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McCandless Connections
Lester Caswell McCandles and Ora Mae Kelley McCandless.
Lester McCandless is not a small man, he 6'4" and solid.  As a small child I remember looking up at him, and up and up...  True story, he had just moved his family to Baytown, Texas about 240 miles from Alice, Texas.  One day in October of 1950, his cousin ran into him about ten miles away from Alice and was surprised that he would make the long trip back to South Texas.  Lester told her he was "...on his way to see the first McCandless born with outdoor plumbing since his little brother."  That was Jesse's son Ron and that story told me how close these two brothers were.

During WW-II Lester was driving a truck for the War Department moving weapons like tanks and heavy artillery.  On one trip he came through Beeville, Texas and stopped for supper at a cafe that also had a dance floor and there were sailors there from the Beeville base.  While sitting on a bench waiting for his to go order a very young sailor approached him.  This sailor was barely tall enough to get in and that apparently affected his outlook on life.  He told Lester, "Nothing against you big fella but I'm gonna fight you."

Lester couldn't imagine what he had done to anger the young man so he asked.  The sailor explained, "If I can whip you, those girls over there are going to always think I'm really something but if you whip me I'll still get their attention and sympathy."

Lester knew the kid was right but he thought of a way out.  By this time a waitress had delivered his order which was already paid for so Lester grabbed the young man and turned him across his knee and whipped his tail with his hand a few times.  The young man was mortified and ran out, Lester calmly picked up his order, left a tip and hit the road again.

Lester married Ora Mae Kelley whose family was well known in the area.  They had one child, a daughter named Ruby Jewell who we called Suzie.  Suzie married my Mom's nephew, James Miller.

I lost my Uncle Lester on December 22, 1987 and he is buried in Baytown, Texas.  I can still see and hear him as if he was sitting at our kitchen table drinking coffee and making me laugh.