On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Archive for October, 2022

Book sale tales | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on October 27, 2022:

Another FOL Book Sale has come and gone, and we are a tired but happy bunch of volunteers. Thank you to everyone who worked and everyone who shopped to make the event a huge success. Final figures have not been announced, but the first day was so busy that total sales, dues, and donations were expected to reach a record amount.

Most of the mechanics of the event are familiar enough to have become routine, so they no longer provide much writing material. However, the roadside signs are usually worth a story or two. Putting up the flag signs is especially challenging because parts seem to go missing from one sale to the next. They’re probably hiding in some corner, giggling along with the missing socks and plastic container lids. This time we couldn’t find the screws that tighten the tie-down clamps – a very important part, especially on a windy day. But creative use of duct tape came into play, and both signs survived both sale days without incident.

One of the best parts of the sale is the customers. Friends who only see each other twice a year at the sale renew friendships over a common love of books, and new friendships are formed because of the same common interest. The book sale is a much anticipated event for some families, and it’s fun to watch the children grow between sales. The baby who was still nursing a year ago is now walking, the middle child who was listening before is now reading on his own, and the older boy is now big enough to carry the boxes of books to the car without help. And another family will have a new book lover by this time next year.


Better than nothing! by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on October 20, 2022:

Last week I went into Subway to pick up lunch for myself and the young lady I visit at the school each week. The only person I saw was the woman at the counter, and I asked if she was working alone.

“Yes,” she replied. “We’ve had a bit of a turnover issue recently.”

“Everybody seems to be having that problem.”

“I know,” she continued. “No one wants to take a job, and if they do, they don’t want to do anything when they get here.”

The same story is heard from many employers that are short-handed. Another story that I’ve often heard among those who are looking for work is I’m not working for $7 an hour. That wouldn’t pay half my car insurance. Both stories were enough to send me on a trip down memory lane.

I received a small allowance when I was a child – I think it was around a dollar a week. That amount wasn’t contingent on any specific jobs, but I was expected to help with general household chores. When I grew tall enough to reach the ironing board, Mom taught me to iron and I earned ten cents per piece for that chore.


Books – and Book Sales! by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on October 13, 2022:

Two weeks ago I wrote about the arrival of Fall. I listed some sure signs of the season, but one I failed to mention was the Friends of the Library Semi-Annual Book Sale Event. These sales signal the arrival of Spring and Fall as surely as the blooming flowers and the falling leaves. With less than two weeks until the October Sale, Facebook posts have popped up announcing the dates and times, and if you haven’t seen flyers in local businesses, you soon will. And all this excitement is about one thing – books. Gently used books of all genres are sold at unbelievably low prices, all for the benefit of the Rains County Public Library and its children’s literacy programs.

So exactly what are books, and why are they so important? Google describes a book as a written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers. Although people recorded their thoughts and actions on the walls of caves and stone pillars for thousands of years throughout the world, the first paper books are believed to have come from China. The paper was created from a pulp made of mulberries, hemp, bark, and even fish that was pressed flat and dried into sheets.

We don’t know when the first person first recorded his thoughts in symbols – perhaps God taught Adam to write in the Garden of Eden. After all, He told Moses to write down the Creation story and following events, and He personally etched His Ten Commandments in stone so we would hopefully remember and obey them. He apparently thought the written word was important, so here are a few other reasons that books are important to us today.


The Evolution of Laundry | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on October 6, 2022:

My first memory of laundry was in Snyder, Texas where we moved when I was three or four years old. We lived in a rented three-room house, and Daddy built a laundry room across the back. I don’t remember the room itself – I just remember watching him smooth out the wet cement and being warned to stay off. We didn’t have a dryer – I’m not even sure if they existed then. Our first puppy “disappeared” after several naughty acts including pulling sheets off the clothes line. We probably had a wringer washer because that’s what we had at our next house.

With this house we moved up to home ownership – five rooms and asbestos siding. I didn’t know what that meant, but Daddy seemed impressed by it so I told everybody. We didn’t have a laundry room, but we had a carport, and that’s where the clothes got a bath. I was more familiar with this setup because I helped from time to time. The wringer washer was accompanied by three metal tubs on saw horses – one with bleach water, one with bluing water, and one with clear water. I’m not sure what the difference was in the bleach and the bluing, and I didn’t get involved in that process much anyway. I just liked to crank the wringer. When not in use, the laundry foursome rested in a corner beside the small storage closet. We didn’t have a dog in this house, so the clothes stayed on the line.

Between my first and second grade years we moved to Mesquite because the West Texas dust was bad for my brother Jim’s bronchitis and because we had family there. The house we bought was about the same as the one in Snyder – five rooms and a carport, but no asbestos siding. I guess they had discovered the dangers of it by then. I don’t remember doing laundry on-site except for hanging clothes on the line. I was tall enough to hang a few things on the saggy part in the middle, and once I was strong enough to handle wet sheets, I did a lot of hanging. I remember going to the laundromat there. At first it had wringer washers and wash tubs just like we had in Snyder except they were on permanent frames instead of saw horses. Later they switched to modern washing machines, and we felt like we were really uptown. They probably added dryers somewhere along in there, but we still used the clothes line at home.

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