Friday, January 27, 2012


The time is at hand. Yes, 2012 is upon us. Time is ideal for confessions.

Many of you know my big sister, Ann Lowell Hamby King. Not only is she my big sister, she also is my older sister. You may recall she disdains such “big” and “older” descriptions. “If it looks like a duck …” never mind, I digress.

Confession: Ann Lowell has embarked upon her eighth decade today, this being Saturday, January 21, 2012 (don’t tell her … it’s a surprise).

The almost three-year-old in Beauxart Gardens in 1938 never dreamed he would be writing this on Sunday afternoon, January 15, 2012. The lucid memories of early life always have been a fascination.

We do not have many pictures of those days. Mama did the best she could with our old Kodak Box Camera.

Confession: My big, older sister was my babysitter and I never got around to thanking her. You know, little brothers seem at times not to think of “Thanks.” Should you see her, please inform her of my gratitude. Thank you.

Confession: I should not have written the column about Ann Lowell speeding down Elgie Avenue. Dad’s 1950 Oldsmobile Super 88 was one hot wagon. Ann Lowell enjoyed taking me for joy rides. Looking back I can see the danger of flying 60 mph through those residential areas without seatbelts. We could have run off the road and killed somebody. Ann Lowell told me I was sitting in the “death seat.” I guess that’s the side of the car that would have killed somebody had we run off the road. Anyway, she got mad at me for telling our parents.

Confession: Many of you know I never should have teased Ann Lowell about sitting in that old Ford with Sid. Pipkin Street in front of our house really was dark at that time of night. Kept joking around how they sat out there playing the radio. I had known for some time the old Ford did not have a radio. Felice and Boudleaux Bryant had not even written, “Wake Up Little Susie” till 1957. And even if they had, there was no YouTube to play it like we have today. That old Ford with no radio never had a chance. But I digress.

Confession: I have wondered somewhat in recent years as to whether or not “digression,” intentional or unintentional, is a sin? Thank you, Ann Lowell, for enduring your little brother throughout all these (Good Grief, can’t find my calculator)…

Confession: Earlier in this treatise I referred to a duck. The jury will disregard that statement. Time has a way of changing things.

Just look (Ann Lowell is the one with gray hair). Actually, we both have changed. I no longer am the little brother. You should know that for quite some time I have been the bigger brother of my older sister.

Confession: This younger brother no longer is jealous of his older sister. Now that I’m her bigger little brother, it all comes out even.

Confession: Even though Ann Lowell and I still are not far from Beauxart Gardens, we both have come a long way.

Confession: On this, Ann Lowell’s eightieth birthday, there is opportunity one more time for this taller, younger brother to impress his shorter, older sister. After all, isn’t that what a taller, younger brother is supposed to do? The following I did not know. I looked it up to impress Ann Lowell:

“open confessione is good for the soul.”
[c 1641 in E. Beveridge D. Fergusson's Scottish Proverbs (1924) no. 159]

Sid King was Ann Lowell’s faithful husband for 58 years. He passed away on April 20, 2011, four days before his 85th birthday.

Ann Lowell will be moving in a few months to Indiana to be nearer her children.

Beaumont will be losing one of her Southern Belles.

Yes, the time is at hand.

Winston Hamby

Friday, December 23, 2011


Merry Christmas, everyone. We said it that way because that is the way it is. Well, one thing is special about today. It is a Christmas Sunday.

Christmas continues to arrive each year, always bringing much discussion. Following are a few questions for your consideration. You would do well to read Matthew 2:1-12 and Luke 2:1-20. We are using the New International Version (NIV) translation. Feel free to use the translation of your choice. The facts remain the same regardless.

Do you know how Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem?

Many conjecture various modes i.e. donkey, oxcart, etc. The answer is found in Luke 2:4-5a, “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary …”

Fact is the Bible does not share the mode of transportation. We know they went to Bethlehem. God provided for their welfare including their manner of travel.

Who did God use to tell Joseph and Mary they should go to Bethlehem in the first place?

Luke 2:1-3 tells us this plus more, “In those days, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.” It is interesting to note the role Caesar Augustus had to play in the great scheme of things.

