Insights of Retirement Living


Last year for Veterans Day our writers group (TWIGS) published in the Village News a salute to the veterans who live in the Stuarts Draft Retirement Community. When we began that project, we thought that we had about fifteen veterans living here. We found out that we actually had thirty-four veterans living here at that time. We have about the same number of veterans living here at this time.

Last May, Harold Hadder, Janette (Mae) Hadder, Gene Strange, William E. (Bud) Ferrell, Jr., Russell Kensinger, Harding Lonas, and James Q. Salter published in the Village News some of their war experiences as a Memorial Day tribute to our comrades who went overseas and fought with us and did not return home.

Many veterans would not (or could not) talk about their war experiences for a long time after the war in which they fought was over. The memories were too painful. In my case, that period of time was slightly more than fifty-one years. World War II was over in August, 1945, and it was not until May of 1996 that something happened that caused me to do a complete “about face” in that respect.

I was watching a Memorial Day program on one of the local TV channels when the announcer, while waiting for the program to begin, walked out into the audience and asked people about the meaning of Memorial Day. One person said, “I really don’t know.” Another person said, “To tell you the truth, I haven’t thought anything about it.” One person just shrugged his shoulders and turned away from the reporter.

I was quite taken aback and almost angered by those responses. Then I watched on TV the most moving Memorial Day program that I’ve ever seen. It was televised from our National Cemetery in Arlington. The program featured World War II. On the program an actor read a letter from a young soldier who was killed in the European Theater. The soldier had written the letter to his mother and left it in the barracks, giving instructions that it was to be mailed if he got killed. As I listened to that letter being read, memories of specific individuals and specific events flooded my mind. I do not consider myself to be an overly emotional individual, but tears were streaming down my face.

On the following Sunday afternoon at a high school homecoming I told the graduates about those Memorial Day programs and then I told of one incident that happened to our crew in the war.(I was a radio operator on the crew of a B-29 Super fortress). On our twenty-first mission we saw one of our planes go down, carrying our beloved squadron commander down with them. We didn’t see one parachute come out of that plane.

After the program, while we were enjoying coffee and cookies in the commons area, the reaction of those graduates to my World War II comments was most positive. One graduate said, “Do you realize that our students are graduating from high school today without knowing what it is like for the country to be involved in a war?” Another said, “World War II is an important chapter in American history and there just is not a great deal about it in our history books.” One graduate said excitedly, “Man, you ought to go to every school in this parish (in Louisiana we don’t have counties — we have parishes) and tell the students about World War II and what it is like to get shot at.”

I resolved that day to dedicate everything that I would say about World War II to the memory of those who went overseas and fought with us and did not return home. I have kept that promise. I published my World War II memoirs in three installments entitled “Let Us Not Forget.” I spoke to various school groups about the war. In 2000 I wrote a book about my home town. In that book I titled chapter eight “Those Terrible War Years.” I named all of the ones from our town who lost their lives fighting for our country. I told their stories and dedicated that chapter to their memory.

In concluding this article I want to say something on behalf of all veterans. When we see images of the American flag being shredded, trampled, burned, and generally desecrated, that “tears us up on the inside” as we think about so many who gave their lives for the flag and all that it symbolizes. That makes us want to put that old uniform on and fight somebody. Furthermore, it makes us that much more determined that those who died fighting for this country WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN .

– James Salter

Memories, Memories

October 29th, 2013 | Posted by David Brenneman in All Posts | Just for Fun - (0 Comments)

Rose Bush

“Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go” — “the frost is on the pumpkin” — children dressing in pilgrim costumes for school plays — children drawing pictures of turkeys — football games — the aroma of turkeys roasting and the sweet smell of pumpkin pie — family get togethers — all these things are in my memory bank.

Today’s memories are being made of unease around the world — our government experiencing a shut down — fear of terrorists — foreclosures on houses — people in need of food — people needing jobs — weather gone amok — wars and threats of wars.

The range has been wide in my lifetime and in my last years I pray my memory bank will be filled with peace, laughter and many rainbows. I have faith that our Heavenly Father will fill my memory bank with glorious memories.

“The thorns on a rose makes the blossom more beautiful”

– Bettie Compton

What a Friend

The information contained in this review is printed with permission from the author and publisher: Ace Collins, Stories Behind the Hymns that Inspire America, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2003).

The great American evangelist Dwight L. Moody incorporated this song in his sermons, writings, and teachings. This caused many people to believe that the song is an American hymn. Not so. It was written by an Irishman in Canada.

One Hundred fifty years ago two businessmen stood on a Port Hope, Ontario street corner as a little man carrying a saw walked by. One of the businessmen said, “Now there is a man who is happy with his lot in life. I wish I could know his joy. Perhaps I can get him to cut my winter’s supply of wood.”

“I know that man. He would not cut your firewood. He cuts wood only for the financially destitute and for those who are physically handicapped and cannot cut their own firewood.”

That young woodcutter was named Joseph Scriven. Son of a captain in the British Royal Marines, Joseph was born in Ireland in 1819. After receiving his university degree from Trinity College in London, he quickly established himself as a teacher, fell in love, and made plans to settle in his hometown. Then tragedy struck. The day before his scheduled wedding, his fiancé drowned.

