Growing up in Texas, the land of the tall tales, I often heard stories about James Stephen "Big Jim" Hogg, who served as 20th Governor (1891-1895) and was the father of two daughters, Ima and Ura Hogg. It was years later before I learned that there was no "Ura" Hogg – that was a joke, a satirical poke at Hogg's poor taste in naming his only daughter "Ima," given the unfortunate combination of first-and-family name.
There is something magical about a young boy's exposure to ranch and rodeo work – a boost to self-esteem, the satisfaction of hard work well done, a development of mind, body and spirit. Perhaps that is also true for young girls but I can't speak authoritatively to their needs since I raised 3 boys. I have seen this dynamic in my own family – and in the work of some of the local folks here in the rural Hempstead area of Texas.
Academia has it right – every now and then we should all take a "sabbatical" from our usual grind (even a grind that we love dearly). Taking a page from their book (no pun intended) I am officially taking a sabbatical from writing – no newspaper column, no short stories, no books, no nothing, nada. Well . . . maybe an occasional blog . . . or chapters of The Book of Us.