Published in the Rains County Leader on July 28, 2022:
Sundays have changed a lot since I was a kid, in fact, weekends in general were a lot different. Saturdays were sleep late days, but not very late. During the week Mom woke me up while it was still dark so she could fix my hair and make sure I was presentable before she left to catch the bus to work at 6:30. On Saturdays she let me sleep a little later, but I usually woke up on my own when the smells of coffee and bacon made their way into my room.
After breakfast, it was housecleaning time. My job was cleaning bathrooms and dusting while Dad did the floors and Mom did the laundry and cleaned the kitchen – and her kitchen was always spotless except when I cooked. After lunch, Dad would move to his outdoor chores and Mom and I would go shopping. There were a few interesting stores in downtown Mesquite, but after the Big Town Mall opened in 1959, that was our usual destination. After a quick tour of the bargain racks, and maybe a stop at the candy counter in Woolworth’s for a small bag of cashews or chocolate candy, we’d move on to Minyard’s, the only grocery store in town besides Anderson’s Market. We always finished our rounds well before dinner time because everything but the convenience stores closed at 6:00 pm on Saturday and didn’t reopen until Monday morning.
Saturday evening was dedicated to getting ready for Sunday. I had long, thick hair – and this was before home hair dryers – so the first task was to wash my hair and roll it up in pin curls or brush rollers. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep very comfortably on Saturday nights, and I had to get up early on Sunday so I could stand in front of the heater if my hair wasn’t dry. Sunday clothes were also checked to be sure everything was clean and neatly pressed, and shoes were shined. Mom probably did some preparation for Sunday dinner, but I don’t remember that part. By then I was probably reading – first my Sunday School lesson so I could check that box on my offering envelope and then whatever library book I was reading at the time.
Published in the Rains County Leader on July 21, 2022:
The two most often-asked questions in our house are “What’s for dinner” and “Are the dishes in the dishwasher clean or dirty.” The answer to that first question, if it doesn’t include fast food or prepackaged heat-and-eat meals, involves a lot of time and work.
David and I recently made a trip to Greenville, and one of our stops was at Aldi. He rarely goes into the grocery store with me, but this time he made an exception rather than sit in the car in triple-digit temperatures. Besides, he likes to check for sardines and a few other favorites as well as scout out empty boxes for me. On the way home, we discussed how many times you have to handle the groceries – shelf to cart, cart to check-out, check-out to box or bag, bag to car, car to house, house to pantry, fridge, or freezer. It’s no wonder that many of us have become spoiled to home delivery.
As tiring as that first step can be, that is often only the beginning of the work. Several years ago we suffered through an infestation of moths, and I ended up discarding the majority of my pantry stock. After that experience, I store any non-frozen and non-canned food in plastic containers or plastic bags. I’m also a bit OCD about rotating my stock so I use the oldest items first, so putting away my purchases can become a bit of a production.
Published in the Rains County Leader on July 14, 2022:
One of the main topics of conversation in northeast Texas for the last couple of weeks is the heat. “Weather” is probably one of the most commonly accessed apps as people follow the temperature, humidity, and “feels like” stats. Of course, all you need to do is step out the door into the oven-like heat to know that it’s HOT!
Some of the younger generations blame the current heat wave on global warming or climate change, but those of us who have lived for several decades spanning two centuries know that the climate has been changing cyclically since the events in the first chapter of Genesis. Two such incidents are particularly vivid in my memory, so I looked them up in Wikipedia.
The first one began two years after I was born and continued until I was ten years old. Wikipedia describes it like this:
The 1950s Texas drought was a period between 1949 and 1957 in which the state received 30 to 50% less rain than normal, while temperatures rose above average. During this time, Texans experienced the second-, third-, and eighth-driest single years ever in the state – 1956, 1954, and 1951, respectively.
Published in the Rains County Leader on July 7, 2022:
Two years after we moved to Emory in 2011 I wrote a column called “I’m a city girl, and I hate bugs!” In it I recounted three recent incidents that involved discovering a rather large bug in the glass from which I had just taken a swallow to wash down a couple of pills, the spontaneous dance I performed in the kitchen when a cricket made its way up the leg of my jeans, and the fate of a rather large spider that took up residence in our bath tub. There have been many encounters with bugs in the last nine years – most of which ended badly for the bug – and although I deal with most of them without hysterics, I still hate bugs. One of those encounters happened Sunday morning at church.
Every week before the service begins, or in this case, before Sunday School started, I make a pit stop so I can be sure to make it through class or the sermon without having to visit the ladies’ room. It’s a habit left over from my childhood when you didn’t leave the classroom or the sanctuary unless you were in need of an ambulance or you were about to throw up on your mother. These visits are not usually a traumatic experience, but this time when I went into the stall, I wasn’t alone. There, lurking in the corner by the door, was a HUGE spider. Well, maybe not huge, but at least two inches across if you count the legs.
While I was doing what I came to do, I was thinking about having to pass that spider on my way out. He didn’t move, so maybe he was dead. Maybe I could scoot by him, leaving him for the next occupant to deal with. But then that little voice that God put in your head to let you know when you’re about to mess up whispered in my ear. “What if the next person to come in is a visitor?” I immediately thought about Edwina Patterson.
Published in the Rains County Leader on June 30, 2022:
The Chosen is described on its website as “a fan-supported, seven-season episodic television series that creates an authentic and intimate picture of Jesus’ life and ministry, seen through the eyes of the people who knew Him.” It is also described as the #1 highest crowd-funded entertainment project of all-time, raising $10 million for Season 1 and over $40 million for Seasons 2 and 3. A press release says The Chosen has garnered praise from critics and fans alike for its historical and biblical accuracy, playful spirit, stirring drama, genuine humor, and disruptive impact.
The Chosen is offered free of charge on mobile and smart TV apps. Some income is generated for future episodes through the sale of series merchandise, but the majority of the funds comes from viewers who “pay it forward” by donating at certain levels based on the number of episodes that will be viewed for free because of their gift. Since they believed strongly in the project, local couple Kent and Stella Larson decided to support the series.
The Larsons faithfully followed website updates and newletters, and when a casting call for extras in Season 3 went out to funding partners early this year, their interest was piqued. Donors and immediate family members were eligible to participate and singles could bring one friend. The Larsons signed up and were accepted for the feeding of the 5,000 scene. Around the first of March Kent began to let his beard and hair grow, and they began to work on their costumes. Participants were given a choice of who they wanted to be – Jews, Greeks, Romans – and they were given a color palate based on that choice. Because of their Scandanavian and Northern European heritage, the Larsons opted to dress as merchants from the north.
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.