An abundance of toilet paper

Published 6:31 am Saturday, February 3, 2018

By Bobby Tingle

The annual Toilet Paper Tea was so successful the Southeast Texas Hospice Executive Director Mary McKenna was forced to find additional storage space.

Not long after arriving in Orange, our Editor Dawn Burleigh, insisted I attend this annual event. The moniker for this event threw me off a bit, but Burleigh’s explanation brought it all into focus.

Every year, McKenna and the Southeast Texas Hospice staff open their doors to the community. Visitors bring toilet paper, paper towels, paper clips, and soap along with other cleaning and office supplies needed throughout the year for maintaining and running their office.

McKenna was grateful for the community response for this event held December 14, 2017.

The first time I met McKenna I thought she was a sober minded person, wise and reserved who seldom displays flashes of attention grabbing activity. But since then, I notice she may be a bit more flamboyant than I first realized. She seems to be able to verbally jab and jostle with highly professional jokers.

McKenna and I attended the monthly Breakfast Connection hosted this month by Orange Stationer. The Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce schedules each Breakfast Connection to provide an opportunity for members to network with other members.

The Orange Stationer’s staff did a fine job providing a wonderful breakfast and comfortable environment for the event this month.

Like McKenna, several of the guests were more than willing to share all that is going on in their world.

Paul Dickerson, owner of Orange Stationer, shared information regarding their journey since the historical event, Hurricane Harvey, impacted our area at the end of August.

Dickerson’s staff was displaced from their beautiful showroom to their warehouse. The warehouse, sitting eighteen inches higher than the showroom, did not flood. Unfortunately, though heated and cooled, the warehouse has a floor to ceiling roll up door that had to be left open for a customer entrance. In September, the heat was stifling and later in the year the cold was bone chilling. But they persevered and are now mostly restored.

Orange Stationer, according to Dickerson, has expanded their offerings. They still sell office supplies, filling cabinets and office furniture. But they have transformed into a solution store with a willingness to find whatever you need.

And of course they sell toilet paper. McKenna is hoping for a truck full at her next tea.

Not to be outdone the chamber, city of Orange EDC and Stark Foundation reminded chamber members about Mardis Gras events, Shangri La’s Annual Trash Off, an upcoming production at the Lutcher Theatre, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, the current Stark Museum exhibit and of course the Bassmaster Elite event in April.

According to Sabine River Ford’s Jim Surber a professional rodeo is in town this weekend. It’s the first annual Sabine River Ford Pro-Rodeo. There is no doubt looking at the name of this event, they intend to do this annually. Plans are, according Surber’s sources, to build on this initial event.   Professional rodeos have a following, just like professional fishing, so a blossoming relationship could provide future growth and development of another tourist attracting event.

T2 Tin Top Arena on old Peveto Road is the venue for the inaugural rodeo. Bridgefield Electric’s Chad Havens has plans to expand and create a venue to host livestock shows in the future.

United Way’s Maureen McAlister is presenting Pete’s Dueling Pianos at the VFW in February. McAlister announced their production of a hardcover commemorative book, “Harvey’s Impact on Orange County” featuring photos and chronicling recovery efforts which are ongoing. The United Way is asking for public input. You can contribute to this work at

The overwhelming sentiment expressed by all attending was the obvious importance of shopping local.

Granger Chevrolet’s Dean and Al Granger were as quiet as crickets as we circled the room talking about our place of business and what they have to offer. Could be they realized Surber said it all. He took his turn just before Granger and did a jam up good stand up commercial for both dealerships. I have never heard a better impromptu promotion for buying local. These local car dealers offer award winning Ford Trucks and award winning Chevrolet models. It was rather gratifying to see these competitors join forces to make a case for keeping it local.

The Orange Leader wants to join in the accolades. We are gathering ideas for our upcoming special section, Progress 2018 Moving Forward.

There are plenty of stories to tell of rebuilding and recreating. Shoot me an email if you know of a good story to include. We want to highlight the many who have stepped, faced the challenges and overcome while rebuilding and recreating Orange.

Orange County has much to offer those who call it home. Get out and enjoy it.

Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. You can reach him at