As I write this I am among the many Americans clutching their Kleenex boxes and savoring the smell of menthol, as we battle the flu or flu-like symptoms. I could barely lift my head off the pillow 36 hours ago. Today, I’m up but not feeling great, and here to comfort me is my Little (what I call my youngest child), reading me some books.
What you should know is that my Little is going to be a professional storyteller one day. Whether she’s reading Charlie Brown or “Purplicious,” she goes into character with inflection in her voice and expression on her face. Today she is reading, “The Horrible Homemade Halloween Costume,” by Nancy Robinson Masters. Nancy was the first woman, other than my mother, who really encouraged me to write.
This book is about a little girl who is the daughter of a dryland cotton farmer. She wants to order a fairy princess costume out of the catalogue for Halloween but there is a drought and therefore not much cotton and no money for a costume. So, her mother, as only a mother would do, makes her a costume out of a brown towel with cotton bolls glued to it and a USDA sack for her candy.
The story highlights the struggle of an elementary-aged girl dressed up as the only cotton bale among catalogue princesses and pirates and a teacher who recognizes her struggle and makes her feel special resulting in the little girl deciding it’s not so bad being unique, even if she is a cotton bale.
As my Little read the line about the drought, I asked her, do you know what a drought is? She replied yes, as she repeated the definition listed in the book. It made me think of the dry landscape, filled with miles of dead vegetation I saw two-days prior, driving home from Altus, Okla., and the Red River Crop Conference. From Oklahoma to my front door in Olton, Texas, it is dry, dangerously dry. I explained to my Little that much of the Texas High Plains and Oklahoma has gone more than 100 days without rain, and it looks like we are heading into a drought. We talked about how needed moisture for daddy to plant.
I wish the drought was only the thing of children’s story books. As I arrived in Altus, there was a fire in the bar ditch, and as I returned home, a volunteer fire department and the Texas Forest Service were battling a range fire near Memphis, Texas. All of this dry vegetation has me concerned about the fire danger and planting conditions. So, pray for rain, and be careful as you begin to operate equipment for another growing season. It only takes a spark, and once it starts, I’m not sure where it will end.