Archives - July 2011

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Jul. 26

Putting on the Brakes

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Aunt Cumi

My Aunt Cumi (pronounced "Q-my") was the youngest of the Applegate sisters.  She was a little butterfly of a woman, with a hearty laugh and hair the color of an antique silver teapot that needed polishing.  At the age of ninety, she was still the family chauffeur, driving around her two older sisters.  Everybody in town gave her a wide berth when they saw her car coming, nothing visible but the top of her head and two age-spotted hands clasped at two o'clock and ten o'clock on the steering wheel.

One afternoon she wheeled through the town square in Gary, running the stop sign right past the Baptist church.  A Panola County highway patrolman happened to be sitting at the corner store when she passed.  He turned on his lights and gave chase, catching her pretty quickly since she never drove much over 30 m.p.h.

"Ma ...

Jul. 14

Pickups and Politics

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Stump Roping

I was born in Gary, Texas in 1960.  The turbulent times and fast-paced revolutionary changes of that decade barely caught the attention of our town.  In Panola County, the Beatles were small, pesky bugs, the Panthers were light brown and roamed the hills looking for stray cattle to attack, and "hippie" was an adjective describing a woman who ate too much sweet potato pie.  Life in the piney woods of East Texas was a singular experience, each day moving as carefully along as the long, drawn-out syllables that ambled out of our mouths.  Time may fly in the big cities, but it meanders in the rural South.

And while the times were of little consequence, ages were inconsequential as well.  My Granddaddy Cozart put me in his pickup truck when I was ten years old to teach me how to drive; I could barely see over the steering wheel.  I ...

Jul. 10

Hemingway the SOB

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The Paris Wife

This summer I read a novel by Paula McLain -- The Paris Wife.  It is a fictional account narrated in the voice of Ernest Hemingway's first wife Hadley Richardson.  (To the right is their wedding photo.)  I have never been a fan of Hemingway, but I am a huge fan of this novel. 

 

The novel's main framework is the time of expatriate writers living in Paris after World War I (the "war to end all wars" -- ha!).  I was already captivated just a page into the prologue:

 

There was no back home anymore, not in the essential way, and that was part of Paris, too.  Why we couldn't stop drinking or talking or kissing the wrong people no matter what it ruined.  Some of us had looked into the faces of the dead and tried not to remember anything in particular.  Ernest was one of these.  He often ...

Jul. 7

Who will stand up for the kids?

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School Budget Brouhaha

The Texas Legislature recently passed a new bill that will cut funding for public education in the state of Texas between four and five billion dollars over the next two years.  It passed 84 to 63: No Democrats supported the bill; 16 Republicans, bless their hearts, voted against it.  To make matters worse, it is estimated that over the next two years, Texas will gain about 185,000 new students in the system.  To add insult to injury, before the proposed cuts, Texas was ranked 43rd (you read that right -- 43rd) in government spending per school child.  I almost feel silly presenting an argument against these cuts -- the numbers speak for themselves.

The bill was originally introduced by Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, in the last general session.  Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis arranged a filibuster.  The day after the general session ended, Gov. Perry called a special session.  This time the ...

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Listening to the whispering pines

Hello. My name is Donna Cozart Pauley. Welcome to The Whispering Pines, a literary blog dedicated to my love of the written word. It is an eclectic collage of my life -- from my poems to my stories to my family to my pets to my causes to my photographs to my recipes to my love of teaching to my favorite literature. Please feel free to comment. Words are only important if they are heard or read. Just like those soundless trees falling in the forest.

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