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Dave Simmons speaks to the Lions Club along with Lion Chris Horsley.

The Marshall Lions Club met Tuesday, Jan. 21 at the Panola-Harrison meeting room, 410 E. Houston. A luncheon of deep-fried catfish fillets and all the fixins was served by Catfish Express Catering. President Robert Wood called the meeting to order and welcomed Lions with a reminder to turn off or silence cell phones.

Lion Robert asked Lion James Thompson to open the meeting with prayer, followed the Pledges of Allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags led by Lion Robert. ”As the Lions Go Roaring Along” and “America” were sung with gusto, led by song leader Lion Alan Grantham, and accompanied on the piano by Lion Stacy Bowen.

Lion Tamer Patrick Owens was absent due to work, but Lion Arnola Zabokrtsky welcomed all to the meeting. There were no guests today, but Lions were encouraged to invite someone next week. The count for the day in the Den is 33. The Thought for the Day is: “Confidence is something you create when you believe in yourself!”

Tail Twister Chris Horsley levied several fines and did a “rah-rah” using his name. He auctioned a “fine pass” that would entitle the bearer to not pay a fine at any meeting, with Lion Jimmie Van Norden winning. He also auctioned a new $2 bill from Lion Heath Parker. Lion Chris asked if anyone had a memory of a former Lion that they wanted to share.

Lion Kent Reeves told about Jim Webb, who was dubbed “the big man in the rear, because he always was at the rear of the group, and was notorious for doing pranks, such as opening a package of crackers during a prayer. He now lives in Hot Springs Village, Ark.

Lion Chris reported on the sign on Highway 80 West that has been a renovation project of several Lions. He told Lion Bob King that for a donation of $1.00 he would be allowed to talk about anything he wanted for 30 seconds.

Lion Chris said that Margaret Swofford had a birthday this week, and Lion Ken Poindexter and his wife Ellen celebrated their 48th anniversary this week. He appointed Lion Paul Martin to lead the club in our “Happy Song” to them in the key of “a” for anniversary!

President Wood reminded Lions that they have a deadline of Jan. 29 to turn in our ads to the newspaper, and told the Club to get those sales in.

President Wood called on Program Chair for January, Lion Chris Horsley to introduce the program, Dave Simmons as the speaker. The topic is “June 9, 1976 – a glimpse of things to come.” Simmons was born and reared in Kildare and attended Linden/Kildare schools. He is married to Terri and they have a son and daughter. He graduated from East Texas State University, taught school in Hallsville and recently retired.

He enjoys storytelling as a way to teach. Lion Chris related that Dave teaches his Sunday school class.

Simmons said he loves stories, citing Garrison Keillor, Paul Harvey and John Moore, who spoke to Lions last week. He mentioned that sometimes you are just drifting – just another day – but you never know just how much time God is going to bless you with.

He related that his Mom passed away last summer, and he had asked her to write down stories about their family. She did that writing from 1986 until 1989. After her death, he started putting her writings down in the computer. He said he started crying, reading her stories seemed to pass on her legacy.

Dave said when he taught, he asked his students to record their past – that it will mean a lot to people who come after you. He said when he was 13, his Dad told him and a friend that they could make some spending money by loading hay bales from a neighboring farm and unloading in their barn. He was thrilled to be earning money! When they were nearing home after a hot afternoon of loading hay, he noticed that his father was going slower and slower, until he gently crashed in the shallow ditch at the side of the road. When the two boys pulled his father out of the truck and onto the roadway, his friend said he would run to their home and call for help. He said it seemed like forever until that old 1973 Chevrolet ambulance pulled up, loaded his father and headed to the Linden hospital.

Simmons related that his father passed away and told of a prior summer when he and his mom had attended a summer revival in an old country church. The church was old and even had an outhouse! He said that he was playing piano for the revival, when two women came in late, one black and one white. Simmons recounted that after the service, the black lady ran to catch up to him in the parking lot and told him he was going to undergo a loss, but that God was in control of everything! She told him, “You can’t box God in!”

This came back to him after his father died and he explained the reasoning for the title “June 9, 1976, a glimpse of things to come.” Simmons really is a good storyteller!

President Robert Wood presented Simmons with a Lions writing pen and thanked him for an entertaining program and invited him back. He asked Lion Paul Martin to dismiss with a prayer and adjourned the meeting.