By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun
We got a very nice, and very newsy, letter this past week from a dear Corsicana friend, Ronda Stutts. It was good to hear about some of our other friends who either worked or frequented Max’s and The Other Place. Ronda was my bartender and babysitter (while Gayla shopped) at TOP for many years. My brother-in-law, Joe Hubbard, thought he was in charge but everyone knew it was really Ronda!
I know that I have railed on and on about how beautiful our surroundings are here on Florida’s Sun Coast and how much we love our new house and being close to family. However, that being said, we deeply miss our last home on the banks of Golden Pond.
It is hard to believe that we spent over a decade of our lives in Corsicana. In August of 2001, we packed up our new Toyota Avalon (which we bought from John Elway’s Auto Nation) and Gayla (no longer The Little Woman), Annie the Cat, and I made our way to Corsicana to build our new home.
We used to come down to visit CeCe (Gayla’s sister) and Joe Hubbard who had built a home on Golden Pond themselves. During one of those visits, we bought a lot in their Grandview Estates development on speculation and it was a brilliant move on our part.
At the time, the Hubbards were the owners of Max’s and it was doing well as a steak house and sports bar. They subsequently bought a second restaurant in town and dubbed it “The Other Place.” This caused them to have to sell their house on Golden Pond and move back into town. The primary reason for the move was that Joe required a nap each afternoon and the 50-mile round trip was too much to deal with.
We rented a house in town for the first year while our house on Golden Pond was being built and TOP seemed to be the center of our new universe. I am terrible with names so I used career association to remember all the good folks we met. Let see...some of them were: Tom the Florist; Tom the Framer; Steve the Pilot; Rita the Professor; HEB Rita; Bobby the Surveyor; Phillip the Builder; Tommy and Kenny the Real Estate Guys; Mitch the Barbeque Guy; and Collin Street Bakery Marsha.
Joe and CeCe cared deeply for their employees and treated them like extended family members — and we came to feel the same way about many of them. In addition to the aforementioned Ronda, some of our favorites were Hope, Laura, J-Ro, Krystal, Doug, Walter, Izzy, Dee, and Starla.
All of us still feel a deep sadness over the tragedy that befell Joe and CeCe on christmas Eve of 2010. It was the end of an era of good times and good memories. In addition to the loss of our loved ones and best friends, we had to help our dear niece, Casey, deal with the liquidation of the two restaurants, and about 35 to 40 good people were immediately out of work.
Ronda mentioned that there had been an impromptu reunion of The Other Place employees and regulars in December and they hope to make it an annual event on the second Saturday of December. Here’s hoping it catches on — I know it would make Joe and CeCe very proud.
We both also miss our friends in Grandview, those good folks from the Corsicana Newcomers Club (Gayla was president for a couple years), and our many good times at Bullfrog’s/Harbor Inn. I miss the comradeship of the volunteer 287 Richland/Chambers Fire & Rescue meetings. I especially miss the Friday fish fries and poker games at the Island Cattle and Goat Club where Joe and Ralph were magnificent hosts.
What I don’t miss is the drive from our house into Corsicana. I mentioned that Joe could not deal with the commute from Golden Pond to town several times a day and I can understand that. I remember the drive in to town like it was yesterday. After winding out of Grandview Estates to Highway 287, it was 14.5 miles to the intersection with I-45. It was quite a scenic trip. You went through downtown Eureka, which consisted of The Old Aggie Store, a church, Joe Steven’s Barn, and Blue Sky Realty (a plug for my pal, Kenny). The next several miles consisted of pastures, stock ponds, burn piles, oil rigs, and broken-down fences. Then you went through downtown Mildred, which consisted of a water tower, a church, and the beautiful school campus. Now it’s over the overpass, past the Trading Post, and you hit the city limit sign. There is no need to discuss what a hassle negotiating down Seventh Avenue could be between the semis and the left-turn folks.
Here’s where I have to restrain myself from going on again about how driving around here is like driving through one golf course after another. Let’s just say Texas is Texas and Florida is Florida! Both places have their own unique redeeming qualities.
Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: email@example.com