Saturday, Oct. 29 the City of Goodrich and the Goodrich Volunteer Fire Department will host their Trunk-A-Treat at the city hall from 5-7 p.m. There will be free candy for the children and a costume contest for ages newborn to 13 years old. After you leave the city hall be sure to drive right down the street to Gokey’s Old Town Emporium for their drive-thru candy give-a-way and Economy Housing Mobile Homes will also be giving away candy at that same location.
But before that we have some exciting news for the Goodrich Community. Most of you remember that awful, dilapidated building on the corner of Loop 393 and the road leading to our schools. Years ago, that building was Glenn’s Grocery and it served a very needed purpose in our community as the local grocery store. How many of you remember buying those ice-cold glass bottle Cokes or the giant Jack’s brand cookies there? Those were some good times but as often happens, the owner grows older and sadly passes on leaving the property uncared for.
Through the last several decades that building had become so very dangerous. People went in and out stealing anything they could sell and it looked awful right in the middle of our Main Street. So fast forward ... I was contacted a couple of years ago about buying the little lot from the estate of some of the family heirs. The details were worked out and the purchase was made. Then we started working on the old building. First, we had to save and relocate approximately 25,000 bees. The entire wall structure on one side of the building was filled with bees and honeycombs. There were so many bees that there were actually two queen bees according to the beekeeper that caught and relocated all the bees. We then saved every single piece of wood that could ever be repurposed which made the process take much longer than if we would have just had it knocked down. Then Covid hit and work completely stopped for months. But about a year ago we hit it hard again and took it down to the bare dirt.
So, then everybody begin asking what we were doing and this is the exciting part. We are creating a little butterfly garden on that corner right in the middle of our community. Plants that attract butterflies will be planted by this coming Spring and that brings us to what is next. The red metal building on the property next to this lot faces the garden area so with the help of a very community-minded business, Economy Housing Mobile Homes, Fort Worth visual artist Aubree Dale is arriving next week to create a beautiful mural of giant flowers, bees and butterflies on that side of the metal building so it will become a backdrop of what will become our beautiful butterfly garden. Now the really exciting part ... the artist will draw the mural in sort of a “paint by numbers” design ... then we want members of our community, especially the children that are old enough to help paint, to come and be part of this creation. This will result in something that we all created. The artist will touch it up but this will truly be a community project created with love by our community. This garden will be called Juanita’s Garden in memory of my mother who died very young and who is still very missed. She did not live long enough to see her children as real adults nor did she live long enough to meet her only grandson nor his two precious sons but she loved children so very much and this is our way of honoring her with the hope that through the upcoming years many, many children will enjoy this little garden as they walk to school on the road next to it and as they see the beautiful butterflies and bright happy flowers ... all where an ugly dilapidated building once stood. I believe in my heart my mother would absolutely love this.
Now let me brag on this community. Without the help of so many, I could not be doing this. It takes a lot of money and so much time. There were moments that I stood in the middle of what was a mess and asked God ... how do I continue this ... it’s a mess ... and God answered by putting the right people there exactly when I needed them ... like the afternoon Edgar Angel decided he wanted to help clean up and level the property and soon his brother Genaro was involved. Pastor Tom Owen showed up unrequested on many days to mow all around the property. Peach Williamson never wavered in her commitment to this project even when I had my doubts. She has worked hard physical hours and provided workers many times.
Elbert Marlow of Economy Housing Mobile Homes was my dear friend and was one of the first people I told of my plans. Being a very successful businessman, I always respected his opinions so when I told him what I was going to do and asked what he thought ... he never hesitated for a second when he said, “If you believe in it then do it.” This answer about a project that was and is a money pit and a project that will never result in a dime of income. Is it the best decision I have ever made? Money wise absolutely not, but heart wise and community wise? Yes, it certainly is. We have since lost our dear friend Elbert. And now Elbert’s family who has taken an interest in this project because of Elbert and their spirit of helping to improve this community are involved.
Next, I have to brag on the group of women who have already began potting plants for the garden including my sister Nita and Jo Ann Jefferies and Susan Ryman who we have also lost but I will always remember her delight and excitement when I told her my plans. And this is where I have to say despite the cost, despite the arguments over me wanting to save every tiny piece of wood from the building, despite having to battle moving those old counters and displays out of the rotten floors of the building, despite his knee replacement, despite the bees, the mud and my madness about this project, my husband Kenneth has stood by my side in this all the way from spending the money to drying my tears when this project seemed hopeless. He not only saw my vision, he embraced it with his calm to my madness, his patience to my rush in to it approach and his love for this community that almost matches mine.
Does it sound like this is a project very close to our hearts? It should, because it certainly is. So, stay tuned for photos of the completed mural and updates on “Juanita’s Garden.” We have a long way to go on this project but not as far as we have come. And we can always use more help.
Goodrich School News
•Oct. 27- Teacher Appreciation Night
•Oct. 27- Volleyball- Spurger at Goodrich (District Game)
•Thanksgiving Holiday- Nov. 21 thru Nov. 25
Area Church News
Please note to Goodrich First Baptist has changed all their night services to 5:30p.m.
Goodrich First Baptist Church Is holding their regular in-church services
Worship Services and Activities:
•Sunday School 9:45 a.m., Worship Service 11 a.m., Worship Service 5:30 p.m.
•Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting 5:30 p.m.
•SAWC lunch is Tuesday at noon.
•The Free Clothes Closet at Goodrich First Baptist Church is open every Tuesday at 11 a.m.
Christmas is only a few weeks away and Saturday, Dec. 3 will be the Goodrich Community Christmas Festival with our lighted Christmas Parade at 6 p.m. that same night. For information about having a booth at the festival please contact the Goodrich City Hall at 936-365-2228. There are booths available with or without electricity. Plus, my shop is hosting our 16th Christmas Open House that same day.
News Around Town
It is with a very sad heart that I let you know that Wanda “Perk” Swinney Long has now gone to her Heavenly home, reunited with her family members that she loved so very much. Wanda was born in Goodrich in 1932. She married the love of her life, Verlan Dean Long, on Christmas Day in 1953. Verlan was also from Goodrich. She later moved from Goodrich, but her love of Goodrich never wavered. She loved returning home for a visit and would spend hours visiting with my daddy before he passed. Those two would talk about their school days like they were still teenagers. She was one of my encouragers, often calling me just to thank me for trying to save our community’s history. Perk, you will be forever remembered and forever missed. Please remember her family and friends in your prayers.
Have a wonderful week and if you have news you want to share let me know and while I will not promise I will try to share it in my column. I do promise to try and be more diligent with this column and thank you to the ones that have missed it. My life is busy but with my recent leg injury I have been forced to slow down somewhat. Be Blessed and start getting those Christmas decorations up! Always Believe