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The 'Malakoff Heads' gain renewed interest

The Malakoff News of Malakoff, Texas

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Cedar Lake Home Health gets bragging rights

Our people at Cedar Lake Home Health and Hospice are really proud of an honor we recently got, and they want me to tell you about it. So please excuse me while I brag a little:

We got this big official document from Fazzi Associates saying we rank in the top 25 percent of home care agencies across the nation for patient satisfaction. This is the highest award they give. I called them to make sure, and to find out where we rank in that upper 25 percent, because I think we must be in at least the top 10 percent. But they wouldn't tell me.

Fazzi Associates is a big important Yankee company whose job it is to survey our patients and tell Medicare how satisfied or dissatisfied they are. They call some of them, and they send some of them big long forms to fill out. It turns out our patients like us a lot.

Fazzi sent us a nice letter, and an important-looking seal we can print on our literature, and a nice certificate that says we "have demonstrated superior performance in overall patient satisfaction results... are proven leaders."

I already knew our patients really love our nurses, but I don't mind another excuse to brag.

I had another nice experience last week. I got to spend some time with Joe Holley, a big time columnist for the Houston Chronicle, Texas Monthly, and the Washington Post. He was accompanied by his friend and fellow journalist named, interestingly, Laura Tolley. Both are absolutely charming and very very smart. Joe was in Malakoff to get the low-down on the Malakoff Heads, which he had learned about from his friend Jim Bankston, one of Malakoff's native sons.

Jim had a distinguished career as a Methodist minister, and is now retired.

The Malakoff Heads, as you probably recall, were founded between 1929 and 1939, the first one found when workers were digging gravel for the construction of the Bartlett House.

They are really pretty ugly, and some skeptics question whether they were sculptured thousands of years ago, or whether maybe one of them is a fake, and the others just could be rocks that kind of look like they have faces on them.

Now one of them is at Navarro College in Corsicana, and the other two are at the University of Texas Archaeology Lab, in storage. Pat Isaacson has tried to get UT to dig them out and let Malakoff have them back, but the best they would do is to send us some really good castings of the originals, which are on display at the Malakoff Historical Society.

Joe wanted to get this story first hand, so he called Lyn Dunsavage Young, and asked if she would show him around when he came up, and Lyn asked me to go along with them. Lyn is a noted journalist herself, who edited and wrote most of the commentary in the Malakoff Texas book, which has a lot of information on the Bartlett House and the heads.

So I was in good company and had a great time.

We took him all around, showing him all kinds of stuff, but basically he wanted to know about the leads, the Bartlett House as it related to them, and our very famous native son, sculptor James Surls.

He would have loved to visit James's step-mother, my buddy, Jo Ann Surls, but her house had flooded, and she was not receiving visitors under any circumstances. The best we could do was drive by the entrance to her place and point.

We met Pat Isaacson at the Flagg House, home of the Malakoff Historical Society, where she was kind enough to stop her Christmas decorating long enough to move stuff off the case where heads are displayed. Joe couldn't get a good photo with them in the case, so they scooted the case out from the wall, and took the heads out to the front yard and set them in some nice gravel to photograph them. I got a good picture of Joe admiring one of them.

We had a nice lunch at Ochoa's, and told our guests goodbye. I hope they will come back.

Joe wrote a great column, which Michael posted on Henderson County Now, and I have posted on, and my own facebook page.

If you Google Joe Holley, and look around a little, you'll find some of his other columns. He is one super writer. I read one I was particularly impressed by, about an artist in Waco named Kermit Oliver.

Back to Pat's Christmas decorating for a minute: Go see it. The museum is always worth seeing, as there is always something new showing up, but at Christmas, Pat goes all out, and the Flagg House decorations are out of this world.

Also, when I dropped by the Flagg House today, I found Alisha Sparks and her son, Matthew, out front laying the brick for the base of the gazebo that is being built with the donations given in memory of Pat's husband Carl. Pat is really delighted with this, and expects it to be finished in the next week or two. One more nifty thing to check out when you visit.

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Original Publication Date: December 4, 2015

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