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…)
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 June 6, 2017:
When I first began writing a weekly column in the newspaper, I never thought about the collateral effects of opening at least some aspects of my private life to public scrutiny. I had been writing a blog for several years before becoming City Girl for the Rains County Leader. Although I occasionally received an on-line comment about something I had written, it was disconcerting the first few times someone I didn’t know asked me face to face how my garden was doing or what new antics Kitty had been up to.
It didn’t take me long, though, to begin to enjoy these brief encounters. One of the things I like most about being a writer is knowing when my words have touched someone, even if it’s only to make them smile or stop and think for a minute. It’s really nice to know that something I’ve said sticks in a reader’s mind long enough for them to engage me in conversation about it. In fact, it’s really nice to know that I have readers. Now that I’ve gotten used to it, I enjoy the impromptu conversations I have with friends I didn’t know I had. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on May 23, 2017:
The last couple of weeks have been a bit rough for the Brendles. Actually, David has been struggling with one thing or another for most of this year.
He caught an upper respiratory infection from me toward the end of December, and he didn’t begin to really feel normal again until the end of March. Because of that, the early spring weather, and all the rain, the weeds were way ahead of him by the time he felt well enough to do anything about it.
Finally, about two weeks ago, he hauled out the mower, donned a protective mask and hat, and went to work. He knocked out the front yard in nothing flat, and the back yard up close to the house went well, too. Then, he ventured back a bit further where he made a couple of circuits before I heard him cut the engine and begin walking toward the house. I knew there must be trouble. If he was taking a water break, he would have driven up closer. I stepped out on the porch. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on February 14, 2017:
Because I’m the church secretary, I’m sometimes a few minutes late to Sunday School after I make a stop in my office to pick up a form I need someone to fill out or an envelope the treasurer has asked me to deliver. Then, it’s not unusual for someone to stop me before I make it to class to ask me to correct an address or to check the lost and found for a Bible. To tell the truth, I kind of like being one of the last ones to arrive. As I walk down the hall toward the Fellowship Hall where the adults meet, I can hear the sound of funny stories about the work week being told, of concerns for friends and family being exchanged, of lives being shared. It sounds a lot like love. (more…)