Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How's Your Love Life?

Once more Slim Randles joins us as Wednesday's Guest with an update on how it is going with Marvin and his advice to the lovelorn. Grab your favorite beverage of choice and enjoy...

Things were going kinda slow down at the Fly Tying Love Center and it bothered Marvin Pincus a lot.

He found it hard to believe that, out of all the people in the valley, none of them needed love advice and the proper type of fishing fly to illustrate it. He had the sign made and put in the yard, and he’d obviously had great results with the Jones kid and good ol’ Dewey. Since Marvin’s advice to Dewey to shower before asking a girl for a date, Dewey Decker, the Fertilizer King, had met Emily Stickles, the love of his life.

Now the fishing-fly earrings part of the business was going great. Women all over town were wearing dingle-dangle earrings with Marvin’s point-clipped fishing flies hanging therefrom. He learned that short ladies tended to go for the smaller dries, like Griffith’s Gnats and Royal Coachmen, and the taller ladies leaned toward salmon streamers. For the “simple black dress” that women seem to need, Marvin discovered a pure black stonefly nymph tied on a number 6 to be just the right touch. Some of the ladies slipped Marvin’s wife, Marjorie, a couple of bucks to help buy more feathers and hooks.

But on the love advice front, there was a dearth of heartbroken customers.

“What would you think,” Marvin said, “if I ran an ad in the Valley Weekly Miracle?”

“For what?” Marjorie said at breakfast.

“You know … love advice.”

“Well, you have the sign out front. I think everyone in the valley already knows about it.”

“But they’re not coming in.”

Marjorie smiled. “Honey, some people find it hard to talk to others about their personal problems. That’s probably it.”

Marvin got a piece of paper and began writing. Then he’d scratch it out and start again. This went on through both bacon and toast.

“How’s it coming, Honey?”

“About got it right, I think, Marge.”

“May I see it?”

He handed it to her.

The best love advice in the valley, tied up with the appropriate fishing fly. Call the Fly Tying Love Center for an appointment. Results guaranteed.

“What do you think?”

Marjorie just smiled and nodded. What she thought, however, was that retirement isn’t for sissies.

Brought to you by The Home Country Hour podcast. Check it out at
Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, Home Country, and is the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Morning Musings

I made the mistake of watching national news the other day and was reminded why I am much better off not paying attention to all that.

Did you hear about Cynthia Robinson, the Florida woman who sued R.J. Reynolds because her husband died from smoking-related illness? The jury gave her $23.6 billion in punitive damages. That's billions, folks, and an additional $16.8 million in compensatory damages. Robinson  had been part of a previous class-action suit against R.J. Reynolds that was settled in 2006, but that $145 billion verdict had been overturned on appeal. In a television interview, Robinson said, "We have finally gotten justice."

Justice? I'll let you decide for yourselves, but I think it is beyond absurd. More at the Huffington Post

On a much nicer note, my two weeks of drama camp ended with our performances over the weekend. We had sell-out audiences for both shows, and what great energy that creates for the players. They did an amazing job, and I am always so thrilled to work with the kids and the camp leaders.

Here are just a few more pictures from the show and the camp.

This wonderful poster was designed by one of our board members, Jim Willis.

These lovely pictures of the lions were taken by Bob Williams Photography and used with permission.
The drama camp, along with all the other activities that go on at the Winnsboro Center For the Arts, is put on by volunteers. We do pay professional music and theatre people, but the rest is done by the wonderful people in this place I call home. I am so thankful for all the people who stepped up to make this a huge success.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday's Odds and Ends

One thing I've learned this week, don't get sick half way through the summer drama camp. One of the other camp leaders said wouldn't it be wonderful if we could schedule being sick. "Let's see, I'm not doing anything from August first through the seventh. How about the flu then?"

Actually, I didn't have the flu, but I had a serious infection which took forever to respond to meds. Hopefully, I will be ready for the weekend when we open "Phineas Peabody's Magical Musical Circus," which the kids wrote and produced with the assistance of a few of us adults and teen helpers.

Anyway, the awesome camp leaders took over and this may be the best show we've had from the summer drama camp. I wonder if there is a message there? LOL

Here is a picture of one of the girls who has been at the camp for three years now. She is a terrific piano player, as well as being great on stage, and she is so much fun to work with.

