When Will Rogers made the famous statement "I NEVER MET A MAN I DIDN'T LIKE" what he meant to say was "Ernest E. Spell and I Never Met A Man We Didn't Like"
I received an e-mail from my sister (Dorothy Overstreet) who lives in Kountze, Texas yesterday informing me that she didn't want to be the barer of bad news although she knew that I would want to know that Ernest Spell of Silsbee, Texas has passed on and moved to the Lord's Haven above. Well I didn't really want to hear that Ernest Spell had passed away but I understand that there is just not an easy way to let one know of a friends death.
Loosing the existence of Ernest Spell here on earth is a great loss of a true friend, a real man and also the loss of a Southeast Texas Historian! Ernest had so much information about Southeast Texas History that sometime I would wonder if he was 200 years old. Especially the Hardin County areas.
I met Ernest Spell one day in 1972 as I walked into his "Best Little Barber Shop In Texas" on the Spurger Hwy. From the moment we first saw one another we were the best of friends. I sat down in one of the folding chairs in his shop and reached for one of the guitars that was standing in the corner and started playing it. Ernest stopped cutting the hair of the man in the barbers chair and just stood and stared at me. Never said a word until I stopped playing. When I did stop playing whatever song I was playing (Last Date I think) he said "Man that was just great" and went back to cutting hair. I would no sooner start picking another song and he would quit again and start staring at me. I stopped and said that I better not play so that the gent in the chair could get his hair cut. They both laughed at me and both walked over and picked up two other guitars that were there and started playing music. They informed me that cutting hair was a pass time and playing the guitars was the real reason for the barber shop.
In years to follow our first meeting Ernest would take me to places in the Big Thicket and the Neches River bottom and tell me stories of the past. Why he could walk me into the Eason's place on the river bottom when no one else could even get within a half mile of them without the possibility of being shot. He would just walk right on up to the place and they would welcome him like a brother and the catfish went to cooking. He knew everyone that lived on the river and they all loved him and showed it also.
He once took me to a place near Center, Texas that was a cave that started at ground level and sloped down in to an area underground that was huge. Bonnie and Clyde once hid there from the law. It had one way in and that was also the only way out.
I will always treasure the time the Lord let me spend with Ernest Spell as well as treasure the knowledge he shared with me about Southeast Texas
I would like to express my sorrows to Ernest Spell's Family. His wife and four children are dear friends to me and have always treated me the way Ernest did. They are the very best of "True Hearted People". They all know as I do that Ernest is in Haven and doing for others as he did here on Earth.
I am sure that the friends Ernest Spell made during his lifetime is uncountable but I want it known that I am very proud of the fact that I was and still am one of Ernest Spell's friends.