Published in the Rains County Leader on September 28, 2021:
In March of 2020 I wrote a column titled The Brendles Unplugged about a weekend when both our Wi-Fi and our clothes dryer went down for an eight count. Thankfully, my resident handyman knew what to do, and after a short wait for parts to arrive, he fixed both issues and had us up and running in short order. His repairs were faultless, and everything was working smoothly – until last week. David had been working outside and came in to take a shower.
“There aren’t any towels,” he yelled from the bathroom. “Should I grab one out of the linen cabinet?”
I was on the computer as usual, so I yelled back. “The new ones are in the dryer. Use one of those.”
“These are still damp.”
“Then I guess you’ll have to get one out of the linen cabinet.” We sometimes have deep discussions.
Today is the 100th anniversary of Elmer Loyd Robinson’s birth. In honor of the occasion, I’m reposting the first blog post I wrote on July 20, 2011.
Daddy was a simple man. I don’t mean that he wasn’t smart. Quite the opposite. He was valedictorian of his high school graduating class, and he was great at helping me with my homework. He could figure out how to fix or build anything. When he worked for the Post Office, he could quote the manual verbatim and knew where every Texas town was located, no matter how small. But his needs and wants were simple, and he sometimes didn’t understand the complexities of the modern world. He didn’t leave behind a collection of awards and trophies or a big estate, but he left behind a legacy of peace and love that will live for a long time.
Daddy was hard to buy for because he didn’t need much to be happy. If he had a pair of shoes for work and another for Sunday, he didn’t see the need of another pair for his birthday. He didn’t understand why Givenchy for Men was better than Aqua Velva or Old Spice, and the stylish shirts and sweaters he received for Christmas or Father’s Day hung in the back of his closet while he wore his favorite button-up plaid shirts. He played golf with a set of used clubs, and he docked his used fishing boat at a dock he built with his own hands. The most excited I ever saw him about a gift was Christmas of 1957. We had a brand new Plymouth, maybe the first new car he ever owned. In those days, outside rear-view mirrors were an accessory, and one on each side was a real luxury. That year Jim and I pooled our money and bought Daddy a matching pair of chrome rear-view mirrors. He opened the present with a half-smile that said, Oh, goody, another pair of shoes, but when he saw the glitter of chrome, he broke into a real smile. When he saw the second mirror, he absolutely beamed.
Published in the Rains County Leader on September 21, 2021:
After a year off for COVID isolation, the Rains County Fair was back last week. The first two nights were so slow in the Exhibits and Vendor Building that I wondered if people were still cocooning at home. But even on the slow days, there were interesting people to watch – and by Saturday night, the crowds were back in force.
The most exciting happening on Tuesday evening was a plumbing problem. “Do you know how to unstop a toilet?” asked a distressed-looking Teri Baker. (In spite of the guaranteed traffic flow, there are disadvantages to having a booth just outside the restrooms.) After asking if there was a plunger, I explained its use briefly – but she still looked as if she might be sick, so I followed her into the men’s room. She grasped the handle of the plunger with one hand as close to the end as possible and stood as far away from the toilet as possible. She placed the rubber cup over the outlet and pressed gingerly. When nothing happened, she pressed again. It bubbled once, and she asked hopefully if she should flush now. I knew it was time for me to step in. I became quite an expert with a toilet plunger during my caregiving years, and after about thirty seconds of vigorous plunging, the clog cleared. Teri was very grateful, and I went back to my booth feeling like a hero.
Wednesday was evening more boring. Closing time approached without a single book having left my booth, and there wasn’t even a plumbing issue to break up the monotony. Finally, at 9:55 a man stopped to chat and left with two books and a tote bag. Never had a $26 sale been so welcome. Thankfully, the rest of the week was more productive.
Published in the Rains County Leader on September 14, 2021:
A friend recently invited me to attend a meeting of The Well-Armed Woman with her. She is a licensed gun owner and thought I might enjoy the group that describes itself as “a non-profit organization that…creates opportunities for women to be introduced to issues important to women shooters, learn safe gun handling skills and train together.” As it turned out, a trip to visit the doctor and do some shopping went long, so we didn’t get to go. But the invitation sent me on a trip down memory lane, thinking of what part guns have played in my life. It was a short trip.
I do not now and have never owned a gun except for a starter pistol I bought to make noise after I was confronted in the laundry room of my apartment by a guy in a ski mask. Thankfully, he ran off when I began to scream like a banshee, and I never had occasion to brandish the pistol. My dad had an old shotgun and a rifle which I never saw him use, and I think my brother and I shared a cap pistol. I don’t think it worked very well because I seem to remember using a rock or a hammer to fire the caps.
Guns were not a big social issue during my formative years. The best I can tell from my limited research, carrying a handgun was illegal in Texas from 1871 to 1995 when Governor George W. Bush signed the first concealed carry bill in the state. When I was in the sixth grade, a new student from New York was disappointed when he didn’t get to ride a horse and carry a six-gun on his hip. There were a number of high school boys who accessorized their first pick-ups with a gun rack and a rifle in the back window, though, and I never heard of any gun accidents or mass shootings. These kids were probably well-trained by their parents and kept those guns in case they encountered a snake or a coyote while they were feeding the livestock or baling the hay.
Published in the Rains County Leader on September 7, 2021:
The last thing Kent told Spike before he and Stella left on their trip was to stay out of the newspaper – but I can’t help myself. Their antics are just too easy to write about.
Last week I introduced Dobby, the Lab/Great Pyrenees orphan who is living at the ranch until a permanent home can be found. He’s young and energetic and reminds me of Spike when we first became his live-in companions when he’s left home alone. I didn’t realize how domesticated and easy-going Spike has become until I met Dobby.
Walking outside when Dobby is anywhere around is an adventure in grace and agility, neither of which I possess. Like many pets, Dobby likes to walk in front of the person with him. But he takes it to an entire new level by turning at a 45 degree angle and leaning against your legs. He further complicates the process by putting his foot on top of yours at every step. At this writing, David and I have managed to stay upright, but we have twenty-four hours to go.
Last night as I lay in bed trying to sleep, my mind was anything but peaceful. The recent news of Afghanistan, Hurricane Ida, and school and business closings for deep cleaning due to COVID along with more new prayer requests for loved ones who are suffering from serious illnesses had my thoughts spinning like a hamster on a wheel. I finally fell asleep quoting Psalm 23 to myself.
This morning during my quiet time, I picked up 31 Days of Prayer by Warren & Ruth Myers. As often happens, the prayer for today was just what I needed. One paragraph read:
“Day by day, may I rest my faith in Your tender love and Your infinite wisdom – Your deep, unsearchable wisdom. With quiet faith I trust You for health and healing, confident and expectant. But keep me from demanding, from clenching my fingers around what I think is best for myself and others. May I honor You by affirming, ‘Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us, and He will deliver us. But even if He does not, we will still trust Him.’”
The quote is a paraphrase of Daniel 3:17-18 before the king threw three young men into the fiery furnace because they refused to worship the idol he had made. May God grant you that kind of faith today regardless of what kind of furnace you may be facing.
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.