On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Archive for February, 2022

Nothing to Do | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on February 24, 2022:

I have met several people recently who are new to Emory. I know “new” is a relative term around here since many of you are second or third generation Rains County residents, but I’m talking new as in months rather than years. When I ask how they like our little town, I usually get a small smile and an almost apologetic answer – It’s growing on me. There’s just not a lot to do.

That’s true if your idea of things to do is passive entertainment like movies, concerts, plays, and major sports events. On the other hand, live music and dancing are available at Sidekicks, and the RISD sports teams provide some heart-stopping competition, especially during end-of-season playoffs. I also understand the Theater Arts provide some amazing productions throughout the school year.

For those who like to dine out, you may have to go into the big city for a five-star restaurant, but Emory offers a large selection of options for a delicious meal. What other small town offers multiple options for home cooking, Asian cuisine, Mexican food, barbecue, fast food, an amazing bakery, and more.

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The case of the missing book! by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on February 16, 2022:

Agatha Christie

From the time I read my first Agatha Christie novel, I’ve been a diehard mystery fan. In addition to Dame Christie, I’ve read a  lot of Dick Francis, all of Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Murders (and was broken-hearted when she died before writing Z), and all but a few of Robert B. Parker’s works. The list includes James Patterson, David Baldacci, Terri Blackstock, Joel C. Rosenberg, and many more. I’m also a fan of TV sleuths like Perry Mason, Columbo, Kojak, Magnum PI, Hawaii 5-0 (the original), Hill Street Blues, CSI, NCIS, Black List, The Mentalist, and Elementary. There are many more, but you get the idea.

When I began writing my first suspense/thriller novel, legal and illegal dialog and descriptions of criminal activity seemed to flow from experience rather than research and hours of reading and watching. That’s why, when we had our own little mystery at the Brendle house, I felt competent to handle it without consulting any of my fictional detective heroes.

One of our current favorite authors is Michael Connelly, especially his Harry Bosch series. At the Friends of the Library Book Sale last April, I found six or seven of his books that we hadn’t read. I also found a number of books by a new author to us – Harlan Coben whose main character is sports agent and amateur detective Myron Bolitar. I brought home a total of sixteen books. I divided the books between us, stacking half on my night stand and half on David’s with the earliest books on top and proceeding down in date order. When either of us finishes a book, we pass it to the other and it goes on the bottom of our to-be-read pile. After we have both finished a book, it goes into a donate pile to be returned to the Friends of the Library for the next Book Sale or to be placed in one of the Little Free Libraries around town.

A few of nights ago David picked up the next book in his pile, but after reading a few pages, he said, “I think I missed a book or two. This one is ten years later than the last one, and Bolitar has a son I didn’t know about.” It was bedtime, so I found an unrelated book he hadn’t read, and put off the investigation until the next day.

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Valentine’s Day – a flashback from 2015 | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on February 10, 2022:

The first item I submitted to the Rains County Leader was a letter to the editor called “Your Tax Dollars at Work.” It was an appeal to seniors in the area to check out the meals and activities at the Senior Center which was in danger of shutting down for lack of patronage. I don’t know how much influence that letter had, but it was published in September of 2011, and the Center is still going strong.

The letter had an unintended consequence – the birth of the City Girl column. In the last ten years, I’ve written hundreds of columns and thousands of words. One of the most common questions I’m asked by readers is Where do you get all your ideas? I don’t really have an answer for that except that I see life as a series of stories, and some of them are too good not to share. But there are those times when the stories and the words just won’t come, and this was one of those times. When that happens, I go back into my files in search of a story that’s worth retelling.

Since this column will be published just before that special day when sales of flowers and chocolates soar, I looked for related columns and found one from 2015 about a marriage conference Believers’ Baptist held on Valentine’s weekend that year. Since I had just told a story from that conference to some friends earlier in the day, it seemed like a sign. So here it is – again. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Be Prepared | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on February 3, 2022:

According to the current Yahoo weather forecast, there is a 90% chance the publication of this week’s Leader will be accompanied by snow. The snow could be preceded by a couple of days of rain, and if the temperature drops at just the right time – or the wrong time – a base of ice could turn any snowfall into a real mess like the one we experienced about this time last year. During and after the Snowpocalypse of 2021, David and I watched a lot of videos on how to survive in desperate weather conditions. I thought I’d share some of that wisdom, if for no other reason than to give you a chuckle while you huddle under a pile of blankets.

If the power goes out, move into small room – preferably one attached to the kitchen so you can access food, and one that can be shut off from the rest of the house. That suggestion probably won’t be of much help to us. Our kitchen is part of an open floor plan that includes the dining area and the living room. This large area features a mock bay window and four other windows that, because I am a lover of the sunlight, are not covered by drapes that would keep out the cold. Besides, we are all-electric, so if the power is out, the kitchen is of little use.

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