High points from El Camino Real

by Chris Davis

I hated that I left all my friends along El Camino Real in the dark last week, but the great East Texas blackout that took out the power on Sunday afternoon shut my computer down. I’ll explain all of this later, but for now I’ve got lots of catching up to do in this week’s six bits worth of news.
On Sunday afternoon August 18, we had just gotten back from College Station and the lights were flickering on and off. I called a friend at the electric company and they said that something happened to a big electricity provider up by Longview and they were going to have to shut all the power off to the Rural Electric customers.
Fat boys don’t like the thought of sleeping hot, so I panicked and started running wide open. I ran down to the barn and pulled my generator with little wheels uphill across the limestone driveway. I don’t think those little wheels ever turned in the rocks. I grabbed my gas can and flew to town to fill it up before the power went off.
I forgot my wallet and had to dig through fast food change in the console to buy a few gallons. I had a portable air conditioner out in my dad’s shop, but he had loaned it to my cousin who was working on a big boat. When I went to get it out of the boat there was no one to help me. I climbed up the nine foot ladder crawled under the tarp and found the air conditioner was sitting in the cabin in the front.
I manhandled it through the maze of tools and stuff, out from under the tarp and down the ladder. When I got home I realized that some of the parts were still at my dads, so I drove 7 miles out there and back to retrieve them. When I got home and got everything hooked up, I was wringing wet with sweat and out breath. I sat down in my chair to catch my breath and the power came back on. I guess this was the first time I ever cussed the electric company for getting the lights on too quick.
Rumor was that the big Eastman Plant in Longview was on fire, but it turns out the only thing burning was a fox squirrel on a limb that was too close to some big power lines.
The kids in Alto have been back in school for two weeks now and they all seem to be adjusting pretty well. Alto High School is now portable buildings in the football field parking lot, but they say they are pretty nice. The Yellowjacket Band is practicing hard and playing loud and the football team is looking good after two scrimmages. The Yellowjackets wound up in a slugfest in their scrimmage with the Crockett Bulldogs, but it didn’t last too long, like a rodeo about 8 seconds.
I’d say we are pretty much back to normal except for the flapping blue tarps, no gymnasiums, and no library. Kids adjust better to stuff than adults do. I’m just thankful we are all still here and making do.
I have been really looking forward to an event that is happening at First Baptist Church in Alto tonight, August 28 at 6 p.m. The FBC Alto #75925 Youth are welcoming 5X Olympic Champion Josh Davis to Alto for a back to school bash. He is a tremendous personality and speaker, our story touched his heart and he wanted to come to help us kick off our school year. I’ve tried to claim kin to him every way I can, but so far it hasn’t worked.
He did all his swimming in a pool wearing a speedo and all my family did their swimming in the Neches River in tighty whities. Josh wears his hard work and determination in gold medals around his neck and my family’s search for the gold has consisted of Gold Medal Flour biscuits and we wear those around our middles.
I personally can’t wait to meet Josh and hear his message for the youth of our area. Sometimes we feel forgotten here behind the pine curtain, we are honored to have Josh Davis visit us. I hope to see you all tonight.
The 120th anniversary of Campground Baptist Church in the Jones Chapel Community on Sunday was a big success. Bro. Jim Goforth had invited me to come several weeks ago and I had been looking forward to the event.
The little church was packed from corner to corner. The Southern Plainsmen Gospel Quartet performed and they did such a good job, I found myself thinking, “I hope they sing one more” instead of, “I wish they would hurry up so I could go eat”.
The quartet had us all join in to sing Happy Birthday to Bro. Jim Goforth who celebrated his 80th birthday this week. Bro. Goforth’s sermon was so short that I barely had time to get a yawn in, much less a nap. Lots of great memories of the church were shared and members of the Cherokee County Historical Commission dedicated a marker in front of the church.
Afterwards everyone packed into the fellowship hall for a great barbecue lunch. It’s great to visit other churches and see how the Lord works through them. The Campground Baptist Church started in 1899 on the banks of Boxes Creek and though the church’s location has changed a couple of times, its mission of bringing people to Christ is still firmly planted amongst its members.
I appreciate my friend Jim Goforth inviting me to join their festivities. I’ve got some really good preacher friends. It makes me feel really good to know that I have them praying for me, whether I think I need it or not.
We got a good rain here on El Camino Real on Saturday afternoon. At one point it was raining hard on the west side of my house and running off the roof and it was dry as a bone on the east side. There is nothing like our Texas weather.
People have started calling to see if we are under a burn ban. We are not under a burn ban, but if you think you need to ask someone if we are, its too dry to burn. Common sense seems to be in short supply here lately. If you think its too dry to burn, then don’t.
I guess I’ve got you caught up for now, so I’ll give your eyes and ears a rest and stop this week’s worth of rambling. If you think of something that needs telling just give me a call. I’m still in the phone book.
I’ll see ya next week! And remember, “It’s Swimming, you can’t find a better sport to save your life”- Hondo Crouch