Published in the Rains County Leader on April 7, 2022:
We’ve had our “new” car for almost five years, and I still really like it. It has all the bells and whistles including heated and cooled seats on both the driver’s and passenger’s side. (In the Pontiac, only the driver’s seat was heated, and David took delight in describing how warm and toasty he was while I shivered on my side of the car.) The Kia has a sun roof that extends all the way to the back seat, but we rarely used it because, well, because it lets the sun in – but it’s still nice to know it’s there. The spacious trunk is perfect when I get carried away at Brookshire’s or Walmart, and my paraphernalia fits nicely when I pack up for a vendor event.
The car is also outfitted with all kinds of electronics and more memory than David and I put together. There are several buttons for adjusting the driver’s seat and mirrors, and at the touch of one of these buttons, the car automatically returns to the preferences of Driver 1 or Driver 2. Like a sea-going vessel, I tend to think of the car in terms “she” and “her,” probably because the voice on the GPS is feminine and because she has an attitude. She’s pretty proud of her abilities and gets a bit sassy from time to time. She tells on me when I forget to fasten my seat belt, which is often, and she sounds an alarm if I try to get out of the car without turning off the engine. She also screeches loudly if I try to lock the door with the key fob still inside. I’m grateful for this one, but I do wish she’d be a bit more discreet.
Her dashboard features the normal gauges with a few extra warning lights thrown in just to show off. And as if TVs, computers, electronic tablets, and smart phones weren’t enough electronic input in our lives, she sports her own screen where she gives visual and audio directions to our chosen destination and tells us the name, artist, and release date of whatever oldie we’re currently listening to on SiriusXM. She also gives reminders and advice on car maintenance from time to time. David has read the two-volume owner’s manual from cover to cover and knows what all these gadgets and messages signify, but even he was taken aback one day last week when she flashed an ominous message across the screen:
Published in the Rains County Leader on November 10, 2020:
My husband David has been a biker most of his life. He learned to ride his
uncle’s old Cushman motorcycle when he was nine, and since then, hitting the road on two wheels has been an almost magical experience to him. He’s owned several motorcycles, and when we met in 1999, he had a Yamaha Virago 1100 that he rode every day.
Shortly after we began dating, he asked if I’d go riding with him. I wasn’t sure about the bike, but I liked the man, so I said yes. I think we both knew that was the first of many rides together. By the time we celebrated our first anniversary I had my own helmet, boots, and leathers and had put in many miles on the buddy seat.
Published in the Rains County Leader on November 6, 2018:
Kitty had quite an adventure this week. It could have served as a learning experience, but whether her memory is long enough for it to make a difference remains to be seen.
When we come home, she usually meets us at the door. This is especially true if David is coming in – she recognizes the difference in the sound of our footsteps. I’m not sure if the welcome is because she misses us when we’re gone or if it’s because she thinks she might be able to sneak outside for a romp through the yard. Either way, it’s fun to see her cute little face when we open the door, and we miss her when she’s not there. (more…)
Published by the Rains County Leader on May 1, 2018:
One of the author groups I belong to on Facebook asked us to share a brief “getting to know you” post. Here’s what I wrote:
I retired from the business world ten years ago, but it didn’t last. I work part-time at my church, do some on-line accounting for my son’s publishing company, and write for our local weekly newspaper. I have one son, two beautiful grandchildren, and an almost domesticated feral cat who loves my husband and tolerates me.
Kitty and I were making great strides in our relationship until my extended bout with allergies and a sinus infection accompanied by a very persistent and irritating cough. The first issue was that I was miserable and didn’t feel like currying the favor of Her Royal Snottiness, so I basically ignored her. I did, however, still offer treats at bedtime, but for some reason, she refused to follow the rules. Instead of lying on my stomach as I required, she insisted on sitting beside me. She didn’t even want to get close enough to take the treats out of my lap but instead wanted me to put them in front of her on the bed. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on February 27, 2018:
Sunday was David’s birthday, and he finally joined me in the 70s. Although I’ve been there since April and have tried to reassure him that it doesn’t hurt when the age-o-meter rolls over, he didn’t seem to look forward to this birthday the way he usually does. However, when I came home from Brookshire’s and waved a package of German’s Sweet Chocolate and another of coconut, he broke into a smile, knowing his birthday cake was on the way.
We don’t make a big deal of birthdays – at least not any more. The first year I celebrated his birthday with him, I took him out to dinner, and he gave me an engagement ring. It was hard to top that, but I sometimes tried to at least come close. One year I gave him an I-Pod, and another year I presented him with a bicycle, but we’ve reached the point in our lives where we have all the electronics we need and there’s no space to store larger toys. So most years I send him an e-card, and if I’m feeling extravagant, I give him a printed one, too. We go out for catfish or Mexican food, or sometimes I make a roast and a big pot of beans at home. And I usually make a German Chocolate Cake. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on November 14, 2017:
When I sat down to write this week, my mind wandered to the veterans we have been honoring for the weekend surrounding Veterans Day. I found an article I wrote in November of 2013, and I want to share it with you again. The Veterans Day program at the High School this year was a little bit different, and there were only 67 veterans, but the sentiment and respect were the same. So, to all the veterans who are reading this, once again I’ll say thank you for your service.
History runs in cycles and so do attitudes toward veterans. When I was a kid, soldiers were respected, and even idolized, often portrayed as bigger-than-life characters on the silver screen. Then came the 60s and 70s, and young men returning from Vietnam were met with disrespect and even hostility. Instead of being welcomed home as heroes, they were spit on and villainized as warmongers and baby killers. More recently, especially after 9-11, attitudes have shifted back toward a more positive view of our military personnel.
But one thing that still seems to be lacking in the treatment of our veterans is dignity. In recent years, restaurants have used Veterans Day as an advertising ploy, competing to see who can offer the best special. Charities vie with one another to offer the most compassion to those who have been wounded or those who have lost loved ones in the defense of our country. Sometimes veterans are used as political pawns in heated campaigns. But there are still places where members of the military, past and present, are treated with dignity. Emory is one of those places. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on June 13, 2017:
Everything around the Brendle house has a lot of miles on the odometer. Our 2002 Pontiac recently rolled over 133,000 miles, and David’s 2000 Harley has been driven 102,000 miles. David and I have covered a few miles ourselves, but thankfully we don’t have odometers. Still, all of us are showing our age.
David has always taken extremely good care of his vehicles, and people are often surprised at how old our car is. However, time is beginning to take its toll. The lower exterior door panels have begun to crack, and the pins that attach them to the door have weakened. Several months ago when I was on the way to the grocery store, the wind caught the front edge of the panel on the passenger door and peeled it back. I heard a crack and looked in the rear-view mirror in time to see it flying down the shoulder behind me. I did a quick U-turn and was able to locate the panel before it fell victim to an eighteen-wheeler. It had suffered some minor road rash, but David was able to reattach it. (more…)
Valentine’s Day has a church history dating back to the 5th century, but it became associated with romantic love during the middle ages. There are some people, especially husbands who usually end up in the doghouse for their lack of romance and people who spend the evening sharing a pint of Homemade Vanilla with their four-footed roommate, who are convinced that Valentine’s Day was birthed by Hallmark and Russell Stover to sell more cards and candy. However, my church found a way to celebrate the holiday that kept husbands out of the doghouse and gave singles a place to share in the festivities – and my husband David found a way to be one of the stars of the event. (more…)
My first marriage ended in 1990 after twenty-three years. I was single again for ten years before the Lord brought David and me together. I learned a lot during those ten years including the fact that dating has changed a lot since I was a teenager.
A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos
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.