Writers’ Group

Little Things in Life

Ruby Regina Witcraft

There are so many little things to remember in my life, and since I’m the kind of gal who gets a kick out of tying her shoes; I won’t burden you with millions of them.

However, just to give you an example, here are of a few that deserve mentioning. Early morning sunrises—besides their beauty, they signify the start of a new day, which is always exciting. For the opposite reason, sunset; not so much. Don’t care much for endings. The wag of any of my dogs’ tails as they greet me. Likewise, the neighing of my horses when I come to feed them. Flowers that bloom for no other reason than they just need to; my cannas, a tropical American plant with bright flowers, for instance. The love of people, although gone now, near and dear to me. Being able, at this time in lifetime, to make a Carbonara and enjoy eating it.

These are a few of the little things that come to mind, but I have lived such a blessed life and feel all events, large or small, have given much meaning and joy to my life.

I’d go back and do it all over again.

Valentine’s Day

Jacqueline M. Ruffino-Platt

Biography of Saint Valentine

Before I enlighten our readers about Valentine’s Day and how it came about, I will ask each of you to remember your first Valentine card you received or gave out to a cute little boy or girl. I received my first Valentine card at five years old from Gerhardt. Cute, blond hair, blue eyes, and followed me everywhere. In the third grade, Gerhardt was still my admirer. On Valentine’s Day he left a card and chocolate on my school desk. Mom and I went to the 5 & 10 cent store to buy a card for Gerhardt. At grade school graduation from elementary school, we went our separate ways. I will always remember my first love. Years later I always thought if there was a real Valentine and if so, why did we celebrate on February 14. My curiosity boiled over and I began my search. The following is my find and I loved every minute and word I read about the love Valentine encountered in his life. I hope you enjoy.

Saint Valentine was a Catholic priest who also worked as a doctor. He lived in Italy during the third century AD and served as a priest in Rome. Historians don’t know much about Valentine’s early life. Valentine became famous for marrying couples who were in love but couldn’t get legally married in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II, who outlawed weddings. He also wanted to prevent his existing soldiers from getting married because he thought that marriage would distract them from their work.

When Emperor Claudius discovered Valentine performing weddings, he sent Valentine to jail. Valentine used his time in jail to continue to reach out to people with the love that he said Jesus Christ gave him for others. He befriended his jailer, Asterious, who asked Valentine to help his daughter Julia with her lessons. Julia was blind and needed someone to read material for her to learn. They became friends and Julia visited him in jail.

Emperor Claudius also came to like Valentine. He offered to pardon him and set him free if Valentine would renounce his Christian faith. He encouraged Emperor Claudius to place his trust in Christ. Valentine’s faithful choices cost him his life. Emperor Claudius was so enraged at Valentine’s response that he sentenced Valentine to die.

A loving letter inspires Valentine’s Day messages.

Before he was killed, Valentine wrote a last note to encourage Julia to stay close to Jesus and to thank her for being his friend. He signed the note: “From your Valentine.” That note inspired people to begin writing their own loving messages on Valentine’s Feast Day, February 14, which is celebrated on the same day on which Valentine was martyred.” (Source: History.com)

Valentine was beaten, stoned, and beheaded on February 14, 270. People who remembered his loving service to many young couples began celebrating his life, and he came to be regarded as a saint through whom God had worked to help people in miraculous ways. By 496, Pope Gelasius designated February 14 as Valentine’s official feast day.

Fowl Crimes at the Fast Food Franchise

Tom Marschel

Ray Kroc’s 15-cent McDonald’s hamburger joint was a precursor to an avalanche of fast food restaurants. The biggest are familiar names: Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Arby’s, Jack in the Box, Popeye’s and Wendy’s. Notable failures were: Burger Chef, Burger Queen, Lum’s, Sandy’s, and Sambos.

Last year, Popeye’s introduced a chicken sandwich to take on rival Chick-fil-A. The August launch brought some unwelcome publicity due to contentious customer interaction. One man pulled out a gun when told that they had run out of the new sandwich.

The media coverage of this incident went viral. There is a term to describe the media “piling on” a story. It’s an apt label, the media Echo Chamber. The network feed is all over the local news, the syndicated print sends it on the wire, and the result is blathering talking heads focused on the great chicken assault.

“The Rest of the Story” as Paul Harvey used to say is the November 2019 re-launch, or second iteration of the chicken sandwich. In Texas, one shift manager said they had sold 2,000 sandwiches. If the media anticipated another melee they were not disappointed. The laundry list: San Antonio live video of two women throwing food trays, LA woman wrecked her car trying to squeeze into the drive thru line, Tennessee live video of an employee body slamming a customer, in Chattanooga a customer sued because he had wasted “countless hours,” and ultimately, in Maryland, a man fatally stabbed another who had tried to cut in front of him in line.

The great Popeye’s fracases have been given generous coverage in the media. “If it bleeds it leads;” what’s more bloody than a murder over a chicken sandwich. What interesting comment will the felon in the jailhouse make when asked, “Hey bud what are you in for?”

Wendy’s issued a statement, “There is no reason for someone to lose their life on a Monday night in a parking lot.”

My curiosity had been piqued about this new fast food entry, but it would remain unsatisfied until last week, when I spotted a Popeye’s store on Alma School Road. I enlisted my son for a visit to do a take-out Popeye’s chicken sandwich lunch. It’s a generous chicken filet with a craggy breaded crust on a bun with a pickle and mayo.

Priced at $3.99 it serves up 690 calories. We bought three, one spicy and fries in a combo with a large Coke. Total cost $19.41.

No food fracas occurred, just a courteous window server.

The sandwich was good and crunchy, the fries were adequate. Now on to Chick-fil-A for a taste test.