Remember This – De Jonge’s Thrifty Flights

2014 was a bad year for Malaysia Airlines.  On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia at 12:42 a.m. en route to Beijing Capital International Airport in China.  The Boeing 777 jet carried 239 people from 14 different countries.  The flight was to last 5 hours and 34 minutes.  At 1:08 a.m., 26 minutes into the flight, the pilot confirmed that they had reached their flight level of 35,000 feet.  At 1:19 a.m., Lumpur radar station contacted Flight 370 as the jet was handed off to another radar station.  The air traffic controller said, “Malaysia three seven zero, contact Ho Chi Minh one two zero decimal nine.  Good night.”  The captain responded, “Good night.  Malaysia three seven zero.”  Those were the last words heard from Flight 370.  Two minutes later, the jet disappeared from the radar screen over the Indian Ocean.  All search and rescue efforts failed.  Although the jet has never been found, all 239 people were presumed dead.

Four months later, on July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 took off from Amsterdam en route to Kuala Lumpur.  The Boeing 777 jet carried 298 people from 10 countries.  At the time, Russia and Ukraine were in the first months of the War in Donbas.  Due to this international conflict, some airlines avoided the eastern Ukrainian airspace since several military aircraft had been shot down by surface-to-air missiles.  The missile systems were unable to differentiate between military and civilian aircraft.  The Ukrainian government restricted flights traveling under 32,000 feet but did not close the airspace to flights traveling at higher altitudes because it received overflight fees from commercial aircraft which flew into their airspace.  At 12:13 p.m., Flight 17 departed from Amsterdam.  At 12: 53 p.m., 40 minutes later, Flight 17 reached Ukrainian airspace.  They were travelling at 33,000 feet.  At 1:19 p.m., air traffic control noticed that the jet was 3.6 miles off course and instructed the pilot to return to the flight track.  One minute later, a surface to air missile detonated just above and to the left of Flight 17’s cockpit.  The jet fell rapidly and disintegrated before striking the ground.  Everyone on board, 298 people, died in the what remains the deadliest airliner shoot-down incident in history.

2014 was certainly a bad year for Malaysia Airlines and the families of the 537 people who died in Flights 370 and 17, but it was a good year for Dutch competition cyclist Maarten de Jonge.  De Jonge was a member of Malaysia’s Terengganu cycling team, which required him to fly around the world to competitions.  On the morning that Flight 370 was set to depart from Malaysia en route to Beijing, De Jonge changed his plans and exchanged his ticket for a cheaper flight which was to leave an hour earlier.  Minutes before Flight 17 departed from Amsterdam, De Jonge exchanged his ticket for a later, cheaper flight.  Twice in four months, De Jonge’s life was saved because he was thrifty.  “It’s inconceivable,” De Jonge said, “I am very sorry for the passengers and their families, yet I am very pleased I’m unharmed.”


  1. “Dutch Cyclist Changed Plans to Fly on Both MH370 and MH17.” 2014. The Independent. July 20, 2014.
  2. Dayton Daily News, March 25, 2014, p.5.
  3. ‌The Gazette, July 30, 2014, p.3.

The untouchable Uncrustable

Question for you:

At what age do your taste buds and your stomach and brain sync so that the part of your brain in charge of eating — pretty sure it’s called the celeryebellum — have a conscious thought along these lines:

“Yes! Yes, and yes. I am definitely going to try that food RIGHT THERE!”

It’s got to be around the time you can walk and see something like a birthday cake and start motoring toward it because you realize that this is not that Mashed Green Peas or Strained Pumpkin crap mom has been feeding you from the little jar with the little spoon.

You see chocolate, an M&M or maybe a cupcake, and something in your tiny celeryebellum kicks in and you know there is Real Food out there.

And then, THEN, right behind that experience — maybe this is when momma lets you lick the cake frosting off the blender beater — right then must be the moment when your entire Eating System says, “YES! Yes, and yes. I am definitely going to eat THAT again.”

Those food memories are lost to Toddlerhood, youth is wasted on the young and all that. What a joy it would be to remember the first time Gramps handed you a fried chicken leg. Your first hot water cornbread. Lima beans cooked slowly.

