Jennifer Ridge: This is Jennifer Ridge at the Pinebox Chamber of Commerce. Would you please state your name?
Dorothy Green: My name is Dorothy Green.
JR: And do you I have your permission to record you?
JR: Thank you, Dorothy. As I explained off tape, I am working on an article for Texas Travel Destinations. Would you mind telling me a little bit about Pinebox?
DG: I’d be glad to. Well, Pinebox is located in the heart of east Texas off Route 96, and we’ve got a population of roughly 12,000 full time residents. I say full time because I’m sure you know we also have East Texas University here and they add an extra 15,000 students who are not counted in the census.
JR: You know, from what little I’ve seen this doesn’t strike me as a college town.
DG: No, we keep a tight reign on trouble. I think we have something like 22 police officers and eight police cars now. And that doesn’t include the county sheriff’s department. Pinebox isn’t a very wild place and the kids learn pretty quick that there’s not much trouble to be found in town. Most of them stay near campus where there’s more to do.
JR: Huh. What about crime around campus? Do they have a problem with robbery or assult around there? Or maybe people disappearing?
DG: Not particularly. You’re not really going to write about petty crime in your tourist article, are you?
JR: Nah. I was just curious. Speaking of being curious, I’ve just got to ask. Where does the name Pinebox come from?
DG: Well, for almost four decades we were the biggest lumber supplier in all of east Texas. At height of operations, there were 23 lumber mills in the area. Today we only have one and that is Whitmore Timber. They are the county’s second biggest employer behind ETU. Anyhow, with lumber being so important to the early settlers I guess Pinebox seemed like a good name.
JR: That makes sense, I guess. So what should I make a point of seeing while I’m here in town?
DG: Let’s see… you should definitely visit the Sibley-Smith Memorial Library. We have an excellent archive with lots of old pictures and usually someone from the Pinebox Historical Society volunteers there during the week.
JR: Okay, I’ll be sure to check that out.
DG: Of course you’ll want to visit the university. I’m told ETU is known all over the world for their history and folk culture departments. It would sure be nice if their football team did better though. Not many folks bother to visit Pinebox for ETU football games. I hear places like College Station get 50,000 visitors for their games. Can you imagine 50,000 people here in little old Pinebox? That would be a nice boost for local businesses.
JR: Maybe this article will help some too.
DG: Oh of course you’re right. I’m sorry. Sometimes I just go off on a tangent. I guess you can tell I work for the Chamber of Commerce, huh?
JR: That’s okay. Why don’t you just tell me about some of the businesses here?
DG: Well I’ve already told you about Whitmore Timber and ETU. We’re also fortunate to have some branches of big industrial businesses such as Borden Chemicals and The Golden Mark Corporation. Then there’s Garland Industries, which works one of the most productive tin mines in Texas. The southeast station of the Texas Forestry Service is in our county. Oh, and headquarters to the world famous Lewis Catfish King restaurant chain is right here in Pinebox.
JR: Really? I’ve eaten there before.
DG: Well sure. It’s one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in Texas. Just last night Don Lewis—he’s the owner—presented the Wolfhunters Club with a check for five thousand dollars.
JR: The wolf cub?
DG: Ha-ha, no. That’s CLUB, not CUB. The Wolfhunters Club is one of our local community organizations. It started out as a hunting club back in the forties and fifties, but as the members got older and wolves got scarce it turned into a social club. They are Pinebox’s biggest fundraising group. They give money for local activities like the high school, humane society, and the Pinebox Hospice.
JR: Pinebox has its own hospice?
DG: Oh, yes. … But are you sure you want this for your travel story?
JR: Don’t worry. I’m just looking for background information so I get a good feel for your beautiful community.
DG: Okaaaaay. Well, the Pinebox Hospice Society runs a home on the edge of the lake. It’s a very beautiful place, and believe it or not it’s getting a reputation as a lovely place to pass away. You know–surrounded by nature and all that. Still, that’s got to be one hard job. They see a lot of employee turnover. I know I couldn’t do it. Raising money is one thing, but staring death in the face every day is something else. It takes a special kind of person to do that.
JR: No kidding. Well, thanks for your time. I think I’ll take your suggestion and visit the library.
DG: Great! Let me give you one of our maps. (paper rustles). Okay, we’re here. And let’s see… here’s the library. So when you pull out of the parking lot you’re going to want to turn right. Then at the light you’re going to want to take another right, then you’ll go three blocks. It’s a white building across the street from the grocery store. You can’t miss it.
JR: Thank you very much.