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Inspiring Women over 50: Siggy Buckley, Author

Inspiring Women over 50: Siggy Buckley, Author

Siggy Buckley, inspiring women over 50

Siggy Buckley, author of I Once Had a Farm in Ireland.
One of the inspiring women over 50 that I have the pleasure to know.

As Siggy puts it…”we over 50s can rule the world!”

Author, organic farmer, matchmaker…given all of Siggy’s qualifications…I believe she is one of the most inspiring women over 50 that I know!

She has a new book out: I Once Had a Farm in Ireland. She writes about her experience on her organic farm in Ireland. Funny, touching,and full of information….you will want to read it.

Siggy Buckley Bio:

A former English teacher, Siggy Buckley’s life took an unexpected turn when her husband, a CPA, opted out of the rat race in Germany and made his family emigrate to Ireland to become organic farmers.
Her new life only produced a crop of misgivings and the breakup of her marriage. Single again, she reinvented herself, launched a dating service in Dublin. Remarried, she now lives and writes in Florida. She is a member of the National League of American Pen Women.

Amazon author page

My blog: www.SiggyBuckley.blogspot.com

My books http://amzn.to/YzIr9J

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Dreams of becoming a journalist were thwarted early on; I became a college teacher instead.

What or who inspired you to write?

I had kept a diary through my formative years as a farmer’s wife and then as a matchmaker. My now husband encouraged me to put my accumulated memories and experiences into a book while blogging about several topics. Authors who inspired me are strong female voices like Benoit Grout and Irish writer Nuala O’Faolain.

What is your favorite part of your book?

My Favorite part of Next Time Lucky is the beginning of the last chapter on p. 230:

“ Homeward Bound

The only obstacles that could keep us apart were visa issues.  A European resident is allowed to visit the USA for up to 180 days a year but only 90 per visit.  My first 90 days were up.  At the end of January, shortly before I had to leave the country, I started to feel blue.

“What’s up, Sweet-pea?” He wrapped his arms around me on the sofa.

“I don’t want to leave you.  For once I’ve found a man I love whole-heartedly, who respects me, who fulfils my needs, and I have to go away for silly reasons like a frigging visa.”

“We’ll find a way.  I’ll visit you in Germany next month.  And then you come back to me here in the US.  Are you sure you want to come back to me or do you want to think about it while you are over there? Maybe make a trip to Spain and check it out as planned?”

“Why should I go to Spain if all I want is to be with you, Connor? Start all over in yet another country? I’ve felt uprooted for such a long time; I don’t know anymore where my home is.” I leaned more into him, and he caressed my neck and shoulders.

“After my break-ups in Ireland, I didn’t know where I belonged.” I continued.  “I didn’t want to stay in Ireland any longer and now I miss it.  Imagine!”

“Well, it was your home for a while.  It all makes sense to me.”

My head snuggled even further into his arm that embraced me.  “When I am with you it feels like belonging again.”

Connor took my face in his hands.  Our eyes interlocked.

“My poor darling! I want you to be with me, I want to take care of you and spend my life with you.  You are my partner, my friend, and my beautiful lover.” He placed a gentle kiss on my lips.  “We have so much in common though we come from different backgrounds.  Quite extraordinary, really.  You are like the female version of me – maybe at long last the proverbial soul mate I have been waiting and searching for all my life.  We’ll figure something out.”

“But how?”

“Something will come to us.” This line from Meet Joe Black had tickled us both when we watched the film together.  In the eyes of adversity, that couple kept looking for a way to master their future together.  Sometimes all you can do is keep trying. “

 What have you learned from writing?

Patience, persistence and that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Product Detailshttp://www.amazon.com/Next-Time-Lucky-Find-Right-ebook/dp/B00B0K1M9C/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385282046&sr=1-3&keywords=Siggy+Buckley

Product Detailshttp://www.amazon.com/Next-Time-Lucky-Lessons-Matchmaker/dp/1456392441/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385282046&sr=1-5&keywords=Siggy+Buckley

Product Detailshttp://www.amazon.com/Intrepid-Swapping–Insider-Successful-Homeswapping-ebook/dp/B005N0N3CO/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385282046&sr=1-6&keywords=Siggy+Buckley

Check Out the Library

Check out the Librarycheck out the library

I have always wanted to be a world traveler. I wanted to sail the oceans blue, walk the Appalachian Trail, journey through China, and climb to Machu Picchu. I also wanted to travel back in time and explore ancient worlds or at least the 19th century. I wanted to travel to the future and see what might lie ahead.

