Meetings are indispensable when you don't want to do anything.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Time is passing.
If you don't believe me, consider that three months from this morning many of us will be opening Christmas presents.
Yes, fall is under way and in the autumn of the year, many of us dimly remember the lessons from our rural roots - customs and practices and signs, such as these.
The white spots on your fingernails note the number of sweethearts you have.
If smoke settles to the ground, it is a sign of early rain.
Turtles and terrapins crawling about are an indication of rain soon.
When eating an apple, save all the seeds, moisten them and press them against your forehead with the palms of your hands. The number that stick to your forehead represent the number of years before you get married.
Wash your hands together and be friends forever.
But never dry them at the same time with someone, because that's a sure sign of bad luck.
A whistling girl and a clucking hen always come to a bad end.
Kill a snake, hang it on a limb, stomach up, and a storm will come in 24 hours.
If an upturned crimp gets in the hem of your skirt, you will have a new dress.
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MAILBAG: Charlotte and James Cash of Evans send postcard greetings from Amish Country in Lancaster, Pa. They write: "We are having a wonderful time here. We photographed covered bridges today, as well as the one-room schoolhouses, the farms and horse and buggy, which is a main form of transportation. The countryside is really DARK when night comes!"
And Frank and Verna Clayton, Don and Dottie Daly, Jack and June Haffeman, Ron and Dolores Ivins and Bill and Julie Voight of Savannah Lakes Village say hi from Arkansas. They write: "Thurmond Lake Sail and Power Squadron here in Little Rock for the 2001 Power Squadron Fall Governing Board. Very hot here."
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TODAY'S JOKE: Two city boys decided to take up hunting.
They went to the big city sporting goods shop and loaded up on expensive equipment. Then they set out for the woods.
Carefully parking their new SUV, they thought they'd check in with the game warden before heading for the hills.
"You'll be OK," he told them, "but remember, if you get into trouble, just set off a warning shot into the air."
After an unsuccessful day, however, the two urban gentlemen realized they had become hopelessly lost.
Choosing not to panic, one calmly let loose with his warning shot.
An hour passed and nothing happened. So he did it again.
Nothing. Finally, as it was getting dark, he asked his companion whether he might try one final warning shot.
"Can't," his friend said, "I'm out of arrows."
Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344, or firstname.lastname@example.org.