Bacon. I can never remember not loving bacon. Oh, that we could go back to when bacon love bloomed.

But … now and then as a grownup, or at least as a person playing a grownup in real life, fate throws you a culinary bone and your taste buds get to sing a new tune.

Which brings us to Uncrustables and to last week when I met this glorious, superb, most delightful food. Like when you met your true love and wondered, “Where have you been all my life?”

I asked some friends who know their way around legit on-the-go food if, during March Madness, they’ve heard the NBA on TNT crew raving over some sort of snack food with a silly, carefree name … Crunchables? Uncrunchables? “Does anybody know what I’m tal…?”

“UnCRUSTables,” my friend interrupted, straight-faced and trying not to feel sorry for me that I didn’t know. “Uncrustables. They’re a game-changer.”

And then he said, “We’ve got some.”

And he did. And I ate one. And life as I know it will never be the same.

You probably already know this because Uncrustables have been around like TWENTY YEARS. Somehow, I am the last person in the entire Western Hemisphere to know.

Better late than never.

Uncrustables are little peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, round as if you’d made a normal square sandwich and used a cookie cutter to cut out the heart of the sandwich, sans crust. Thus — Uncrustables. The outside of the two pieces of softer-than-soft bread are crimped, like the oval edge of a meat pie.

It’s a Circle of Perfection is all it is . . .

Never had I thought the human race could improve on the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a staple in this bureau and one of our greatest achievements … (automatic banking, man on moon, PB&J, polio vaccine). But then again, I’m not the Smucker’s Corporation, the Harlem Globetrotters of jelly products. Smucker’s knows about jelly stuff like the South Pole knows about ice and snow. The Smucker’s people, great Americans everyone, have outdone themselves, whatever that really means, with Uncrustables, and I tip my humble hat.

The only danger is you eat one and they are so light and fluffy that you could eat 14 without giving it much thought. They are so delectable and succulent and inviting, you could pop those babies like Honey Roasted Peanuts.

You can get a box of four or 10, in the freezer section. (Get 10.) That way when you thaw it, the bread is soft and willing.

To speed the thawing process, I put one in my pocket Monday and, 30 minutes into an hour walk for exercise, popped the wrapper and dug in.


By anyone’s definition, I’m not what you’d call a winner. But that day, I sure did walk like one. Ate like one too.

Contact Teddy at or on Twitter @MamaLuvsManning

Notice of Death – April 11, 2023

Joseph Willie Schelette
March 12, 1948 — April 11, 2023
Service: Thursday, April 13 at 3 pm at St. Anne’s Catholic Church

Birtha Hart
April 7, 2023
Arrangements TBA
Everlean Gibson
April 11, 2023
Arrangements TBA
Eula Mae LeBlanc
February 12, 1934 — April 7, 2023
Arrangements TBA
David Andre Riojas
January 8, 1966 — March 24, 2023
Service: Saturday, April 15 at 11 am at Emmanuel Cemetery in Chopin
Martha Lynn (Perry) Conley
Service: Thursday, April 13 at the Assembly of God Church in Goldonna

Winn Parish is set to receive nearly $1.7M grant from the federal government due to the damage by Hurricane Laura

WINN PARISH, LA — According to officials, the state of Louisiana will receive a total of $5,274,865.66 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in relief for Hurricane Laura. Officials also confirmed that Winn Parish, La will receive a $1,656,198.41 grant from the federal government to repair roads and culverts damaged by Hurricane Laura.

Hurricane Laura struck Louisiana with force, but the resilience of our communities proved Louisiana is stronger than any storm. This funding will help our communities remain prepared.

Dr. Bill Cassidy, M.D

Goldonna Assembly of God Youth Group to host Life of Jesus Silhouette Performance

The Goldonna Assembly of God Youth Group is hosting a “Life of Jesus Silhouette Performance” at the church on Friday, April 7th and Saturday April 8th at 7:00 in the evening. The church is located at 108 Talley Street in Goldonna. The public is invited to attend and there is no cost for this event. Goldonna Assembly of God is an eighty eight year old church located in North Natchitoches Parish. Pastor’s Timmy and Pam Harris invite the public to church services every Sunday morning at 10:00am. Sunday evening services at 5:00pm. Tuesday night Bible Study at 6:00pm. Prayer meeting Tuesday at 6:00pm. Wednesday night services at 6:00pm. Prayer meeting Thursday at 7:00pm. For more information you can contact Timmy Harris at 318-481-7191.

Statement of House Speaker Clay Schexnayder on LSU selecting new AgCenter leader

“Congratulations to Dr. Matt Lee on being selected as the vice president for agriculture and the dean of the College of Agriculture,” said Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales. “Agriculture, including crops, livestock, forestry and aquaculture, is one of the most important industries in our state. It touches the lives of everyone in Louisiana.

“Dr. Lee brings a great mix of leadership, academics, financial efficiency and student and industry support to the position,” he said. “I have the utmost confidence that Dr. Lee will prove to be an excellent vice president and dean for agriculture. He is a dedicated public servant and an extraordinary leader who desires to improve and grow agriculture in Louisiana.”

Winnfield Police Department Arrest Report

Date: 3-30-23
Name: Terry Raybon
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: Black
Sex: Male 
Age: 50
Charge: Direct contempt of court 

Date: 4-1-23
Name: Robbie Foutain Jr
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: Black 
Sex: Male 
Age: 30
Charge: Possesion of a firearm, Flight from officer 

Date: 4-3-23
Name: Shawn Morris 
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: Black
Sex: Male 
Age: 52
Charge: Cruelity to juveniles 

Date: 4-3-23
Name: Tamila Young 
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: Black 
Sex: Female 
Age: 31
Charge: Domestic Abuse Baattery 


This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The Battle of Pleasant Hill Re-enactment Brings History to Life

Cannons roared and gunfire reverberated through the quiet village of Pleasant Hill March 31 through April 2 as the Union and Confederate armies clashed in one of the battles of Union General Nathan P. Banks’ Red River Campaign. Unlike the actual battle in 1864, the cannon and rifle fire did not result in a storm of lead and iron and the casualties “resurrected” after the battle was over.

Sunday, April 9, will mark the 159th anniversary of the Battle of Pleasant Hill. The first re-enactment was held in 1964 on the 100th anniversary of the battle. After a hiatus of several years, the re-enactment went on to become a beloved tradition presented on, or as close as possible to, the anniversary of the battle. This year’s re-enactment is the 43rd one. The Battle of Pleasant Hill re-enactment is a rarity in that it commemorates a specific battle and takes place on the actual battlefield. The site is about 3 miles from the modern site of the Village of Pleasant Hill. This year’s re-enactment featured over 350 participants from Louisiana and surrounding states.

Friday featured an open camp held for local educators so school groups could come and learn about life in the Civil War era. Saturday and Sunday each featured battles fought before a large crowd of several hundred spectators as well as the Battle of Pleasant Hill Queen, court and a contingent of festival and pageant queens from across Louisiana. Young men from a Texas Trail Life Troop raised the flag in the opening ceremony.

There was also a period church service Sunday as well as a memorial luminaria ceremony commemorating the soldiers who fell in the Battle of Pleasant Hill.

The Battle of Pleasant Hill re-enactment is an educational and family friendly event that offers something to history aficionados of every age.  There is no charge to attend the reenactment. The Battle of Pleasant Hill re-enactment is one of the myriad of festivals, concerts and other events that make life in Louisiana anything but boring. The Journal Media Group congratulates the re-enactors and volunteers whose hard work is evidenced throughout the well organized and fun event. The Battle of Pleasant Hill re-enactment is a superb example of what a small town can accomplish working together.

The 49th Annual Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival

Melrose, LA – The 49th Annual Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival is set to take place on April 15 and 16, 2023, at Melrose on The Cane. This highly anticipated event will feature vendors selling their hand-crafted goods, food vendors, and music.

The Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival has been a staple of the community for nearly half a century, and continues to draw thousands of visitors from across the region. This year’s festival has an impressive lineup of talented artists, craftsmen, and food vendors.

“We’re thrilled to once again host the Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival, and we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors from near and far,” said Executive Director, Leah Dunn Witman. “This year’s festival promises to be a truly unforgettable experience, with something for everyone to enjoy.”

In addition to the numerous vendors selling handmade jewelry, pottery, woodworking, and other crafts, visitors can also enjoy delicious food from a variety of local vendors.

“We’re incredibly proud of the Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival and the role it plays in bringing our community together,” said Leah Dunn Witman. “It’s a true celebration of the arts, and a great opportunity to support local artists and businesses.”

The festival will take place rain or shine. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children 6-12. To purchase tickets please visit the Melrose webpage at:

You can also purchase tickets on Eventbrite by searching Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival.

The 49th Annual Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival is sponsored by: Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission, Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Bank of Montgomery.

Window to Winn with Bob Holeman

(Bob Holeman conducted this series of interviews with local World War II in 2011-12.  Most of those 34 American heroes have passed away in the decade since).

            Many a young man who fought for America during World War II learned some skills that would carry him for a lifetime.  This week’s interview for the Winn veteran series is one of those stories.

            Rudolph Foster grew up on Laurel Street and graduated from Winnfield High School back in 1939 when there were only 11 grades before graduation.  He was in the first class to attend the newly-opened Huey P. Long Trade School and, two years later, was among the first students to receive his diploma.  “They weren’t specialized like they are today.” He explained.  “We studied a little bit of everything back then.”

            Pearl Harbor happened before Foster got a chance to enter the working world.  “Some folks got drafted, others hid,” he explained.  While he didn’t exactly enlist, he did extend his options by enrolling in a radio school in Shreveport.  He proved to be an excellent student in the field and found that with these skills, he could now enlist with more say-so in his placement.

            “I was able to enlist in the Army because of that training.  Mrs. McBride, the preacher’s wife at First Baptist Church, gave me a Bible.  It was special to me during my service.  She presented a Bible to every serviceman from FBC.”

            Traveling first to Alexandria, Foster was sent to Fort Beauregard for a 30-day processing.  Ironically, the Army had no size 13-1/2 shoes for the young enlistee and, according to Army regulations, no soldier could participate without a complete uniform.  “So for 30 days, they couldn’t make me do anything except eat and sleep.”

            But that problem was remedied in California where the men were shipped for basic training.  He recalls the daily routine included a 30-mile hike “right down in the woods.”  Specific training was next and due to his background, Foster went to Radio School.  The first stage was simply work on a 9-volt radio.  Once the trainee could make that work, he would move on to advanced training in radio communication.  For that, he was sent to Utah and, for a time, at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

            “Then we went somewhere in Arizona where we were taught how to climb telephone poles.  If you didn’t fall off the pole, you passed.”

            Prepared with this training, Foster and others like him were shipped to Leyte Island in the Philippines to help establish communications as Allied Forces prepared to move its invasion towards Japan.  “We didn’t land until Gen. McArthur had returned and proven the area was safe,” said Foster.  “Ours was a 32-man switchboard team.  We had a boss and when he hollered, we jumped.  All of the communication came out of one tent and we would have to string wires from that tent, through the jungle, to a phone on the other end.”

            Naturally, there were no telephone poles in the jungles of the Philippines so the radio men had to climb coconut trees to string their wires.  “You can imagine, wires ran like a web from that tent to places all over the island.  Now, the local natives had no way of climbing these trees because they were straight up.  So they’d give us a little knife to cut down coconuts for them to eat.  Often, they’d catch them before they hit the ground.  He explained that the work could be hazardous, for the Japanese would often cut the phone wires, then lie in wait to shoot at Americans who came to make the repairs.  Soldiers were sent ahead of the repairmen to help ensure their safety.  He said no one shot at him during his deployment.

