Karen Foley put this on Facebook: “Karen and Pat Foley attended the White House Christmas party earlier this month. Our son, Ryan and daughter-in-law, Chris were able to extend an invitation to us for the event. And as you can imagine, it was amazing. Just being in the White House is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but being there for the Christmas party was exceptionally special. Top it off with getting to meet President Donald Trump (meeting any president is an honor) and the first lady and it was a night to remember forever.
‘‘Nothing is left to chance. As you walk toward the White House, a military band plays you in, and out when you leave as well. It makes you feel really special, like you’re a dignitary. Once inside, every room that is open to the attendees is decorated with a tree. Each tree was themed. There was a Gold Star Family tree, honoring those families that lost someone. Another one had a tree featuring Americana, in red and blue with American flags. Our favorite was the “state” tree in the “Blue Room,” featuring the state flower from all 50 states. It was 18-feet tall, and is also the official White House tree.
‘‘The State Dining Room celebrated ‘America the Beautiful.’ It featured a large gingerbread version of the White House requiring over 200 pounds of gingerbread dough to build, along with another 35 pounds of chocolate, and 25 pounds of icing. There were other icon symbols from around the country like the Golden Gate bridge, the Gateway Arch, the Statue of Liberty, Mt. Rushmore, and of course, our favorite was The Alamo, which was placed right next to the White House, as it should be.
‘‘Pat and Ryan told me the food was great, but I’ll be honest, I was so busy trying to take everything in that I really didn’t taste much of the food. Yes, I’m regretting that.
‘‘There was so much more that I could write for days and not cover it all. Since it was early when we left the White House, we went over to the Trump Hotel, which is the old post office that was redone. It was beautiful, and that’s where we finished the evening. All in all, a magical night that we were fortunate to get to experience.”
Janice McLaughlin was the winner of the print watercolor of an eagle, flag and poem painted by Sharon Adams. It was a drawing at the VFW New Year’s Eve party that was their fundraiser. Janice told me that she had prayed for the picture when she first saw it at the Day Center that the Salvation Army has. She bought 10 chances and they paid off for her.
Nancy and Don Reily have new great-grandsons (twins) born Dec. 17, 2019, in Dallas to Carolyn Davis Cross and Colin Cross. The boys are Davis and Conner Cross. Grandparents are Donna Reily Davis of Austin, Ray Davis of Corpus Christi and Debbie and Don Cross of Atlanta, Georgia. These twins have two older siblings: Sanders Cross (4) and Reily Cross (3).
Ernest and I were coming back from Huntington and stopped at the new In the STIX in the old Pete’s Place on U.S. Highway 69 south. Ernest had the chicken strip basket with french fries and I had the carne asada quesadilla. Their hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. They are going to start breakfast soon. Phone is 824-2556. Closed on Sunday. They are on Facebook @in the STIX.
I saw that James Avery Jewelry is locating in the former Chipotle location on Tulane Drive off the loop.
Nancy Manning had a house full for Christmas and New Year’s. Jim Manning came from Nashville, Amy (Manning) and Brett Kirk with children William (17), Eliza (14) and John (12) came from Sewickley, Pennsylvania.
Brett and family enjoyed several days at the Manning-Kirk Farm in Nacogdoches County. The farm was purchased by Robert Samuel Manning, Leon’s great-grandfather, in 1874. Some of the Kirk friends from Kingwood were in town and visited with them.
Nancy said that they made the Yule Log cake, gingerbread house and a gingerbread train with cars. She had cute pictures of the grandchildren at the farm with a flat bottom boat that they found in the creek.
The new Texas Parks & Wildlife January/February 2020 issue has an article on Angelina “The Little Tejas Angel” whose name our county has. It said that Angelina was a park ranger before parks existed, an interpreter of not only language, but also the land.
More than 300 years ago, the young Caddo woman grew up among the matriarchal Hasinai tribes in the woods of East Texas. The oldest women ran the homes and had authority over the men in the family; even mighty warriors and chiefs had to submit to the will of the women in their homes. She is pictured on the mural by Lance Hunter on Angelina Street on the back of the Lufkin school administration building.
Our county is the only county in Texas named for a woman. That should inspire all young women to do their best for their community.