Exactly what did the innkeeper tell Mary and Joseph when they arrived at the inn in Bethlehem where Jesus was to be born?

Certainly there was communication but read Luke 2:6-7, “While they were there (Bethlehem), the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Nowhere does the Bible record any conversation involving the innkeeper.

Which animals were present at Jesus’ birth?

Probably you know that no animals are mentioned as being present. We can assume some things but what does the Bible say?

For example, was Jesus born in a stable?

Remember Luke 2:7, “… and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Does the Bible say that Jesus was delivered in a stable? No, but the Bible does say that, “She…placed him in a manger.”

How many angels spoke to the shepherds in the field? No doubt you have heard there were numerous angels.

Luke 2:9-11 states, “An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’”

There were, indeed, numerous angels but they did not come along till Luke 2:13-14.

“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’”

We do not know the actual date Jesus was born. You have read and heard of this more and more with the passing of time. The fact that he was born is what matters.

Christians believe Jesus was born of a virgin. Prophecy and fulfillment deliver the message plain and clear.

Consider Isaiah 7:14, written 800 years before the birth of Jesus, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

The fulfillment of this is found in Matthew 1:22-23, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’-which means, ‘God with us.’”

So, “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about…” See Matthew 1:18.

Merry CHRISTmas, everyone,
from Winston and Mardell Hamby.


( and/or

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


There are football games that I can almost remember but cannot quite recall, such as the first game ever attended by this eleven-year-old in 1946.
I did not know what a football was much less a football game. But soon I was to become a student well-grounded.

You see, my sister, Ann Lowell Hamby, was a freshman at South Park High School that same year. Ann marched, played bugle and bell lyre in the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps. Most modern folks refer to a bell lyre as a glockenspiel. That is two German words, glocken (bell) and spiel (play). I’m glad my sister played a bell lyre because I never could have told people what she did had she played a glockenspiel.

We invited a friend of mine from church to go with us to that first game. Her name was Joyce Vick. She was one year older than I was but it didn’t matter.

My parents did not realize that I had discovered girls some three years prior to this occasion. I thought Joyce was a very interesting friend but did not know why. I digress. Back to football.

There was lots of cheering and yelling. Everyone was standing up. I could not see anything. I wondered why they were acting like that. Even my parents were standing and smiling.

I asked, “Hey Joyce, what’s everybody doing?” Joyce explained (she thought), “We just scored a touchdown.” This “we” wording confused me. I had not done anything and Joyce had not done anything. All my parents had done was stand and smile. At least they were not jumping up and down.

I did not want Joyce to realize I was in the dark thus asked her, “Whose side are you on?” She looked at me with her loving smile and said, “Quit being silly.” To this day, I have yet to understand women.

That same year, one of the football players became my hero. His name was Billy Baggett. I recall his running nearly the length of the field for a touchdown at Greenie Stadium. We were playing a tough team, the Orange Bengal Tigers. I believe Orange won that game thirty-something to 6.

Later one afternoon I was with my mother who had driven to campus to pick up Ann. I was lingering outside the car. Billy Baggett came strolling by and said to me “How ‘ya doing there fella?” I was stunned that Billy Baggett spoke to me. That’s when he became my hero.

Another year when I played trombone in the band, we traveled to Orange in a passenger car on the Southern Pacific Railroad. They parked us on a spur and we filed from the train coach into the stadium. The train track was right there.

At halftime, the band formed a big square on the field. We played music and several couples, unknown to me, square-danced. It was a fun-show although I feared that folks back in Beaumont would find out. Our church did not believe in dancing of any sort. I was relieved when no one challenged my Friday night escapade.

After returning to Beaumont from college, I saw the Greenies defeat the Port Arthur Yellow Jackets 16-14. Galena Park came over for a playoff game which we won 7-0. We traveled to Spring Branch where we lost 0-8. There were no touchdowns scored in that game but only a safety and two field goals.

Eddie Jackson, Greenie ’47, who died in the early 1950s from a rare brain disorder, had written a poem. His last verse became the Greenies’ slogan, which more than sums it up:

“The sun that sets may never rise,

But Greenie fight never dies.”

