Sunday, December 30, 2007

Inspired by new movie, locals start their own lists of things they'd like to do before they die

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Area residents have more in common with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman than they think.
Just like the two stars of 'The Bucket List,' local folks want to 'live it big' in their last six months of life.
In the movie, set to release Jan. 11, the terminally ill characters of Nicholson and Freeman ditch the hospital for time to skydive, flirt with women, spend money and 'live on the wild side.'
And since it's all got to be done before they kick the bucket, each minute becomes all the more rare and precious.
To determine the types of bucket lists Bell County residents have, the Telegram interviewed 20 random people at various public locations in Temple.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

'He's a neat entertainer'

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Music is Kevin Carr's hobby and passion.
He works as a professional DJ in Bartlett, Granger and Taylor. He has provided the entertainment for several weddings, anniversaries, quinceaƃ±eras and award ceremonies.
'It's fun, and it's a way to earn a little extra money,' Carr said. (His main source of income is his disability insurance.) 'One day, I'd like to be in a band.'

It's never too late to learn new things: Man with cerebral palsy proves that strong will prevails

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

You can tell him no, but it won't do any good.
Kevin Carr has a mind of his own. His cerebral palsy is just a footnote - something that makes him look and sound a little different.
'If he thinks he can do it, he's going to try,' said his mother, Bettye Carpenter of Granger.
That determination earned Carr a seat at Granger High School. Since the second week of September, the 44-year-old man has been attending classes, something he wasn't able to do in his youth.
'School,' he said, 'is a dream come true.'

It's better the second time around

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

'Why is there this big dude in our class?'
That's the question 44-year-old Kevin Carr's classmates asked themselves the first day he attended Todd Grandjean's Texas history class.
'But it all turned out all right,' said Jorge Torrez, 12.
He and his 20 peers couldn't think of a single disadvantage at having a classmate like Carr.
'There's nothing bad,' Torrez said
Group work with Carr poses no problem.
'It's just like any other group,' said Bree Nava, 12. 'Work distribution is even and fair.'
Carr's decision to come back to school makes his new classmates say, 'Wow.'

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Zabcikville woman welcomes loved ones home for Christmas with a lot of beautiful decor

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Her house is a life-size snow globe.
Well, it would be if it had a dome-shaped layer of glass around it.
Reindeer prance in her lawn, carolers guard her doorway and icicles cling to her rooftop and tree branches.
But that's not it.
Della Green has seven Christmas trees in her house, each fully decorated. And, from bathroom to kitchen, on top of every table and counter sits a unique, handmade floral arrangement.
Fluffy bows adorn every window, serving as wreath centerpieces. Wrinkle-free and their color a vibrant red, they look store bought.
But no - the 89-year-old woman makes them herself.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

White woman spends two decades with Indians

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Not everybody in the 1960s wanted to go to California and wear flowers in their hair. Some people wanted to go live on an Indian reservation.
Sylvia Marrs did, and she got paid to do it.
Just out of college in 1963, her first job was a first-grade teaching post for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Arizona. She lived in dormitory housing on the Nazlini Indian Reservation.
A job fair at the University of North Texas in Denton had informed her of the employment opportunities there.
'I needed a job,' Mrs. Marrs said. 'I wanted to spend at least one year on my own before I got married.'
She was very much in love at that time, she said, but her desire to taste independence remained steadfast. When her suitor, Bill Marrs, proposed marriage, she declined.
'I wanted to wait one year,' Mrs. Marrs said.
When the 12th month came and went, Mr. Marrs mailed his intended a second letter of proposal.
'I said yes,' Mrs. Marrs said. 'On the condition that he come live on the reservation.'

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Minister has message for singles: God doesn't forget lonely people

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Christmas isn't warm hugs and giggles for everyone.
For those who spend the Yuletide alone, it's a lonely, much-dreaded month. News of suicide isn't uncommon to hear in the midst of the mirth.
'It's unfortunate,' said Jason Goings, assistant pastor of college and missions at First Baptist Church in Belton. 'Because when Christmas started, it wasn't like that. Christmas wasn't like the way we think it should be.'
Goings was addressing the church's singles group on Dec. 8 at Temple's Hilton Garden Inn. Two age groups, the single seniors and the single young professionals, had paired together for a holiday party.
His message was simple: 'Christmas is about the gift God gave to each one of us, His son Jesus Christ - whose presence is inside us all.'
But today's society, Goings said, has lost sight of that gift. Loneliness, he said, trumps the holiday spirit, busting it into nothing. He discussed the tragedy of December suicides to illustrate his point.
'Yes, Satan's done a marvelous thing in pulling the wool over our eyes,' Goings said. 'Somehow, the world has come to think that if there's not family, lots of plans, and lots of excitement, then there's not Christmas.'
That's a pure misconception, he said, not at all how the first Christmas happened.
'The first Christmas was when the world got the greatest gift of all,' Goings said. 'Think about how it happened.'
There was no fanfare, parade or prom.
'An angel came down and told the shepherds,' Goings said. 'And who were the shepherds? A bunch of guys who were single who hadn't shaved in four or five months.'

Church sends gifts to orphans

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

More than 250 Christmas gifts left Temple last week, headed for orphans in Donetsk, Ukraine.
The project has turned into an annual mission for Belton Church of Christ. It's the third year for volunteers to brighten the holidays for little ones left alone in the world.
Steve Taliaferro is the man responsible for launching the program. He lived in Ukraine December 2002 through May 2006.
'I worked in the local orphanage as a missionary for World Wide Youth Camps,' Taliaferro said. 'My job was to help transition the older children from orphanages to mainstream society.'
Once they reach age 16, Ukraine children are no longer eligible for orphanage services.
'They need help starting their lives,' Taliaferro said. 'That was my job.'
The missionary, upon his return, became an involved member at Belton Church of Christ. He said he wanted to continue his service to the Ukraine orphans.
New touches to this year's holiday giveaway are the prayer bears.
'Each present will include a little prayer bear,' said Laura Huff, church secretary

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Pastime keeps seniors fit, happy

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

She wants to be at the bowling alley when it's her time to die.
'If it happens that way, that would be great,' said 90-year-old Hazel Machalek of Temple. A smile was on her face.
Her wish isn't out of the realm of possibility. She visits Action World Bowl Center fairly often. Miss Machalek routinely plays for the Tuesday and Friday bowling leagues, the Silver Strikers and the PrimeTimers.
The Law of Averages may very well align itself with Ms. Machalek's request. Her bowling average - 128 - after all, is very much in her favor.
She's not alone in wanting to die with bowling ball in arm and body in ready stance. There's several silver-haired bowlers at the Temple bowling alley who say they think the same way.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sermon inspires craftsman to create image

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

His portrait of Jesus was born of a sermon.
For six weeks, the Rev. Thomas Allen of Grace Presbyterian Church spoke about prayer, its importance and its many forms. And for six weeks, Lowell 'Kirk' Kirkley of Temple listened.
Once the sermon series ended, the owner of K&D Crafts went home to his workroom.
'I had an image in mind,' Kirkley said, pointing to a drawing of a praying Jesus by German artist Volker Arnold. 'I wanted to capture it in wood.'
His first step was to transpose the glossy picture to red oak plywood. Then for six hours, Kirkley said he sat on a stool, hunched over a scroll saw - a cutting tool that uses a serrated blade as thin as a nail file.
An image of Christ at prayer was what remained after the sawdust was wiped from the surface.
Kirkley held a replica of his original Jesus portrait toward the setting sun. As light shined through the sawed-away places, a silhouette of Jesus appeared.
The original hangs at Grace Presbyterian Church, on a bed of black felt, framed in maple.