Sorry for the hiatus. Every return to Texas also includes time consuming check-ups with half a dozen or more of my dependents, the doctors. So far, I'm looking good.
Here's some unsolicited help for the men on your Christmas shopping list. Buy "Where Dreams Die Hard," by Carlton Stowers. It's a little book, only 205 pages. At first, you'll think the book is about six-man football in small Texas towns, which it is. After all, the author is/was a sports writer. But the book is so much more.
Carlton writes about life as we used to know it.
He writes with truth about the strengths and weaknesses of the high school boys who play this wide open kind of football. Gentle, but with the bark off.
He writes about the humor that helps in small towns. For example, when he asked the postmistress about the economic engines at work in the small town of Penelope, she replied: there's me, the granary and the Dr. Pepper vending machine. When he asked someone who was the richest person in town, the reply was: we don't have one.
But most of all, he writes about the real stuff of small towns throughout America:
"My visit confirmed that there remains in our society the basic good upon which we've historically flourished. Though but a faint star in the multitude, Penelope is the proof I had come to find. Its people are a composite of the clichés too often mocked: hard-working and God-fearing; rising above the two-dollar, rush-to-the-bank on payday woes, to embrace the day and extend a helping hand."
If the man on your Christmas list is a sports fan, he will love this book. If not, no matter. The book combines the best of Norman Rockwell and Walter Mitty.
End of tout.
Footnote: we met Carlton recently at the Books on the Bosque event in Clifton, Tx. Carlton has written dozens of books about sports, true crime, mysteries, etc.
It was a remarkable weekend.