Hee Haw icon comes to town
The audience heaved a collective sigh at seeing the performer shimmy his way to a seat at center stage. Gone were the trademark mutton chops and youthful face-filling smile. Gone were the limber fingers that tore up banjos, guitars and fiddles to the point where actors sharing scenes with him broke character in awe when he played. All had been replaced by a frail old man buried beneath a brown coat and hat. At seeing the audience, he tapped his cane on the floor and flashed a grin as the crowd rose with welcoming applause.
Flies, toads with a side of gravy
The cursor blinks. Random thoughts polka in my head. My mama's chocolate gravy recipe twirls with Grammy's sharecropper stories while my driver's test experiences try to cut in. I subconsciously switch from writer to editor and criticize myself for ending a sentence with a preposition -- a sentence I haven't actually written, only narrated in my mind. I wonder who made that preposition rule anyway -- and why we listened.
Dear Johns, Dear Darlings, thank yous for ugly sweaters
I'm fond of the written word. Well, most written words. I'm not terribly fond of utility bills, insurance papers or the 85-page manual in 6-point font that comes with a toaster. But words -- in one form or another -- narrate our lives.
Crickets, hedgehogs, poorly sighted spirits
Being the only child present at most family gatherings, I'd be found either toting various animals around the homestead or sitting in the kitchen or on the porch, listening to adults 30 to 60 years my senior. I learned early on that farmers and country folk are uniquely tied to nature. As I sat snapping beans into an enamelware bowl with my great-grandmother, she'd explain how the world around me would tell me all sorts of things if I'd just listen.
Retaining lost skills grandparents knew
On darkly stained oak shelves in my office, there rests a set of red Britannica Junior encyclopedias, copyrighted 1976. My mama was proud of these books she purchased for me. Her family moved so often during her childhood that she missed many subjects her new class had already covered, and she never graduated. When she had me, she was determined to stay put, so I could attend kindergarten through 12th grade in one place and learn things she never had.
New Year’s luck left in South by Yankees
I've long been told that -- much to my mother's chagrin -- my first word was not "mama." It wasn't "papa" or "grammy" or "pawpaw" either. It wasn't even "pup," which would have made good sense considering I had a dog or three in tow soon after emerging from the womb. I was told my first recognizable utterance failed to bestow any loving label on a single living thing around me. Instead, my first word was "no" followed closely by "why."
Santa’s breath of fresh air
A Farm Visit from St. Nick
‘McNeely’ brings rare blizzard to Arkansas
"Smell that?" I remember being asked as a child. "Rain's a'comin'."
On SEC football 11th commandment Southern dressing
There are some things in this life that ought not to change from year to year, lest you mess with the course of human events and the trajectory of planetary alignments. And one of those things is Thanksgiving Day.
And the agony of culinary defeat
It all started innocently enough. I simply wanted some bacon.