Letters
Letters for 06-30-2016

Share your heart with those closest to you
This may seem scattered, but it all ties
together, but you’ve got to get to the end to
find out how.
To get to my Mom’s home, you went
nowhere and turned left.
One of nine children that survived
to adulthood, she married a young, tall,
handsome man known by the nickname
of Bronc. Within short order, they were a
family of six.
The third of her four children died
in her arms at age 2. Just a few short
years later, her husband was killed in a
car crash on his way to work. My much
older brother – 20 years my senior – said
he went to bed as a 12-year-old and had to
wake up a man.
Some time later, she met a man who
would become my father. Twice after they
married, pregnancies ended in miscarriages.
The last seven months of the pregnancy
that brought me into the world were
spent in bed.
When I was nine, the next-to-oldest
brother was killed.
Here was Mom, still short of 50, who’d
lost two sons she’d given birth to, the father
of those two boys and two children that she
never got to hold. I would imagine Mom
would’ve loved to tell them all how much
they meant to her before they were taken.
Halloween night 2002. Being Baptists,our church held a Fall Festival. We spent
the evening with church members, including
Sweetie’s brother, Don Johnston. The
next day, Don and a business partner went
flying with another man who was interested
in buying the plane Don and his buddy
were selling. Less than 30 minutes after
takeoff, the plane crashed just north of
Rayville, killing all three men. In the days,
weeks and months that followed, Charlotte
said time and again how much she wishes
she had told him she loved him before we
all headed home that night from church.
Fast forward a few years, like to Monday
before last, when I get a call from
Ann Booth, the sister of Van Booth who’s
worked for The Gazette off and on for many
years. Ann said she’d had to take Van to
the hospital two days earlier. With no one
available to treat what was ailing him,
they shipped him to a hospital in Jackson,
where they did emergency surgery.I was sitting on the front porch Sunday
morning, reading a devotional and had just
finished reading the featured verse – “My
flesh and my heart may fail, but God is
the strength of my heart and my portion
forever.” (Psalm 73:26) – when my phone
rang. It was Ann, telling me Van had passed
away Saturday, following his diagnosis
with sepsis. If you don’t know, sepsis is
basically blood poisoning and happens
when your body develops an infection and
chemicals released into the bloodstream
attack vital organs.
Now that you’ve learned something that
maybe you don’t know, I’m going to share
something with you that’s more like a
simple reminder: Don’t let a day pass that
you don’t share with those closest to you
how much you love them.
Following Don’s death, every time I talk
to Charlotte (which is several times a day),
our boys, my remaining siblings and even
dear friends, every conversation – and I
mean EVERY conversation – ends with “I
love you.”
Please practice that. You’ll be glad you
did.
Mark Rainwater may be reached at the
offices of The Gazette, 104 North Washington
in Farmerville, by calling 318.368.9732
or by emailing mark@fgazette.com.
here are three things most people
around Louisiana would recognize as being
part of Union Parish: Lake D’Arbonne, the
Watermelon Festival and the state’s premier
location for deer hunting.
Last weekend, two of those brought great
focus on the state.
Justine Ker, chosen as Miss Watermelon
Festival in 2015, was chosen to serve as
Miss Louisiana 2016. She will represent the
state in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic
City, New Jersey in September. Eva Edinger,
the reigning Miss Union Parish, was chosen
as one of the top 10 semifinalists in the
competition. The pageants that provided both
women with opportunities to compete for
the crown are sponsored by the Farmerville
Jaycees.
Earlier that day and again on Sunday,
some of the top drag boat racers in the nation
converged on Ramp Road of Louisiana 33 for
the Battle on the Bonne, sponsored by the
Deep South Racing Association.
Over the next month, those same two will
continue to bring attention to the parish.
On Saturday, an Independence Day
Celebration, sponsored by Lache Pas La
Patates and Ludwig Marine, will take place.
The event – which will feature a boat parade
paying a $500 cash prize to the winning
entry and culminate that evening with the
annual fireworks display at 9 p.m. – is
designed to focus attention on the efforts of
the men and women who have served in our
military who made possible our continued
independence. It will also include food
vendors, live entertainment, fun jumpers and
face painting for kids, all at no charge.
Later in the month, Ker’s successor as
the next Miss Louisiana may be part of
the pageant contests held in connection
with the 53rd Watermelon Festival. The
party starts Friday July 29, with a tennis
tournament, bicycle and tricycle races,
arm wrestling contest, watermelon eating
and seed spitting contests, a best-dressed
watermelon competition and a street dance.
The festivities continue Saturday with
events around the Courthouse Square, with
a breakfast for the watermelon growers
entering their wares in the size and quality
contests. Also that morning, the festival
parade will roll out from Union Parish High
School at 9 a.m. Throughout the day, vendors
will be open on the Courthouse Square.
Both the Independence Day celebration
and festival are expected to bring visitors
from outside Union Parish here to enjoy
events. Though it is likely many will be return
visitors, there may be some who are coming
for the first time. Since we only have one
chance to make a good impression, let’s
live up to our reputation as the cleanest
city in Louisiana. Let’s also help them learn
something that we’ve known for a long time:
That some of the kindest, most courteous
and compassionate people in the state make
their home in Union Parish.
If we work to achieve both goals, chances
are those first time visitors will return in the
years ahead.
Museum tribute to veterans something to see
Letter to the Editor
Editor:
I visited the Union Museum of History
and Art (last) week and was, as usual, quite
impressed with the very neat, orderly display
and arrangements of the memorabilia
that families shared of their loved ones
who served our country in past wars and
conflicts.
The pictures, stories, uniforms and
other personal items on display poignantly
reminded me that during those war years
that “all gave some and some gave all.”
We should always, always remember
and respect those who so bravely defended
and served our country.
If you have not taken the time to visit
this exhibit, I encourage you to please do
so. This is just one of the many displays
that the museum shares during the year.
I do not know what the next display will
be: However, I know it will be informative
and well arranged.
Stein Baughman,
Mayor, Town of Farmerville