Weatherford Democrat

Columns

August 11, 2011

Good medicine for parched souls

WEATHERFORD — In the comic strip Shoe, the young owl is sitting at his school desk taking a test. The quiz question is: “Name all the senses.” He writes this answer: “Sight, sound, touch, smell, taste and humor.”

Who could survive without a sense of humor? “Our sense of humor helps us bear the unbearable,” says southwestern historian C. L. Sonnichsen, “and offers escape from boredom on the one hand and from pressure and stress on the other.” In the midst of our record-setting temperatures and drought, a sense of humor is a necessity.

A story that makes me chuckle in this relentless heat is told in Tales of Old-Time Texas, by folklorist J. Frank Dobie:

One time during a terrible drought, a mover heading east stopped his team in front of the courthouse at Belton to water. The team consisted of a brindle-legged blue mule with long whiskers and a dun ox with a drooped horn.

While they drank, and a speckled hound that followed the wagon lapped, and a woman on the wagon seat took a fresh dip of snuff out of a brown Levi Garret bottle with a hackberry toothbrush, a man moved over to the wagon from the shady side of a store facing the courthouse square and remarked, “Sorter odd-mated team you got there.”

“Maybe so,” the driver said, looking by habit around the sky to see if he could detect a cloud. “You see, it’s this away. It had quit raining in the Aberline country before I filed on a section of land out there. I had a pair of mules, but one of them died. Then I traded off a quarter-section for this ox so I could pull out; but the d… fool I traded with couldn’t read — and I got the whole section off on him.”

Then there’s the story of the west Texas rancher with a house full of children. One September night in the midst of a drought, he begin throwing handfuls of pebbles on the roof. When his wife came out and asked what he was doing, he explained that he was breaking the kids into hearing something fall on the roof so that if it ever actually rained, they wouldn’t stampede.

It’s been so hot on my own roof that I haven’t even heard the pitter-patter of the squirrels in more than a month. And if anybody tries to pawn off their parched land on me, I’m not taking it unless it includes the mineral rights!

I have to laugh at myself because for all my complaining about the heat, there’s a crazy part of me that revels when we get one day closer to the record. I guess I want to earn a T-shirt proclaiming that I survived the awful summer of 2011.

In the midst of drought, we can pray, trusting the grace of our Creator to provide. While we wait for the heavens to open, we can work to conserve our land and water and help our fellow creatures, great and small.

And we can look for the humor in life. Laughter is good medicine for parched souls!

John Paul Carter’s “Notes from the Journey” appear in the Democrat’s Religion page on the second and fourth Fridays of each month. Carter, an ordained minister who attends Central Christian Church, may be contacted by writing him at 107 Bent Oak Road, Weatherford, 76086.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • The triumph of tarp

    One of our favorite political stories took place during Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign in 1964. A friend was standing outside a Goldwater rally when a woman burst from the room, tears streaming down her face.

    March 4, 2014

  • Yes, we want it; no, we don’t?

    Maybe our media will finally start filtering the noise. 

    March 4, 2014

  • The good news you likely haven't heard

    Do you like surprises? I have two surprises for you: At least 19 states already in 2014, nearly half, are posting budget surpluses. Yes, surpluses. The other surprise: Since Obama took office, the national deficit has been reduced by one-half. 

    February 11, 2014

  • The hand over the lens

    The top Super Bowl highlight was not Peyton Manning struggling or Renee Fleming singing or even that adorable puppy nuzzling a horse in the Budweiser commercial. It was Bill O’Reilly grilling Barack Obama.

    February 11, 2014

  • U.S. mayors forced to innovate

    I recently came across more proof that lawmakers blocking progress are weakening the institution of Congress: 

    Mayors from across the nation met in Washington, D.C., for three days last week to discuss a host of issues and possible solutions against a backdrop of congressional inaction. This came as President Obama stated his plans to use “a pen and a phone” to “make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need.” And further, voters are recognizing that the problem in Congress starts at the state level -- and many hope their legislatures will do something about it. 

    January 28, 2014

  • The Village Idiot — Class, but not least

    For Steve’s birthday, it was decided that no one could give him a gift that cost over a dollar. Not that we don’t like Steve, or that he isn’t worth more than a dollar, or that we’re extremely cheap (well, it could be that). It’s just that as grown-ups, who needs more stuff?

    November 29, 2013

  • Black Friday on Thanksgiving?

    Thanksgiving is a time set apart to thank God for all His blessings. It now appears that stores are trying to get a jump on Christmas shopping by beginning “Black Friday” on Thanksgiving Day! Our culture continues to push a secular agenda on all of us. Now the press of shopping is crowding out a time of personal reflection on the goodness of God.

    November 28, 2013

  • BYRON YORK: Obama, Dems kept mum about health plan

    The journalist Jonathan Cohn, an ardent supporter of Obamacare, recently wrote in The New Republic that problems with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act should be “an opportunity to have a serious conversation about the law’s trade-offs — the one that should have happened a while ago.”

    November 26, 2013

  • DONNA BRAZILE: A gift of practical idealism

    I was only 3 when President John F. Kennedy died, but I’ll never forget what happened that day as my grandmother and others cried. You see, we were Catholics living down in the then-segregated Deep South. Kennedy was our hope for a better tomorrow.

    November 26, 2013

  • The way we were

    I can hear in my mind’s ear Barbra Streisand’s beautifully haunting song “The Way We Were.” It was a nostalgic, wistful song in a movie of the same name. But sometimes, like now, it reminds me of how far we’ve come.

    November 19, 2013

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later