Published in the Rains County Leader on December 20, 2016:
The Rains County Leader always closes for the last week of the year, so this will be the last issue of the paper until 2017. Following the example of many of news programs and talk shows, I did a quick review of my columns from the last year. Here is a brief overview of what I shared with your during 2016.
It should come as no surprise to anyone, at least anyone who reads my column regularly, that my favorite subject by far was Kitty, the stray cat who adopted us about in the Spring of 2015. During the last twelve months, she evolved from an outside cat who occasionally spent a cold night in the laundry to the ruling member of the Brendle household. She also celebrated her first birthday and became socialized to the point where she allows us to pet her when the mood strikes her. I wrote a total of fifteen columns about Kitty.
On a related subject, I also wrote three columns about Spike, the mischievous Great Pyrenees we stay with when his people are out of town. He and Kitty are both maturing, and adult animals like adult people don’t always provide as much fun writing material as they did when they were younger. I may have to expand my choice of subjects next year.
Another favorite theme for columns was nostalgia. I know older people have a reputation for living in the past, but sometimes it’s hard not to when circumstances conspire to bring it up again and again. I missed my 50th high school reunion in 2015 because David and I were traveling, but I attended a book fair in Mesquite this year. That experience revived enough memories for a column. Then, we attended David’s 50th reunion this year – yes, I married a younger man – and that turned into another column.
Holidays and anniversaries also lead to nostalgia columns. Dad’s fifth anniversary in
Heaven inspired a column called “Daddy’s Girl,” and Mother’s Day resulted in one about missing my own mother. I wrote a tribute to my Aunt Fay for her 92nd birthday, and I wrote a couple of other columns about the good old days.
When I first began writing my column, it was given the name “City Girl” because I was trying to figure out how to live in the country after living in the city for most of my life. I wrote about bugs, the local wildlife, and the differences between social life in a big city and a small town – and I wrote about gardening. In my first several years as a Leader correspondent, my garden evolved from a dozen spindly plants stuck in holes in the ground to three fully tilled plots that covered more square footage than our house. I learned to can and freeze excess produce, and I proudly chronicled my experiences.
Last year’s garden was a disappointment, and my enthusiasm diminished. This year I missed early planting, and by the time I finally put in a small plot, it began to rain. It rained too much – then it quit, and the sun came out. My garden produced two columns, and then it burned up altogether and I went on to other subjects.
Of course, there was no way to avoid politics this year. I wrote five columns about the elections and related subjects. In recent weeks, I’ve written four columns about the holidays, and there were four weeks during the year when I was lazy and re-cycled columns from previous years. Finally, I wrote ten or so columns on what can only be described as miscellaneous subjects. I have a friend who says I can write about nothing and make it interesting. I hope so, because in a couple of weeks I have another year of columns stretching out ahead of me. Until then, may your Christmas be blessed and your New Year be prosperous.
A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos