One Word is Worth 1,000 Actions?

Why do we love to go to the movies, watch TV, read a book, go to a play, or even listen to some songs? We tell ghost stories around the campfire, we recite fairytales to our children and swap fishing lies at the boat ramp. People tell stories. The people who are especially good at telling a story are and always have been some of the most valued members of human societies. It doesn’t matter if you’re Steven Spielberg or the best storyteller in your cave; people want to hear a good story.

Do you share your family stories with your children? Will your children know who their ancestors were? Mr. Spielberg probably isn’t going to make a blockbuster new movie about you, so maybe you better get busy. And if you don’t know the family stories, you better start learning them quick because they fade away with the passing generations unless someone thinks to preserve them.

Did you ever really consider the power of your words? People will remember all of their lives some of the things you say to them – good or bad, your words can be etched on their hearts forever. Will they always recall your clothes or the car you drove? Unless you drive a Pinto, probably not. But tell someone how much they mean to you, or what you learned from them, and they will never forget it.

In case you think I’m a little obsessive about the power of words, think about this: what you say and how you say it (and what you don’t say) reveal the most transparent window into your soul. Your approachability, your integrity, your status and your sweetness are all apparent in your choice of words. You might live in the biggest house in town, but if you say, “I’m going to the
li-bary to pick me up a book”, people are going to wonder from whom you inherited the big house. Like it or not, we are judged by our words.

So tell your story. Share it with the ones you care about. I’ve heard that you are what you eat, but I think we are the words we choose.

A Small Life in a Small Town

I can drive from one end of town to the other, stoplights and all, in 5 minutes. I don't even have to speed. I DO speed, but I don't have to. Grocery shopping takes two hours because I bump into so many people in the store. A lot of the people I went to high school with are still here. We are a very patriotic and civic-minded town, and very neighborly. If you break your leg, it's a given that someone will bring you dinner and offer to walk your dog.

On the other hand, life in a small town means you can't hide. A friend told me that she picked up a box of chocolate donuts after work, and when she came in to work the next day, everyone already knew she had blown her diet. Our children have never gotten away with much in school because we know too many of the teachers and staff. Someone is always watching. When our oldest son started driving, we received regular updates: "He was comin' down that hill a little fast...better warn him about that." It exasperated him at the time, but now he sees that it's pretty cool when that many people give a damn about you.

Life in a small western town means some extra things. We know how to (properly) pronounce words like "heifer", "chaps" "leghorn" and "Gila". Five days out of seven I wear a suit and high heels, but I still know how to scrape a pig, pluck a turkey and what to do about a broody hen. You citified ones might think of one thing if I tell you a chick is pasted up, but country folk know what I'm talking about. Come to think of it, neither interpretation is all that fun to think about. A nice pair of western boots is appropriate formal footwear for men. A button-down, long-sleeve cotton shirt is appropriate for any occasion from digging ditches to date night.

If you haven't ever brought your neighbor's laundry in off the line because it started to rain while they were in town, if you never had to use a square-point shovel to cut an infuriated raccoon out of a twisted-strand fence, if you've never spent even a moment of your time trying to figure out how to keep the elk out of your garden--you don't know what you're missing. If all of your corn comes from the produce section, you have never really tasted CORN. A tomato that ripened on the vine and is still warm from the sun tastes different than anything you've ever tried. If you don't know what part of the cow that steak came from, or what exactly giblets really are, you need to come on out to the country and take a Living 101 course.

Around here, scratch isn't the same thing as cash. Kneading it and needing it are not synonymous. And yes, we are truly rednecks, because if I give you my brother's cell number, it could mean one of two things. We still see John Deere on the street once in a while, and the Pony Express still delivers mail--only once a year for a special event, but the Pony Express still runs.

Buttermilk Pie

I don't know why, but even though I am lactose-intolerant, I can enjoy this dairy dessert with minimal misery. I suppose the buttermilk cultures break down some of the lactose for me?

Buttermilk Pie
(one pie)
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons flour
¼ cup melted butter (only the real stuff!)
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup buttermilk
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)


one unbaked pie shell

preheat oven to 350

Mix eggs on high speed until lemon colored and somewhat foamy. Stir flour into the melted butter, add to eggs and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients and mix on high for one minute. Pour into shell, sprinkle with chopped nuts and bake until top is golden and pie is set.

(I call this the jiggle test: If you move the pie a little and it undulates like a waterbed, bake longer!)

If you choose to omit the nuts, this is excellent with sweetened sliced strawberries or cherry pie filling on top. If you like nuts, try coating them with a little honey and toasting them before you put them on the pie.