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Archive for July, 2020

A Culture of Discontent | by Linda Brendle

Published in the July, 2020 edition of The Community Chronicle:

Sears-coverI’ve heard people say, “We were poor, but we didn’t know it.” I’m not sure if you’d call us poor, but we lived in a five-room house with a single-car carport, pine and linoleum floors, one bathroom, no built-ins, and no air conditioning. Dad worked two jobs, and Mom went to work when the mothers of most of my friends stayed home. But I never missed a meal, I wore the latest fashions the Sears catalog offered and we had a black and white TV that we watched in the kitchen because Mom didn’t want us sitting on the “good” furniture. I had all I needed, a few things I wanted, and all the love a child could hope for – and I was content.

Summers were a little bit difficult, though. My brother and I weren’t allowed to go outside or to have visitors when Mom and Dad were at work. Vacation Bible School and Church Camp filled a few days, and an occasional sleep-over or trip to the local swimming pool with a friend was allowed. But mostly the long, hot days of summer were spent reading, watching TV or doing chores, and I wasn’t quite as content then.

On rare occasion Mom took pity on me, especially after my older brother took a summer continental-trailways-busjob, and broke the monotony by taking me to work with her. We had to get up at the crack of dawn, but riding the Continental Trailways bus from Mesquite to downtown Dallas was an adventure worth losing a little sleep. The hours while she was actually working were pretty boring, but on her coffee break I was allowed to choose a treat out of the vending machine, and we ate lunch in a restaurant. (more…)

Living in a Micro World | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 28, 2020:

family cemeteryThere was a time not too many centuries ago when it was not uncommon for a person to live their entire life within a few miles of the place where they were born. The furthest they traveled was to the nearest town for supplies, church and school. They socialized with family and friends from nearby farms, picked a mate from that small pool of choices, raised children, died at home and were laid to rest in the community cemetery.

Then, in the early 19th century, Samuel Morse and other inventors developed a way to transmit electrical signals over long distances, and the communication revolution began. It wasn’t long before radios, telephones, televisions, computers and satellites opened up the world to those little insulated areas. While all this was going on, other inventors transformed travel with the creation of steamboats, trains, automobiles, airplanes and rockets.

Almost overnight, at least from a historical perspective, civilization changed from a communication revolutioncollection of micro or extremely small communities to one macro or large scale, we-are-the-world society. Most of us live somewhere between those two extremes, but there are times when I feel like COVID has pushed us back into a micro world. It’s not the ultra-isolated world of the pre-electronic age. We still have instant access to more information than we can or want to take in, but our pool of human contacts has dried up to a puddle. I became very aware of that this past weekend. (more…)

Kitty and the Virus | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 21, 2020:

(Some stories in this column may be a bit hard to believe, but keep in mind that I write fiction as well as fact.)

Kitty peeking out 043016Kitty may be just a cat, but she knows what’s going on. She’s aware that there is a virus out there that sometimes circulates among camels and bats – and cats. At first, she was pretty casual about the whole thing, but as the numbers have risen, she has become more cautious.

When the panic first hit and the world as we know it shut down, she could still count the number of COVID-19 cases in Rains County on one paw. She wasn’t the least bit worried, and she seemed to enjoy having us home all the time. She spent many happy hours lying next to David on the couch while he searched the internet for another British detective series for our next round of binge watching. She even came to visit me on the love seat two or three times. (more…)

Bullies | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 14, 2020:

BulliesA bully is defined as a person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable. Bullies have been around since the snake bullied Eve into eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, but the act of bullying has become institutionalized in today’s society.

There were mean kids when I was in school, but their rights to torment the weak were superseded by the rights of the teachers to maintain order and discipline. That’s not to say that no one was taunted or made to feel “less than.” (more…)

Let Freedom Ring! by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 6, 2020:

ice cream freezerI loved the Fourth of July when I was a kid. We lived inside the city limits where the authorities frowned on the fun stuff like roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over a bon fire and shooting off fireworks. So we usually celebrated Independence Day at Aunt Fay’s. In addition to the fire-roasted treats, the menu also included potato salad, chips, watermelon, iced tea, Kool-Aid, and home churned ice cream. In later years when Uncle Dean bought the first charcoal grill I had ever seen, hamburgers were added.

While the adults prepared the food, the seven kids (me, my brother, and our five cousins) ran around Fay and Dean’s unfenced acreage, making noise and getting dirty. Sometimes we visited the food site to grab a chip or take turns sitting on the ice cream churn. By the time dinner was ready, we needed no prompting to come and eat. Everything was always delicious – food always tastes better when eaten outside on paper plates and sprinkled with a little bit of dirt. (more…)

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