— By LARRY M. JONES
A good friend of mine, Jimmy Hall, recently passed away after a tough battle with cancer. Every time I think of Jimmy, I have to reflect on his exemplary work ethic. A longtime dairyman and stock farmer, he would put in more work after quitting time than most folks would do all day.
In addition to being a hard worker, Jimmy seemed to have another trait that I respected – the ability to hook up to his travel trailer and relax for a time. I’ve heard for years that when you work hard you should reward yourself; otherwise, you lose your incentive to work.
Always being one to try to get along and not rock the boat, I decided that my wife Helen and I should take a small vacation and relax. We had tried to do this last summer when we headed for the Florida Panhandle for a little time on the beautifully white beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast. Thanks to Hurricane Isaac, this venture didn’t have a fairy tale ending. We drove almost 2,000 miles, “enjoyed” one day on the beach, and arrived back home totally exhausted from our relaxing and cathartic sojourn.
As I have mentioned before, we were not exactly strangers to being pushed around by hurricanes – especially those beginning with the letter “i.” Four years earlier in 2008, we were forced to flee in our travel trailer from the Texas Gulf Coast when Hurricane Ike came screaming ashore.
Despite having been skunked in previous years, we were determined to take a relaxing sabbatical that would rival even those frequent golf junkets taken to Hawaii by our Imposter-in-Chief. This year nothing could go wrong! Hurricane season was still months away, the weather is beginning to feel spring-like, and I had carefully checked and performed required maintenance on every facet of both travel trailer and pickup. Two weeks ago, we launched out of the “pore” farm with high hopes and great expectations of a lovely visit with several groups of friends and relatives in the Hill Country, the Rio Grande Valley and the Gulf Coast. Life was good.