Stevens: So many things to be thankful for

I am thankful for Christmas trees. They saved my grandmother’s life the day before Thanksgiving in 1964. She’d gone with my granddad to a tree farm near Las Vegas, New Mexico. The plan was to fill up their pickup with trees they could sell at their used furniture store — the Swap Shop — in […]

Williamson: Adoption greatest gift of all

It can be no accident that National Adoption Day and Thanksgiving take place within a week of each other. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone more grateful than children and parents on the day they become “forever families.” For Roosevelt and Curry counties, adoptions take place within the confines of the 9th Judicial District. On […]

Never been part of turkey team

Thursday is the big Turkey Day. The busiest-cooking-before-the-busiest-shopping-day-of-the-year. That’s enough to petrify a poultry panicked person. Say that three times. And I’m here feeling guilty, oh, and thankful, but mostly guilty. I’ve never cooked a Thanksgiving dinner myself. I’ve never been part of the head turkey procurement, management and preparation team. As a child and […]

Fields: Thankful for porches

I’m thankful for porches. It’s my treat to have three of them at my home. The front porch is the gathering place. It’s where we greet our guests, and where we line up for family photos. It’s where my niece reads on the glider when she visits. The glider was already old when her great-grandmother […]

Here’s hoping for the best

If I wanted to hire a chef to prepare a grand meal for a dinner party, maybe I’d seek out seven or eight of them to ask about their qualifications. I might bring them all together in one meeting to let them do what they could to win my business. They’d probably want to bring […]

Subcommittee chairman plans to reform commisaries

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nevada, is a brigadier general in the Army Reserve, a soldier-physician thrice deployed and also a discerning commissary shopper. Heck bristles at seeing half-empty shelves and goods askew because commissaries, unlike commercial grocers, rely on vendors to stock most items, and some do so only a few times a week. Shoppers, he […]

Black cats do bring good luck to home

Another Halloween comes along on the calendar. Another chance for me to extol the virtues of owning a black cat. Now, I’m not sure I can declare some kind of broad sweeping statement about the personality of black cats. Nor am I certain that all stray kitties possess the sweet disposition of my little sweetheart. […]

Ponder this advice: Savor words, music and poetry

I’m reading through another book of quotes. I certainly don’t need a “book.” I’m exposed to quotes all day every day, but there remains something sweet about turning pages. And especially when you come across the 33-year-old book while helping your mom clean out a closet. It’s so nice to read two or three phrases […]

Study makes 188 recommendations for veteran health care services

Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald told the House VA Committee last week that a $68 million, 4,000-page study of VA health care it ordered last year and accepted last month uncovers the same weaknesses and solutions McDonald and his policy team have been tackling for months. The “Independent Assessment” of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) […]

Fall is the season of euphoria

Roses have a renaissance in October. We tend to get so excited about pumpkins and turning leaves that we forget what a marvelous season it is for these luscious beauties. Tyler, Texas, nicknamed the Rose Capital of the World, hosts its Rose Festival every year in the middle of this month. A glorious last hurrah. […]

Military personnel facing cutbacks everywhere

Military members and families have little to cheer from compromises House and Senate conferees have reached as they finalized details of key personnel provisions in the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The potential lifetime value of the new retirement plan, which many current members will be allowed to opt into, suffered a significant cut. Conferees […]

Take a lesson from social media

A couple of weeks ago my social media circle celebrated National Daughter’s Day in a grand way. The streaming news feed was full of one gorgeous photo after another — mothers sharing their admiration for their wonderful girls. I had never heard of this day, and searched the Internet to find the origin. Please don’t […]

Some words should keep the “g”

Liam Neeson was playing the part of a Kansas sheriff in an old movie I watched the other day. He’s Irish, but he sounded like a regular American from the heartland most of the time. It seemed like he must have had some accent coaching. Still, the pronunciation for some of the words kept bothering […]

Looking forward to the moonrise

This is a wonderful week for watching the sun and the moon. On Wednesday we have the autumnal equinox, and Sunday we’ll be treated to a full harvest moon. Watching the weather and seasonal changes is one of my happy hobbies. I’ve watched the 10-day forecast like a hawk all month, waiting for the great […]

More research needed in combat care

Perhaps the most significant life-saving advancement in combat medicine in Afghanistan and Iraq was refinement of tourniquets and training to keep wounded warriors with shattered or missing limbs from bleeding out. Another notable gain was faster medical evacuations of wounded to reach increasingly higher levels of care, thanks to enhanced communication and transport capabilities, said […]

When it rains, it pours

Why in the Sam Hill does the little speck of dust on a smoke detector always trigger the horrific screaming of the gadget around 2:17 in the morning? Why in this wide world does the huge horse fly stay safely hidden somewhere in your kitchen right up until the moment guests sit down to dine […]

It’s time for US to bring in immigrants

The time has come for the United States to ease the burden on our European allies and to bring to America some of the hundreds of thousands of desperate migrants fleeing from chaos in the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan. There appears to be no end in sight to the exodus. That’s why the Obama […]

Novelist talks about nation’s racism

After working a day as a maid at a Clovis motel, future novelist Kathleen M. (Doran) Rodgers finagled an interview with the late Bill Southard, Clovis News-Journal managing editor. He told the 19-year-old he didn’t have an opening, but he hired her anyway. Southard wrote western novels as W. W. Southard. “This planted a seed […]

State is burdensome with licensing

The Rio Grande Foundation is an unabashedly free market organization, often labeled “conservative.” That doesn’t mean we don’t agree with the political left on various policy issues, but it does mean that opportunities for such agreement require an honest assessment of reform opportunities and principles. An ever-growing area on which left and right might agree […]

You can always tell winter’s coming by creatures’ retreat

It won’t be official for a little while yet, and when it’s still hot enough for summer clothes most days, it is easy to live in denial but the cooler morning and evening temperatures in the region are one of those tell-tale signs — fall is upon us. Of course fall means different things to […]