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 March 31, 2022
Robert Worley approached me at church on Sunday and told me I recently missed a newsworthy event – the Rains County Republican Convention. Apparently it was a great success with some positive results. Seven representatives were chosen to attend the Texas State Republican Convention in June where they will present a resolution that will prevent foreign countries from buying Texas land and companies.
I was excited for him because, not only does the proposal address an issue about which he is passionate, but he is also one of the representatives. But I am not much of a political writer. I occasionally collaborate with Robert on something of a more serious nature, but left to my own devices, I tend to produce feature articles and fluff. Still, our conversation made me wonder what else I might have missed during the past week.
Early spring is my favorite time of year. I’m not too crazy about the time change, but since my schedule is pretty much my own, I adjust without too much trauma. But what I love is the beauty that appears as the plants come out of hibernation with a promise of new life. In Texas, though, you have to enjoy quickly, because the time between winter chill and summer heat is short-lived. As I looked back on the last few days, I realized that I had missed several of those special days while I was inside reading or working on my computer. Those were not wasted hours as I studied for classes that I attend or facilitate at church and as I work on that illusive next novel, but you know what they say about all work and no play. So Sunday afternoon I took a stroll around our back yard to see what our untamed wilderness was up to.
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.
Published in the Rains County Leader on June 22, 2021:
It’s summer in Texas which means one thing above all others – it’s HOT!
Many conversations begin with “It’s so hot that…” followed by some tall tale that has been passed down for generations. When I was a kid, the big claim about hot weather was that you could fry an egg on the sidewalk. I remember one ambitions reporter who tried it without much success, but I have friends who claim to have baked brownies or cookies by placing a pan of dough on the dashboard of a closed car parked in the sun.
Summer in Texas is the time when closed cars really do become solar ovens on wheels. Sunglasses left inside can leave permanent scars on the bridge of a nose, and the wise driver doesn’t touch a door handle or steering wheel without protection. The same can be said for sitting on vinyl or leather seats while wearing shorts. It’s also a good idea to stand back as the door is opened because the blast of hot air might singe eyebrows and eyelashes.
July and August are the months during which water bills soar from watering lawns, flower beds, and gardens and from filling wading pools for children, grandchildren, and fur babies. We never had a swimming or wading pool, but we often played in the sprinklers or just squirted each other with the hose. I also tried more than once to fill up the huge cracks that appeared in our yard during the drought in the late 1950s. I never managed to fill any of them, and now I wonder how Daddy managed to pay our water bills.
Indoor Texas pets are as reluctant to go out into triple digit temperature as they are when it snows or even when it rains. I once had an old cocker spaniel who didn’t really enjoy walking in the best of conditions, but when the temperature began to climb, he hated it. He watched for spots where sprinklers were watering the sidewalks and laid down on the wet spot with all four legs stretched out so his tummy could enjoy the full effect of the wet cement. It’s a good thing he wasn’t a Saint Bernard because I often had to carry him home.
I’ve always heard the really hot part of the summer referred to as the dog days. I had a vague idea of what that meant – that it was hot – but I didn’t know specifically. Wikipedia agrees with my definition – hot – but it adds a bit more. There’s something related to astrology that I didn’t understand, but I understood the part that said it’s connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. The official dog days of summer for 2021 are July 3 through August 11. As those days approach with threatened brownouts and power outages, the powers that be have asked us to conserve by keeping our thermostats at 78 or above. If 78 is still too hot for comfort, do what we did before we had home air conditioning. In the hottest part of the day, strip down to your underwear, lie down under the ceiling fan, and take a nap. Of course, if you’re not retired like David and I, your boss might frown on that method, so you might have to settle for a big glass of ice cold sweet tea.
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.