Monthly Archives: April 2013

Endings and Beginnings at St. Peter’s Church of Coupland

Story & Photos by Stewart Dale Spencer

It was a year ago this past weekend that my family relocated to Coupland from San Marcos and the synchronicity was not lost on me as I attended services at St. Peter’s Church. There was a special retirement service for Pastor John Sumner as well as a dedication service and for the newly-renovated Fellowship Hall.Both the Sanctuary and the Fellowship Hall will filled to capacity. Below is a montage of pictures and videos to commemorate the event.

During the “God’s Word to the Children,” the Pastor presented a variety of gifts to the children from a box of items he had collected over the years.










There was no shortage of both tears and laughter during the service, where the Pastor was formally released by the congregation.








The Pastor and his wife, Irene, received a special gift that was a twist on a Texas tradition. A boot filled with $3,750 in cash was presented to them . . . the result of contributions from individual members of the congregation. They will soon be leaving Coupland so they can take up their new lives as full-time grandparents to two grandchildren in Florida. Pastor John said they were moving themselves and expressed his gratitude for the gift because it would move than cover the cost of the move.

The choir performed a special medley of old-time tunes and organist Kim Nelson performed a special rendition of “Amazing Grace.”


During the procession after the benediction, Pastor John passed through and arch of Texas flags as he was regaled with “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You” by the congregation.

In the Fellowship Hall, Church Council President Michelle Dupy shared a few memories and then she and Lay Minister Charlotte Albert present the Pastor and his wife with a variety of special mementos, many of which had a Texas theme. The Pastor shared an interesting story. He told about how when they first moved into the parsonage, they were disturbed to find that snakes kept appearing in and around the house. He said that he had told himself, “One more and I’m out of here!” Fortunately for us, and to prove that the Lord does, indeed, have a sense of humor, he encountered a rattlesnake today. He exclaimed, “I killed my first rattlesnake this morning!” It would seem that his work here is done.


Dinner consisted of delicious pork loin with gravy, homemade mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, bread, salad, and more kinds of pies than I have ever seen in one place. Everyone seemed to be pleased with the results of the renovation and there was a joyful spirit surrounding the event. Even the wonky table that collapsed . . . twice . . . could not mar the occasion.

As a friend of St. Peter’s Church, I look forward to seeing what the future will reveal for the church and for the community at large.


Pastor John shows off “Big Tex.” Friends predicted that after ten years, he would look like this. He observed that the white hair was all they had in common.


The new kitchen is very spacious!

More images appear below. If any readers have any other information or stories they would like to share, please use the comment form or the “Contact the Publisher” link at the top of the page.IMG_2456IMG_2462IMG_2461


Church Council President Michelle Dupy


Cole’s Annual Crawfish Boil

Story by Stewart Dale Spencer

Photos by various contributors. 

Cole Barton and his sweetheart Nichole Kertis had a few of their friends and family over — 93 to be exact — on Saturday, April 20 for a bit of fellowship and food. Cole says that this is the 12th year of the crawfish boil. He lives in what used to be the original Coupland State Bank. He graciously opened his home and his patio to the hungry throng.

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Citizen’s National Bank was very neighborly and allowed Cole and company to set up the crawfish cooking operation in their drive-thru lane.




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The cooking was handled by Cole’s father, Jack Barton, and a few assistants. He wasn’t the least bit bothered by the kids that flocked to the kiddie pool, which was filled (repeatedly) with the fresh-water crustaceans, a.k.a. “crawdads” or “mudbugs.” Click here to learn more about these critters.









A kiddie pool full of crawfish is a kid magnet!

A kiddie pool full of crawfish is a kid magnet!









A timed eating contest was held. Charles Molineux took home the trophy by consuming 53 crawfish in 5 minutes. Here we see him proudly displaying his hard-won trophy. Looks like it brought tears to his eyes.



Here are a few more images from that day. If anyone has any other images they would like to add, or if you would like to add a description to any of these images, please contact me at

Apparently, this crawfish has a different idea about who should be eaten.

Apparently, this crawfish has a different idea about who should be eaten.


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Nichole is surprised with birthday brownies.












Future crawfish eating contest participant.

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No, really. I was putting the eggs IN the hen house!


Evidently, goldfish and rubber ducks are almost as interesting as crawfish.








Kayla Spencer tries her first crawfish. Here we see her wondering about the "brown stuff."

