Then And Now



Carbon, Texas is situated on State Highway 6 in Eastland County approximately 10 miles south of Eastland.  Carbon got its name from mineral deposits in the area.  Lignite, Coke, Diamond, Anthracite, Cannel and Coal are just a few names of the streets.  In 1860, several seams of coal were discovered and mining was attempted but the seams were thin and most mining attempts proved to be unsuccessful.

Families began settling in the area in 1823 as colonization attempts were made by the Mexican Government and later the Texas government.  The event that eventually enticed more people into the area was the arrival of the railroad.  Carbon was established in 1881 when the Texas Central Railroad company began laying tracks across the county, and the town grew up around the depot.  The same year, Mr. N. S. Haynes bought a lot upon which he built a store and in 1882 a post  office was established.  In 1884 the first school was built. The population had grown to 75 residents.  In 1889, Carbon was considered one of the six major towns in Eastland County.

The population of the town had grown to 350 by the end of 1890.  The railroad shipped cotton and the town continued to add new businesses and churches.  Soon after its founding in 1881, the town had two Baptist churches, a Methodist church and a Christian church.

The prosperity of the town also attracted new businesses.  There were two druggists, a blacksmith,a general store, a planning mill and a lumber yard.  By 1900 school attendance has increased to 152 necessitating the construction of a four-room school building in 1902.

Carbon was incorporated in 1905 and it was believed, at that time, that the county seat might be relocated to Carbon and more businesses sprang up.  The population of the town reached 800 by 1914.  There were two banks, a telephone exchange, four churches and a weekly newspaper. Other businesses included a mercantile, telephone company, cotton gin, photographer, hardware store, jeweler and hotel.  In 1915 a new red brick school house was completed to accommodate students from Carbon and the surrounding area.

The 1920's saw Carbon continue to grow and prosper.  A solid community existed with the addition of a doctor's office, insurance company, a bank, a cobble a cafe, a grocery, mineral baths, a lodge, a music store, a motor company and filling stations.  The main road through town was paved in 1927.  Carbon had a city judge which was usually the mayor and a marshall or constable. The Woodmen of the World Lodge building functioned as the town hall and the courtroom.  In 1925 a fire destroyed the lodge building and all records were lost to the fire.  A new lodge was built in 1927.

The depression of 1930 brought hard times to Carbon and life began to drain out of the town.  Businesses closed and buildings deteriorated and disappeared.  By 1946 the population was 459.  However the school attendance did not decline until 1965. Schools from smaller outlying areas were consolidated into the Carbon system and in 1941 a new building was constructed to acommodate twelve grades of students. The gymnasium that had burned was replaced and Agricultural building, homemaking cottage and lunchroom were added.  The introduction of peanuts as a crop brought new economic activity to Carbon.  A peanut processing plant was built in Carbon and it employed 150 people.  The plant was evenutally moved to Gorman and Carbon continued to decline.

All documentation concerning the construction of the jail in Carbon was destroyed in the fire of 1925.  This history has been compiled from a history of Carbon written by Scott White, personal interviews and newspaper articles.

The first jail was constructed in 1905.  Growth in a community attracts the good and bad and Carbon was no exception. It had the reputation of being the toughest towns of its size anywhere.  The town had several saloons which were frequented by rough cowboys wearing spurs, high hats and red bandana handkerchiefs.  People were awakened during the night by gunfire andthere were several murders in town during the time the saloons were open. The August 18, 1905 edition of The Herald, the local newspaper announced the construction of a new calaboose to house the city's evil doers.  It was located northeast of the depot near the railroad track.  J. A. McDaniel was the City Marshall at the time of the construction and was glad to have the facility to assist him in keeping order in the city.

An event in Ranger, Texas, located apoproximately 30 miles from Carbon on Interstate Highway 20 in 1917 brought a huge influx of people to the area.  This was the year of the Ranger Oil Boom.  The boom started a rush to Ranger and the surrounding areas to develop one of the greatest oil fields in the country.  The spillover of the workers from the oil fields brought to Carbon the bootleggers and some other pretty rough people.  The second, and still existing, jail house in Carbon was built in 1921 after the original one was destroyed in a jailbreak. A man was arrested for being drunk and disorderly.  His brothers tied a rope to the wooden building and pulled a wall down.  To prevent a repeat of the break-out, the second jail house was built with railroad steel for reinforcement in the stone walls.  There is no restroom, no lights, no heater, no kitchen, no exercise area, just concrete walls and a steel door.

