Published in the Rains County Leader on January 28, 2020:
Going to church on Sunday mornings is one of the best things I do all week, at least once I get past getting up a little earlier than usual and getting out the door looking a little more presentable than usual. It’s like a big family reunion every week. Almost everybody is happy and has a big smile and a warm hug – and the ones who don’t are an opportunity to share heartaches and encourage one another. It’s the perfect place to learn more about God and the Bible and to ask that hard question that you didn’t want to ask anywhere else because it might turn out to be a dumb question. And sometimes, after the teaching and the preaching and the singing and the praying, it’s a great place for lunch.
Sunday was one of those times. It seems like most churches look for any excuse to share a meal, and ours is no exception. Our pastors and elders are always looking for ways to encourage fellowship among the church members, so we have some kind of social event several times a year. This one was a soup and dessert lunch – all you can eat, of course – and a fund raiser. The details aren’t important, but there was a need, so members were asked to consider donating what they would normally spend on lunch. Based on the amount collected, a lot of the members eat better than David and I do! (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on January 21, 2020:
Every year between October 15 and December 7, Medicare open enrollment rolls around. That’s the period when people who have Medicare coverage can reevaluate and/or change their plans. David has coverage through the VA, so when the helpful reminders from every insurance company known to man begin to arrive in the mail, they end up in my to-do paperwork. I’ve been pretty happy with my carriers, so I usually ignore the pile until the deadline has past and then file it in what Dad used to call File 13.
This year was different, though. My supplement, the plan that covers co-pays and other things Medicare doesn’t pay, went up a few dollars as it does every year due to my advancing age. But my prescription drug coverage that had doubled in the seven years since I became eligible had doubled again in just one year. It was time to do some insurance shopping. (more…)
Published in the Community Chronicle December 15, 2019:
Asking a child what he wants to be when he grows up can be very entertaining. I’m sure my son Christian went through the typical hero-worship phase, but the first career ambition I remember was when he began kindergarten. We lived within walking distance of the school, and I was a stay-at-home mom, so we got in some exercise as well as some together time when the weather permitted. We had to cross one major street, and Christian immediately fell in love with the kind man with the bright orange vest and bright red sign who greeted him every day and escorted him safely across the street. Forget the fireman, policeman, and even Spider Man – he wanted to be a crossing guard.
Christian showed great ambition through the years. He wrote his first story as soon as he could hold a pencil, and he created his first book out of samples our paper-salesman neighbor gave him. In the summer he carried lemonade around in his wagon, visiting the neighbors who were working in their yards instead of waiting for them to come to him, and in December he knocked on doors, offering bundles of mistletoe tied with red yarn for 50 cents each. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on January 13, 2020:
Strong storms covered Rains County with torrential rains accompanied by lots of thunder and lightning Friday night. The winds were not as strong as predicted, but the forecasts had many residents talking about the weather all week. At the Senior Center on Wednesday, I heard a woman at the table behind me ask if anyone had a storm cellar. Only one of her lunch companions had one, but she said that, in the nine years she had lived in her home, she had never been into the dark hole in the ground with its rotting, shutter-style doors. I wasn’t surprised that no one else had a cellar. The shallow Texas bedrock makes the cost of digging prohibitive. But the conversation brought back memories of my very early days in west Texas.
I was born in a tiny town about twenty miles west of Abilene called Merkel. We moved
A picture of Merkel’s downtown we took around 2002.
from there to Snyder, about fifty miles further west, just shy of my fourth birthday, so my memories of Merkel are limited. I’m sure some of them are things I’ve been told rather than things I actually remember. I know that we lived in a rented house behind Miss Johnnie’s house, our landlady, but I don’t remember much about her. I remember eating pinto beans at her house once – they needed salt. I remember learning to brush my teeth with tooth powder. And I remember the storm cellar. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on January 6, 2020:
Happy 2020 – a new year, a leap year, and the beginning of a new decade. One hundred years ago marked the beginning of the Roaring Twenties, a decade of economic growth and widespread prosperity, driven by postwar spending, a construction boom, and the rapid growth of consumer goods. The few forecasters I saw didn’t really commit on whether the 20’s will roar this time around, but apparently advertisers are jumping on the band wagon. One article showed a dozen or so Art Deco logos touting the Roaring 2020’s in upcoming ad campaigns. It remains to be seen whether the next ten years roar or whimper.
Chinese New Year is on January 25 and will begin the Year of the Rat. That sounds rather unpleasant if not downright disgusting to those of us with a Western mindset, but the Chinese characterize this zodiac animal as having spirit, wit, alertness, delicacy, flexibility, and vitality. Nice traits but not ones that seem likely to produce much of a roar. On the other hand, there was quite an uproar (pun intended) in the 1950s when Leonard Wibberley wrote a novel called A Mouse that Roared. (more…)