The Blessings of Friendships

What would we do without our friends? Next to family members who’ve been so good to me during my lifetime, I’ve treasured my friends the most. Ones I’ve known for a ages and used to see in person a lot many moons ago – before my move and COVID and all the aches and pains that have kept me closer to home. And newer friends that I’ve made online in recent years.

One of my longtime friends frequently sends me cute memes and jokes. We met through the Winnsboro Center for the Arts where she “invited” me to help her and another volunteer put on the very first drama camp ever held at the center. She likes to remain nameless, and so she shall be, but thank you dear friend for sending me these images that always make me smile.

And thank you for the invitation that led to fifteen exciting and creative years of heading up the drama camps and playing on stage.

A newer friend is author, Anita Dickason. I first met her when she did a book blog tour with Lone Star Literary Life a few years ago, and she more recently did another one for her latest book Deadly Keepsakes. In addition to writing, Anita likes to do graphic design, and for me it’s a toss-up whether I like her books or her art the most. She has some stunning artwork.

Not only is Anita talented, she’s incredibly kind, gracious, and generous. In her latest newsletter she shared images of bookplates she made that she will sign and send to readers who purchased her book. I do the same for folks who don’t buy from me in person or at a signing, and when I saw Anita’s I decided it would be great to have new bookplates. The ones I have are really old. I mean really old.

So I asked Anita if she made bookplates for clients. I know she offers cover art and a number of other graphic design services for authors, but I didn’t see bookplates on her list. We e-mailed back and forth a couple of times, and then she sent me some designs that I can use. Below is my favorite because it has my logo.

What a wonderful gift this is and I am deeply appreciative of Anita and her generosity. I’d fully expected to pay for her time, effort, and creativity.

While mentioning kind and generous author friends, I’d be remiss in not saying a few words about Slim Randles, a frequent guest here on the blog. He shares his weekly humorous columns free to numerous newspapers and other outlets, only asking that, in return, folks visit his sponsors.

When I was Managing Editor for Winnsboro some twenty-plus years ago, Slim contacted me to ask if I’d consider running his weekly missive. Since keeping content running on that community magazine was pretty much a one-person job, which meant I was the editor, reporter, and photographer for 90% of what ran each day, I was more than happy to accept Slim’s column.

I’ve never met Slim in person. He lives in New Mexico so our paths have never crossed. Still, he continues to send me material, knowing it’s now only shared on my personal blog, not a city-wide publication anymore. And like editors and writers are wont to do after years of working together, we have become friendly enough to inquire about hearth and home and family in our online correspondence.

This week’s essay from Slim is a mix of the eloquence and humor that has made him so popular among thousands of reads across the nation. Enjoy…

The evening was one of those that come back to you time after time, year after long year. It comes back and whispers of how good life can be when you’re well fed, enjoying life, and a good friend shares the front porch with you on a summer’s evening.

It was that way with Doc and Steve the other night. Doc thought he might have to do a scientific paper on the soporific effects of ice tea, fried chicken, and corn on the cob. As long as it didn’t take any effort.

So when this huge meal had been bull-snaked down, the two grinning friends came out to the porch to watch the sun go down behind the trees along Lewis Creek. The air had that orange and russet glow, and the breeze, that little one that caresses the neck, came slowly down from the hills and made their shirt collars wiggle ever so slightly.

It was like taking a dry bath in paradise.

Doc sidled up to one of the porch posts and gently tested it to see if it could hold the extra weight he was carrying with that meal. It stood fine, so he leaned against it seriously and looked out on the evening’s warmth.

Steve, who was enjoying having a fine meal that someone else cooked for a change, leaned against the post on the other side of the steps.

And then they just stood quietly, watching the day make beautiful skies as it ended.

The shadow on the ground foretold the presence of the circling bird. Doc and Steve paid no attention at first. Then a few minutes later, it was joined by two more circling birds over Doc’s house.

“Buzzards,” Steve mumbled.

“Yep,” said Doc.

The birds circled some more.

“I think one of us should move a little …” said Doc.


“Well … to let them know … you know.”

Steve sighed, then glanced over at Doc. “Flip you for it.”


Brought to you by Saddle Up: Cowboy Guide to Writing, by Slim Randles. Published by Rio Grande

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