According to Don May, a resident of Carbon in 1936, the building stood vacant with the door always open and the children in the area played in it.  There were scorched places on the floor which were perhaps made by transients and hobos of that era who hopped rides on the railroad box cars and traveled along the old Katy rail line.  When WWII started and items were rationed, the old jail building was used for a time as a receiving place and storage for old newspapers and other newsprint material that was recycled in those days.  The jail probably never housed any prisoners because law breakers and public offenders were usually taken to Eastland County Jail.  Locals recall times when brides and grooms were locked in the facility on their wedding nights.

Although most of the buildings constructed since the beginning of the 20th century have fallen or are in disrepair, some additions have been made to the town.  The Carbon Agri-Center is located on the block where the lodge once stood.  An oil and gas equipment manufacturing facility, Advanced Drilling Company, is located on mainstreet.  Three T Trucking Company operates several large rigs from the town.  

The Methodist Church now serves as a community center and houses school memorabilia.  First Baptist Church has services each Sunday.  Both of these buldings have been honored with historical markers.  The old school building has been converted into a church and children's summer camp.  The 2010 census showed that the population had grown to 272 from 224 in the 2000 census.  There is little expection that the town will grow to the size it once was, but it is still alive.














(Reprinted from Waco Tribune Herald January 13, 2013 edition by Amanda Freudensprung, Special to the Tribune-Herald WORLD WAR II)

Note:  Robert Collins is a 1938 Graduate of Carbon High School

Robert Collins, dapper and genteel at 91, grew up in Eastland County during the Great Depression.  He was the second of five children who "didn't have anything, but then we were poor and so was everybody else, so people didn't know any different," Collins said recently from his Waco home.  "Dad was a poor school teacher.  I knew even before I graduated high school that I wanted to leave home and get to better things."

Following graduation, Collins worked at the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin.  There he met employee Margaret Messer whom he later married.  On December 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was attacked, Collins and Margaret had taken a busload of children from the school to the San Antonio zoo.  When they returned they read dire reports about the attack in the Austin paper.

In the Navy recruiting office, Collins was put off to have cavities filled so instead he made arrangement to marry Margaret.  He then wound up volunteering for the Army Air Force instead, and assigned to the 486th Bomb Squadron of the 340th Bomb Group.

"My AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code) was ammunition supply technician, and that's honestly kind of what I want to plug.  I've felt lately that maybe ordnance in WWII was not talked about as much."

Serving in the Mediterranean---

During 29 continuous months of service, Collins served in North Africa, Sicily and the Mediterranean Island of Corsica.  He worked with the same men, receiving raw bombs and preparing the devices for bombing raid service aboard B-25 Aircrafts.

"We received the raw bombs from the quartermaster corps in a bomb dump.  There would be a protective ring around the lugs and plugs to protect the nose before we put the fuse in.  We'd take the protective rings off, pull the bombs onto a trailer, hauling just so many at a time.  Usually it was four 1,000-pound bombs or eight 500-pound bombs. 

"We'd get them out to the airplane and fuse them and put a little copper wire into the nose and tail where there was a little clip.  The fuses had a little propeller on them.  When the plane dropped the bomb, the propeller kept going until the bomb hit the ground and detonated."

Collins said bombers were discouraged from bringing live ordnance back to base.

"If they didn't drop the bombs on a target, they were told to drop them in the ocean, which we were always near," he said.  "There was danger all around us and many were killed and injured.  But (we) made it through."

Vesuvius doused B-25s with ash ----

Throughout the war, Collins wrote daily to his wife and young son back home.  One letter described a momentous Italian event in 1944.

"I was in Italy when (Mount) Vesuvius exploded," Collins recalled.  "The ash ruined several of our B-25s.  It was so pretty at night with the lava, but about 4 o'clock in the morning, the pebbles started hitting our tents.  We could smell the sulfur.  We got permission to move, even though the lava was only moving about 300 yards an hour.  I think they salvaged maybe 90 of the B-25s."

After the war, Collins left the military for a couple of years but later returned as an Air Force recruiter.

He and Margaret and their children were living in Eastland County but his career would later take them to San Angelo, Waco, England, Panama Beach, El Paso and Louisiana.  He also served a solo tour in Greenland.

