On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on February 24, 2022:

I have met several people recently who are new to Emory. I know “new” is a relative term around here since many of you are second or third generation Rains County residents, but I’m talking new as in months rather than years. When I ask how they like our little town, I usually get a small smile and an almost apologetic answer – It’s growing on me. There’s just not a lot to do.

That’s true if your idea of things to do is passive entertainment like movies, concerts, plays, and major sports events. On the other hand, live music and dancing are available at Sidekicks, and the RISD sports teams provide some heart-stopping competition, especially during end-of-season playoffs. I also understand the Theater Arts provide some amazing productions throughout the school year.

For those who like to dine out, you may have to go into the big city for a five-star restaurant, but Emory offers a large selection of options for a delicious meal. What other small town offers multiple options for home cooking, Asian cuisine, Mexican food, barbecue, fast food, an amazing bakery, and more.

Admittedly, shopping is limited. I’m not much of a shopper except for groceries and household products, but when we moved here eleven years ago, we made a trip to Walmart in Sulphur Springs once a week. Before COVID, I was down to about once a month, but now we only visit Wally World when we have to go to Bonham or Sulphur Springs for doctors’ appointments and sometimes not even then. This change is partly due to more online shopping and partly because I’ve learned that life doesn’t end if I don’t have the brands I usually buy – and I’ve learned to “make do.” Between Brookshire’s, La Miscelanea, and a little creativity, I can usually follow most recipes or create something new.

When it comes to other types of shopping, if you can’t find it at Hooten’s or Potts, you probably don’t need it anyway. There are also some amazing boutiques, antique stores, and gift shops in Emory. For unique finds, you can’t beat shopping local.

For those who are into more active pursuits, Emory is situated between Lake Fork, one of the best bass fishing lakes in Texas, and Lake Tawakoni which is known as the Catfish Capital of Texas. Abundant wildlife provides challenges for the hunter, and there are three gyms – THREE – in Emory.

Like many small towns, Emory loves a good festival. The biggest events are the County Fair in September and Founders Day in May, but there are many others around Christmas, Veteran’s Day, and other holidays. These happenings may include a parade, a car show, a tractor pull, a chili cook-off, local vendors, food, and much more.

Emory’s best asset, though, is its people, and the best things to do here require getting involved. A majority of mine and David’s activities revolve around our church, Believers’ Baptist. In addition to Sunday worship services and Bible studies, there are weekday studies, Home Group, Adventure Club for families with young children, youth activities, Outside the Building Projects and more. According to the Texas State Historical Association Handbook of Texas, there were twenty-two churches in Rains County in 1984. I don’t know how many there are now, but there is plenty of opportunity to get involved.

Another organization that is close to my heart is the Friends of the Rains County Public Library which is dedicated to supporting the Library and improving Library services in Rains County. The FOL is always looking for new members to help with the semi-annual books sales and to volunteer for various Library programs. For information on meeting dates and activities, visit the Facebook page or contact Wendy Byrd at the Library.

For those of us who are sixty years old or above, the Emory Senior Center is a great place to meet and get involved with people. Located on Briggs Parkway off Highway 69 right across from the Public Library, the Center is open from 9 am to 2 pm Monday through Friday. Lunch is served from 11 am to 12 noon, Bingo begins at 9:30 am on Tuesday and Thursday, and other games and good conversation are always available.

If none of these options is of interest, there is a long list of local organizations that offer opportunities to socialize, learn, volunteer, or all of the above.

  • American Legion (They serve breakfast on the 2nd Saturday and dinner on the 4th Saturday.)
  • Dolly Parton Imagination Library
  • Emory Lions Club
  • House of prayer (They serve breakfast on the 1st Saturday.)
  • Lake Country Neighbors
  • Lake Fork Chapter of the Well-Armed Woman
  • Piecemakers Quilt Guild of Rains County
  • Rains Youth Sports Association
  • Rains Garden Club
  • Rains County Historical Society
  • Rains County Good Samaritans
  • Stitch and Learn Quilting Club
  • Women’s Service Club

For more information about these and other groups, check out the Rains County Leader each week. If I missed your organization, or if I missed your favorite thing to do in Emory, let me know. I’m always looking for ideas for the next column.



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