Published in the Rains County Leader on October 3, 2017:
There will be one less red 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix on the streets of Emory in the future. From now on, look for the Brendles in a 2016 charcoal gray Kia Optima. For the first time in fifteen years, we have bought a car, and the Pontiac has been put out to pasture to be used only in times of schedule conflicts or maintenance visits for Kiara (little dark one).
Since we have a history of driving our cars until pieces literally begin to fall off, Kiara will probably be the last car we will buy, so we went for all the bells and whistles. To say we’re excited about our new toy would be an extreme understatement. We can sometimes be found sitting in her with the driver’s manual open, learning how to access all the magic hidden behind the leather, buttons, and dials. Saturday we actually took a ride just because we could and also to blow off the fine layer of dust that had settled on the roof when David mowed.
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 September 19, 2017:
A few weeks ago, I shared a list of ways to know if your cat really loves you. After comparing the list with Kitty’s behavior, I decided that she really does love us – sometimes David more than me, but I’m mostly okay with that. Taking my cue from the list, I’ve been responding in a more feline manner, and she has become a little more affectionate toward me.
For instance, when I walk by her and she grabs for my hand, instead of jerking away from her, I now stop and hold my hand still. She will hold it gently between her paws and sniff to see what interesting things I have been up to. Then, she’ll either lick my finger or hold it between her teeth. Sometimes, she’ll let me scratch under her chin a bit, but I don’t press my luck. If I linger too long, she gets frisky and begins to bite. She seems to appreciate the interaction, and she has started following me around almost as much as she does David. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on September 12, 2017:
David and I recently went to a church pot luck at my brother Jim’s church in Conway, AR. As siblings tend to do, especially older siblings, our conversation turned to memories of our shared childhoods. I can’t remember the thread that led to the subject of nicknames, but at some point I mentioned that, if Jim had been in charge, my name would have been Judy instead of Linda.
Jim was four years old when Mom was pregnant with me. Wanting to make him feel a part of the process, she and Dad asked him what he thought my name should be. He doesn’t remember where he had heard the name – maybe a cute little girl in his Sunday School class or someone he met at the park – but he immediately suggested that I be named Judy. I think they had already made their choice, but they played along anyway, asking what he thought my middle name should be. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on August 29, 2017:
The first time I read Gone with the Wind, I wanted to be just like Scarlett O’Hara. I conveniently overlooked the needy and manipulative parts of her personality and focused instead on her strengths. To me she was a brave southern woman who stood tall and strong in the face of all adversities and enemies. Compared to her, I had very little adversity and even fewer enemies, but I knew that, if the occasion ever arose, I would be just as brave and fierce as she was as she stared down war, poverty, and more. I was wrong. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on August 15, 2017:
This creek is usually 6″ wide and half that deep.
“I think we’ve been abducted and mistakenly returned somewhere other than Texas.” I’ve heard David make that statement several times recently. It’s a valid observation. August is usually very hot and very dry in the Lone Star State, but so far we’ve had between 8-10” at our house and a week with highs in the 80s – and it’s only the 13th!
I hesitated to broach this subject, because it usually leads to discussions about climate change. The last time I engaged in that kind of conversation, it didn’t end well. Shortly after the last election, a friend who was unhappy with the results reached out to me in an attempt to understand “the other side.” She asked questions and asked for honest answers, but when I responded, she was shocked. Knowing someone disagrees with you apparently evokes completely different emotions than seeing it written down in black and white. Let’s just say she now thinks the Venus/Mars difference between men and women is more manageable than our differing beliefs. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on August 1, 2017:
I met a new friend this week. Becky owns a one-operator beauty salon outside of town, and she is very popular at the Senior Center for her Senior Thursday haircuts. She’s also very interesting to talk to.
While she was working on my unruly curls, she mentioned that her son might be going to college on a scholarship, that is, if he agreed to continue training pigs for the show ring. Training pigs? I knew that pot bellied pigs could be domesticated and even trained to use a litter box, but I had trouble imagining them jumping hurdles in an agility ring or responding to commands in an obedience ring. (more…)