And I have had the exquisite privilege to do all those things by using just one card. I’m not talking about American Express…even American Express can’t send me back in time. I’m talking about my library card.

I love libraries. And I love having a library card because it allows me passage into a greater world.

My first library card came from Edwards Public Library in Henrietta, Texas. Our fifth and sixth grade classes went there for our annual class trip when I was eleven years old. All the students went home with our first library card. I used mine at every opportunity.

Check out the Library.

Now that I am a well seasoned grown up, I have been able to travel a few places. And almost everywhere I go…I check out the library. I have been to the great-big-gigantic- enormous- public library in downtown Chicago and I have been to the tiny public library in Kendalia, Texas, (population 76).

I think one of the very best things about moving to a new place is the opportunity to get to know about a new library. I know, I know…libraries are basically the same everywhere. And yet…they are not.

Check out the Library.

Just a month ago, I moved to Ponca City, Oklahoma. And within a day or two of arriving, I went to the Ponca City Library and got a brand new library card. I wandered around the beautiful building, marveling at the Richard Gordon Matzene Art Collection housed there. I stumbled through the fiction section where I found Jeannette Walls’s new book, The Silver Star.

Currently nine books are waiting on my bedside table, including The Art of the Common Place by Wendell Berry, Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges by Lori Deschene, and Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.

Just think of all that I will see and learn and love as I read these books. I will learn about conservation and ecology, be challenged to love by Tiny Buddha, and travel back in time to the era of the Civil Rights movement . When I return these books to borrow more, I can visit a famous art collection.

And I can do all of that simply because I hold a little card to the local library.

 

Peace, Love,a Cuppa Joe in Pecos New Mexico

Pecos New Mexico: Where I Found Peace, Love and a Cuppa Joe

Pecos Pueblo, Pecos New Mexico

Adobe bricks made to use for restoration of Pecos Pueblo. Image NPS

My plan was to fill myself with peace, love and a cup of Joe. Not necessarily in that order.

It was a beautiful Sunday morning in Pecos, New Mexico and I was ready for a cup of coffee. I had arrived the previous evening at the double monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey and Mother of Mercy and Peace Monastery.

I was seeking peace, love and a refreshing of my Spirit during my stay at the monastery. But after my first good night’s sleep in over a month, I rose too late to eat breakfast with the monks and sisters. By the time I made it to the dining hall, the breakfast meal had been cleared and not a drop of coffee remained in the heavy coffee urn.And I needed a cup of coffee.

No problem. The little town of Pecos is just three minutes away from the monastery. I could get coffee there, I reasoned. I dressed in a t-shirt, yoga pants, and flip-flops and drove to town seeking caffeine.

I got so much more than coffee.

As I drove past St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church on my way to the cafe, I found myself driving behind a procession of people walking behind a cross and a banner. I rolled down the car window and asked a woman, who was directing traffic around the procession, what was happening. She told me that it was an annual feast day and the people were walking to the old ruins at the Pecos Pueblo to celebrate mass.

When I asked if I could join the procession, she answered, “Yes, of course,”

I parked my car and joined the group. I knew nothing about the place we were going, but I was content to follow the crowd…this one time in my rebellious life. At the head of the procession, people carried a large painting of the Virgin Mary. There was singing and Hail Marys. and I followed along, enjoying it all. It was already 90 degreest at 9:00 a.m. and it promised to be an unseasonably hot day for New Mexico.

I walked for a while beside a man who shared his umbrella to shield us from the hot sun’s rays.He also shared with me the reason for the feast day.

The Pecos Pueblo was started in approximately 900 A.D., long before Spanish explorers came to the New World. The pueblo was prosperous and able to support its people for centuries. Then came rebellions, disease, and discontent and the pueblo melded with another. What remains of Pecos Pueblo now are the ruins of the church founded by the Spaniards.

For more history on the Pecos Pueblo, please click here: http://www.desertusa.com/pecos/pnpark.html

 

The Catholic Church gave a  painting of Mary, called Our Lady of the Angels, to St. Anthony’s (the church I had passed on my way to town). The painting was given on condition that there would a feast day in honor of the Pecos Pueblo each year on the first day of August. The date has been changed to the first Sunday of August to accommodate modern schedules, but the pilgrimage and mass at the pueblo ruins continues today.

And I was fortunate enough to be there on that feast day. Sometimes things just work out to be exactly what you need.

We walked to Pecos National Forest Park. We celebrated mass and the reading was about Elijah and how the Lord told him to eat and drink and quit fasting because he lad lots of work to do and he needed his strength. This was exactly why I had traveled to Pecos and the monastery: to refresh myself, draw closer to the Spirit, and get my work started. I took communion there with my brothers and sisters who had been strangers until that moment.

After mass, there was a feast with watermelon, sandwiches, lemonade, soft drinks, pasta salads, cantaloupe, peppers, horno bread, and cookies. I I celebrated fellowship again with strangers, sharing this beautiful feast.

At some point during the pilgrimage, I had blown out one of my flip-flops and was hobbling around with just one working shoe. We had walked over three miles from Pecos the village to Pecos the ruins. I didn’t know how I’d get back to town with just one functioning shoe. But I asked around and a kind couple offered to drive me back to my car. Only after they turned their truck around and headed out of the town did I realize that they had gone far out of their way to make that happen.

It was late in the afternoon when I arrived back at my car and I still hadn’t had a cup of coffee. I stopped at a convenience store and the lady behind the counter made a fresh pot for me. Then she poured me a cuppa Joe and refused payment for it, simply saying “Welcome to Pecos. I hope you find what you’re looking for here.”

Peace, love, a cuppa Joe. I found everything I was seeking…right there in Pecos, New Mexico.

This is an excerpt from The View Through My Rose-Colored Bifocals, available at amazon.com. 
The View Through My Rose-Colored Bifocals

For more about my Original Bucket List and a little about my F**k It List, purchase my ebook.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey Pecos New Mexico

A Visit to Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey in Pecos, New Mexico

Benedictine Monastery in Pecos, New Mexico

The summer of 2011 was an extremely hard one. The events of that time were the saddest  I had experienced except for the events I had experienced ten years prior in the summer of 2001. I was tried, I was tired and I was heartbroken. I needed to go somewhere to rest and ruminate.

I chose to go to Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey in Pecos, New Mexico. It was the perfect place for me to visit for a week in August. The evenings were cool. The days were warm. The people there were generous with their kindness, prayers, and hospitality.

I needed peace and quiet with no interference from the outside world. I chose to go to a monastery because when I say I want peace and quiet…I am serious.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey is an Olivetan Benedictine monastery located in the Pecos River Canyon 25 miles east of Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. We offer group retreats and individual retreats, and spiritual direction. Everyone is welcome. Please visit us for a day, weekend or longer, or join one of our group retreats. We are always happy to welcome you.
 Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey is located at a former dude ranch near Pecos, New Mexico. There are rooms there to accommodate travelers such as I was. My room had a comfortable bed and bedding, a pleasant chair to sit in, clean towels and a good shower and bathroom. There are no TVs, no phones, alarm clocks, or Wifi in the rooms. There is little to no cell phone reception and you are asked not to use cell phones there.

 

Silence reigns at Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey. Simple community meals are taken in silence; there is no chit-chat necessary when sharing a table with others. Only smiles and kindness are exchanged during meals.

And only smiles and kindness are exchanged the rest of the time as well. No one bothers you with inane conversation.

If I missed one  or all of the three community meals, I could go to a restaurant in Pecos or travel 25 miles to Santa Fe to eat. Or I could wait until the next meal there. I wasn’t hungry while I was there. I felt filled up…not just by food…but by love.

I was freed of all the daily interaction that is so hard when one is grieving. It was a very healing experience to be there. When I felt inclined to call someone on my cell phone to let them know I had arrived at my destination safely or just to talk a bit, I traveled up the road to a hill in the little town of Pecos where I got cell phone reception.

You can tell the time by the ringing of the monastery bell when it is time for prayer. But you are not required in any way to participate in any type of prayer or worship or gathering. You are a visitor.

And visitors are free to do as they please except:

  • Please, please DO NOT DISTURB THE PEACE. 🙂

 

Contact Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey. 

Face Your Fears

Face Your Fears

by Peggy Browning

10 SP

Face Your Fears.

Sometimes you have just got to suck it up and face your fears.

I have a lot of fears. I’m afraid of large bodies of water, heights taller than ladders, and snakes.

I fear being homeless, having a sick child, walking out of a public restroom with my skirt caught in the back of my underwear… etc. etc. I could make a long list of anxiety creating scenarios.

You know what I’m talking about. You probably have one or two fears of your own.

Although I know that most of the things I worry about don’t happen, I still do it.

Anyway, a few summers ago, I decided that if I was going to have fun like less neurotic…more normal… people, I would have to face my fears.

For as long as I can remember, I’d wanted to glide across a lake or down a river in a canoe. But… of course, there was the fear factor.

I asked myself how much did I want to travel by canoe. And the answer was: I wanted to do it at least once in my life.

So I sucked it up. I booked a canoeing class at Inks Lake State Park. I figured I could kill two fears with one action. Water…snakes…water snakes…(it makes me hyper-ventilate just to think of it.)

I loaded my dog, Dot, and a brand new tent into my old Buick and headed out for the Texas Hill Country. I carried an extra bag of neurosis.

Dot and I rolled into the state park in the early evening just before sundown. I unloaded the ice chest, the dog food and the dog, then I popped open the trunk of the car. I opened the tent box  (no, of course I hadn’t opened the tent box and checked it out before I left home…why would I do that?)

Fortunately for Dot and me, the tent poles were broken. Aw, shoot. What a terrible disappointment. Hmmm…what to do?

I re-loaded the car and drove to the nearest town and with a hotel. . A terrible storm at the park that night  tumbled tents and soaked the campers. But Dot and I were dry.

Next morning, I drove back to the lake to meet my group. The park ranger and his assistant instructed us about canoeing techniques and water safety.

We donned life vests and climbed into our canoes.

I was the only person in the group without a partner. So the very nice young  assistant park ranger was obligated to canoe with me.

Face your fear at Inks Lake State Park

Facing my fear of large bodies of water and the possibility that snakes might be in them at Inks Lake State Park.

Poor kid. He had to listen to me fret about water and snakes and snakes and water the whole time we navigated the lake. He also did most of the paddling.

And he said that it was a good thing to face your fears even if you were a gray-haired, chubby, over-50 woman who finally relaxed long enough to enjoy the view. He was more diplomatic than that, but that’s what he meant. Bless his heart.

After our little adventure, I bet he checks the canoe class listings for any lone, older women who signed up for something they’re afraid to do. And he probably asks for the day off.

I learned one thing from that little adventure: If you’re going to face your fears, it’s good to have a professional along for the ride.

OK, now that I’ve faced that fear, I never have to do it again. Two fears down, 937 more to go! Facing one fear makes it easier to face another.

 Inks Lake State Park

Happy Camper at Great American Backyard Campout

Image from pakorn ID:10047620/freedigitalphotos.net

Image from pakorn ID:10047620/freedigitalphotos.net

Great American Backyard Campout

Lake Arrowhead State Park and Rolling Plains Master Naturalist group near Wichita Falls, Texas will host a Great American Backyard Campout event Saturday, June 28 at the state park. The fun starts at 7:00 p.m. at the pavilion.

Directions  to LASP & Campout Information 

 I am not a big fan of camping outdoors. It sounds like fun, you know…but I’m a big weenie. The couple of times I’d been coerced into going camping, I was not, well…a happy camper.

