Published in the Rains County Leader on March 30, 2021:
Holy Week began this past Sunday and ends this coming Sunday on Easter. But before we can get to Resurrection Sunday, we have to go through Good Friday.
Good Friday is the day when Christians remember the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Because it’s a somber day with an intense religious meaning, few if any traditional celebrations or secular customs have developed around it. Instead, this solemn day is often observed with worship services, prayer, penance, and fasting.
One of the first questions that comes up around this sacred day is why the observation of such a grim reality is call “Good.” There are several theories, but one makes a little more sense than the others. One idea is that Good Friday derives from “God’s” Friday; however, there’s no evidence of this in the history of the word. Another idea is that Jesus’ death for the forgiveness of sins was a good thing, so the anniversary of that event is a good thing, a Good Friday. Although, this might be a logical theory, those who are supposed to know about these things believe there is a better one. They say that at one time good meant holy. In some traditions, the Friday of Holy Week has been called Sacred Friday, Passion Friday, and in German, Sorrowful Friday. Other days of this week are called Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, and so forth. So it seems reasonable that just as Holy Thursday has become Maundy Thursday, Holy Friday has become Good Friday.
Published in the Rains County Leader on March 22, 2021:
One of the responsibilities of the President of the Friends of the Library is to submit a Year in Review Report to the Commissioners’ Court. My predecessor, Lyn Baldwin, made this submission in the form of an in-person PowerPoint slide presentation. Last year, because of COVID, I submitted the report for 2019 by email. It worked out well, and since I’m not much of a public speaker unless I’m talking about my books, I’ll probably do the same thing this year –assuming I can gather enough material.
2020 was the year of cancellations, and that included FOL plans. From April through September, FOL correspondence alternated between announcements of new plans and announcements of cancellations. I ended the year with a few photos of the October Book Sale, but not nearly enough for a presentation. So I made a plea for photos of any FOL or Library events. I heard the sound of crickets, but as usual, Library Director Wendy Byrd came through. She sent me pictures of the Tween Photo Contest display boards, Summer Reading winners, and little bitties enjoying story time early in the year. Her offering was more than enough for a decent PowerPoint and also for a bit of column inspiration.
Christian Piatt, my own son, was a great fan of Library Story Time. I was never sure which was the bigger attraction, the books or the children’s librarian who he planned to marry one day. Actually, he was a big fan of anything that involved words. He watched Sesame Street and the Electric Company, and he went to bed without a fight as long as I promised to read two stories and a poem.
Published in the Rains County Leader on March 16, 2021:
Three weeks ago this column was about the effects of a week of ice and snow, but this one is about life after Snowpocalypse 2021. After all the snow and ice melted, there was a lot of landscape sadness to be seen. My neighbor Connie lost most of what was in her greenhouse even though she had a heater running, and two other neighbors have small palm trees that look as if they are beyond hope. One yard on Highway 19 is surrounded by a beautiful wrought iron fence lined with some kind of small shrub with reddish leaves. If any of those plants survive, they will probably have to be cut back to the ground. And the two big century plants in front of my church had to be pruned back to one brown-edged, spiky leaf each.
My own yard didn’t suffer much because there’s not much that would really qualify as landscaping. I lost a paradise flower a friend brought me last year. I should have brought it in and let it winter in the bathtub with my hibiscus, but it had put long shoots up through the trellis, and I didn’t want to cut it back. The few daffodils beside the porch are still green, but the buds that were peeping out before the snow are gone. I’ve read that they probably won’t bloom this year and may be thin next year because of sparse foliage, but they should survive. The few garlic bulbs I planted last fall looked a little burned around the edges, but I trimmed away the brown parts, and they’ve put on new leaves. And my irises look pretty healthy so far.
Published in the Rains County Leader on March 9, 2021:
Computer work has been interesting at the Brendle house for the last week since we’ve been without WiFi. We had what we thought was an unlimited plan from a major carrier through a third party provider called Nomad. I don’t know where the wires got crossed, so to speak, but the major carrier apparently thought we were using more than our share of data and cut us off. Nomad has been very helpful, arranging for service through a new carrier and deleting charges for time without service, but it’s still taking a while to receive the new router and SIM card we need to get reconnected. In the meantime, we’ve gone to the church several times to pay bills, file taxes, and other necessities, but we can’t check email, engage with any social media, or watch TV at home – and we can’t do any online research.
I never realized how often I go to Google for a recipe, to answer a question, or to check out something for a writing project. On Saturday I wanted to spend some time working on my next novel, but I had questions about extradition, incarceration of a habitual felon and a parole violator who are awaiting indictment for an alleged kidnapping, and other things a simple country girl doesn’t know about from experience. I ended up with some general notes about the time sequence of a plot segment and a list of questions to ask my lawyer and law enforcement friends who are more familiar with such things than I am.
I also ran into some issues in choosing a subject for my column. My first choice was the hoopla over supposed racism in several Dr. Seuss books, but I didn’t know many details, and doing research on my phone when all I have is an LTE connection isn’t my idea of a good time. Then, I thought about doing some sort of retrospective, a kind of then and now look back at the last year. So I pulled up my file of columns from 2020 with some pretty interesting results.
Published in the Rains County Leader on March 2, 2021:
On September 7, 2017, Heather Rollins created a Facebook group called Emory Alerts. In March of 2020, the name was changed to Heather Rollin’s Community News, and now this group is a great source of information and more to just under 4,000 members. Rollins describes the group this way:
Just a side gig to help keep the citizens of Emory informed about community events. Something I choose to do – NOT something I have to do. If you are a business I will share for you. Please understand – one post a day is relevant, more than that is too much and people will dismiss!! My page my rules…I will help if I can, Thank you!!
I discovered the group sometime last year and found it very helpful as well as educational and entertaining. During the pandemic, the various posts provided much needed information about what was open and what was not, which events were scheduled and which had been cancelled, and the current status of the mask situation. There were also a few ads that helped in finding Christmas bargains without braving the mall, and sometimes there were hilarious memes that helped ease the cabin fever.
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.