Words That Scare Us

The first time I ever heard the word, “cancer,” I was seven years old and my grandfather had it in his stomach. By the time the Archer County Hospital doctor found it, there was nothing anyone could’ve done in 1969. So my Papa died of stomach cancer in the early spring when I was in…

No Fear.

I don’t remember being afraid the day my mother and I climbed out onto the side of a mountain in Yellowstone to play in a patch of snow. But to hear my mother tell the story, I should’ve been. She claimed we nearly died that day. It was one of the summer vacations we took…

Birthday Gravy. And other things guaranteed to stick.

One year my birthday fell on a Sunday and at the age of ten, I had no idea what trouble my mother went to to pull off what I asked for that year. I wanted to eat Sunday dinner at home. I was tired at eating at Luby’s. I asked my mother to fry chicken…

Friends Who Help Us Find Our Way

Sometimes it’s the simplest moments – the seemingly insignificant events of an ordinary day – that make all the difference in our lives. Like the day in high school when my friend Carolyn asked me to compete in a speech tournament. “Hey, Sally,” she said. “We need somebody to do impromptu speaking at the Old…

Remembering

Driving through Austin this weekend made me remember all the times I hauled students to the University of Texas for the U.I.L. state tournament. I drove past a hotel where we stayed one year for the state cross-examination debate tournament. That was the year that during dinner at Papasita’s, one of the guys ate a…

No Drink.

“No, we’re not getting a drink.” That’s what she told me as we walked briskly by the water fountain and into the auditorium. Quite frankly I don’t remember anything about the whole incident because I was just a toddler. But I know the story well from my mother telling it. We were traveling to a…

Catching Up With Downton Abbey

All my life I’ve heard that if you’ll just do something every day for a month that it will become a habit.

I have not found this to be true for me.

But thank God, I get to try again.

Last Suppers

About this time last year, my cousin, Andy, brought a couple of guys with him to help move my parents into an assisted living facility. They left early so the guys could get back home in the same day. I’d been secretly packing things the week before, not wanting to disturb my ailing mother, both…

The Colors of Kindness

I love watching the CBS evening news. Especially the last story of the broadcast, because it features somebody doing something good in the world. Like those guys who changed my tire last week when I had a blowout on Interstate 30, just outside of downtown Dallas. Fortunately, not long after I ran over whatever it…

Airport Security

It didn’t occur to me until I got to the airport what day it was.   The home airport I fly out of most often is small.  We only have two gates.   Most of the men and women working security have been there long enough that I recognize them.  And when I go through,…

“The Butler”

If you haven’t gone to see the recently released movie, The Butler, you need to get in your car and go to the mall or wherever it’s showing and see it now. It’s worth it just to see Robin Williams as Ike Eisenhower. John Cusack as Richard Nixon. And Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan. I…

Peach Smiles and Hospital Coffee

Lots of afternoons when I got out of school, we’d drive down to the little town where my grandparents lived to visit one of them in the hospital. The hospital was tiny with less than ten rooms, an operating room, an emergency room where I often sat with my Papa when he needed oxygen, a…