 I am a big sissy when it comes to sleeping outdoors, fighting mosquitoes, and shaking pebbles out of my shoes.  I prefer a soft bed, a real toilet, a warm shower and a sheltering roof over my head.

But, when the Rolling Plains Master Naturalist group hosted The Great American Backyard Campout at Lake Arrowhead State Park for the first time, I agreed to go. I was, after all, a member of the group and it was one of our many activities. And besides…it wasn’t an overnight campout.

I figured I could tough it out for just one evening.

 We met under the pavilion at the state park. Children and their parents and grandparents were ready for the event. There was music. There was singing. There was laughter.

 We had a scavenger hunt. We hiked along the nature trail and identified all the things on our lists: butterflies, wildflowers, trees, native grasses. There was exploration. There was discovery.

 We made S’mores around a campfire. We melted marshmallows and squeezed squares of milk chocolate between Graham crackers. There was giggling. There was delight.

 And then, after dark, we sat very quietly on blankets on the grass and listened while someone called owls to the trees nearby. There was hooting. There was surprise.

 At the end of the evening, we all laughed and talked about how much we had enjoyed just being outside listening to the sounds of nature, feeling the light wind on our faces, smelling the smoke from the campfire. There was companionship. There was good, old-fashioned fun.

So, this Saturday night, when the Master Naturalists host the Great American Backyard Campout at Lake Arrowhead State Park again, I’ll be there. I’ll be singing and exploring and being surprised.

 I’ll be a happy camper. I encourage you to come and bring your children and your grandchildren. You’ll be a happy camper, too.

 

 

Nuttin’ to do? There’s Something to do in Wichita Falls

Something to do in Wichita Falls

by Peggy Browning

My grandchildren and Dr. Quasar at the free show at Wichita Falls Public Library

My grandchildren and Dr. Quasar at the free show at Wichita Falls Public Library

“There’s nothing to do in Wichita Falls.”

“I wish there was something to do in Wichita Falls.”

People who live here say that all the time. And when I hear someone say it, I have to wonder…what the heck do you want to do? There’s more to do here in the Falls than I have time or energy for. I could have a full agenda of fun things to pursue if I so desired.

Every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday I read the newspaper – the Times Record News – and look at all the things I’d like to try. I make a list of what interests me and I usually attend at least one thing from the list each week.

Every week, I find a full agenda of stuff to do. And most of those activities are free and family friendly.

What we’ve done so far this summer:

We’re only two weeks into the summer break from school and so far my grandchildren and I have attended two entertaining shows at the Wichita Falls Public Library and a classic movie at the Cinemark theatre. We also worked in my two plots at the community garden on Smith Street, went to the park and (hallelujah, thank you Lord) waded in mud puddles after the rain shower that popped up on Thursday morning.

Yesterday morning I opened the entertainment section of the newspaper and started my list for the upcoming week.

Plenty to do in Wichita Falls

Here’s what I had to select from… just for this Saturday :

Art show by the Wichita Falls Art Association – free

Farmer’s Market and lecture about container gardening – free

77th Annual Maskat Shrine Oil Bowl Football Classic – $10 general admission

Shrek the Musical at Wichita Theatre – $16 for adults, $10 for children

Monty Python’s Spamalot at Backdoor Theatre – $17 general admission, $31 for play and dinner

The Peddler Arts & Craft Show – $6 admission

James McClain Woodcarving Exhibit at Kemp Center for the Arts – free

Wichita County Mounted Patrol Championship Rodeo – $8 general admission, kids under 12 free

WFHS Class of 1964 Car Show – free

Zumbathon at Vernon College Fitness Center – $15

A variety of exhibits at the Museum of North Texas History – free or small donation

Self-guided tours of the railroad cars at the Railroad Museum – $3

That doesn’t even include the dancing and music at the Iron Horse Pub, Denims & Diamonds, the Whiskytaw Club,  and old time honky-tonkin’ at Texas Nite Life, and Outskirts. It doesn’t include salsa dancing at Jefe’s Bar and Grill.

