Published in the Rains County Leader on May 26, 2022:
We will celebrate Memorial Day on Monday. It’s a day that began in 1868 as a time to honor Union soldiers who died in the Civil War by decorating their graves with flowers. It has evolved into a celebration of all who have served our country in any way. Although some still decorate graves with flags and attend services of remembrance, it has also become a celebration of the summer season that is only a few weeks away. One of my early columns was about the more serious side of Memorial Day, and I’d like to share it with you this week.
Memorial Day is a day of hope and remembrance, of remembering those who gave their lives in the service of their country. Why is remembrance important – and what is our hope?
Some of the stories we remember are of epic proportions, involving thousands of troops and tons of metal that was fashioned into war machines of all kinds. The stories that move us most, though, are the individual stories of husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, and the loved ones who love and miss them.
Published in the Rains County Leader on May 19, 2022:
The City Girl column first began with a Letter to the Editor in September of 2011. When I continued to submit my thoughts from time to time, Earl Hill gave me print space. After several stories about the adventures and misadventures of being out of my city element, he began heading my column “City Girl,” and the name stuck. I still have my moments of showing my city roots, but almost eleven years later, there are periods of time when I’m definitely more country than city.
Around Easter David and I did a tour of the yard and noticed several wild blackberry vines in bloom. They’re more scarce than they were when we first moved here since the Virginia Creeper has taken over most of their favorite spots, but there are still enough to be of interest to cobbler fans. So, early last week I donned my berry-picking clothes, grabbed an overly-optimistic-sized container, and headed out.
I only found about half a cup of ripe berries, but it was fun searching for the small treasures hidden under other plants and often sheltered by a canopy of spider webs. It was also fun being able to distinguish the blackberry vines among the miscellaneous tangle of leaves without having to see the actual berries or having David along to point them out. I did, however, bring home an uninvited guest. When I was changing back into my “house clothes,” I felt a tickle on my shoulder. I discovered a small tick looking for a place to dig in, and like any good country girl, I sent him on a free tour of the Brendle septic system.
Published in the Rains County Leader on May 12, 2022:
Back in March I wrote a column called “Back in the Garden” in which I mentioned David Perkins, our friend/neighbor who lives in our motor home. He had started a small garden, first in containers on the dashboard of the RV and then moving on to a couple of small plots near our storage shed.
The three of us along with Connie and Charles across the street have a small family-like community thing going. When they go to the 3rd Friday Food Giveaway at Freedom Church of God, they share when they receive more than they can use, and we sometimes think of each other when we shop. After reading my column about the difficulty of finding affordable vanilla wafers, Perkins – so called to avoid confusion with my David – brought me three boxes he found at Aldi. In return, I made a large banana pudding which was big enough to share. The sharing often extends to group meals, especially on holidays, but sometimes just because. Sunday was one of those more casual times.
The motor home is parked to the side of the driveway. It used to sit behind the house until it began to sink into the gopher runs. After that, David moved it to firmer ground, and we back the Kia in beside it. Perkins’ favorite perch is behind the computer desk which puts him next to one of several windows in the living area of his moveable home. Preferring natural air to artificially cooled, he uses fans and open windows until the temperatures approach triple digits. He says it gives him a feel of camping out, and it leads to a lot of our version of across-the-fence chats.
Published in the Rains County Leader on May 5, 2022:
In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m sharing a slightly updated chapter from my second memoir titled “Mom’s Long Goodbye:”
I miss Mom. I’ve missed her for a long time. For most of my life, I talked to her almost every day, but after Alzheimer’s invaded her mind, those talks gradually lost their meaning.
Mom was smart, but she was never an intellectual. She didn’t care much about politics or philosophy or current events. She cared about her family and the things that affected our lives directly.
She went to work outside our home when I was in third grade, and Jim and I became latchkey kids. It was a gentler time when children played outside unsupervised and walked or rode their bikes to school without fear. But Mom was cautious. We were required to stay inside when she and Dad were at work, and I was expected to call her when I arrived home from school.
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.