By Loretta Humble/Around the Town
As I write this, Monday morning, 7:35 a.m., our Ireland trip girls are on a train from Brussels to Paris. The beauty of modern technology is that we can chat with them right in the middle of their adventures. We try to not distract them too much, but I just had something to share with Laken about her dog Lucy, who is staying with me. It is 2:35 p.m. there, she tells me.
I couldn’t wait to tell her what Lucy was up to. Lucy is a prissy solid white little Shitzu mix. Laken keeps her trimmed like a poodle. Her collar is pink with a bow with some rhinestones in the middle of it. I would be embarrassed to claim a prissy dog like that for my own, but since she is Laken’s I can just enjoy her. I laugh at her all the time. She cocks her head and stares at you with those big black eyes until you give in and let her have whatever she wants. But I had to draw the line on her running away with the cat.
I let her out this morning, and when she didn’t come back pretty soon I went looking for her. Way up my winding driveway, nearly to the road, I saw a white speck and a gray speck, I thought Lucy had a new friend. When I called her, the gray speck turned around and headed back. It was the cat! Lucy and the Cat were running away together! After careful consideration, Lucy headed back too. I have no idea how they coordinated this, or why the cat came when I called. He never does what we ask him. And they never play together, though Lucy tries. UPDATE TWO HOURS LATER: Just witnessed the two of them playing a little. I guess they bonded on their trip.
I was going to try to stretch this animal talk into a whole column, by telling you that our Cat has an evil twin. We were sitting on the porch the other day when all of the sudden Cat zipped up to us like his tail was on fire. We looked out to see his mirror image lurking in the bushes with a really mean look on his face. But there’s actually not much more to say about that except that I then went from an evil twin to meeting a super twin when Kristi Huls called and asked me to meet her and Kelly North for breakfast. I met them at Mojo’s, seated at a table next to Billy Norwood and his breakfast buddies. Billy and I always have to give one another a hug since we are grandparents-in-law. I didn’t know Kristi didn’t know Billy, and she fussed at me later for not introducing her. I think she thinks he has some history to tell her, or maybe she wants to ask him about some building he owns. She says next time she sees that group she will invite herself to join them. Kristi wants to know every little thing about Malakoff. Having been born here, I don’t find it quite as fascinating as she does, but I love to hang around and watch her in action. She is such a dynamo at digging out Malakoff history and trying to get everybody excited about our town.
Well, Kristi just introduced me to somebody who is Kristi on steroids. Then maybe she isn’t more passionate than Kristi, but just covers a much larger area than Kristi. Kelly North runs a Facebook group called Saving Small Towns. She goes around all over Texas digging up history, witnessing what small towns are doing to stay alive, and sharing that information with other small towns to encourage them. She does it extremely well. She encourages Kristi a lot. I was interested to find out what foundation or state agency funds her. The answer is, there isn’t one. Her only funding is her own full-time job. She does something smart, but I don’t remember what it is. Watching small towns struggle to come alive is her passion, and she fills her free time watching how they do it and trying to help when she can by sharing their experiences.
She told us about several towns that are turning around. The one Kristi and I want to go visit is Mineral Wells, where Randy and Misty Nix are reviving old buildings left and right. If you will recall, Mineral Wells is where the old Baker Hotel is located. Kelly shared some interesting and helpful info on getting things stirred up in Malakoff Texas. I loved visiting with her. She is as much fun to watch and listen to as Kristi. We talked for at least 2 hours and then she and Kristi toured downtown Malakoff. I’m pretty sure they made a day of it.