Then there’s two movie theatres with ten screens each and there’s baseball and softball games being played. There’s skating and bowling and miniature golf and go-carts…

And that’s just this Saturday’s activities.

There’s more happening during the following week and the next weekend. And EVERY WEEK AND WEEKEND…

On Tuesday night there’s Music at the Museum: A Tribute of Bob Wills and the Legends of Western Swing. It’s a live western swing show by Susan and Kenny Mayo and Post Oak. Cost: free. Starting Thursday and ending Saturday night there’s the Legends of Western Swing Festival . Cost: $30 – $45.

And there’s two library shows…free

Kids movies at Sikes Senter & Cinemark…$1

Dancing at the Zone every Friday night…$6

Open mic night at 8th Street Coffee Shop Friday night…free admission.

Poetry reading at Hargroves’s Thursday evenings…free.

Concerts at the park…free.

Parade of Homes this weekend and next…$6

Nighthawks Football – Memorial Stadium…

There’s also rock climbing, hike and bike trails, flea markets, a skate park, fishing ponds, and all the shops on Indiana Street and Brook & 8th..

See? This list is only one week of all the activities available in Wichita Falls. Most of them are free…the others are inexpensive.

So please don’t tell me there’s nothing to do in Wichita Falls. There’s plenty to do for everyone. All you gotta do is…just do it.

 

Seymour’s Missing Link

Whiteside Museum of Natural History

Whiteside Museum of Natural Historyin Seymour, Texas…home of the missing link…Seymouris Baylorensis.

Seymouris Baylorensis…the missing link between amphibians and reptiles.

The Whiteside Museum of Natural History in Seymour, Texas is having its grand opening today, June 7. It will present Seymouria, one of the oldest residents of Baylor County , to the public.He resided in Seymour about 280 million years ago during the Permian Period of the Paleozoic Era.

Seymouria is officially called Seymouria baylorensis, named so because its bones were found in Seymour, Baylor County, Texas. He is the missing link between reptiles and amphibians and has been found only in Baylor County.

It has been debated whether Seymouria is an amphibian or a reptile. He was probably cold-blooded and had a small brain. It is estimated that Seymouria was about 32 in. long and was a small land dwelling animal. He moved around by undulating his vertebrae back and forth. Seymouria was most likely an omnivore. It is believed that he ate carrion, insects, and vertebrates.

Seymouria’s bones were found by Charles H. Sternberg around 1882. Mr. Sternberg had a contract with Harvard University to send boxes of fossils to the university. He found the fossil bed on the Craddock Ranch and continued to hunt fossils for many years after the discovery. While hunting for new fossil beds, he discovered what he described as an “iridescent” bowl of land. It was in that bowl that he found specimens of fossilized bones. He crated them and packed them away.

During the time that Sternberg was exploring the Craddock ranch, he corresponded with Harvard University and a curator of a museum in Munich, Germany. He sent the fossils to Harvard, where they were stored.

In 1939, Dr. T.E. White of Harvard found and examined the boxes of bones that Sternberg had sent to the university. He discovered there were nine individual, though only partial, specimens there. Eventually the curator of the German museum, Dr. Broili, traveled to Seymour to inspect the fossil beds.

Dr. Broili determined that the fossils were an extremely rare find. He named the previously undiscovered animal, “Seymouria baylorensis”.

If you’re interested in paleontology, you might want to be there to meet Seymouria. He’ll be hanging out with his friends- models of Dimetrodon, Xenacanth, Diadectes, and other Permian fossils.

The Whiteside Museum of Natural History will have its grand opening from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Free tours of the museum and its exhibits will be conducted by Chris Flis, museum director and Mallori Hass, museum curator. There will also be a complimentary lunch provided.

Click here to visit: Whiteside Museum of Natural History

I’ll be there today. I’m taking my red-headed two year old granddaughter who’s crazy about dinosaurs. We’re also taking our personal dinosaurs, Fred & Ethel.

