It’s referred to as the Cowboy House of Kilgore by the neighborhood children.

Depending on the time of year, friends and neighbors have always kept an eye on the ever-changing landscape and seasonal decorating, but, this year is different.

This year, the home takes on the demeanor of comfort, of peace and one that is surrounded with family memorabilia and antiques dating back to the 1800’s.

It may be located on the corner of a city block, but owners, Pat and Marti (Sparkman) Monk are content with the transforming of modern with the past.

As she walked across the yard that is now part campground and part pioneer Marti said, “Almost everything you see here is part of our family history. For instance, the horseshoes hanging on the window shutters came from the old streets of Kilgore well over seventy-five years ago.

Her uncle, James Allen, owned Allen’s Asphalt Company and he dug up the shoes as they were overlaying the streets, Marti said.

“The pail by the hitching post, I drew water from the well at my grandmother’s home,” she said. “The harness was used on a mule at our family home on Stone Road. We would have something like a family reunion where everyone would arrive to help make syrup. The mule was used to help make syrup.

“The jug belonged to my mother and always set on the fireplace as I was growing up. I was fifteen when she passed away, so I don’t really know where she got it; the wagon wheel was dug up in the pasture of land I own on the outskirts of town.”

The design and layout of the rock was that of Pat’s.

She said, “It was his dream, he drew it on paper, and it came alive.”

Pat’s design included a way that the now existing plants were contained in pots and covered with landscape rock after Marti informed him she could no longer work the flower beds. Now, the potted plants seen in the front yard can be lifted up and taken to the back porch through the winter.

The couple did the entire work themselves, with the exception of two neighborhood men who helped Pat carry and place the rock to carry out the landscape design. It took them a little over a week to complete. Marti said, “It doesn’t take long when you have everything you need to work with in the beginning.”

The theme ran throughout the home and into the backyard as shown with cedar-lined walls in the garage and a back porch “to-die-for,” which is another creation of Pat’s, consisting of sheet metal, pallets taken apart and stained and more family antiques in plain sight.

Everything seen that could light up was also due to Pat’s imagination – from lanterns, to critters in the front yard to tub lighting in the ceiling of the back porch.

Pat is the minister of education at Forest Home Baptist Church, where his projects also range from vacation Bible school to the Christmas in the Woods Outdoor Nativity.

Marti said, “He has an incredible imagination. After he retires that’s all he plans on doing is projects like this.”

Pat has been at Forest Home for 33 years and going strong – not sure we should wait around for that retirement.

As for Marti, she is a “little bit western,” she claims. She was born and on Dudley Road and has been nowhere else, nor does she care to live anywhere else. She still owns a spot of land on the outskirts of town, although she has sold her horses

Perfectly content and surrounded by family history, she is an avid worker (and cook) at the church, too. Marti was employed at the city of Kilgore for 36 years.

A little imagination can get you a long way in their neck of the woods and we can’t wait to see that house at night.

The devastation is not over for those caught in Hurricane Laura recently.

There are still many in need and continuing to need in through the upcoming months. Tara Harris at State Farm Insurance in Kilgore has been accepting donations with plans to deliver them to a couple of State Farm agents for distribution in the Lake Charles area. Tara has also posted a list of needs and information on her Facebook page and welcomes people to call or stop by the office.

The list includes water, canned/dry goods, formula/baby food, diapers/wipes, feminine products, flashlights batteries, pet food, trash bags, first aid kits/bandages, underwear/socks/clothes, bug spray, lighters and matches.

Items can be delivered to her office at 1600 S. Henderson Boulevard, Suite 100, Kilgore or call (903) 984-0676.

May His love and laughter fill your hearts and your homes throughout the week. In the meantime, we may be reached at chitchatlinda @aol.com or (903) 984-2593.

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