You CAN Go Home Again

bandera horse statue

Thomas Wolfe was wrong – you CAN go home again – if “home” is Bandera, Texas, “Cowboy Capital of the World.” The hard part is getting there.

Take the couple on the plane next to me with the sanitary wipes. So diligent were they at wiping down everything around them that I thought, “If they know I let dogs kiss me on the face – they’ll spray me with something.”

Airport signs. The one for my gate pointed straight up. “Heaven?” I wondered. “I would love to see Luke again.”

Picking up my bag in Newark to go through customs and recheck it, I followed the signs to the elevator, but a live person turned me away at the top and sent me back down, over two elevators, and up a different elevator. That led to “Priority” whatever, and the workers standing behind desks doing absolutely nothing gave me a major eye roll. I’ll have to remember that when I’m writing my next book. People really do roll their eyes.

horses and wagon main street

A lovely friend whom I hadn’t seen in 42 years met me at the San Antonio Airport. I was afraid we wouldn’t recognize each other, but we did. The only problem…she couldn’t find her car. Perfect! I’m not the only directionally challenged person in the world!

bandera welcome sign

Once in Bandera I felt like I had never left. After having been gone for nine years, folks said, “Hey, nice to see you. I haven’t seen you in a while. What ‘ya been up to?” No clue I had been gone.

texas hill country gate and view

Main Street seemed cleaner and wider. There were new buildings. Some old ones were gone. Hair was a bit whiter on some heads and some folks walked with a cane. But the Bandera spirit of friendliness and welcome remained changed.

prickly pear bloom and bite out

Everywhere I went in Bandera, folks talked openly about God. They prayed before meals and included the U.S. and the President in those prayers. Never heard a word of profanity while I was there. Home.

deer calm

Follow the Jumper!

We are blessed to live in Fortrose, Scotland, within walking distance of Chanonry Point where the dolphins come to jump and play. Well, truthfully, to eat salmon!

One thing we’ve learned about photographing these amazing animals is to follow the jumper. The firth can be full of surfacing dolphins, but if none of them jump – the pictures are boring ones of water, fins and backs. To get an interesting photo, watch to see which dolphin is a jumper and keep the camera trained on the jumper.

Life is like that. Some folks sit watching their TVs and eating snacks and let others jump out of apathy and attempt to change the world. If you want to have an interesting life – jump! You may come down on the wrong foot and end up with a sprain. Don’t let that stop you – sprains heal. Mediocre couch-sitters will despise you and attempt to break you in pieces with words so that they can build up their self-image without getting up out of their comfort zone. Not to worry. Jesus went through the same thing. He was a Jumper.

Being an author is similar. My goal is to write “jumpers.” Books that people will remember; mystery-romance-suspense books that will inspire them to leave their comfort zone and jump for their dreams. Bridge to Nowhere, from Sunpenny Publishing, follows older Texan protagonist Miz Mike who would mind her own business except for her motto to “never let an adventure pass by unmolested.” She almost loses her faith in God when her youngest grandson is kidnapped and law enforcement lets the murderer who kidnapped him escape. Her involvement in the mystery threatens the renascent romance with her cowboy hero Marty. Then she jumps.

Love’s Beating Heart jumps all over the place. A pro-life teen and up adventure-romance with a strong supporting arm for homeschooling and the sanctity of marriage, Love’s Beating Heart is out there jumping through the waters of controversy like an entire pod of dolphins!

Heart, Shadows, Until the Shadows Flee and the soon-to-be-released Fear of Shadows all contain a strong Christian message woven into the action and believable characters – not some preachy tacked on addition. They all jump.

Writing “jumpers” matters to me. I want to offer readers books that won’t discomfort them with profanity or negative lifestyle examples. Books that entertain and delight. Books that jump! Someday I will be gone just as surely as the dolphins fade away from Chanonry Point when the salmon run is over. My desire is to leave something behind that will cause others to jump up out of their ordinary lives and do something extraordinary for God.

I want to live for the jump!


Bathroom Humor

Still remember when public restrooms switched from single roll holders to big locked canisters with the serrated edge. That serrated edge used to be metal. I have a scar to prove it.

Bathroom technology and improvements have flushed my life with dirty water. Take the restroom in an upscale Dallas, Texas, restaurant. Sat down to relieve myself. Stress, not relief. Every time I moved on the seat, water spewed upward, hitting every exposed part and wetting the back of my skirt. Toilet water wet clothing. Am I alone in thinking this is not amusing? When I yanked the paper, I cut myself on the serrated edge (not badly this time – it was plastic – no scar). The paper stuck to my bleeding hand. With used toilet paper in the bowl, the auto-flush suddenly decided I had used my quota of flushes. It would flush no more – not even when I bounced up and down on the seat. With embarrassment, I exited the stall. The next person in line shot me a dirty glare when she saw the wet toilet seat and unflushed paper.

Set my purse on the counter so I could wash my hands. Couldn’t figure out how to get soap out of the dispenser. Couldn’t figure out how to turn on the water. Every time I moved, the automatic paper towel dispenser reeled out yards of paper towel. More dirty looks from upscale Dallas residents who would never dream of wasting paper.

Hearing a hum, I looked in horror to see soap filling up my purse and spilling over the top. How could a country girl from Bandera, “Cowboy Capital of the World,” be expected to know that everything in fancy Dallas restrooms was automated!

I grabbed my purse and ran. Soap bubbles burped out of the top. Paper towels streamed after me like drab kite tails. My purse was so slippery that I dropped it three times before I could stash it under the posh table with the posh dinner settings – brightly colored cloth napkins blooming out of stemmed wine glasses like rose bouquets and more knives, forks and spoons than anyone could use at one meal. My posh host looked over the gilt edge of his menu at me. Nothing worse could happen to ruin the evening, so I pulled a Miz Mike from Bridge to Nowhere. With a bright smile, I announced to the horrified waiter, “I’ll just have a burger, fries and ice tea.”

Less stress – but no less danger – is involved in going to the bathroom here in Scotland. At least now that I know that “WC” on a building stands for Water Closet, which means Public Restroom…although you sometimes have to pay. The restrooms are usually old and since many of them are solid rock buildings, no effort has been made to hide the plumbing. The hardware is usually metal, stiff and much painted over, and the stalls go from floor to ceiling. Suffice it to say that I never lock myself in and the few times I’ve tried…you guessed it. Injuries.

Loved visiting one of the islands and finding a real water closet. Even if it was a bit confusing to find a WC in a building that was labeled “Restroom.”