Linda Ballard

Yes! We are off and running in the new year. We have returned to country cooking of black-eyed peas, cabbage and cornbread to get past the rich food of the holidays. Just throw in a fried potato and we are all set for winter. Don’t pay any attention to those dieting ads: just add fresh fruit and vegetables, toss in some exercise and you should be good for the remainder of the year.

Starting her new year with cornbread was Wanda Billings. It is nothing new for her to make cornbread but, this year, she used fresh milled cornbread that she purchased recently on a trip to Tennessee. The corn was milled in a home that was built in 1797 located in Sequatchie Valley. The family returns once a year to mill the corn. So will Wanda for fresh supplies after hearing how wonderful the cornbread tasted.

OUT WITH THE OLD and in with the new as Kilgore is taking on a fresh face this year. Pat Anderson Furniture has gone into retirement mode and there are rumors of a couple of more businesses planning the same. Print Monkey is expanding their business by adding a new location in Henderson. Norma Hunter at Amazing Grace Floral has new plans for her shop in the works and Faith Fitness is trying their best to get the new year off to a healthy start while Meadowbrook’s 19th Hole may be looking into expanding not only their menu but their dining area.

STIRRING MEMORIES is Everett George, who is making improvements to land he purchased that was once the Saddle Club. The horse club and arena was a favorite pastime in the mid 50’s and 60’s to any family that owned a horse or loved horses.

The original land was owned by Jack and Jean Evans.

Their daughter, Tammy Evans Bolding, said, “Dad basically donated the land and started the club. It was through a chartered membership, had its own by-laws and would remain active until a certain amount of the membership ceased to exist. Several years into the 60’s, the membership dwindled and the club shut down. My father died in 1999 and the name was changed to the Jack Evans Memorial Arena. My mother had not been able to ride in over 10 years before she passed away in 2016. My brother Jack and I inherited the land and we sold it. We knew Mr. George was planning on making improvements and I haven’t been by there to see what he has done.”

A food license has been received by Shirley George to operate a concession stand on the premises. She said, “Oh, yes, we have been making changes. It has been cleaned up and the rails power-washed and a concession stand will be open as soon as events are scheduled. We want the FFA and 4-H students to use the grounds when they need it. We already have a group of girls using the rodeo arena for a drill team. There is no charge. As we grow, we hope families will come to have a nice, safe, fun time. And, oh yes, it will be called the Kilgore Western Event Center.” We will be hearing more from them at a later date. In the meantime, if you need to set up events, they can be reached at 903-983-3991.

IT’S A WHO-DONE-IT with “The Whojiwhajits”, a new release by Kilgore author Randy Randel. The book is about siblings keeping a big secret from their mom and they are not sure what to do about it. Add a frolicking pup and tiny people living under a tree and you have a story ideal for middle-grade readers although any reader can enjoy the whimsical tale.

Published by Atlantic Publishing, The Whojiwhajits is the first publication of seven novels for Randy. He said, “ In three weeks, ‘Sand Castles’ will be released and they are working on Toot & Tut With Nuttin’ in Kommon. I actually have seven completed and they wanted all seven, but I sent three so far.”

Randy has used his grandchildren’s names (as well as his dogs’ names) in the book. The Whojiwhajits was listed as on Amazon as #1 New Release for children’s, fairy tales, folklore, legendary, mythology, comics and graphic novels during the week of December 17.

Randy, his wife Erin and 3 dogs live in Kilgore. He is a veteran, having served in the U.S. Army and is employed by Wal-Mart.

He said, “Some customers have already purchased the book through Amazon and have hunted me up at the store to get me to autograph their copy. That works.” If you can’t find him in person to purchase, try www.amazon.com/Whojiwhajits-Randy Randel.

IN KILGORE, we also turn to our personal Farmer’s Almanac by reaching out to the feed store owners. Troy Harvey, at Stone Road Farm and Garden Center said, “You need a few dry days, but now is the time to put out your weed killer to stop the flowering weeds.” Eddy Holley at Kilgore Feed Company agreed. He said, “Yes, the bull thistle weed that you find in pastures will have their rosette blooming and that’s what you want to make sure you stop before it buds. Also, the first of January is the time to plant your onions, peas and cool weather produce. Our winter has been extra mild temperature-wise and we are still on a drought scale. Even though we are getting some rain, it has not been enough. Our ponds are still low and we need a good run-off.”

It may be time for hibernating for some, but not for the farmers and ranchers.

In a bit of sad news, Mart Lapin, who you can read out in Bill Woodall’s column today, has reported to KNH that Glenn Jones, third-generation Kilgore pharmacist now residing in Waco, has lost his wife to ALS. Her funeral will be held today for any Kilgoreites who wish to send their condolences.

I HAVE yet to hear any unusual New Year’s resolutions. Send them in along with a good story behind it. We can be reached at chitchatlinda@aol.com or 903-984-2593. In the meantime, May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes.

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