Next up are some pictures of the chalk art the kids did on the sidewalk leading to the door of the art center, inviting everyone to "Come to the Circus." They did some great posters, too, as well as designs for the camp shirt and playbill cover. Drama camp stirs all kinds of creativity.

This last picture is from a planning session as one of the camp leaders and some teen helpers worked with the kids to brainstorm some of the story. The teen helpers have been through drama camp several times, and they have all continued to be active in the troupe of young players. I love working with the kids. And the lady on the left, Hayley, was one of the very first kids that I had in a show the second or third year I started volunteering at the Winnsboro Center for the Arts. What a thrill to have her back as an adult, teaching the kids and directing the show along with Jennifer Zimmerman and George Gagliardi.

L-R: Hayley Morris, Kaitlyn Sullivan, Hunter Williams, Kennedie Williams, Thomas Hulme
While I go off to finish the last details for the show, I'll leave you with some fun from Pickles

Opal is in the kitchen opening drawers and calls out, "Earl! Have you seen Roscoe's toothpaste?"

Earl is in the living room and calls back, "Roscoe's toothpaste?"

Opal comes into the living room, holding a little doggie toothbrush. "Yes. You know. The special beef-flavored toothpaste I bought for him."

Earl answers, "Nope."

Opal looks at the plate on Earl's lap. "Wait just a minute...! What're you eating on those crackers?!"

He doesn't answer, and she walks off shaking her head. "Oh, for pete's sake. I can't believe you."

Earl says, "What? I was hungry."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Don't Take Gardening Tips From Herb

Slim Randles is here again as Wednesday's Guest. I am still busy with the Kidzz on Stage Drama Camp, and I am so glad that Slim is willing to be my guest and keep you entertained while I am basically absent from the cyber world. In honor of Herb, I thought we could all start out with a glass of papaya juice. Enjoy....
Like a doctor removing something important, Herb Collins gently peeled the wrapper back from the root ball and tenderly placed the baby tree in the hole. Then he stood and walked around it to see which way he should align it. Actually, looks pretty good just the way it is.

So he took his bucket of mixed sand and compost and began sprinkling it down onto the roots and then packing it in gently with his fist.

Every few minutes he’d stop and read the directions again. When he ordered the tree, the nurseryman had written back “Are you sure?” Well, that made ol’ Herb laugh. Yes, he was sure. He’s always sure this time of year.

He was still chuckling to himself when Janice Thomas walked along the sidewalk.

“Hi Herb,” said the high school art teacher. “What is it this year?”

“Papaya, Janice. Nice healthy one, don’t you think?”

Janice took a close look at the little dark green tree.


“Isn’t that a tropical tree?”

“Sure is,” he said, tucking more dirt around the roots. “I have to read the instructions carefully to get this right.”

Janice thought carefully before speaking. “Papayas sure taste good, Herb.”

“Sure do. Wouldn’t it be nice if this lives long enough to produce fruit?”

“But you’re not expecting …”

“Of course not. The first nippy day in autumn will turn this little guy belly up.”

He looked up and smiled at Janice’s consternation.

“You know that banana tree almost made it to Christmas last year. That was my best so far. We’ll see how this little guy makes out.”

Each year Herb plants something in the front yard that has no chance at all of being there the following spring. He’s done it for years. It gives the neighborhood something to look at and talk about, and it’s fun.

“You know, Herb, if you’re looking for fruit, a cherry tree will produce …”

 “I’m not looking for fruit, Janice,” he said, gently. “I’m looking for glory. Glory!”

He laughed. “Where’s the glory in planting something that will grow here? Anyone can do that. But a papaya? Ha! There’s glory in that.”

Brought to you by The Home Country Hour podcast. Check it out at  

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Day of Music

There is something so wonderful about music. It touches our souls, lifts our spirits and tells wonderful stories. Last Friday I had the pleasure of sharing an evening of live music with a large crowd who gathered at the Winnsboro Center for the Arts to hear the singing duo, Albert & Gage . A great time was had by all. They are amazing singers, and what Chris Gage can do on keyboard and guitar just blew me away. They'd been to the WCA before, but I'd always missed them for one reason or another. I'm so glad I didn't miss them this time.

