Published in the Rains County Leader on June 16, 2022:
Crawfish. The first thing I did before beginning this column was to Google the correct name for these strange looking creatures. According to those who are supposed to know, people north of the Mason-Dixon Line normally refer to these miniature lobsters as crayfish while residents of the West Coast, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas call them crawdads. But since I married a Louisiana boy where they are known as crawfish, that’s what I’ll go with.
Texas wasn’t mentioned in the blog post I used for reference, but in the era before organized play dates and yoga classes for kids, my friends and I sometimes went fishing for crawdads in the drainage ditch near my house. We’d sneak a piece of bacon out of the refrigerator, wrap it around a rock, tie a string to it, and troll the muddy waters. I don’t think we ever caught one – in fact, I don’t remember ever seeing one. I don’t have a clue what we would have done if we had caught one – but if it was good enough for Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, it was good enough for us.
As an adult, I tend to avoid the unattractive critters. I love a good shrimp boil, but I don’t get excited when the local restaurants begin advertising that the crawfish are in. I did have some fried crawfish tails once which, as I recall, I enjoyed very much. But I don’t want those feelers and legs rising to the top of my bowl of gumbo or gracing my plate of jambalaya. Maybe it’s the eyes. I’ve had a couple of creepy experiences with the eyes of seafood.
Published in the Rains County Leader on May 12, 2022:
Back in March I wrote a column called “Back in the Garden” in which I mentioned David Perkins, our friend/neighbor who lives in our motor home. He had started a small garden, first in containers on the dashboard of the RV and then moving on to a couple of small plots near our storage shed.
The three of us along with Connie and Charles across the street have a small family-like community thing going. When they go to the 3rd Friday Food Giveaway at Freedom Church of God, they share when they receive more than they can use, and we sometimes think of each other when we shop. After reading my column about the difficulty of finding affordable vanilla wafers, Perkins – so called to avoid confusion with my David – brought me three boxes he found at Aldi. In return, I made a large banana pudding which was big enough to share. The sharing often extends to group meals, especially on holidays, but sometimes just because. Sunday was one of those more casual times.
The motor home is parked to the side of the driveway. It used to sit behind the house until it began to sink into the gopher runs. After that, David moved it to firmer ground, and we back the Kia in beside it. Perkins’ favorite perch is behind the computer desk which puts him next to one of several windows in the living area of his moveable home. Preferring natural air to artificially cooled, he uses fans and open windows until the temperatures approach triple digits. He says it gives him a feel of camping out, and it leads to a lot of our version of across-the-fence chats.
Published in the Rains County Leader on December 8, 2020:
David and I have been in COVID jail since the Saturday after Thanksgiving when I realized I couldn’t smell anything. I didn’t have any other symptoms, but I tested positive, so we were advised to quarantine for ten days. At first, I was thankful that David had found a new WiFi provider and we were once again able to watch TV, but after a while, I wasn’t so sure.
We caught up on videos of several YouTubers we follow, and we watched the Madalorian episodes we had missed, but after that the viewing choices were pretty grim. The results of the presidential election seemed to be the main focus of every broadcast, and from the reports and forecasts I heard, no one is going to be happy regardless of the eventual outcome. Let’s just say it wasn’t the kind of programming that gives the viewer a warm and fuzzy Christmas feeling.
Published in the Rains County Leader on October 26, 2020:
“By the time this column is published the remaining books will have been
hauled away to be sold at Half-Price Books, but the Book Shed behind the Library won’t be empty.” This sentence was in the final paragraph of last week’s column in which I talked about some of the book lovers I met at the Friends of the Library Book Sale. Part of the sentence is true, but the other part – not so much. The book shed is far from empty, mainly because the new policy at Half-Price Books is to accept no more than two boxes at a time. FOL members aren’t easily discouraged when it comes to books, though, so a search began for alternative means of disposing of leftover books.
The first method employed the idea that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Several sets of books were put into open-topped boxes and set on the ground beside the library dumpster. The old saying proved true as all the books disappeared the first day, long before the truck came to collect the trash.
Published in the Rains County Leader on March 31, 2020:
The spirit of unity in small towns, especially in Emory, has been a topic of several of my columns over the years. It seems like a crisis brings out the best in people unless, of course, they’re fighting over the last package of toilet paper on the shelf. Once they get home from the hunting and gathering, they seem more than willing to share if they know of a need.
Last Friday, two weeks after my previous shopping excursion, I finally ventured to Brookshire’s. I more than qualify for Senior “Happy” Hour, so I arrived around 8:30 a.m. and found a less than half-full parking lot. Inside wasn’t too crowded either, and because everyone is so conscious of being socially distant, there weren’t the usual clogs of visitors in the middle of the aisles. I saw a few friends, but we exchanged quick greetings and moved on.
I was pleased to see that the produce area was well stocked with only a few bare shelves. I was able to find everything on my list which was made based on what I thought we would eat before it ruined. I hate to say it, but I’m not always as careful when I know I can make a quick run to the store at a moment’s notice. (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…)
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.