Collins retired from the Air Force in 1968 and worked at Texas State Technical Institution for severl years.

"We were assigned to Waco more than once, and bought a house here we kept paying on even when we were elsewhere.  We're so glad to have it now, he said.

Robert is an older brother to Pat Collins of Eastland, Mike Collins of Granbury and Betty of Austin.






THEN - - - -


The following was taken from the records in the office of Eastland County School Superintendent and published in the Eastland Telegram on July 6, 1980.  Permission has been granted to reproduce on this site.

On July 29th, 1884, R. M. Black, County Judge for Eastland County, issued a check in the amount of $78.20 to C. B. Jordan, A. Warner, and W. B. Cole, school trustees of Carbon to build a school house.

A small structure was built near the present home of John Guy, and provided a place for educating the pupils in Carbon at that time.  W. B. Train, was the first schoolmaster, and thirty pupils were enrolled in 1884.

School was held during a three-month period, and total expenditures totaled $173.85.

By 1890, the school at Carbon had 80 eligible pupils: $200.51 was spent for an addition to the school and S. W. Wharton taught school from January through May.

By this time other schools had sprung up in the surrounding territory; records show that Union (Flatwood) had 65 students; Jewel, 113; Center Point 19; Latham, (Pickett) 55; Pleasant Valley, 45; Nash Creek, 50.

By 1900 Carbon had grown to such an extent that a new four room structure was built at the present site, and in 1902 the attendance there was 152 students.  The school at Britton had 20 students; Pleasant Hill, 26; Oak Grove, 51; High Knob, 32; Grapevine, 29; Hallmark, 39; and High Point (Mangum) 65, were in operation by 1900; the area became very educationally minded.

It was not until 1910 that graduation exercises were held in the Carbon High School and at that time Willie Stubblefield, Flora Reese, and Vici Dover received their diplomas.

Some schools changed names, some werre dissolved; others were created; however, it was 1929 before consolidation had any effect on the Carbon Schools.

At that time, the State of Texas decided to consolidate many of the smaller schools, and since Carbon had completed a modern structure in 1915, it was chosen as the center for the schools of Jewel, Wheat Springs, Bear Springs, and Oak Grove.

By April 1931, the consolidation was affected, and Carbon became the educational center of this area of Eastland County.

In March, 1940, Mangum became a part of the Carbon schools, and by 1942, an addition of eight classrooms and an auditorium was completed, making sixteen rooms available for class instruction, and providing other needed space.

Also in the 1940's a new gymnasium replaced the one that burned, and an Agricultural Building, Homemaking Cottage, and lunchroom were added to the existing facilities.

These facilities were needed, for it was during the same period that the schools of Flatwood, Long Branch, Center Point and Kokomo became a part of the Carbon Schools.  By 1950 Carbon School served the same area that it presently serves.

Constant renovations, repairs, and remodeling have kept the facilities of Carbon School in good condition.

A bus barn and lighted baseball field was completed in the early 1960's, the football field has been renovated and bleachers added; city water has replaced the three wells that were used as a water supply.

But the basic buildings are still those who housed the many students after the consolidation of the 1940's.


 THEN - - - -


The following information was submitted by Kent Gilbert whose mother, Delmar De Murray, was a member of this class:

Commencement exercises were held Saturday Evening, April 19 at 8:00 in the Baptist Church.  Class Motto:  "Through Hardships to the Stars".  Class Flower:  White Rose.

Graduating Class:  Emma Louise Reese, Evelyn Mae Beaty, Delmar De Murray, Bertha Alice Scott, Lightle Yarnell Morris, Lela Mae Buzbee, Ruby Ray Swift.

Superintendent:  Lambton L. Burney

Principal:  Mrs. J. Frank Hankins


THEN - - - -


(As researched and published by the 1986 Staff of The Sandstorm)

Back in 1936, Mr. H. D. Thomason, Superintendent of Carbon Schools, decided that Carbon should have a school annual.  Therefore, he put together a group of eight editors, and together with the rest of the seniors, they published the first edition of the Carbon annual.

Because of that, on a certain day in 1936, approximately thirty seniors gathered in a classroom with the purpose of naming the first annual.  They "brainstormed" for quite some time, coming up with several different ideas, but nothing that they felt suitable for Carbon's first yearbook.  Just when everyone felt like giving up, Arduth Black Been looked out the window at one of the worst sandstorms that can be remembered at Carbon.  After viewing the blowing sand, she said to the class, "Why don't we call it the Sandstorm?"  So they did.

