Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring is coming . . . BUT . . . by Earl Staggs

 Earl Staggs spent most of his life in Maryland and working as a salesman. When he and his wife gave up the cold winters of the north and moved south -- first to Florida and now in Fort Worth -- he decided to try something he’d always dreamed of. He’d always dreamed of being a fiction writer. That was in 1995, and the first step was to join a class at the local community college in Gainesville, Florida. The class happened to be about writing short mystery stories, so that’s where he started.

Over the next few years, his stories appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies. One of them brought home a Derringer Award as Best Short Mystery of the Year. He joined the Short Mystery Fiction Society and served as its Vice President, then President. He also served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine, a role he feels was a great help in developing his own writing abilities.

After honing his skills with short stories, Earl wrote a mystery novel, MEMORY OF A MURDER, which received twelve Five Star reviews on and B&

Spring is coming. . .BUT. . .
by Earl Staggs

Don’t you hate it when a sentence ends with a big BUT? Remember back in the day when your best girlfriend would say, “My boyfriend brought a date for you, BUT. . .? Or your cousin would say, “I brought your red dress back, BUT. . . .” For us guys, it was more like, “I brought your car back, BUT. . . .”

Well, spring is coming in this weekend, BUT it’s arriving here in North Texas with a severe cold front and the possibility of snow. That’s right. Snow. We’ve already had a record snowfall this year, but they’re saying we will probably get a little more right on the heels of the official arrival of spring.

Now, keep in mind this is Texas where snow is rare. My wife and I spent most of our lives in Maryland where we were used to two or three real blizzards every winter with the white stuff measuring from twenty to thirty inches each time. Our big snowfall here this year only amounted to fourteen inches, BUT that is huge for here. It certainly didn’t compare with the thirty inches my brother had in Maryland or the twenty-six inches our daughter had in New Jersey. And if you look at Kaye’s pictures right here on M&M, you’ll see she and Donald had one relentless dump of snow after another all winter.

BUT, you know what? Even if we get a dusting of snow this weekend, it will be gone by the next day and spring will still be here. I love spring and not even freezing temperatures and a smattering of snow will ruin it for me.

Spring is a new beginning. It means we’ve made it through the worst and the best is yet to come. Here in Texas, the countryside will burst into color with the blooming of wildflowers. Breathtaking displays will sprout up in yellow, white, pink and red along with the official state flower, the Bluebonnet.

There’s already new life in the pastures. I’ve spotted new calves and foals cavorting and kicking up their little heels, but not straying too far from their mommas. Plump and furry little prairie critters are sticking their heads up out of their underground condos and saying, “The coast is clear, guys. Come on out.” Over in the brush, the hungry coyotes hunker down, saying, “Steady, boys, they’re coming out.” Ah, the cruel cycle of life.

Trees and shrubs are awakening in yards all over the neighborhood to change the drab browns of winter to the greens of spring. All this means, of course, getting the tools and equipment of the season ready. The mower needs to be cleaned and oiled and blade needs sharpening. There’ll be trips to Home Depot for fertilizer, weed killer and maybe a new hose.

BUT. . .all that’s okay. None of that will dampen my spirits for spring. It’s a new beginning for another year and I’m going to enjoy it. I hope you do, too.


Dave Bennett said...

Not brag, Earl, but we've been picking daffodils for a couple of weeks here :O)
(Of course, last year we still had snow on the ground at this time ...)
Ah, life on the Wet Coast!

Barb Goffman said...

Hey, Earl. I for one am so very happy that spring has finally come to Washington, D.C. This was the worst winter I can remember. And that was a gorgeous picture you posted of those purple flowers. Enjoy!!!

Vicki Lane said...

A lovely evocation of Spring, Earl! You are revealing yourself as a Sensitive Guy! And what a gorgeous picture of the bluebells!

Barb Goffman said...

Vicki, you put me to shame. Where you see bluebells, I simply see purple flowers. (But they are beautiful!)

Anonymous said...

Bluebells? Heck, I thought they were bluebonnets. Whatever they are, it's a gorgeous photo!
Pat Browning

Morgan Mandel said...

That sounds so far removed from what I see every weekday in Downtown Chicago where I work.

Oh, about that snow, we got some of it. I feel sorry for the poor flowers that were trying to come up.

Morgan Mandel

Vicki Lane said...

Right you are, Pat! My eyes saw bluebonnets and my fingers did their own thing. Should have played it safe with purple flowers.

Travel said...
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Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Bluebells, Bluebonnets, Purple Flowers - aren't they gorgeous?! One of these days we're going to get ourselves to Texas and let Earl show them to us first hand.

Thanks, everyone for stopping by. And Earl Darlin'? Thank YOU!!!!

We had spring yesterday. And it may stick around (kinda) today, but tomorrow we're supposed to see more snow. ack.

Earl Staggs said...

I'm glad everyone is seeing signs of spring and looking forward to it as much as I am. I have to give credit to Kaye for the picture of the Bluebonnets. She's amazing. When you and Donald come to Texas, Kaye, we'll find a huge field and wallow in them. Thanks again for having me here.