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 Amazon.com and B&N.com.
Spring is coming. . .BUT. . .
by Earl Staggs
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.