Overcome with grief, Scriven left Ireland to start a new life in Canada. He established a home in Rice Lake, where he met and fell in love with Eliza Rice. Just weeks before she was to become Joseph Scriven’s bride, she suddenly grew sick. In a matter of weeks, Eliza died.

A shattered Scriven turned to the only thing that had anchored him during his life — his faith. Through prayer and Bible study he found not just solace, but a mission. The twenty-five year old Scriven took a vow of poverty, sold all of his earthly possessions, and vowed to give his life to the physically handicapped and financially destitute.

Ten years later Scriven received word that his mother had become very ill. The man who had taken a vow of poverty did not have the funds to go home to help care for her. Heartsick, and feeling a need to reach out to her, he wrote the story of his life in three short verses he called “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”

Later, Scriven said, “The Lord and I together wrote the song.” Several of his friends got a copy and one of them carried a copy to a music publisher. Within two years the little poem of inspiration had been published and coupled to a tune written by an American lawyer, Charles Converse.

Two decades later the great American evangelist Dwight L. Moody came across the song and believed it to be the most touching modern hymn that he had ever heard. It was Moody who gave the song a national platform and caused so many to think that the song had been written in America.

Ironically, Joseph Scriven drowned in a Canadian lake in 1886. He did not live to see his song carried to every corner of the globe.

– James Q. Salter

Sgt. First Class Earl Snyder served in the United States Army from 1948 to 1958. The highlight of his service was during the Korean War. He states that his unit participated in the Inchon Landing which was pivotal in the war.

Sgt. Snyder moved into the Shenandoah Terrace apartment from right here in Stuarts Draft in July, 2013.


• Two wrongs don’t make a right, but two Wrights made an airplane.

• It’s not the pace of life that concerns me, it’s the sudden stop at the end.

• It’s hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.

• The only time the world beats a path to your door is if you’re in the bathroom.

• If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

• My wife keeps complaining I never listen to her . . . or something like that.

• Stop repeat offenders. Don’t re-elect them!

• There is no right way to do the wrong thing.

• The best vitamin for making friends: B1.

• Which is the non-smoking lifeboat?

• Just fill out one simple form to win a Tax Audit!

– Anonymous


Always one for pulling pranks and a lover of good jokes, James Q. Salter, formerly of Zwolle, has done it again!!!

Salter, who resided in Zwolle for most of his life and relocated to Stuarts Draft Retirement Community in Virginia to be near family in 2011, has surprised his Zwolle friends by penning his memoirs.

Salter’s newest book, Smelling the Roses will be published on September 9.

A graduate of Zwolle High, Salter received his B.A.. Degree from Northwestern State College and then an M.A. Degree from Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas. He also did graduate work at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

He served in the United States Army during World War II as a radio operator on a B-29 Super fortress. His crew members completed 32 missions against the Empire of Japan. They received the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross along with other citations.

Salter served Sabine Parish schools for 33 years as a teacher at Zwolle High for 17 years; a principal at Zwolle Elementary for six and one-half years and at Zwolle High for four years. He was also a parish supervisor with the Sabine Parish School Board’s Central Office for four years before retiring in 1980.

He is married to the former Verlyn Jordan of Florien, where he was also born. They married in June 1947, and became the parents of two children. Their son, James Michael Salter, born in 1949 and their daughter, Rhonda Gwyn Salter followed in 1952.

Their daughter is married to Ben Carter, who she met at NSU while attending college. They married in August 1972 and are the parents of two sons, Benjamin Emerson Carter III and Nicholas James Carter, all of Pennsylvania. Both grandsons are married and have two children each…..Briana and Ben Carter IV and Abigail and Lillian Carter. The elder Carter served as editor and did the lay-out on the new book.

Their son, Mike, is an independent factory representative in Dallas.

The Salters now live close to their daughter and family in Stuarts Draft, Virginia. They have settled into a new routine, which includes Bible studies, hymn-singing, movies, trips to the mall and more with a variety of new friends. Their hearts, however, remain in Zwolle.

Salter, who previously penned Zwolle, Louisiana: Our Story in 2000, is a member of TWIGS at the retirement center. TWIGS is a writer’s interest group, similar to a college writing class. His memoirs are a result of his writing class and encouragement from the instructor. He has also written for the Village News, the center’s monthly newspaper.

The new book is dedicated to his family and the residents past and present — of Zwolle.

The new book is filled with photographs, Salter family history, the war, school-teaching and retirement. It is humorous and fun to read and gives you a good idea of the man who endeared himself to Sabine Parish over the years.

Salter was inducted to the Sabine Parish Hall of Fame in 2004 and served on the Board of Directors for a number of years.

In the book, he includes editorials penned and printed in the Sabine Parish newspaper, The Sabine Index; comments about the Three R’s of school…..reading, writing and arithmetic, which he believes should be changed to respect, responsibility and rights; and fondly recalls the late Quinton Brandon, Zwolle Police Chief, as “the Matt Dillon of Zwolle”.

The Salters are continuing to stay active in body and spirit and continue to “smell the roses.”

To order a personally autographed copy of his book, send $18 to Carter Enterprises, 79 Rutherford Lane, Stuarts Draft, Virginia 24477 or call (cell) 540-448-5547 or FAX 540-337-2028.

– James Salter