The Sandstorm first opened up fifty years ago in 1936 during the celebration of Texas' centennial.  Fifter years later, during Texas' sesquicentennial, the Sandstorm is still in business -- better than ever.

One thing remains the same, however.  The Sandstorm is still in operation today for the same reason it started in 1936.  "For the purpose of preserving some of the memories of high school days which may fade from the mind's eye."  (This quote comes from the 1936 school annual -- The Sandstorm.



NOW . . . .


Most of the peanut farming operations in Eastland County have moved west over the past several years.  However, one of our schoolmates, Bob Medford, Class of 1939, and his son, Daryl, still maintain the tradition in the Carbon area.  Their story is recorded in the November 2009 issue of The Farmer-Stockman.  Please click on the links below to read the story:

Page 1/Cover -

Page 8/Related story -


 NOW . . . .



JANUARY 1, 2006

We came out of the church about 12:30 and saw smoke out our way.  It was fire west of the Long Branch Cemetery.  By the time we got home and changed clothes, it was nearly on us.

The law people were here saying "Go.  A brick house just up the way had already burned."

We started loading pictures from the wall, the photo albums in the car.  God bless little Donna Grissom for her help.  As we loaded things, we watched as the high wind whipped the fire across the field in front of our house.  We saw fire jump way on down the field.   All this time Rachel sprayed water in the yard until the electricity went off and shut our pump off.

We were not scared, or panicky, just helpless.

The fire seemed to be missing us, and was going straight east.  I asked someone to go help Johnny McDaniel, and we all went to help Cathy.  I started loadng things of hers in our pickup.  Some folks asked me what should they get, and I said their musical instruments.

There were five fire trucks across from Cathy's house and three in her lane.  We all had to go.  I was the last vehicle out.  I went down past Greer Creek and stopped.  Someone had cut fences so Cathy and Richard's horses could leave.

I went on past the Melton's and back to our place.  Cathy had been there and found a wooden spool that I had leaning up against the porch, on fire.  She grabbed it and threw it out in the road.

I came up and told Cathy I was trying to find a shovel to put out a fire just starting in our coastal.  She said the wind is too high, don't try it, so I didn't.

I ran up to the front yard, and my picket fence was burning -- I ran in the gate and under the burning trellis, took a rake and raked leaves away from the house.  The plastic drain pipes were burning so I dug up dirt with my hands and smothered it out.

I left and tried going up to see if Peggy and Pattie were ok but there was too much smoke.  I came back and the wood pile was burning by the wind mill, the flames must have been 20 feet high.

I left again and drove down the road north and stopped.  The wind was just roaring in the trees.  I started back home.  I couldn't stay away.  When I got to the gate going into David's field, I met our cows.  They had panicked and run to the fence row between us and the Newport's.  I could see Brawner in the car driving them, so I turned around and start honking the horn and they follow me up to James Adams' unfenced pecan orchard.  He had this all plowed up and we put our cows there with his.  How he kept them there only God knows.  He nearly did get overcome with heat and smoke.  We drove over to David's and Randy Bledsoe and Brawner moved David's pickup to a safer place.  Brawner called to me to move the kids Christmas trikes out of the shop.  I moved them into the garden and they were safe.

Little Keilah said later God helped her forget and leave her Christmas Bible in the bike pocket so it didn't burn.

We drove over to the far south side of Buddy Notgrass' place and sat on the ground.

We watched the flames and saw fire tornadoes all up in the sky.  There were dust devils on the ground all around us.  The flames roared across David's pasture right toward his house.

Firemen were everywhere.  I heard one yell to others "don't get trapped down there, fire is everywhere.

It was time to go so we leave.  Brawner stops to move machinery.  I go on to the old Stacy place.  I stop, the road is blocked.  A fire truck was refilling from a water tank that had been brought to them.  There is lots of fire trucks, but the fire is coming so fast.  I thought they could save those two houses, but they could not.

I went to the Bill Brown place and waited for Brawner.  When he comes, we think the fire is headed straight into Carbon.  The wind suddenly changes and the flames turn southeast.

Cathy, Richard and Rachel were at the Carbon store, wondering about us.  The fire people began saying for us to leave Carbon just to be safe.

Cathy and Rachel go to Eastland to get Richard something to eat, as he is on duty and can't leave.

