Smart Girls Read Romance

Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog.
Join them as they dish about Books, Romance, Love, and Life.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Country Living, Corn-Picking Time, And a Taste Of City Life

 by Laurean Brooks

When you're a child from a large family and live on a farm, every season has its unique chores. October meant corn harvest time for us. The nights became cool and crisp, making sleep near an open window feel like a piece of heaven after the humid summer nights.

After the old rooster crowed at the crack of dawn, Mama would rise, start a fire in the wood stove, then start on breakfast. The delicious aromas from the kitchen pulled us kids out of bed and to the table. 

Every morning Mama mixed flour, lard and milk in a large granite-wear bowl. She would form a well in the middle of the flour, fill it with a little milk and lard, then gradually pull flour from the sides of the bowl into the mixture until it was thick enough to roll out on a board. 

She had her own unique rolling pin—a round, floured ketchup bottle. After she'd cut out the biscuits with a metal drinking cup, she placed each biscuit in the white 9 X 12 enamel pan, plus a large iron skillet. If any biscuits were left after supper, the dogs gulped them down.

It took a lot to feed our brood. When Mama added scrambled eggs from our hen house and poured thick milk gravy over our cat-head biscuits, it eased the news of...

“Y'all count on picking corn when you get in from school. It's ready.” The words didn't sound half as bad.

When we got home, my brother Ralph, fueled up the old Farm-all tractor then hitched the two-wheel trailer to it. 

When that was done, he inserted the hand crank and yanked until the old tractor puffed smoke from its stack like a locomotive.

We kids tugged on work gloves before climbing up on the trailer for a jostling ride toward the field. Once we reached the cornfield, we hopped off and began yanking corn from the dried stalks. We worked until it was too dark to see, or until the the trailer spilled over. Whichever came first.

If it was a weeknight, Daddy and Mama unloaded the trailer the next day while we attended school. We'd come in that afternoon, eat a quick supper and start picking again. It took several days and the same number of trailer loads, to pick the three cornfields clean.

When the last load was piled into the corn crib, we knew the chickens would have enough feed to last until next year's harvest.

 Every morning before school, Jewell (my sister) and I shelled several ears to toss to the chickens. I remember how we looked for the driest ears with shriveled corn and shelled it first. Because the ears that were not yet shriveled were hard to shell and rough on the hands.

Being raised on a farm meant everyone had to do his or her part to keep it running. I remember thinking, “When I grow up, I'll move to the city so I won't have to work this hard.” 

But one week as a teen spent with city cousins in Jackson, Tennessee, changed my mind.

My sister and I had a blast for six days. We went to a roller rink on Saturday night, and walked a few blocks to Mrs. Sullivan's Pecan Pie factory, where you could go on Tuesdays and purchase a paper bag of ten slightly smashed, personal-sized pecan pies for a quarter. Still, city life had a downside.

The downside was our cousins' house sat at an intersection on a very busy street. I'm a light sleeper. Screeching brakes, loud trucks, honking horns, and sirens kept me awake every night as they pulled up to the stoplight. After 6 nights of the horrible racket, my mind was screaming for the peace and quiet of the country. The hoot of a nigh owl, croak of tree frogs and the chirp of katydids.

What about you? Do you prefer the country or the city?


He wanted a sedate, mature woman who could cook and care for his young daughter. She expected an exciting cowboy who thrived on travel and adventure. 

Both were in for a surprise.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

When Life Is Like a Country Music Song by Joan Reeves

By the time September rolled around, I'd begun to think that Life was like a country music song.

Image at left: "Cowboy-guitar-music-western-hat by Алекса Вулф from Pixabay

I wryly decided that because it made me chuckle rather than give in to the stress that has dogged us since May.

You may have thought that I resigned from this blog, but the truth is that Life in all of its frustration, stress, and change fell on me like a dump truck full of bricks.

Long Story Made Short

May: our home went up for sale and we experienced the joys of living in a house that had to look like a model home from dawn until dark. Said house sold the first week, but our realtor wanted to take backup offers, so we had to maintain the model home look until a week before closing. With out house sold, we had to find another place to live! Yikes. We'd  put off the closing date on our house until July, thinking that would give us plenty of time to house shop.

Rest of May and June: The housing market that helped us get top dollar now was our enemy as we tried to find the unicorn, i.e., a one-story home in good condition with a nice yard at an affordable price. We hunted high and low, but everything was too huge, too dirty, too over-priced, or needed too much work.

July: on the first day, we saw the second unicorn—the second one-story house—good bones but needed serious upgrading. We made an offer within 10 minutes of leaving the house, and it was accepted. We asked for a closing date the first business day after closing on the house we were selling. Everything seemed to fall into place. Uh oh!

Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me (Written by Buck Ownes and Roy Clark)

Yep, like the country song says, "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all." The day we made the offer on what was to be our new home, the thunderstorms started. 

From July 1, every day there was a major thunderstorm with gully-washing rain.

That's when we discovered our soon-to-be new home had no gutters on the house. We also discovered the underground French drain was completely clogged up. All that rainwater gushed down the roof, onto the patio, and flowed like a river toward the back of the house.

That beautiful mature live oak tree in the back yard blocked up all drainage routes for the sides of the lot. Day after day of rain. When we closed on the house we sold, it was pouring rain. When we closed on the house we were buying, you guessed it. Pouring rain.

