People stop me in the streets from time, to tell me how much they enjoy my weekly articles. Okay, maybe they don’t literally stop me in the streets. But they stop me in the coffee shop, the grocery store, the post office, Dollar General, at church, etc. Maybe I should change my opening sentence to “People stop me in public places…”
Anyway, many of my fans…uh, admirers? Many of my readers ask how I come up with such interesting and humorous articles. I usually make some comment to the effect of, “Oh, I just keep my ears and eyes open—the stories are all around me.” That is an accurate statement, but judging from the strange looks I receive I wonder if that’s the best way to answer the question.
Does my response cause people to wonder about me? Please don’t answer that question! But do people picture me wandering around Grand Cane, nosing in on everyone’s business? I hope not, because it’s not just my adopted home town neighbors that I spy on—I poke about Keatchie, Logansport, Mansfield, and Shreveport too. Yes, even Texas, when I visit friends and family. As I travel about, I hear or see things that strike me as column worthy. We all know that I can’t remember anything, so I rely on voice texting.
I pick up my phone, pull up my Notes app, turn on the microphone, and start talking. Is it safe? It’s safer than typing while driving. But it’s not ideal.
Sometimes I wonder what would happen if a deputy saw me talking to myself, perhaps drifting towards the shoulder, as I struggle to turn on the microphone. “Hello Mrs. Franklin, how are you? I’m sorry to pull you over, but I noticed your driving was a little erratic—one might even use the word reckless. Have you had enough sleep? Have you had one too many adult beverages?”
Oh, how embarrassing! But not as much as my response. “Good afternoon, Deputy. No, I have not. Uh, well, you see, I write a weekly article for the newspaper. Maybe you’ve read it? No, probably not—most of my readers are retired and wear bi-focal glasses. Anyway, I am always looking for ideas, no matter where I go. And when my brain comes upon a clever subject for my column, then I’ve got to get it down quickly! See, I have to grab my phone and record it in my app. And sometimes I get excited and I’m too busy talking and I don’t see the road.…”
The nice deputy, before he put me in handcuffs and took me to jail, would respond politely. “Yes, ma’am, I understand what you’re saying. I really do. But under our state laws that’s not a reason to wander all over the road. Just sit back and enjoy your ride. Personally, I’ve never been in the back of my squad car, but I’ve heard it’s real comfy.”
Lately I’ve tried my best to restrict all story gathering to situations outside of the driver’s seat. But I’m always looking for ideas. If you have any suggestions for future stories, please let me know—I’d love to hear them. Just email me at email@example.com. Oh, and I promise to give you credit for the story. I’m sure Jayson Richardson and his deputies will thank you. I know my husband will.
Jann Goar Franklin graduated Russellville High School in 1989. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org