Dear Aunt B readers,
Columns & Editorials
I originated from some hardscrabble, ragtag, farming, barbering, honky tonkying, rough knuckled sons of guns, and that’s just my feminine heritage. There were no genteel manners, dowry chests, or office jobs bestowed upon my ancestors. There was no family money, no vast expanses of land, and no palatial summer homes. I have uncles nicknamed after farm animals and insects. That would be Goat & Spider, respectively. My Gramps played the fiddle at all the local watering holes each night, while his flat tops and baby bottom shaves were known far and wide during the day. My other grandfather had a 3rd grade education, hunted squirrels for food, and operated a bulldozer with enough accuracy to catch the eyes of the original Hunt Brothers. Long before either of my parents were twinkles in anyone’s eye, my maternal great and great great grandfathers both died after the flatbed truck carrying that season’s cotton was struck by a train near Seagoville. ‘Twas a rough life for all the Stilwells, Hitts, Pickards, and Davises. And, while we’re used to hearing gun slinging, moonshining, tobacco chewing, rabble rousing tales of the menfolk, I thought I’d switch it up today. Because, who runs this sucker? Girls, Beyonce. It’s all about the girls.
Trustees unanimously voted to lower the Crandall ISD tax rate by 10 cents at Monday night’s regular board meeting in the CISD administration building. The 10-cent reduction dropped the rate from $1.47 to $1.37 and marks the second-consecutive year board members have voted to decrease the tax rate.
I have been blessed to have seen and done a lot of things in my sixty four years. I’ve mentioned before that I have been to every state except North Dakota as well as a dozen or so countries. Sometimes my memory of places I’ve been and things I have done get a little confused. The past couple of weeks I talked about the tree I found on our property that I call the “Merlin Tree” and the email I sent to Disney to tell them about it. I talked about a distinct memory of being at Disneyland and remembering Merlin’s Castle there, although I couldn’t find any history of there being a Merlin’s Castle there. Then, a couple of days after it was too late to correct my column, it occurred to me where that memory came from.
After many years of traveling to distant destinations in search of material for my writing career and possibly to help stave a lifelong case of wanderlust for new places to hunt and fish, I have more than my share of ‘bloopers’ that, if captured on film, would definitely qualify for prime time TV! Unlucky for me, or maybe it’s my good fortunate, there wasn’t a camera rolling when these outlandish events occurred, at least most of the time! Here are a few of the more humorous outings that come to mind.
Since students have returned to instruction over the last month, there have been flurries of back-toschool activity. Buses are rolling. Many classes are open and filled with students. Many students are learning online. Sports and extracurricular activities are underway. There is a lot of activity going on in our long-empty school corridors. Amid all the movement in our schools, I often wonder what achievement looks like now and what it will look like in December and the Spring.
The whirr of wings when you accidentally flush a bird from its hiding place can startle you and give you pause. The same can be said about watching a student ”get it” and understand what the teacher is teaching. The art of teaching is tightly linked to seeing the lightbulb moments when students make a new connection.
“If you’re doing the right thing, you’ll like it and it’ll be for you to do,” says Victoria, 8. Lots of people today would agree. They say, “If it feels good, do it.”
It seems like we are seeing some perilous times, but what if we were without power for thirty days. Everything in the refrigerator would be spoiled in a few days. Everything in the freezer would be spoiled in a few days. It’s possible that we could be without water. Many victims of the hurricane are experiencing that now. One thing I have finally learned is that everything in the smallest detail is under GOD’S control. All of the people involved and their problems are in GOD’S sight and He is well able to handle each one according to His will. Jesus told His disciples that they “would have troubles in this world”, but He also said “be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world”. GOD did not say He would take away all of our troubles, He said He would make a way for us to come through them. What would it be like if we had no problems at all in this life? We would be completely worthless to GOD and anyone on this world. We would get so bored that we would weigh 900 pounds and unable to move. We just as well admit that as humans, good is dull, and bad is exciting. As I recall when my kids were little and when they did something naughty and funny I would laugh. That is the human side. Well, only GOD can give us the power to overcome this human nature we have inherited by the Holy Spirit He gave at the time we were saved.
A million Christmases ago – which translates into 2, except 2020 counts for at least 10 years, so it could’ve been 12 – my kids gave me a great gift. It was a book of writing prompts. I shrieked with delight. “They really do get me,” I shouted. Talking about things in one’s wheelhouse, this was exactly what I’d been looking for. Believe it or not, it can be difficult to come up with a weekly topic for a newspaper column. I run into readers, hither and yon, who only like certain topics or who only dislike certain topics. While I wish I could appeal to everyone on a personal level, it takes everything I have to crank out words that halfway make sense while editing for typos (not my forte), editing for autocorrect mishaps (I often speak-write if the idea is so intense I fear I might lose it), and editing for size (brevity is not my strong suit). But a book of prompts, why that should get my noggin in tip top shape. Except, like all things that initially excite us but require a surrender of sorts, the book went to the wayside of daily life. This year, though, within the complete, the partial, and the sometimes quarantines, the unwillingness to leave a puppy prone to seizures, and the reorga-nization into a multi-generational home, I find that time is finally on my side. And, so, I dug out that book of writing prompts. It’s really, really good. So, today I bring you an introspective question of sorts, right from the source. “Name one thing you wish your cell phone did for you that it currently does not.” Whoomp, there it is.
Since Spring, America has witnessed the pursuit of social justice that seems to rival that of the 1950s and the 1960s. The magnitude of the unrest is hard to ignore. The only way to not know what is going on is to intentionally not pay attention to it. Ignoring the response to injustice in this case may be worse than ignoring injustice in the first place. The justice being sought in the streets is important and requires and deserves attention. There is another level of injustice occurring every day in America that we are largely quiet about. Illiteracy.
“God created dads so they could wrestle with their daughters or their sons or wife,” says Kaitlin, 8.
I have morbid thoughts. I blame it on my parents. I don’t mean thoughts of self-harm. Even in my darkest days, I have loved and cherished this life and the promise of the suns that will come out on all the tomorrows, bet your bottom dollar. I mean, quite literally, that I am fascinated by morbid things. My husband tells me, regularly, that I should have been a veterinarian. He has learned that I am praise motivated and that complimenting me on intellect will get you twice as many homemade sugar cookies as telling me I’m cute. Smart feller. And, sure, I do love animals. However, I think I’d have made a top notch medical examiner. See, I’m not much of a people person. I like working autonomously. And, I love a good mystery. Nothing piques my interest like the idea of speaking for someone who has a story to tell, maybe the most crucial story, but no ability to tell us. What happened? Who happened? What can we learn from you, dear departed one? Plus, I’m not bothered by smells that much. I’ve always been fascinated by the mortuary industry, too. Remember that HBO show in the early oughts, Six Feet Under, the one about the family in the big Victorian where they lived upstairs and held the funerals downstairs, did the readying in the basement? We all have dreams.
“God created moms to cook most of the time and to water the chickens,” says Jed, 8.
“Human Nature”, that monster we are all born with, has raised its ugly head in full force in the last few months. We see people demonstrating, violence and destruction in almost every state in the country. It appears that many of the people involved have just found a place and time where they can let out their anger and misery on other people and their property without being arrested or hurt. It is a shame and disgrace that we as Americans have allowed this condition to come into this country. I have to admit that I don’t know enough about the people I vote for to lead this country to be confident of their ability to lead. I am sorry for that and I hope to do better in the future.