Published in the Rains County Leader on January 30, 2018:
It’s said that confession is good for the soul, but for a writer, it can also make a good story. Like all stories, though, this one is best told from the beginning.
Back during the holiday season, when the weather was just beginning to get cold, I stood in my closet one morning looking for a jacket. Finding a jacket was not the problem, but finding the right one was proving to be a challenge. I don’t remember exactly what I was wearing that day, but according to my rather limited sense of fashion, whatever it was required a black jacket. The only one I had was too light weight for the forecasted temperatures, so I had to settle for a wool work shirt from David’s Navy days. He outgrew it long before we met, but he kept it around for sentimental reasons. It fits me quite nicely if I roll up the cuffs, and it’s a dark enough navy color to pass for black, so I took it off the hanger while I hosted a mental pity party about my lack of heavy jackets. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on December 19, 2017:
Many wedding ceremonies include words to the effect that “love is not a feeling, it’s a commitment.” The idea, of course, is that love is not simply the dizzying excitement of a new relationship or the warm, fuzzy feeling of a long established marriage. It’s a commitment to act in a loving manner even when you don’t feel like it. People who rely simply on loving feelings are often disillusioned when the honeymoon is over. The more Christmases I experience, the more I realize that Christmas is a lot like love –those who rely simply on the magical feelings of the season are destined for disappointment.
My husband David is a nostalgia kind of guy, and he often reminisces about the good old days, especially at this time of year. He recently lamented the fact that he can’t seem to recapture the excitement and anticipation he experienced during the Christmas season when he was younger. Unfortunately, some of the magic of those mysterious packages disappears when you know the bills will be waiting for you at the end of the month. And let’s face it, there’s not as much magic in a new sweater or even the latest book by your favorite author as there was in a shiny red bicycle or a Daisy Red Rider BB Gun. There’s still lots of magic to be found, though, if you know where to look. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on December 5, 2017:
In 1986 Robert Fulghum published a book titled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Over the last thirty years, it has become a standard of common sense wisdom, and the basic ideas of this simple credo can often be seen on plaques, coffee cups, and other gift items. The first item on the list is always “Share everything.”
I’ve been thinking about sharing a lot the last couple of weeks, and for good reason. It seems like every time I turn around, I run into an opportunity to share, sometimes on the giving end and sometimes on the receiving end. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on November 21, 2017:
It’s that time again. For the next few days, every time you sit down to eat a meal or have some kind of group discussion, someone will suggest that each person should tell what he or she is thankful for. I know. I did it with the group of AWANA students I was listening to last Wednesday. I had two girls and a boy who were all first graders. They tired of studying verses a few minutes before time to move to the next activity, so I asked The Question: What are you thankful for? The first girl exhaled such a long sigh that I finally moved on to the boy. He shrugged and gave me a look that said, I got nuthin’. The other girl brightened suddenly and chirped, “Turkey!” That works when you’re seven, but when you’re older, you might want to be prepared when the subject comes up. (more…)
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 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 27, 2017:
The world of training and showing dogs is a subculture that most of us never experience except maybe to watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show once a year. My introduction to the culture came when we moved to Florida in 2005 and I met Sue and Sophie. Sophie is a beautiful, pure-bred Miniature Schnauzer, and Sue was a fellow caregiver who had decided that dog training would be fun and might also relieve some of her stress. Sophie was better suited to racing around an obstacle course then to posing and strutting around a show ring, so Sue decided to pursue Dog Agility.
Sophie will soon be twelve years old, and she recently retired with seven MACH titles. According to the American Kennel Club, a dog becomes a Master Agility Champion when she earns “750 championship points and 20 double qualifying scores obtained from the Master Standard Agility class and the Master Jumpers With Weaves class.” I understood very little of what that meant until this weekend when David and I attended our first dog show in West Monroe Louisiana. (more…)