On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Archive for April, 2021

The creeping wilderness | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 27, 2021:

Several years ago David and I watched a documentary that projected, in the event humans went extinct, how long it would take nature to reclaim the earth. It seemed fanciful to watch computer animations of trees breaking through major highways and vines creeping up and over crumbling infrastructure and collapsed skyscrapers in a century or two. However, after a walk around our property last weekend, it no longer seems so impossible.

When we first saw the 2.3 acre plot that has been our home for the past ten years, the front acre was clear enough that, after the removal of a couple of large trees, we were able to place our mobile home with enough space left over to park several vehicles. The rest of the lot, however, didn’t look as if it had been cleared in recent memory.

We rented the house twice over the next couple of years, but neither tenant stayed long or did much in the way of outdoor maintenance. By the time we became permanent residents of Rains County, the wilderness had advanced significantly, and we knew we had a lot of work ahead of us. We were not yet entrenched in the community life of our new home, so we spent a lot of time working outdoors. Within a few months, David had burned up his city push mower and had invested in a riding mower, a chain saw, a machete, and various other trimming tools. After several close encounters with poison ivy and sunburn, we also learned to wear hats, gloves and long sleeves regardless of the temperature.

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Little Free Library | By Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 20, 2021:

Being President of the Friends of the Library has been a learning experience, and I’m still learning even though I’m almost half-way through my three-year term. Last week was doubly enlightening as I learned what actually goes into preparing for the Semi-Annual Book Sale and also all about Little Free Libraries.

Actually, the Book Sale lessons began early last year when Jane Dillon, who had been in charge of the FOL’s biggest fund raiser for ten years, announced that she was stepping down after the October, 2020 sale. I was involved in last year’s sale, but nothing shows how little you really know like acting as the go-to person when you don’t know where you’re going. After studying the detailed notes Jane had left, I attempted to coordinate communication, publicity, inventory, facility details, transportation of books from storage to venue, hospitality, the financial operation, and the sale itself. Thanks to Jane’s generous tutoring, advice, and hands-on assistance along with an amazing group of experienced and inexperienced volunteers, we had an extremely successful sale – and a lot of fun as well. One of the really fun parts was learning more about Little Free Libraries.

Before the Sale, Little Free Library was just another item on a Board meeting agenda. Someone else took care of any related issues, reported back with an “all’s well” kind of report and we moved on to the next item. But we’ve had several new members join us in the last few months, and they haven’t yet learned that I have no idea what I’m doing. When they have a question, they come to me, and since it’s difficult to gracefully dodge a direct question, I try to find an answer.

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When the wind blows…| by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 13, 2021:

Christmas around the Square is usually a major event in Rains County featuring food, live entertainment, a Santa parade, and vendors – where else – around the Courthouse Square. In 2020, however, the festival which was supposed to raise funds for the Sandy Creek Playground became a non-event due to the pandemic.

The playground is a Keep Emory Beautiful Project and the brainchild of Heather Rollins. She started this mission with permission from the City and the support of the City Council in late 2019. Shut downs and cancellations wreaked havoc with her plans, so she was very disappointed by yet another roadblock in December.

Rollins isn’t a person who gives up, though, so she scheduled Spring Fling as a make-up event. It was a simple event with vendors only, but the hope was it would be enough to put the project over the top. Since I had registered as a vendor for the original event, I was grandfathered – or grandmothered – into the new one, and I looked forward to the first opportunity of 2021 to offer my books in public.

Last Saturday was the big day, and everyone involved held their collective breath as thunderstorms blew through the area toward the end of the week. But Saturday dawned bright and sunny, and hope was restored. True to unpredictable Texas weather, though, March winds made an encore appearance.

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Excuses for an Afternoon Nap | By Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 6, 2021:

Naps are not a normal part of my routine, but I made an exception Sunday afternoon. In my defense, it had been a hectic week. Keeping in mind that hectic has a different meaning to retired people than to those still in the work force, here’s my story.

Monday’s schedule was normal with nothing more hectic than an afternoon workout at the gym. But Tuesday we drove to Bonham for David’s 2nd COVID shot which meant leaving the house shortly after sunrise. On the way home, we stopped at the Library to pick up a movie for later and at Brookshire’s for our contribution to lunch with Bill and Susan. They are regulars at our Friday night Bible study and recently invited the group to their home for a hymn sing. I was nominated to play the piano, and although I thoroughly enjoyed her Baldwin baby grand, I’m very rusty after ten years without a piano in my home. She loves to sing, so she invited us to come over for burgers and a practice session.

We had a great time, but we had to stop when my arthritic hands began to protest. By the time we made it home, it was time to get ready for movie night. One of our neighbors had offered to bring the makings for nachos if we would provide the venue and the movie. We watched The Matrix Revolutions and discussed things we had missed in previous viewings. It was a fun day, but hectic by our standards.

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