If you have been paying attention, you will have noticed a young lady perched atop the scaffolding by the mural on Highway 81.  Her name is Maris Blanchard, she is the daughter of the late Bobbie Blanchard and the granddaughter of Teresa Blanchard.  We have all become accustomed to its faded appearance but I believe that if you look at it now or wait until she is finished, I think you will agree that it looks much better.  Ms. Blanchard is doing a wonderful job and she told me that it means a lot to her to be able to do this for her fathers home town and also that she has fond memories of coming to Ryan to visit when she was younger.  Thank you Maris.

 Ryan Fire Chief Randal Garcia tells me that they had a good turn out for the first annual Stop, Drop and Run 5K fun run and walk.  It is great to see so many people participating.  They had hamburgers for lunch after the run but I was unable to attend as I had a family reunion to attend at the same time but I bet the food was good.

 The reunion mentioned in the above paragraph was a lot of fun.  Mostly we sat around talking and eating.  Some of our relations from the east side of the county as well as some nice folks from Texas came to visit.  Bob Cates started off life in Ryan but his family left after a fire destroyed the family business.  Bob told me his brother, Utah Cates (is that a cool name or what), worked for the railroad.  I am hoping that some of my elders around town can enlighten me in regard to the Cates family.

 Wednesday was the last day for the children’s reading group here in Ryan because school will be starting in a couple of weeks.  T J Dewbre tells me that there are already plans in the works for a possibly expanded reading group next year.  As you can imagine this is a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  I believe that the earlier that you expose children to reading and books the better.  I am taking this opportunity to thank a few folks, Michelle for getting the ball rolling, TJ, Heidi Townsend, Emily Smith, Amanda Reagan, Cheryl Carter and the town council (I know that I am missing a bunch of people but you know who you are), thank you for picking the ball up and running with it.

 It is easy to let personal feelings color our thinking, but all of these stories, the mural, the fire department and the children’s reading group are examples of people working together for the common good.  Call me Pollyanna if you like but I think things are looking up in Ryan.

 The book I am reading is called “Dancing At the Harvest Moon” by K.C. McKinnon.  The harvest moon of the title is a dance hall and eating establishment open seasonally on a lake in Canada.  This is a tale of love and loss, re-birth and starting over when life kicks you in the teeth as happens from time to time.  I am not sure from whom I acquired this book but so far it has been good reading.  The art work alone makes it worth looking through.  I frequently get books given to me.  Sometimes it is a case of someone cleaning out a cupboard and sometimes it is hey I just read this and you need to read it as well.  In ether case the gifts are greatly appreciated, I can’t think of a better gift than a book.

 I am thinking about a time when my younger sister came home from college to visit and when she walked through the door, I’m stretched out in the living room floor listening to “Freebird” and reading a volume of Walt Whitman that she had given me.  This comes to mind because as I sit here writing this I have music playing, it is hard to type and rock out as well. (I have my earplugs in so to anyone watching, I must appear spastic). Other than the first song, none of the music was selected by me, so I have run down the list of several great songs, from “Sweet Home Alabama” to “Can’t You See” to “With a Little Help from My Friends” and now it’s “Freebird”.  I’m not sure why books and music go together for me, maybe it’s the story telling inherit in both.  I’ll see if my sister remembers.