Through all of that, we were packing up our house and lining up contractors to handle the remodeling and upgrade of our new house.

You Done Stompt on my Heart and Smashed That Sucker Flat (Written by Mason Williams.)

Here are all the things that happened next. 

The beautiful oak tree in the back yard had to be removed because it and the huge roots were primary causes of near-floods every time it rained. *head banging wall*

Moving day featured the biggest thunderstorm yet! A wet stray dog ran into the house through the open door, leaving puddles of rainwater all over the new wood floors we'd had installed that week. Everything brought in was soaking wet even though wrapped in moving blankets. *head banging wall*

The plumber underestimated the cost of installing a gas line. *head banging wall*

The only appliances we could buy that could be delivered that first weekend included a microwave and a refrigerator that aren't what we wanted. *stuck with them until they die which means they'll outlive me*

Gutter companies and French drain installers charging twice what they did a year ago. If you can get on their schedule! *head banging wall*

Electrician unable to begin work on our project until alarm company installed the security system. Alarm company was backed up until mid-September—2 months away. *head banging wall*

In early August, our older daughter who was not vaccinated, contracted CoVid pneumonia, was hospitalized, and almost died, but they resuscitated her. *scared to death & praying constantly*

When she was well enough to go home and try to regain her health, our younger daughter and her husband, both of whom were vaccinated, caught CoVid. *head banging wall*

Then my sister-in-law hoisted a case of Gatorade into the trunk of her car—something she's done countless number of times before—and suffered a compression fracture of her L1 vertebrae. After an agonizing week of pain that couldn't be relieved with anything because there were no hospital rooms or staff available due to CoVid, she finally had surgery. *head banging wall*

That's it. I've never felt more helpless than when my daughter was alone in the hospital and my sister-in-law was in such pain and couldn't get in a hospital! I felt as if my heart had been stomped flat. I didn't care a fig about the house or anything but getting my family healthy  again. I was ready for this summer to be over and done with!

Thank God and Greyhound She's Gone (Written by Larry Kingston and Ed Nix.)

August, that hateful bitch, finally left. September rolled in, but I was too worn out to celebrate. I decided to take the month off. Actually, I've been "off" writing and off-line since May.

I'm trying to get my writing groove back, but, honestly, I'd rather talk to family, read books, and stream videos. So this blog post is a first step in the writing direction.

The Truth

Most of what frustrates people are merely irritants. Rainstorms, remodeling delays, over-priced everything, and all of the stuff that bothered me in May, June, and July are petty things. Stuff like that pales to insignificance when someone you love is sick or in pain or threatened in any way.

Work on the house continues. I'm no longer concerned about that. If it's finished this month, fine. If it's next month, no problem. I'm grateful and feel blessed that our family has survived.

Maybe I'll write a country song and call it, "No Worries. No Problems. Too Blessed to Be Stressed."


If you've stuck with my far-too-long post about how I spent my summer, then enter my giveaway, open to residents with a U.S. mailing address.

The prize is a copy of Cheatin' Hearts, Broken Dreams, and Stomped-On Love: The All-time Funniest Country Music Titles by Jim McMullan.

This little book is from my personal library. I've started unpacking my books, and I'm giving many away because I've downsized from 4 bookcases to 2. The book is in good condition and from a home of non-smokers.

I'll randomly draw a name from all eligible comments on Sunday, September 19, 2021. An eligible comment is one left with an email address so I can contact the winner.

Now, go forth and enjoy September. Don't worry. Be happy. Spread love and joy. And leave a comment to enter the Giveaway.

If you're down in the dumps and need an attitude adjustment, try one of my romantic comedies, Just One Look, a Kindle Unlimited free read or buy for $3.99 and keep forever.

Seduction and sex can be pretty funny—especially when both sides play dirty!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Falling in Love by Bea Tifton

Fall is fast approaching, and I am almost giddy.  In North Texas, the summers are blisteringly hot and I am heat intolerant so I am unable to do much. The State Fair of Texas begins in late September, and I have many fun memories of attending.  The air seems a little less humid and more crisp. I make baked apple dishes and soup. And some years I can even break out the fall sweaters. Actually, fall comes late to Texas if it comes at all, mid-October usually. Sometimes we skip fall altogether and go from summer to winter. But I love the idea of fall. At the top of my bucket list, I have the desire to go to New England in the fall and take a leaf peeping/whale watching tour. Some people think the leaves don’t change at all in Texas, but they do somewhat. We take what we can get. 


So, even though I’m jumping the gun a bit, I’d like to share five quotes about the loveliest of seasons, fall. 

“There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been.” Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” Albert Camus

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I notice that autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.” Friedrich Nietzsche

“Autumn whispered to the wind, ‘I fall, but always rise again.’” Angie Weiland-Crosby 

And, of course,every day is always a great day to fall into a good book. 

Happy fall, everyone!


Photo Credits:

Squash still life: Mathias P.R. Reding

Boy in leaves: Scott Webb

Mountains: Michael Block

Tree Branch: Pixabay

Baby: Marina Abrosimova

Forest with Sunlight: Johannes Plenio

Lady with Leaves: Andrea Piacquadio

Redhead Reading: Geri Art