Back in my bedtime story reading days, my boys would indulge me, and have an extra story read to them in the process, if they would allow me to read from my short list of favorites.
There were only two books on the list and both are equal in their rank with me. But for the purposes of the point I am eventually going to make, I will list them in preferential order. First, is “Noisy Nora” by Rosemary Wells. The second is “Panda Cake” by Rosalie Seidler.
Both books are written in clever rhyming verse, which always scores with me, and though both come across as light reading on the surface, there’s one of those “yeah, been there, done that” life lessons in each story.
Nora is the middle mouse in a nice, typical mouse family of five — a mother, father and three children. Naturally part of the allure of the tale is that I was the middle child in my generation of siblings (six siblings in all, but three in each generation), and then became the mother to three siblings.
Any middle child can tell you, we have a tough row to hoe. In Nora’s case the father is helping the older mouse sibling with homework, the mother is taking care of the baby. To get her fair share of attention, Nora misbehaves — noisily. That’s right.
She bangs the window, slams the door and drops her sister’s marbles on the kitchen floor — none of which get the response she’s after.
But then, she leaves. The mouse house becomes strangely quiet, and every mouse in the family wonders (worries about?) where Nora might be. Just when all concerns are seemingly at a peak, she returns.
Or as Wells pens in the book’s verse, “‘I’m back again,’ said Nora with a monumental crash.”
Darn. All the technology of the 21st century, and there’s no way to insert a monumental crash here. A “ta da” will have to do.
I’m back. (Ta da!) It would be redundant to say, “again,” and, not really correct, because this is my first time to be back. Technically. I think.
That’s right. My name is Candace Cooksey Fulton. For 10-plus years I was a writer/columnist for the Brownwood Bulletin. Last October I left the paper and moved from Brownwood to San Angelo to follow a new direction in my life.
I had good, necessary reasons for moving “back again.” (My move last November was my third return to San Angelo.) But trumping those good reasons was my simple desire to be with family. Two of my sons and one of my granddaughters live here.
While I am glad to say that “back again” is working out pretty well, I cannot complete the sentence without adding I miss my friends and faithful readers in Brownwood. Who wouldn’t?
That’s sort of what happens with all new directions. Eventually the new it starts to bend, bends a little more and a little more. A few months down the line, we aren’t able to help but notice the new direction has become a circle. Nothing’s the same, but not everything has changed.
Then (no monumental crash needed here, but I think a “ta da” will work) when I was asked if I would start writing a weekly column “again” for the Bulletin, I thought, “Well, yes, that would be nice. We could stay connected like days of old, and, when I tell people about Brownwood, where I used to live, I can add, ‘The Bulletin still carries my column.’”
I like to think I was one of Brownwood’s proudest citizens in my tenure there. I can boast ancestral roots in Brown County that reach back four generations before me. I’ve written obituaries for some of the community’s most notorious citizens and cheered and celebrated at the county’s most momentous events.
Obviously, for me the weekly return in print is a glad one. I’m glad we’ll have this time and space together regularly. It’s nice to keep in touch. Don’t expect too many monumental crashes, or marbles on the kitchen floor, just the kind of neighbor talks, we always had before.
I suppose a simple and sincere, “I’m back” will do the job. Except I want to also offer my heartfelt thanks to you for being here. See you next week.
Candace Cooksey Fulton is a freelance writer, editor living in San Angelo, Texas. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org