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 August 10, 2021:
There was a time when children were to be “seen and not heard,” especially in church. The only thing I was allowed to do in church other than sit quietly and listen was lean against one of my parents and take a nap. Since I have always been able to drop off to sleep any time I get still, that was never a problem for me.
When Christian was born, we attended a large church in Dallas that had Sunday School for children only. The classes were during the worship service, so I didn’t have to worry about his behavior for the first few years of his life. By the time he was around four, we were living in Garland and began attending a smaller church. A Children’s Church might have been available, but I was a bit over-protective, so I kept him with me.
He was no trouble. First, he knew what was expected of him and second, he was easily entertained. I carried a plastic bag of cereal – non-crunchy if possible – and a special notebook that was saved for Sunday only. Christian was an early reader, and he enjoyed the children’s puzzle section from the Sunday comics. I cut them out, pasted them into the notebook, and gave it to him when he got wiggly.
Published in the Rains County Leader on March 26, 2019:
At the most recent meeting of the East Texas Library Friends Book Club, we discussed the book “The Stranger in the Woods” by Michael Finkel. The subtitle is “The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit.” It’s the story of Christopher Knight who walked into the woods when he was 20 years old and lived there until he was captured 27 years later.
Our initial discussions centered around what a hermit actually is and whether Knight met those requirements. We couldn’t come to a consensus on that issue, so we moved on to the morality of how he supported himself – by stealing from vacation homes and a summer camp facility near his woodland home. Most of us agreed that theft is wrong regardless of the need and the self-imposed limitations on what is taken, although there was one dissenter who thought his actions were acceptable. The majority of our time, though, was spent on the subject of being alone. What was the longest period of time any of us had been alone with no contact or interaction with another person? Most of us had never spent more than 24-48 hours in solitude, much less 27 years – and most of us had no desire to do so. (more…)
I wrote on Monday about the ladies’ conference my church is hosting tomorrow. We’ve spent the last two days mopping floors, swabbing toilets and dusting blinds. We’ve set up tables and chairs, arranged decorations and put up signs. We’ve baked muffins and bagged cookies, put gift bags together and answered phone calls. We’ve panicked and we’ve prayed, and we’re all tired.
This afternoon when I was revising the schedule one more time, I heard the front door open and a voice say “Is Linda here?”
I looked up and saw a lady holding these beautiful flowers. She handed me the vase and said, “I hope they’re what you had in mind.”
I’ve written a lot in the last several months about saying good-bye to Mom. I’ve focused on the good memories, the poignant sweetness of my last few visits with her, and how much I miss her now that she’s gone. I’ve received lots of positive feedback, a lot of it similar to this recent e-mail from a friend.
Sue: I have also loved your posts about your mom; you continue to honor her as you did when she was still on earth and I give YOU honor in that.
My response: Thank you for your continued encouragement about my writing. Without the day-to-day stress, and especially now that her struggle is over, it has been easy to focus on the positive aspects of our relationship. I sometimes feel guilty about some of the negative things I included in my book, but they were truth spoken in love, and I think it’s important to tell both sides of the story. Otherwise people who are having negative experiences think there is something wrong with them. In fact, I just may have to write a post about that!!
As a caregiver I was told that I was an angel, a saint, the most wonderful daughter in the world. I didn’t feel like an angel or a saint, and there were times when I felt anything but wonderful. The longer I served as a caregiver, the tighter the halo got and the less appropriate the labels seemed. I wrote one post about some of my less than proud moments, but it’s time for another one for any of you who think you’re the only one having a hard time. (more…)
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.