And suddenly it is Christmas. It is rainy and will be in the 70s. Three years ago it snowed on Christmas Day, the first white Christmas here in many decades. This year, we will be wearing T-shirts and shorts. You never know what an East Texas winter will bring.

This can be a melancholy season. Many of us equate the Christmas season with tragedy and loss. We push through it and prevail. Everything usually turns out OK as families gather, a few empty seats at the table. But there is a tear in the fabric of our lives that cannot be mended.


Commentator Gary Joiner remembers a truce like no other and Christmas in No Man’s Land in 1914 in the early months of World War I.

Gary Borders

My nephew Connor reminded me of an obscure chess move I doubtless once knew but forgot in the passage of time. Connor, who is 10, learned to play chess recently and took to it so well that he took first place in a recent UIL contest among several rural East Texas schools.

History Matters commentator Gary Joiner looks at what makes a hero through the story of Tech. Sgt. Maurice Victor "Red" Henry, a top gunner in World War II combat.

History Matters is made possible in part by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Louisiana Cultural Vistas Magazine

I decided to add “You Are My Sunshine” to the repertoire of songs I can mangle on the guitar. So I found it with the OnSong app, uploaded and opened it. Most everybody knows the chorus to this tune, popularly believed to have been written by Jimmie Davis, who rode his fame singing that song all the way to the Louisiana governor’s mansion in 1944. Term limits kept him from running for re-election, but a decade or so later, Davis reprised the song and won another four-year term as governor.