After kick starting the week by diving headfirst into my courses as I begin my final semester of graduate work at Amberton University, I reflected on the extended weekend celebration of my Mom’s 80th birthday. What a tremendous time honoring a life well-lived!
My Sweet T and I surprised Mom at Thursday night’s Spring Event at the Marshall Arts Center. If you’ve not been to Marshall lately, you’ll be surprised to discover the thriving arts scene that continues to blossom thanks in large part to the efforts of the Arts Center and local artists helping get the word out about the work they are doing.
After the Art Show, we popped over to Pietro’s, a new Italian restaurant located on Austin Street in Historic Downtown Marshall. Superb food and excellent service topped off a great evening out on the town. During our time in my old hometown, we were excited to find a vibrant Downtown area bustling with people and activity–a site long overdue in this historic East Texas community.
We spent Saturday afternoon partying it up at the Dinner Belle on Grand Avenue. The home-cooking dished out by owner April Ridgeway-Hamblen and crew has totally transformed a building that was once home of the local Dairy Queen. The service is down-to-earth humble and friendly and the food is tasty and reminds you of Southern home cooking once served at the family dinner table.
After our time with friends at the Dinner Belle, we capped Saturday night off with a visit to Second Saturday and a tour of the old timey cars and local shops. Several shops were open to the public, showcasing their wares ranging from original items to antiques. Again, we were happy to see the life filling the streets of Downtown Marshall.
Sunday morning, we went to church at Summit Methodist–Mom’s home church for almost ten years now. I had the honor of teaching Sunday School that morning, which is always a privilege and joyous experience. We explored how God’s Word teaches us how to pray through an examination of the Apostle Paul’s prayerful words in Ephesians 1:16-19.
Through it all, Mom had a big, happy grin on her face. Her friends shared stories of how they met or funny anecdotes involving my Mom or one another. My Mom has done remarkably well since my Dad passed nearly 10 years ago. A big part of that success is due to her faith and her art, her friends, and her church family. The little girl who fled Danzig, Germany during World War II as a war refugee has come a long way.
The next time you’re out in East Texas, stop in Marshall and checkout the little town that is thriving. Having grown up there, it’s great to see the signs of revitalization taking place in my old hometown.