Winston Hamby

Monday, December 05, 2011


Retired Lamar Professor David G. Taylor hit a homerun when he and his wife moved to Beaumont in 1955.

Dr. Richard W. Setzer, Dean of the Lamar School of Business, hired Taylor as Professor of Marketing.

Upon arriving in Beaumont, David hit another homerun when he and his wife, Etoie, joined the First Baptist Church. They have served long and well continuing to be shining lights of faithful inspiration. Taylor is a Life Deacon and loves to talk about his church ministry. Etoie was supposed to be named Etoile, but her birth certificate was mis-spelled. So Etoie it is although their children called her “Mother.”

Prof. Taylor did not have to wait long after settling down in his new office at Lamar. The phone rang and Taylor found himself with his first consultation appointment. Yet another homerun.

That first meeting in Taylor’s office was with the three Rogers’ brothers, Nate, Ben, and Sol. Their inquiries centered on how to build and market a shopping center. From those early consultations emerged the incredibly successful Gateway Shopping Center. Of course, most of you reading this know the rest of the story.

Prof. Taylor arrived in time for the integration of Lamar State College of Technology. He hit a homerun and has many a story to tell about that historical period in time. His first black student was Alvin G. Randolph, who turned out to be one of Beaumont’s leading realtors. Taylor and Randolph developed a close friendship that lasted until Randolph’s recent death.

Taylor’s teaching career included 15 months at Baylor, 6 years at Arkansas State, and 33 years at Lamar. He retired from Lamar in 1988.

Just after Hurricane Rita, Taylor drove to the Sam Rayburn Lake area to help a friend “clean up the mess.” There were fallen trees and debris all over the cabin grounds. David reached down to pick up a piece of wood and was surprised when a copperhead snake chose to bite his finger. Taylor killed the snake and named it Rita. This amounted more to a foul ball than a homerun but it did instigate a run to the hospital.

Etoie and friends finally got David through all the brush on the road and reached the Jasper Hospital. Everything seemed fine except for the fact that there was no electricity in Jasper, including the hospital.

The doctors told David they were going to airlift him to Tyler. Taylor rode flat on his back in that medical chopper. He told me that Etoie sat up front beside the pilot and conversed with the pilot over the two-way radio. All David could do was stare straight up at the ceiling of that craft. He did note that the chopper was black and yellow. Anyway, he recovered.

Taylor has always enjoyed entering contests. Each win is a homerun and they include: A trip to Mexico City, a fur coat for Etoie, a trip to Paris, a 1964 Pontiac LeMans, and numerous appliances. His most recent win was a Gatorade Cooler with 15 Gatorade towels and 15 bottles of Gatorade.

Taylor is in reasonably good health for a man of 85 years. He explains, “I still mow my own yard for the exercise. I seem, however, to be losing my hair (what hasn’t turned gray has turned loose). But my neighbor’s Jack Russell Terrier (Max) seems to love me so it can’t be all bad.”

A tome of great dimension would be required to hold the life experiences of David G. Taylor. He should write his autobiography. This would result in another home run.

David is a prolific writer. He has been published in magazines and newspapers, including several articles in the Beaumont Enterprise.

David and Etoie just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.
That, my friends, is definitely a grand slammer.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


There is a bright light shining in Beaumont and I want to share with you that light. But wait, I am ahead of the story.

Forty-five years ago at Baptist Hospital in Beaumont, a beautiful baby girl was born. Her proud parents were Daniel and Geneva Fontenot. The beaming siblings were Daniel, Jr. and Misty.

Rhonda Rochelle grew up in Beaumont and married Joseph Lewis. Currently she has one stepdaughter, Britney Lewis and a step granddaughter, Taliyah.

What turned my attention toward Rhonda can be summed up with the following:

I grew up in Beaumont and lived on Pipkin Street in South Park. Rhonda grew up in Beaumont and lived in the Pear Orchard area of town. Pear Orchard was across the tracks from Pipkin Street. This means that I grew up just a few blocks from where Rhonda grew up even though we were thirty years apart in age.

