL SMITH, 14, of Whitehouse has his own personal collection of Scouting Memorabilia on display at the London Museum in New London this month. Uniforms, patches, badges and other awards he has earned make a strikingly commendable collection. Smith is the son of Aimee and Gary Smith, in eighth grade and home schooled. He is the youngest docent during Saturdays when the museum is open through the months of March – August.

May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes Throughout the Week. We may be reached at or 903-984-2593.


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