One of the songs they performed was "Dakota Lulaby", and I couldn't help but think of all the great times I had up in South Dakota with my dear friend, Jan, and her family. It is beautiful country up there, and when you sit down with a farmer and talk about the land and the crops and the critters, there is such a gentle peacefulness about it all.  God, however you perceive him or her, is very present there.

So this is for my friend Jan and everyone else who loves the wide open country.

The second week of the Summer Drama Camp starts this morning, and the show is really coming together. The campers - all 27 of them - were busy last week writing songs with the talented George Gagliardi and scenes with the other camp leaders, Jennifer Zimmerman and Hayley Morris. This week we will focus on putting the whole production together with costumes, set, and props. Then we will have performances on July 19 and 20. This is the ninth year we have done the camp, and it just gets better and better.

I was looking around for a video of George Gagliardi on YouTube, and found this video of Amy Adams taken at Crossroads Music Company several years ago. ( I get easily distracted. LOL) Wow, we sure have had some talented people on the stages in Winnsboro, including Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves.I enjoyed this song so much, I decided to post it.

Finally, I found a song by George that he had written some years ago and adapted for last year's drama camp show The Kingdom of Macademia

And one more song from George. This next one shows the scope of his talent a bit better than the other one.

I hope you enjoy the day of music. I had fun putting this all together.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Hump Day Fun

Even though I don't plan to blog often in the next few weeks, I did want to let my friend Slim Randles come by as Wednesday's Guest and entertain us. He hangs around with some interesting characters, and I'm so glad he shares the fun with us. So pull up a stool, grab a cuppa, and enjoy.

Delbert’s at it again. You know Delbert McLain, our local chamber of commerce? He’s the guy who wants to bring lots of people here so the place isn’t quite as nice as it is now.

Well, ol’ Delbert zipped into the Mule Barn truck stop the other day, plopped down at the empty Round Table, and motioned for those of us at the philosophy counter to join him.  We did.

“Boys,” he said, when we were seated and sipping, “I want to bounce an idea off you and see how it goes.”

He almost whispered, “Two words … knife sharpening!”

“Sure,” said Dud, pulling a diamond steel from a holster on his belt. “I’ll sharpen it for you, Delbert.”

“No, I don’t mean I need a knife sharpened,” he said, “I mean … a knife-sharpening contest. Actually, a knife-sharpening fiesta!”

His face beamed, he spread his arms, his hands palms up toward Heaven as the sheer Divine magnitude of the idea settled in. Doc reached for another sugar packet.

“Just think of it, guys,” Delbert said, “A veritable bevy of blade bevellers descending on our community, spending money in our restaurants, buying the latest in knife gear from the hardware store, filling the rooms at the motel.”

He looked around. Steve’s coffee made him cough. Doc chuckled into his hand. Dud put his diamond steel away.

“Sounds like a sharp idea to me, Del,” said Doc. “I like the way you came right to the point.”

“An edgy proposition,” Dud said, “but one that whets the appetite.”

Steve recovered from his coughing fit. “You could hold it out in the pasture and call it ‘Hone on the Range.’”

Delbert ignored the groaning and smiled. “That’s it, boys. Think on it. Let’s come up with some good angles.”

And Doc said, “I hear 10 to 15 degrees is best for a really sharp blade.”

Cracker packets flew.
Brought to you by Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to WritingAnd if you enjoyed this post, you might want to hop over to The Blood Red Pencil, where Slim has another bit of nons... er, fun for us. 

Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy Birthday America

In addition to being a national holiday, the Fourth of July is my birthday. For years I thought all the fireworks and picnics and parades were just for me, and, boy, did I feel important. Then I found out that 99.99 percent of the American public was celebrating Independence Day, and just my family cared about my birthday.

When I matured, just last year, I got over the disappointment and was thrilled to share my birthday with America. I get tingly all over when I hear "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy." Sometimes I even sing it at the top of my lungs, which makes my kids want to run and hide.

As with so many other events since September, this is another one without my husband, and it has been hard to think about having fun without him. But life does go on. That is what we try to get our minds and hearts around when we are grieving. So the kids are coming to party with me, and we will do some things differently this year. That way maybe we won't all miss him so much.