            But there was a second hazard.  While he never fell out of a coconut tree, he said he “burned” three trees (and several telephone poles during his working career).  That’s apparently telephone terminology for losing your footing and making an uncontrolled slide down the pole.  It’s hard on the repairman’s arms, legs and face, he said.

            While on Leyte, Foster was on a detail that stretched an 80-mile line to an Air Force unit where his brother, Weston Garland Foster, also a radio man, was stationed.   “You wouldn’t believe it but when the operator turned the crank to ring the phone, my brother answered.  The next day, he hitched a ride and came down to see me.”

            His story got local when he said they wrote their mother “but she said she wouldn’t believe we were together unless we sent her a picture.  So we found someone to take our picture, standing side-by-side.  That picture went back to north Louisiana and she went to showing everyone on Laurel Street.  And there were a lot of people living on Laurel Street back then.  Well, those ladies started making up big boxes of food and sending them to us.  It was enough that all 32 of us on the radio team could eat.  But the novelty wore off and the boxes stopped coming.  I asked my brother if we ought to ask Mama to show that picture around again.  She did and, sure enough, here came the Care Packages once more.”

            As the Allies moved north and the capital city of Manila had been secured, the communications center was moved there.  He was in Manila when the end of the war was announced.  He recalls that there was “lots of celebration with that announcement but there was still a lot of work we had to do before we got to come home.”

            The return trip was memorable.  The voyage over on a nondescript naval transport had taken 32 days from San Francisco to New Guinea.  For the trip home, the aircraft carrier Yorktown was brought into Manila Harbor.  Foster said he was the first man, apart from the crew, to be taken aboard.  He was shown to an empty room with eight bunks.  After so many months of sharing a tent, this looked pretty good and he got first choice.  He picked his bunk and waited.  It seemed like an hour passed until the next man arrived.  “Where do I go?” he asked.  Foster indicated the remaining bunks.  “Anywhere you want…except where I have my stuff.”  Introductions and hometowns found that the newcomer was Loy Gaar of nearby Gaars Mill.

            The Yorktown took only 12 days to cross the Pacific.  Foster was discharged in Texas but the trip home was not that difficult.  “My brother came and picked me up.  Mama told him to come get me so there weren’t any questions.”

            During the course of the war, this veteran had found romance.  It happened while he was training in Utah.  “There was a New Year’s Eve Party where the Baptist Church had invited all us servicemen.  I didn’t really fit in so I went and sat in a chair in a corner, watching all the people having a good time.  I noticed this girl, sitting in a chair in the other corner, crying.  I went to talk to her.  She was from Idaho, there visiting her sister, and she didn’t know what to do.  I asked her if she wanted to dance or something and we did.  I walked her home to where she was staying and that was the start of a romance.  We decided to get married.”

            He remembers it as Groundhog Day 1946 that he traveled up to Twin Falls, Idaho, to marry the girl he comforted, Mabel Brewer.  They moved back to Winnfield to start their life together where he had gotten a job with the city.  Then one day, the boss of his 32-man switchboard team drove up to his home.  He had been with the phone company prior to the war, had returned there following his service and now wanted Foster to come to work for them.

            “For my interview, they had me climb up a pole.  I did and they hired me on the spot.”  He worked there from 1946 until 1984 when he retired and began his own business in the telephone field.  In their years together, the couple had 5 children, 9 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren and 1 great great grandchild.

The author writes Himself into the story

The beginning of Easter was when God wrote himself into the story of our world, to set the story straight.

Today’s thoughts are entirely those of three authors – Tim Keller, C.S. Lewis, and Dorothy Sayers, a writer of detective fiction in the first part of last century. Most all these words are theirs. I’ll leave off quotation marks for the most part and paraphrase from Keller’s book, Encounters With Jesus, in hopes Keller’s explanation will cause you to consider, as Keller writes, “who Jesus is, how he loves you and how he came to put the world right.”

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 11, Jesus is raging against not only the death of his friend but also against our biggest enemy — evil and death itself — which entered the world because of sin, scripture says, not as part of God’s original design.

“Jesus wept,” John writes. “And the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him,’” a continuing part of John’s record of the reaction to the death of Jesus’ friend, Lazarus.

