This morning at church they passed the word from the local food bank. The word may be paraphrased as "fewer green beans, more fruit cocktail". When I was a kid, a can of fruit cocktail went a long way--never mind the fact that the syrup was nearly pure sugar. I liked the handbell choir better than the pop quartet. I feel guilty, because I thought the pop quartet's "contemporary Christian" offering voluntary was actually canned music. I think I may have shown a sneer at Word Publishing Company
faux pop run amok, but then promptly felt remorse when I realized that a real person sang the saccharine hymn.
I submitted poetry to a literary magazine and to a magazine devoted to the rural life. The latter submission came about because I wanted to write a poem about the experience of ducking during hayrides, to avoid being shot by the town eccentric.
When I pulled the magazine's guidelines, they specified rhyme and meter. So I wrote in rhyme and meter, and changed the facts to remove the actual threat of being shot with a kind of "ghost story" threat of being shot.
I got on Highway 5, and drove twenty minutes up to the Heard Natural Science center, where the small native garden featured both Redbud and Mexican Buckeye trees in bloom. I hiked on the Hoot Owl Trail, gazed at rat snakes in the snake exhibit, and then hit the road.
I drove on up 5 toward Bonham, detouring to see historical markers about early churches and farm to market roads which passed fields and trees. I saw cows and llamas. I came to a particularly idyllic scene, with goats behind a simple fence in front of a cluttered barnyard/farmhouse combo, only to see a carefully hand-lettered sign in the shape of an arrow pointing at the next door neighbors. The sign said "Dog and Cat Killers Next Door". Next door, the affluent blue home with the white front porch did not obviously seem a canine/feline killing field, although I did see chickens in the side yard, and constructed a quick imaginary personal history of this strife-torn region.
I pulled into Bonham, and intended to tour one of the historical buildings, but I found myself turning over to go to Bonham State Park. This park has a charming small lake, ringed by trees, and a WPA ranger station and playground. A woman stood on the fishing deck watching her son swim in the chilly waters. I wandered the mountain bike trail, where lots more redbud trees flourished, as well as wildflowers I cannot identify.
I began to drive down remote country roads, turning generally south or generally west as I headed home. I came to the town of Gober, Texas, now a few houses, an old cotton gin, and country churches. I saw a historical sign explaining that Gober was first called Grittersville, in honor of the local grist mill. The town had 300 residents in its prime, but it lost residents each decade, and finally its school, its downtown, and perhaps some of its reason to believe. I can google "Gober,Texas", however, and turn up links to plastic surgeons and ways to meet sexy singles in Gober. This gimmick of putting a meta-tag to every hamlet in America gets old sometimes.
I connected with Highway 121, and listened to a John Steinbeck short story being read on the radio while I wandered on home. I stopped at a Tom Thumb grocery to buy honey, bread and tomato soup. The woman with the bleach blond hair behind the checkout counter spoke with a thick Russian accent, so that I could not ascertain that she was asking me if I had a "value card". I never have a value card. I flogged about in the misunderstanding, until I finally succeeded in buying my things. I drove home to the sounds of a public radio blues singer, who sang something about being blue.