Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

March 1, 2014

When push comes to Shuve

Hugh Neeld
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Ever been to Shuve, Louisiana? Don’t feel like you’re by yourself. Lots of folks have never even heard of it, much less been there. Shuve is a little town on the east bank of the Red River near Bustier Bayou, sixty-five miles south of Shreveport. They have a Holiday Inn Express, a fifteen-bed hospital, a four man police department, a weekly newspaper, The Bustier Parish Bugle, and a winning high school football team, The Swamp Rats.

Lots of folks in Shuve make a living from hunting, fishing and trapping, but most work for the area’s biggest employer, Ark-La-Tex RV Manufacturing Company.

Thanks to the TV ads out of Shreveport, Lufkin and Little Rock, folks come from miles around to buy their RV’s direct from the factory, or from one of the far-flung RV lots.

Things are pretty quiet and steady in Shuve, except for the Friday night Swamp Rat football games, the Saturday night hoe down at the VFW Hall, and of course, when Alexis Pushkin comes to town.

Never heard of Alexis? Then you’re not from around here. Pushkin is a manufacturer’s rep for Ark-La-Tex. He lives in a big colonial style mansion on the golf course in Lufkin, across the river, and travels all over East Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, setting up RV dealerships. He came to the U-S as the only child of Russian immigrant parents, and carved out a successful career through hard work, personality and native shrewdness.

Alexis, “Push” as he’s affectionately called by all who know him, comes to town at the end of each quarter for sales meetings, training seminars and strategy planning.

Dealers and sales reps from all over the territory come, and in addition to business, it’s a time to party and let off a little steam.

At Push’s insistence, management built a separate wing adjoining the Ark-La-Tex plant expressly for the purpose of accommodating this quarterly meeting and party. And what a party it is. The hall is set up like a German beer garden with trestle tables, a big dance floor and bandstand.

There’s more beer, crawfish and red beans and rice than you ever saw, and as you’d expect, lots of women and Zydeco music.

What’s so great about these quarterly meetings is that they give the town things about which to talk and laugh and exaggerate for weeks. About the time folks stop thinking and talking about it with their friends, someone will use the expression, When Push Comes to Shove, and it gets things going all over again.

Oh, yeah! When “Push” comes to Shuve, Laissez les bons temps vouler, let the good times roll!

A question to ponder:

If a parsley farmer is sued, can his wages be garnished?