Much of my young life in Beaumont was taking place while racial tensions were at their highest. I remember while in the third grade at Giles Elementary, asking my mother, “Where are the black kids? Don’t they go to school?" Mom replied with something like, “Oh yes, they have their own schools.” I could not understand the what or why of this information.

One afternoon, I was riding in the backseat of my dad’s 1938 Plymouth. We were heading north on Park Street toward downtown Beaumont. Suddenly, at every intersection, there appeared men in green uniforms directing traffic. I learned that these were called the National Guard, called out to control pending race riots. I did not understand.

The race scene was horrific. Most of you reading this are well aware of the racial strifes throughout the years in Beaumont and surrounding Southeast Texas. I had to drink from the “white” drinking fountains, use the “white” restrooms, ride in the “white” section of the city buses. All the while, I did not understand.

Later, as a young adult in Beaumont, I made many black friends. We still could not eat together in public establishments but we were friends. I felt good knowing my light skin did not offend them and their dark color to me just meant their pigment was different from my own. God created mankind and I strongly believe that Adam and Eve were not the whitest kids on the block. Think about it. After their expulsion from the Garden, they lived in a land where white folks never walked. Perhaps they were not black but rather a pigment color somewhere between our current concepts of black and white.

Anyway, back to Rhonda Rochelle Lewis. A group showed up on Facebook carrying the name “You’re probably from Beaumont Tx. If you remember …” This group which offers open membership began in July, 2011.

Rhonda started this group and received valuable assistance from a white friend of hers, Mary Ann Petry. Mary Ann provided numerous pictures of old and new Beaumont.

Rhonda continues as administrator of the aforementioned group on Facebook. For months I have observed and participated with the group. Rhonda’s beautiful Christian countenance manages with minimal disturbance.

A product of Forest Park High School (Hebert merged with FPHS), Rhonda leads a beautiful Christian life. Here are her words to me, “I know that only through Christ have I been able to sustain. He is my source for being and I am proud to be called one of his.” Rhonda attends New Light Church on Crow Road. She is a Human service tech at Spindletop Center working with mentally disabled adults.

I learned from Rhonda that all people can get along when Jesus Christ is our common denominator.

Yes, there is a bright light shining in Beaumont.

Her name is Rhonda Rochelle Lewis.

(Note: Please send comments and/or responses to

Winston Hamby

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


While I was in the hospial with double pneumonia, my lovely daughter, Deana Hamby Nall, agreed to write a column in my stead ... following is similar to how the newspaper carried her column: wh

Blue Eyes

Jenna was born three years ago tomorrow. Eight-and-a-half pounds. A golden sheen to her head that promised blond hair. Blue eyes.

At least I tell people they're blue. There really isn't a word to describe the color of her eyes.

But I'll try.

I learned to scuba dive in 1993. And I learned something about it right off: scuba diving is a big hassle. So much heavy, awkward equipment is required for breathing underwater. The tank by itself weighs 80 pounds. Then there's the weight belt, which must be adjusted just right so you won't float to the surface or be stuck on the ocean floor. Then you have the BCD, the fins, snorkel, mask and wetsuit -- if the water you're diving in is going to be cold.

But once below the surface, the oppressive gear becomes your key to the underwater world. You swim around weightless, holding out fingers as curious fish swim up to them. Your teeth clench around the regulator that, on land moments before, was uncomfortable in your mouth. Now it's the only way to get air into your lungs. The sound of your constant inhaling and exhaling is a reminder that you're doing something humans weren't made to do. You are living, thriving, underwater. The hassle, for the moment, is forgotten.

It took us a long time to get Jenna into this world. I got pregnant, then miscarried. Pregnant again, then blood one morning. Pregnant a third time, but then more blood. We started thinking adoption. Then I got pregnant again, and this one held. I got very sick, was placed on home healthcare, and then developed gestational diabetes. Then, one Thursday morning, the previous year-and-a-half faded as I finally looked into her eyes.

And I remembered the circle of light.

