by Randall Beaird

The “Inspirational Writers Alive” meet the first Thursday every month in different places around Jacksonville. In the market for column inspiration, I was there taking notes. My sister Jennifer was on the agenda to read from her new Christian romance novel. She always was high in the drama department.

A family vacation was especially memorable when she broke her tailbone water-skiing. A doughnut shaped pillow and elaborate moans were constant companions. Sorry, there was more laughter than comfort.

Jennifer is also convincing. Their family went fishing off the old Galveston bridge when Brian was in medical school. Brian hooked what they considered a monster fish; kids were bouncing as the water boiled below. Finally the fish was landed with the help of an old salt as Jennifer belted out the praise.jenniferbrian

On the way home she begged Brian to stop at a baitshop for a weigh-in. Reluctantly, Brian pulled in and Jennifer raced in to say, “You would not believe the fish my husband just caught! It must be fifteen pounds! Do you have a scale?” Four men jumped up and charged out to the car, eager to share in the excitement. They took one look, shrugged and chuckled. It was a black drum tipping the scales at 3 1/2 pounds. One was embarrassed, one was sheepish. Jennifer was used to catching freshwater perch.

Coyote Grove (original newspaper column) grew out of six short farm sagas in the “Wolfe City Mirror” near Caddo Mills.  Since then, finding interesting material is like wrestling invisible grizzlies.

Avoiding boredom while teaching school is easy; avoiding it in my column is a struggle. I try not to bore you to pieces. Famous columnist Leon Hale of Houston shares recipes with his readers. If you want recipes, I’ll find them. I never knew deadlines could be so punctual/brutal. Fingers were pounding the keyboard the last few Monday evenings, way past my Saturday deadline.

Back at the writer’s meeting, I was surrounded with writing giants. I tried not to stare as I scribbled down observations. There was a huge diamond, a triple book lady, a blind genius, powerful prose and some nice baldness–the kind that made me think I hope I look that good when it all goes.

I went to the restroom almost hoping my observations were discovered. There could be shouts of anger and wrestling. It never came; we took turns reading aloud with insightful comments and laughter. Someone said they don’t write anything unless they feel inspired. I was jealous remembering that luxury.