Brawner left in our car and me in the pickup.  We went down highway 2526 west our past June Hicks' place and turn south to go home.  We make it to the west side of Dr. Speeka's place and the fire was blazing across the road to those trees on the other side was really burning, smoking a terrible fire.

We turn around and go back to the roads going north and south.  I go south thinking he is behind me.

He stops at a house on the old Hastings' place to see if they are out, then he turns north and went back to Carbon.

I came up on past the cemetery and I could see Pattie and Peggy's house still standing.

Then on down our road, the Soto's home was still there.  I was rejoicing, crying and praising the Lord.

Finally, I could se our home!  Praise God old angel wings was still there.  I screamed praise God over and over.

Then I drove to Cathy's and her house was still there.  I went over the David's and his house was gone, his shop with all carpentry tools and welding supplies and his green house were all in a heap of rubble.  The new house that had just been moved up here, was sitting untouched.

I sat there alone and praised God for his blessing.  Then I went home and put out a few little fires.  I tried to put out our old big mesquite tree but I couldn't

Finally, I know they are not coming home so I go to the Carbon store, it is beginning to get dark, from all the smoke.

I remember seeing Cathy come running out of the store to meet me, and how she rejoiced when I said her house was still there.

Brawner came up and I told him we had a house left but nothing more.  I heard him gasp and I say let's go home and we did.  We just walked and looked in stunned silence.  Finally, David comes.  Nickola stayed in Gorman with friends.  They are just coming home from Houston where she has just taken her second chemo treatment for cancer.  Just seeing David saddened us to know we didn't save anything from his house.

Everyone that looked at her house was amazed it stood the fire.  It is a double wide and bad wooden lattis for underpenning, and that burned.  The plastic burned that was under the house.  Her back steps were blazing and Randy came and jerked them off and drug them away.  Someone threw her wood pile out away from the house and some of it was on fire.  The Good Lord stepped in.

The next day, David and family and Nichola's brother and family moved in.  There were 8 people sleeping on our living room floor.  People were bringing food, clothes, furniture to us and David and all our bedrooms were full.

Somehow we got meals with no electricity or water except bottled water and a little from Cathy.

The water pressure was low and slow to run.  I carried buckets of water from the cow trough to mop in.  My kitchen sink had been stopped up and so we had a half barrell there for it to drain into.  This water I used to put out some small fires and also to flush the toilet.

A big fenced post burned for three days.  I had a little metal stool I had bought at an estate sale, and it just fit up over the post, so we could heat water to scrub off the black dust.  We did this to wash dishes and babies.  Soon we started using paper plates and glasses.

The second night we went to Eastland to a friend's house and showered.  I had black water running out of my hair.

After the electricity came on, Cathy had hot water, so we all could shower there.  We didn't tarry, the smoke had settled in her house.  We could hardly breathe.  Sometime during the first day or so I just sat outside and looked around.  I felt so relieved to have a house and be able to have a place for David's family.  I knew people needed feeding but I just couldn't come inside and do it.  I was relieved to see Beck and Nickola take over the kitchen.

I said I was walking around like a zombie and Beck said walk, it would help, they would do the kitchen.

Our electriciy came on in 2 days.  They got us a new pump that lasted 1 day and burned up.  A man from David's church brought us a better pump from Higginbotham's.  These people were so kind to us.  I went in with a hand full of hammers hatchet and ax and some clerk took the dirty old things and found the right handles.  We needed some tools to start repair, and he helped.  He said the black, burned stuff would wash off his hands, and then they gave all of us a discount on supplies.

Finally, with water we could shower and do laundry.  I did 5 loads the first day, 4 the next, then 2 loads.

Brawner's friend and barber came and helped build a pump house.  He brought his own tools and gave us money to buy the material.

On Saturday, the 14th, the Files' clan came.  They came to work and they got a lot done.  The kids raked leaves out of my flower bed that didn't burn.  So much for mulching my flower bed, that's scary now.

The hunter that came up from the Metroplex, came and picked up tin that had been our barn.

Some are returning to work on the new house for David.  Mr. Haley, a retired carpenter, came and put in new windows.  Mr. and Mrs. Adams came and worked for days putting up a new ceiling in every room.

I just about have my yard cleaned.  The little picket fence I had was nearly all burned.  I have taken the rest of it to be used in next year's syrup making fire.  That saddens me.

