Published in the Rains County Leader on February 23, 2021:
The Snowpocalypse of 2021 has been a challenge to all of us – some more than others. While many report spending days without heat and water, David and I experienced only two days of rolling blackouts, and we had no water outages. We’re now under a “Boil Water Notice,” but that’s only a minor inconvenience.
TV, on the other hand, was a major difficulty. As the thermometer fell, so did our Internet speed – and since our television reception comes through the Internet, we received mostly nothing. Without access to email, social media, and other digital entertainment, and having no desire to go outside and frolic in the snow, we searched for ways to amuse ourselves. David didn’t want to trek across the street for coffee, so we read a lot, I wrote a bit, David paced the floor, and we both looked out the windows.
Our neighbors were cocooned inside their houses, too, so they did nothing to relieve the boredom. In contrast, the wildlife was very interesting. Monday morning I saw Kitty in her predatory stance staring intently out the front window. A bird had found a thin spot close to the front porch and was doing a little dance that involved a couple of scratching steps, which sent dried leaves flying, followed by a peck which hopefully scored a tasty bug or seed. There was a catchy rhythm to the dance, and where Kitty saw a potential snack, I saw a demonstration of what a little spunk and ingenuity can accomplish.
Published in the Rains County Leader on February 16, 2021:
Many opportunities to be grateful have presented themselves this week – a home that keeps us comfortable even in the worst weather, a full refrigerator and pantry so we don’t have to make a run to the store, and Internet service so we can keep in touch when church is cancelled, to name a few. One thing I’m particularly thankful for is warm water. With the temperature in the teens and twenties, cold water makes all the hand washing we do these days uncomfortable if not downright painful. Every time I turn on the water, I debate whether to be ecologically responsible by using the cold water or to be comfortable and wait for the warm water. I also think of a story I heard many years ago when I was selling insurance.
I entered the insurance business as an office manager, but I soon became a licensed solicitor and then a full-fledged agent. Maintaining an insurance license requires a certain amount of continuing education, and our company often supplied that in the form of seminars. The key note speaker at one of those meetings told a story from his childhood. I don’t remember the finer details of the story, but it made a lasting impression on me.
Published in the Rains County Leader on February 9, 2021:
What is one of the first things we say to our grandchildren when we see them? I have no scientific proof to back this up, but it’s probably something like Come give Grandma a hug! And more than likely, the kids come running. Maybe it’s because they know that Grandma usually brings treats, or maybe it’s because there’s something in human nature that craves the touch of another person.
One of my favorite stories from our family history is of a cousin who went to her grandmother and asked for a hug. It must have been cool, because the older woman had on long sleeves. She picked up the little girl and gave her a squeeze, but the child wasn’t satisfied. “No, Grandma,” she said as she patted her arms. “I need to feel skin.”
It’s a cute, feel-good story, but the theories of some healthcare professionals seem to back up the little girl’s need. In an article dated March 1, 2010, Maia Szalavitz of Psychology Today stated that touch can ease pain and lift depression. She further said that babies who are denied touch through lack of being held, nuzzled or hugged may fail to thrive and may even die if the situation continues too long. In April of 2018, the Healthline website quoted family therapist Virginia Satir as saying “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”
Published in the Rains County Leader on February 2, 2021:
Those were some of the first words Robert Worley said to me after I walked into his office and introduced myself. Worley is the new Director of the Emory Development Corp., and I was there to interview him for the article you can read on the front page of this edition of the Leader. He went on to explain that, during his four years of high school, he worked as a printer’s devil for the Paducah Post in Paducah, Texas. This was during the days of hot metal typesetting before computers performed the task digitally, and one of his tasks was to feed pigs or ingots of lead into a vat of molten metal to keep the presses moving. Among his mementos of those years is one of the heavy metal bars along with memories of the feel of a drop of hot lead splashing onto his neck and the sound of a drop as it sizzled through the top of his shoe. Although he left the printing business after he graduated from high school, Worley has continued to find a friendly relationship with local newspapers to be invaluable in the economic development business.
Since that conversation, I’ve thought a lot about my own relationship with newspapers. My first memory of this print media is of spending Sunday mornings – after I was ready for church – lying on the floor of the living room in front of the radio with the “funny papers” spread out in front of me. I don’t know if it was a local D.J. or someone with a wider audience, but there was a man who read the comics every week.
The story of a lonely, innocent girl who gets tangled up in the sex trafficking trade in a small Texas town. It’s about her relationship with Eric, a slick suburban pimp; Jesse, a Christian tattoo artist and motorcycle rider; and Mrs. G, a compassionate but tough attorney and foster parent.