Thirty feet under the ocean's surface, it's easy to become disoriented -- to the point that you can lose track of which way you're supposed to go to reach air. As a scuba diver, you learn to look for light. Light means surface. When you find the sunlight piercing the blue mass in which you are submerged, you slowly swim toward it, exhaling all the way. Surrounded by varying shades of watery blue, the circle of light expands and seems to pull you toward itself. You keep swimming up, up, up -- until you think your lungs can't expel any more air. But the bubbles keep coming from your mouth, and you keep moving toward the light.

Then you reach it and you burst through it into air, light, life.

That's what color Jenna's eyes are.

The newpaper bio of Deana:

Deana Hamby Nall grew up in Beaumont and graduated from Beaumont Christian High School in 1989. She has been writing feaures for magazines since 1994 and contributes to a number of national publications. She lives in Little Rock with her husband Chad and their daughters Julia and Jenna. This piece originally appeared in "Quills & Pixels," a nonfiction journal published by UALR.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Here are some additional Dumb Laws courtesy of Aha! Jokes, (My comments are in parentheses):
* Arizona: It is illegal to hunt camels. (Seems like they would provide a permit for such. Think of the revenue they could collect from the onrush of camel hunters.)
* Iowa: One-armed piano players must perform for free. (Will this discrimination thing never end?)
* Iowa: Horses are forbidden to eat fire hydrants. (A sad day for horses.)
* Wyoming: You may not take a picture of a rabbit during the month of June. (Drat it. That’s the very month I was planning a rabbit picture-taking trip to Wyoming.)
* Kentucky: By law, anyone who has been drinking is “sober” until he or she “cannot hold onto the ground.” (What is this? Does gravity cease to function?)
* Vermont: It is illegal to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole. (Wow, how kinky can you get?)
* Natchez: It shall be unlawful to provide beer or other intoxicants to an elephant. (Guess there’s no point inviting an elephant over for a drink.)
* Nebraska: If a child burps during church, his parents may be arrested. (Is it ok for the parents to burp?)
* Nebraska: Barbers are forbidden from eating onions between 7 A.M. and 7 P.M. (My barber eats garlic constantly.)
* Ohio: Riding on the roof of a taxi cab is not allowed. (Of course you may sneak a ride on the roof without permission.)
*Lubbock: It is illegal to drive within an arm’s length of alcohol – including alcohol in someone else’s blood stream. (That’s going to make it tough on designated drivers.)
* Port Arthur: Obnoxious odors may not be emitted while in an elevator. (No Comment.)
*San Antonio: It is illegal to urinate on the Alamo. (Apparently Ozzy Osbourne didn’t get the memo.)
* Georgia: No one may carry an ice cream cone in their back pocket if it is Sunday. (No other choice but to stay home from church.)
* Detroit: It is illegal to paint sparrows to sell them as parakeets. (How about painting canaries to sell as parrots?)
* Virginia: You’re not allowed to park your elephant on Main Street. (Go south one block and park your elephant on Madison Avenue.)
* Kansas: Pedestrians crossing the highways at night must wear tail lights. (I am curious if indicator lights are required.)
* Wichita: Before proceeding through the intersection of Douglas and Broadway, a motorist is required to get out of their vehicle and fire three shot gun rounds into the air. (I’ll never need to know why this law is on the books.)
* Texas: The entire Encyclopedia Britannica is banned in Texas because it contains a formula for making beer at home. (Guess you can always charter a bus to Louisiana and find a public library.)
* Florida: It is considered an offense to shower naked. (I should say so. Can you imagine anyone trying to do that?)
* Florida: If an elephant is left tied to a parking meter, the parking fee has to be paid just as it would for a vehicle. (They might try parking their camel and hope to get away with it.)
* Florida: A special law prohibits unmarried women from parachuting on Sundays or she shall risk arrest, fine, and/or jailing. (Besides that, she ought to be in church.)
* Florida: It is illegal to wear a fake moustache that causes laughter in church. (How about a real moustache?)
* Memphis: It is illegal for a woman to drive a car unless there is a man either running or walking in front of it waving a red flag to warn approaching motorists and pedestrians. (No Comment.)
Laws are enacted for reasons. Sometimes, these reasons escape us.

Winston Hamby