De Rigueur of Kilgore

Style. Are you born with it? Do you acquire it over time? Who inspired your sense of style? For me, I know that I was influenced by my mother. She would never go out of the house without her lipstick. When she wasn't wearing nursing scrubs at my dad's office, she loved to wear suits and dresses. I very rarely saw her in a pair of pants. I also remember being mesmerized by Judy McCracken and  Chris Dukes .  I would see Judy at my friend  Melissa's house. She would have clothes delivered to her by The Toggery which was a local ladies apparel store. She would try on the outfits for us … [Read more...]

There’s No Place Like Home

I just got back from a trip to my hometown of Kilgore, Texas. I was there for a little work and a lot of visiting with my family. It rained most of the week. And I'll never complain about rain after suffering through years of drought but it does put a damper on some things. My sister Kathryn and I spent a lot of the week driving around the back roads and reminiscing about growing up. We had the oldie station blaring on the radio which caused us to bust out in random singing to our favorite tunes. What's not to love about a little Delta Dawn and anything ever recorded by Willie … [Read more...]

A Yellow Rose

I’ve gotten to the point in life that I am having to attend a lot of funerals. It’s not exactly something that I look forward to but in some unexpected ways, they’ve become a place of comfort. My earliest memory of Chris Dukes was hearing her high heels tap down the long hallway that lead to my daddy’s office. As she turned the corner with her boys in tow, I saw her bright red hair and even brighter red lipstick. She was wearing a white, starched shirt, black pencil skirt and sling back black pumps. And as she stepped into the lobby area full of people waiting their turn to see the … [Read more...]

Jack Ryan’s is a Gem under the Derricks

If you have never been to Jack Ryan's in downtown Kilgore, you are in for a treat. Not only will you have some incredible views of oil derricks as you drive up to their door, the food is worth every single mile that you drive to get there. I had eaten there this summer for lunch but this was the first time for the dinner service. From the bar staff that attended to us until our entire party arrived, the waiter that served us all night, to the hostess that opened the door for us when we left;  the service was impeccable. I am so excited that a restaurant of this caliber can be found … [Read more...]

Hometown Vacation

When you live in a city of a million people, sometimes spending a little time away in a small town is the perfect summer vacation.  And that's what my family decided to do when we went to my hometown of Kilgore, Texas. We booked four nights at a local hotel and acted like tourists. Can you say free breakfast buffet? It has quickly become a tradition to get our entire Ott family together in the month of July. This summer, it was over the 4th  of July holiday. Instead of my usual vacation planning on sites like Tripadvisor, I simply called my brother John. I consider him to be … [Read more...]

JackRyan’s in Downtown Kilgore

As we drove through downtown Kilgore a few weeks ago on our way to my brother Jimmy’s house, we saw a huge amount of cars parked near the railroad tracks. (no picture of all the cars since I was driving at the time!) Was there a festival going on? Could it be it be all the people in town for the Shakespeare Festival or the Balloon Races?  When we arrived at out family reunion, which was pretty crowded since all my siblings and their families were there, we got our answer.   According to the resident foodies in our family, we had just witnessed the typical crowd that lines up … [Read more...]

Our White Christmas in Kilgore

We drove to Kilgore after spending Christmas Eve in Dallas. The candlelight service we attended with Nana was magical. This year, more than any Christmas before, we wanted to be with family. And the magic wouldn’t end in that historic cathedral amid the candles and singing of Silent Night. Although the weather forecast had predicted snow, we weren’t anticipating it on this Christmas Day.  Snow in East Texas is pretty rare and even more so on Christmas. Late in the afternoon, snow flakes starting falling from the sky. We all ran outside to see for ourselves. We all stood there is … [Read more...]

A Painting that Inspires

In June of 2010, we were home visiting my family in East Texas. We didn’t have anything special planned. We typically just hang out with my brothers and sisters and their families. We sometimes go to the lake or the airport and my husband plays some golf with my brothers every now and then.  Our goal is to have our kids be able to hang out with their cousins and enjoy having no schedules. During this visit, there was an estate sale and auction being held. This wasn’t your typical estate sale. The contents of entire house,barn and livestock were being sold. The ad in the Kilgore News Herald, … [Read more...]

Eternally Grateful Journal

As I was driving to my hometown of Kilgore, Texas to help make funeral arrangements for our Mother’s funeral, a sense of calm came over me. I don’t know if it was because I knew what to expect since this was our third funeral to plan. Can this process possibly get easier? It seemed so absurd. This was the matriarch of our family so shouldn’t it be the hardest thing we have ever done? What I then realized was that our Mom prepared us for this moment our whole entire lives. There wasn’t a day that we didn’t feel loved. She would sing praises of our accomplishments every moment that she could … [Read more...]

Sassy’s Sister is Sixty

Today is a milestone for someone in my family. I usually don't use my blog for birthday wishes but this is a special one! Our oldest sibling turns sixty. 60. Six zero. The Big Six 0.  Sesenta in Spanish! Where did the time go?               I guess being the oldest of nine kids isn’t the easiest job in the world.                   We tagged along on too many dates to count and embarrassed her at her teenage job at the Dairy Queen on a daily … [Read more...]

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