Picnic in the South


Oh, it was all there. The traditional fare of fried chicken, banana pudding, baked beans, cold watermelon and so much more could be found this week at the Danville Cemetery Memorial Picnic. While the temperatures soared to the 97 degree mark, it was cool under the pavilion where families have met since 1926 to receive an update about the cemetery association, listen to some gospel music, a devotional, eat and – more importantly – reminisce about the “good old days.”

Morris Hollowell, caretaker of the historical part of the cemetery told future association plans for funds to go toward needed updates to the pavilion, roadwork and other needs of the area.

“That fried chicken smelled sooo good, but, I had to leave to sing at the Lion’s Club, too,” said soloist, Mitzi Hartfiel. “They fed me well there, but it sure was hard to turn down fried chicken,” she laughed. Mitzi sang “The King is Coming” and “That’s Him” at the picnic.

Reverend David Hampton provided the devotional message based on values and serving God. His message was based on Christ as a servant of God as stated in the Matthew 20 of the Bible.

“Our lives are about serving God; it’s about our values and what we do and say that people remember, not the messages on headstones,” he said. “People don’t really know you from a headstone. It’s how you deal with each other.”

Many were missed this year, but traditions carry-on with other members of families moving to take the helm. It started this year with Martha and Bobby Clark calling first to remind others the chicken would be on the table. It was Bobby’s mother, Mable Clark who made those calls in previous years always stating, “Get there, I’m cooking and there will be more than enough.” Usually, she would have a pot of fresh purple hull peas and sliced tomatoes to go along with that chicken. Mable had attended the picnic for over fifty years and brought half of the county with her. She died in 2013.

Bobbye Hearell was missed this year by friends. For many years she felt it was her mission to make sure the picnic ran smoothly. “She moved to Nacogdoches to be near her son, but she has called to check on us,” said Shirley and John Cox. “She will be turning 91 years old this year and just couldn’t make it back into town.” Other voices around the table let it be known Bobbye had called and checked on each one frequently. “That’s Bobbye. She genuinely cares about each and everyone.”

“Talmadge would be smiling down from heaven today,” said Laverne Mercer when she heard some concern over the group dwindling. “The grounds and everything looks so nice, he would be pleased.”

Talmadge had been caretaker of the cemetery and Laverne started attending the picnics in1947 when their daughter Pam was three days old.

“Yes, he would definitely be smiling,” agreed Sue Clements. “Our sons, Jody Clements and Bryan Mercer mowed these grounds for him without pay and they kept it up through school. He worked the tar out of them and it was good for them.” Her grandson, Tristan, now age 30 was sitting next to her laughing at the “no pay” situation.

Oh, it was a picnic alright and the bond with the other families over the years made it far better than a family reunion.

SHE is currently the envy of many ladies of this town. Kim Gore is the proud owner of a She Shed. Her husband, Willard turned a 12 by 24 ft. building into an oversized doll house for her to have a spot to do all of her crafts, sewing and art projects.

“I love it! I love it!” exclaims Kim. “I had never heard the term She Shed…I always called them man cave or woman cave until I was watching the State Farm commercial where the woman is calling the insurance agent while her shed was on fire asking how fast it could get rebuilt. I told Willard if she could have one, so could I! And Willard has made sure everything is just perfect for all my needs. Now, he wonders when I will come back to the house,” she said.

The building is lined with shelves, a sewing cabinet, various shelves and storage bins neatly organized and within Kim’s reach. A coffee bar can be found at one end for entertaining her “crafty” friends and a swivel satellite television has been mounted on one wall for additional entertainment if she so chooses. A wrought iron chandelier hangs from the ceiling adding an unexpected charm to the She Shed and an overstuffed chair and ottoman at one end has been claimed by Willard for his hard work. It is decorated in a charming country fashion and Kim gives Willard’s cousin, Betty Lee most of the credit for supplying the décor.

“Betty is a master gardener with me in the Civic Garden Center so she just knew what was needed and came up with most of the workable shelves. The other has been purchased mostly at garage sales,” she laughed.

“I almost lost my garden this year,” said Willard. “I would work an hour in the garden and ten hours over here. I couldn’t have done it without Don Hedrick, Rick Murphy, David Ross and my cousin David Watson. They would show up and go to work. They helped me with wiring and cutting in the storage attic. I had no idea how much she would enjoy having her own spot. Now, I have to look for a cook and a laundry maid for the house,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.

“He comes out here and asks when I am coming back into the house,” Kim laughed. “I really do spend a lot of time out here. I just love it and him even more for being such a grand husband!”

Now, Willard has emptied a shed to make his own man cave. “It won’t have a television or air conditioner but it will have a lot of useful stuff in it,” he declared.

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH will present their patriotic program tomorrow, July 1. Service begins at 10:15 (no Sunday school on that day). Numerous patriotic songs, presentation of flags, slide show of veterans and barbecue at City Park after the service. Senior Adults will be able to sit under the pavilion but others need to bring chairs.

THE WELCOME RECEPTION for Dr. Jeremy and Sarah Alfred held at J. de Graffenried Dentistry had over one hundred participants at the meet and greet. Sarah will be teaching at Chandler Elementary this year.

“I am just overwhelmed at how many people are here to meet us,” she said. “And I love Kilgore. The people are so friendly and helpful!”

Dr. Jeremy is looking forward to the upcoming weeks working at the dentistry. He is very community involved and has already been seen at community events.

UPCOMING is the red, white and blue of the Fourth of July. Have a safe holiday and let us know how you spent your day. In the meantime, May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes. We may be reached at or 903-984-2593.


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