But maybe Jesus here is thinking too of his own death, coming very soon in this narrative, thinking of the judgment he was to bear and the price he was to pay to raise from the dead not only Lazarus, but each believer and follower.

In his essay The Seeing Eye, Lewis wrote that if there were a God, people could not relate to him as a neighbor or as someone who lived in the apartment above ours. This is why Khrushchev said in 1961, after the Russians put a man into orbit, that since they’d put a man into space and he didn’t see God, “we have proved there is no God.”

Instead, Lewis said our relationship to God is more like Shakespeare’s relationship to Hamlet: Hamlet can know about Shakespeare but only what Shakespeare writes about himself in the play. In the same way, we “only know about God if God has written something about himself into our life, into our world. And he has.”

And now to Sayers, who some of us have not heard of, and if you haven’t, you’re welcome because here’s the deal:

The main character of Sayers’ stories is Lord Peter Wimsey, a single detective. Eventually, a woman named Harriet Vane appears in the stories; she and Peter fall in love, marry, and solve mysteries together. Sayers had essentially looked into a story she’d created, saw the pain and loneliness of a man she’d created, fallen in love with him, and wrote herself into the story just to save him.

God has done “quite the same thing. God looked into our world – the world he made – and saw us destroying ourselves and the world by turning away from him. It filled his heart with pain. He loved us. He saw us struggling to extricate ourselves from the traps and misery we created for ourselves. And so, he wrote himself in. Jesus Christ, the God-man, born in a manger, born to die on a cross for us.”

The happy ending is what God did next: the resurrection of his only son. Easter.

Funeral for the President

For months, Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, had been on the cusp of death.  Several times his skillful doctor had “snatched [him] from the very jaws of death by the timely and skillful application of medicinal remedies.”  But on that Sunday evening, the doctor’s skill was exhausted.  “The suffering old hero” knew his time had come.  “Death had no terrors for him,” one newspaper reported, “he met [death] with composure, and with a full confidence that he was prepared for a better world.”  “His dying hour was cheered with the bright assurance within him that in a few short moments, he would be united in Heaven with his beloved wife, [Rachel], who had gone before him.”  At 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 8, 1845, Andrew Jackson took his last breath.  When news of his death was reported, newspapers referred to Jackson, not as a former president, but General Andrew Jackson.      

Early on Tuesday morning, June 10, the day of his funeral, throngs of people who had procured every available vehicle in Nashville and surrounding towns gathered at the Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s home.  Friend and foe alike gathered to take one last look at “Old Hickory.”  Some came out of respect and admiration, while others came to be sure he was mortal and was truly gone forever.  Businesses throughout Nashville closed and “the city had all the appearance of a Sabbath.”  From 11:00 a.m., the time his funeral began, until 1:00 p.m., people fired “minute guns,” guns fired at the top of each minute, and the bells of all the churches in the city tolled.  Reverend Dr. Edgar presided over the funeral at the Hermitage and preached a sermon that, by all accounts, was most impressive and eloquent.  Following the funeral, Andrew Jackson’s body was interred in the vault next to his beloved wife, Rachel.

The former president’s visitation, funeral, and burial were completed according to his wishes, quietly and peacefully…well, sort of.  While the crowd was gathering at the visitation before the funeral, one who had been a constant companion of “Old Hickory” for nearly 20 years, an African named Poll, “got excited and commenced swearing so loud and long” that he upset the others in attendance and had to be physically removed from the house.  Some people were shocked that the dead man’s companion showed no reverence for the solemn occasion, while others were shocked to hear such language spoken aloud in mixed company.  Some asked where the companion had learned such language in the first place.  Many suspected the companion learned the expletives from Old Hickory himself.  You see, the companion who swore at Andrew Jackson’s visitation, the African named Poll, was an African gray… Parrot.



1.     Tri-Weekly Nashville Union, June 10, 1845, p.2.

2.     Tri-Weekly Nashville Union, June 12, 1845, p.2.

3.     “History from Home – Presidential Pets.” The Hermitage, April 30, 2020, April 2, 2023.