Fred & Ethel will visit relatives today at Whiteside Natural History Museum

My personal dinosaurs, Fred & Ethel, will visit their missing link relative Seymouris Baylorensis at the Whiteside Museum of Natural History today. 🙂

What I Like about Wichita Falls, Texas

Yes…I like Wichita Falls, Texas.

by Peggy Browning

WF public library

Sometimes it’s hard to think of anything nice to say about Wichita Falls. Lately we’ve all been cussin’ and dis-cussin’ everything that’s wrong here. We’re talking about the politicians, the use of the water park during  the drought, the fact that we’re about to start drinking poop water because our water supply is so low.

Wichita Falls Public Library

Mostly it’s the drought that’s got the citizens of Wichita Falls on edge. We can’t water our grass and trees. We can’t wash our cars on the weekend. We talk about the possibility of losing businesses due to the lack of rainfall as if that was an absolute fact. (It’s not, by the way.)

Even when we do have the chance of rain the clouds part over the city and proceed south and north, dropping water everywhere but here.  It seems as if we are covered by a dome that prevents any chance of breaking this drought.

It’s a wonder we don’t all just up and leave Wichita Falls. That very question was presented to my friend, Paula, by another friend of hers.

“Why do you stay in Wichita Falls? Why don’t you just move?”

Paula thought about it for a long while, then she answered something akin to “Because I like it here.” Then she proceeded to list the many things she likes about this dry, hot, mid-sized Texas city.

And she challenged others to start talking about what they like about Wichita Falls, Texas.

Paula has thrown down the gauntlet. Challenge accepted, friend.

What I like about Wichita Falls:

(That’s right. There are reasons to like, even love, Wichita Falls)

I like that there’s only a short rush hour…maybe 5 to 15 minutes each day when there’s an excess of traffic.wichita theater

I like the people here. Most of us are friendly and kind. And if you need help in the hardware store and there’s no employee around, one of the customers is likely to help you and give you advice.

I like walking on the hike and bike trail the city has installed for our use.  It will loop all the way around the city when it’s finished.

I like feeling safe when I walk around my apartment complex before dawn or after dark.

I love the Wichita Falls Public Library.

Hours posted at the Wichita Falls Public Library

Hours posted at the Wichita Falls Public Library.

I like knowing my way around most of the neighborhoods here.

I like that I can drive 5 miles in any direction from Wichita Falls and be in the open prairie and countryside. I like that Wichita Falls is surrounded by farms and ranches. I love that we still cherish the pioneer spirit.

I like that we are proud of the events we hold here: the Western Swing festival, the Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred bicycle race, the Ranch Round-up, the Bluegrass Festival. There are other events, but these are just a few that come to mind.

I love my tough, hard-ass friends that I met when I worked for the school district. I love my other tough, hard-ass friends that I’ve met at many of the other places I’ve worked.

I am proud of our beautiful campus at Midwestern State University. I am equally proud of the campus and the programs of Vernon College, our community college.

I like that I can go to an auto parts store and the guys there will help me change out my wiper blades if I need them to.

I like the mesquite savannahs, the evening primroses beside the road, the deer in the housing addition near me, the roadrunners darting across the blacktop highway, the flat landscape.

I like that the weather fluctuates daily. In winter, we have days that warm to the 70s, giving us a break from the cold. I like that I can see a blue norther or thunderstorm rolling into town from across the plains.

I like the community garden that the city started.

I like the quiet little Indian restaurant, Sevi’s burrito shop, Zoom Zoom’s convenience store on the old Windthorst Road, the Highway Café, Casita Linda, and other hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Once when I had a terrible cold, the very kind cook at Short Stop (the Indian restaurant) offered me a cup of chai tea …because it would make me feel better. And it did make me feel better just because she made it for me.

red taco red beerI love red tacos and red beer.

I like Paul at the Import Shop. He’s the best mechanic in town and he’s fair and honest.

I like the Farmer’s Market…the downtown Post Office…the re-sale shops…the Backdoor Theater…the Wichita Theater…the Christmas parade…the free music in the park on summer evenings…the façade of the Hamilton Building.alley cat

Yes, there’s a lot to like about Wichita Falls. We need to remember that when we start to complain. No place is perfect, but this place is home.

 Alley Cat Vintage Mercantile

http://www.wichitafallstx.gov/