Published in the Rains County Leader on September 26, 2017:
Okra had no place in our home when I was a kid. I don’t know if it was because nobody liked it or because it didn’t come in a can. Mom and Dad both worked long hours, and I began cooking dinner for the family when I was eleven, so there wasn’t much time or skill for preparing fresh veggies.
Okra wasn’t one of those dishes that made a regular appearance at church or family potlucks either. Fried okra doesn’t travel well or keep well like fried chicken, and boiled okra is – well, it’s boiled okra. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on September 12, 2017:
David and I recently went to a church pot luck at my brother Jim’s church in Conway, AR. As siblings tend to do, especially older siblings, our conversation turned to memories of our shared childhoods. I can’t remember the thread that led to the subject of nicknames, but at some point I mentioned that, if Jim had been in charge, my name would have been Judy instead of Linda.
Jim was four years old when Mom was pregnant with me. Wanting to make him feel a part of the process, she and Dad asked him what he thought my name should be. He doesn’t remember where he had heard the name – maybe a cute little girl in his Sunday School class or someone he met at the park – but he immediately suggested that I be named Judy. I think they had already made their choice, but they played along anyway, asking what he thought my middle name should be. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on August 1, 2017:
I met a new friend this week. Becky owns a one-operator beauty salon outside of town, and she is very popular at the Senior Center for her Senior Thursday haircuts. She’s also very interesting to talk to.
While she was working on my unruly curls, she mentioned that her son might be going to college on a scholarship, that is, if he agreed to continue training pigs for the show ring. Training pigs? I knew that pot bellied pigs could be domesticated and even trained to use a litter box, but I had trouble imagining them jumping hurdles in an agility ring or responding to commands in an obedience ring. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on July 25, 2017:
As children, finding joy is as simple as picking a dandelion or coaxing Daddy into being the Tickle Monster for a few minutes. As the years pass, however, joy sometimes becomes more elusive. More joints hurt, more friends develop debilitating or terminal illnesses, and social calendars have more dates for funerals than for weddings. Joy is still possible, but it takes more work, and it sometimes requires an attitude adjustment.
If you’ve spent any time on Facebook, you know it can be a joyless place if you’re not very selective about what you read. Some users post nothing but political tirades and negative news while others give more information than most of us want to know about their long list of medical complaints, medications, and procedures. I’m all for being well informed and also for keeping up with friends and praying for them in their times of need. However, caution is necessary in order to keep all that negativity from sucking all the joy out of life. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on July 11, 2017:
David and I are Spike-sitting again. For those readers who have not been introduced to Spike, he’s a Great Pyrenees mix who likes for us to come over and play when he’s home alone. His people went in different directions this time. She’s on a travel-business river cruise in Europe, and he headed north on road trip, so we’ll be with our furry friend for ten days.
There have been some major changes since our last visit. Kent called on Thursday on his way out of town to let me know that Spike has become a house dog. Although he loves to run around in the woods and the hay fields, he doesn’t tolerate the heat well, so when the triple digit temperatures arrived, he was allowed to come inside during the heat of the day. He behaved so nicely that he has now been invited to spend most of his days – and nights – inside. Not only that, but he has also begun to walk on a leash. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on June 20, 2017:
To say that I decided not to plant a garden this year wouldn’t really be accurate. What really happened was that I procrastinated. Taking it one day at a time, I told myself that I would begin the tilling, the preparation, and the planting tomorrow or next weekend. I told myself there was still plenty of time until now it’s almost time to begin thinking about a Fall garden. The amazing thing is, after all that dawdling, I’ve discovered that I don’t need a garden after all. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on May 30, 2017:
There’s an old joke that poses the questions “Where does a 900-pound gorilla sleep?” The answer, of course, is “anywhere he wants to.” That same principle applies in the Brendle household. The last time we managed to wrangle Kitty onto the scale, she only weighed in at fourteen pounds, but she still sleeps anywhere she wants to.
I set a bad precedence shortly after she evolved from being an under-the –porch stray to queen of the castle. When she showed an interest in the TV table formerly known as my computer desk, I moved the computer to my ottoman or my lap. It is, after all, a laptop. We also cleared off various surfaces to allow her a clear view out the windows, and she was satisfied with her territory for a while. Lately, though, I’ve noticed subtle encroachments taking place. (more…)