Kayla Spencer tries her first crawfish. Here we see her wondering about the “brown stuff.”


Defiant to the end!

Giant crawfish caught in the act of attempting to acquire a human hostage.

Giant crawfishes caught in the act of attempting to acquire a human hostage.

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Crawfish meditations.

Crawfish meditations. 




For some, the three main food groups: crawfish, potatoes, and corn on the cob.

For some, the three main food groups: crawfish, potatoes, and corn on the cob.

Get Connected!


We live in a time of separation — young from old, wife from husband, progressives from conservatives, Christians from Muslims, rich from poor, neighbors from neighbors . . . You name the category and someone will find a way to use it to keep us apart.

We complain that things aren’t like they used to be. That people used to know their neighbors. That kids used to run around outside without fear. That people used to get together for their entertainment but that now they sit inside watching television or walk around glued to their smartphones and tablets.

So what is the solution? How do we reverse the trend? I don’t have all the answers but I do have one answer. Get out of your home and meet your neighbors. If you see someone moving in, stop by and say hello. Bake some cookies and take them over. Offer to help. Invite them to church or to the Civic Organization or Fire Department meetings. Tell them about our wonderful Coupland Inn and Dancehall. Just take action. Don’t wait. Don’t fear. You might make a lifelong friend but even if you just make an acquaintance, both of you will be better off for the encounter.

We have parents and grandparents caring for young children. We have elderly and disabled folks whose days would be brightened by the simple courtesy of a visit. I really enjoy my electronics and I am still wowed by the marvel of a big screen, digital television with surround-sound but it pales in comparison to the simple joy of watching children squeal with laughter or seeing the eyes of a home-bound elder light up just to have someone listen to their stories. Everyone has had a unique life experience and when we share them, we are edified by that sharing.

I challenge the community of Coupland to take the simple steps of getting connected with their neighbors.

Take the time to schedule play days at the church playground. Tell us if you are stuck at home and would enjoy having regular visits by a new friend. Use this forum to escape your solitary confinement. Sure, everyone needs a little alone time but we only thrive when we are involved in a community. Let’s make Coupland a community of all its residents!

Stewart Dale Spencer

Who Cares What YOU Think?

I care, that’s who! I’ll bet others will care as well. And even if they don’t care, I’m pretty sure they will at least respect your opinion. Of course, if they don’t respect your opinion, who needs ’em anyway, right?

Opinion and commentary on the Internet is a funny thing. It’s amazing how rude some people can be when they think that no one knows who they are. It’s kind of like driving on the highway. When you’re in a big city or a long ways from home you might be tempted to be a little less patient, a little less charitable, in your driving manners. But when you are in a small town or in your own neighborhood . . . assuming you care about what people think of you . . . you are less likely to drive aggressively or to lean on the horn or, heaven forbid, to make an obscene gesture toward the object of your frustration. After all, that person probably knows your mother.

It’s important that people feel free to speak their mind but having a sense of shame (the healthy kind, not the toxic variety) is an important element in the functioning of a community. So speak out and speak up and be prepared to defend your opinion but always remember that courtesy goes farther than rudeness.

Did I mention that rude comments and posts will be deleted or returned for revision? I don’t expect to have to do that very often, if at all. So far, the only rude person I have encountered in Coupland was a customer at the Stock Up who blamed the store clerk for his credit card being declined and said some very rude things on the way out. Let’s hope he was just having a bad day and lost his composure. I would hate to think he has to go through life carrying that kind of attitude around with him all day.

Stewart Dale Spencer

Who’s That?

Coupland is not just a place. It’s people. All sorts of people. And everyone has their own brand of distinctiveness. We have our share of colorful characters but even the quiet and unassuming folk deserve our attention. A wise man once said, “Thou art even as a finely tempered sword concealed in the darkness of its sheath and its value hidden from the artificer’s knowledge. Wherefore come forth from the sheath of self and desire that thy worth may be made resplendent and manifest unto all the world.”*

My goal is to give everyone a chance to shine. I want to get to know my neighbors . . . to learn where they came from and where they are going. Perhaps you are a fifth-generation Couplander. Maybe you just moved to Coupland. Maybe you are one of the movers and shakers of the community or maybe you go about living your life quietly, behind the scenes. You have value. Regardless of your social status, you are part of the fabric of this community and I want to make sure that your life is acknowledged and appreciated.

Stewart Dale Spencer

*The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1985 reprint, Page 52