I had lots of classmates come to help at David's benefit supper and I was pleased.  There were two friends who came up from Ft. Worth.  Then I had five cousins from Deleon come.  Brawner's cousin, Sussane, came several times to help to clean and paint.  My friend, Edna, came bringing stuff from her church.  Brawner's friend, Bill Fairbetter, from Abilene came bringing lumber and helped work on our pump house down at the well where we watered our cows.  He is in bad health, we hoped he didn't over do.

Jim McGaha came and did electric work and would  not take pay.  So many friends gave us money.

Some strangers came one day and helped pick up the burned tin that had been our pump house and storage.  They hauled it off and brought us the money, $4.24.

It saddened us to look at all the burned ruins every day, and find a few things to save.  We start loading junk that once was precious to us and taking it to salvage.

I saw Brawner standing and looking at the place where his shop was.  He had carpentry tools there, some he bought in 1954 when he started to carpenter.  He had keepsake tools belonging to his grandfather, his dad, my dad and a fence stretcher belonging to my brother-in-law's father.  Then he had a big collection of antique tools.  Who thought a tin building would burn, but it did.

The dust blows every day, mostly from the south.  We all have sore throats.  Cathy is really sick.

Brawner found two dead hens and two more we shot -- they were suffering.  Our cows stand all in a little group looking at us with a strange, frightened look.

Everywhere is black.  There is nothing for the cows to eat except the few round bales Brawner had saved.

A few days before the fire, he said he was moving our hay to the plowed peach orchard because he was afraid of fire.  It was so dry.

Of course, this was the Lord warning him of what was coming.

It is so quiet at night, there is no sound.  It seems like a tomb in the day, the place looks so strange and lonely.

I keep thinking this isn't where I need to be, I need to go home. 

There is no going home to our old place.


Eastland Telegram, April 17, 2011

Carbon Fire Department has History of Service


Carbon Volunteer Fire Department has a long history of service, under the direction of three fire Chiefs, Collin Campbell (deceased); Ronnie Pack and Jody Forbus.  Life-long Carbonite Mack Stubblefield joined the department when he finished high school in 1950 and remembers the water tank was on two wheels that had to be transported to the fire by pickup and then manually pulled to the position needed and the water pumped manually from the tank on to the fire.

Members of the Carbon Volunteer Fire Department are:  Jody Forbus, Chief and 1st Responder, Tony Forbus, Assistant Chief and 1st Responder; Ronnie Pack, Treasurer; Richard Bird, Gordon Bradshaw, Dennis Brazeal, Wayne Davis, Johnny Eaves, Steven Forbus, Jim McGaha, Roger Rutledge, Kris Scitern and Eric Whitlock, all 1st Responders; Kris Brown, Bryce Gosnell, Daryl Medford, Zach Rice, John Rodgers, Johnny Scitern and Brad Stacy.

The Department now owns a seven bay building located in downtown Carbon.  The fire fighting fleet consists of a suburban outfitted as a rescue/first response, emergency medical vehicle; a 2500 gallon tanker and five fire engines, all fully equipped for grass, structure or vehicle fires.

Volunteers must be over eighteen years old, of good character, a responsible citizen of the community, physically fit, with a willingness to serve.  They are advised of the stress, danger and time involved.  Richard Bird, Certified Trainer, is in charge of the initial training for every recruit.  Most firemen go on for additional training as personal time and conditions permit.  Monthy meetings are attended to learn of any changes in the community, handle any problems, explore developing methods and equipment for fire fighting and handle routine business matters.

Partial funding is accomplished by a feature on the city water bill where citizens can make a contribution to the Fire Department as the same time they make payment.

The firemen sponsor two benefits annually.  In the fall there is the Fellowship and Volunteer Fire Department dinner and the fish fry in the spring.  For these events there is always a long line before and during the serving period.  As soon as the serving containers are emptied they are filled with fresh, off the grill, hot food.  Those firemen can cook.

Many people come originally to show support and appreciation, but keep coming back for the wonderful meal.  There's fried fish, hush puppies, French fries, two kinds of beans (spicy and not so spicy) Cole slaw and drinks.  Then there is the dessert table --- such a major choice of tempting desserts -- furnished by the firemen's wives and other women of the community, that it is hard to make a decision.  You might even get a piece of MIttie Bledsoe's coconut cream pie if you get there real early.