GRIT readers send letters sharing their latest rural adventures.
"Spike" the Lizard Wins the Race
Recently I changed my status from a life-long Chicago suburbanite to the newest rural adventures resident of the small town of Zebulon, North Carolina.
Although I find myself with the minor annoyance of being about the only person in town who still uses the grammatically correct salutation of "you" vs. "you all," country living still has its benefits.
One such perk is the unbridled free-flowing fun of such small-town signature events as the annual Lizard Lick Olympics that I had the pleasure of attending this fall in beautiful downtown Lizard Lick, North Carolina. The town has a reported population of 14, although I am told it has grown some recently.
In addition to the usual country music, dancing and the obligatory hush puppy culinary treats, the grand finale of the town festival was the annual Lizard Race, conducted by the consummately cordial honorary Mayor Charles Wood. I still haven't been given a straight answer as to whether Mr. Wood is an official mayor of a real town or merely a friendly figurehead.
Nonetheless, when "hizonnor" gave the "on your mark, get set, go," an uncanny reverence fell over the crowd as the lizards did their slip and slide up the incline, racing their way to the winner's circle.
I really don't recall which of the small lizards won the lightweight race, but in the large lizard category, it was the bearded dragon "Spike" of Wendell who took top spoils.
I was asking myself if the trade-off of no longer having a CompUSA and Best Buy around the corner, with 10 or more world-class entertainment groups at my beck and call any weekend, in Chicago was a wise one. But now that I've experienced the Lizard Lick Olympics, I've concluded that I'm glad I made the move, because there simply are some things that money can't buy: sheer pure country fun that's "Lizard Lickin' good," ya all!
— Gerald McGlothlin
Zebulon, North Carolina
A Google Convert
I'm a retired boomer living on an acreage in the country in Iowa. I really enjoy Hank Will's Country Tech column in GRIT — nice writing style and always interesting.
In the January/February 2007 issue, Hank mentioned websites that provide unit of measure conversions. I frequently use Google's built-in conversion function.
If you enter a conversion in the form of "x unit of measure in unit of measure" in the Google search box the conversion will be displayed. For instance "2139 cubic inches in gallons" displays "2139 (cubic inches) = 9.25974022 US gallons."
Almost any unit of measure or abbreviation works, including currency. How about "speed of light in furlongs per month"? (Speed of light = 3.91899988 × 1012 furlongs per month.)
I also use the word-definition function quite a bit. If you enter "define:word" (no spaces) in the search box you'll be presented with definitions of the word or phrase from several sources.
Have a good day!
— Jon Quass
Linn County, Iowa
Thanks, Jon! We're happy to know about the conversion and definition functions on Google, and especially about how fast light travels in furlongs per month. We expect to find that very useful . . . sometime. — Editors
Turning Heads & and Pages
I have just received my new copy of the new GRIT magazine. I at first thought it was another magazine, but saw the huge letters, "GRIT." Wow, I thought. Let me look. And, as I kept turning pages to see all the beautiful color photographs and various sections of interest, I was so very impressed. I just had to write and tell you how great your new look is. You all are to be complimented on a terrific job, and I wish you the best for all future printings of the GRIT magazine.
I hope you'll continue to have articles pertaining to gardening, or visits to special gardens available to the public.
— Martha M. Snyder
We will indeed continue to feature articles on gardening and also great recipes for what to do with all that delicious food once you harvest it. — Editors
New & Improved GRIT Magazine
Congratulations on GRIT's new look and format. These changes are a great improvement. The quality of your publication is greatly enhanced.
Like many of your readers, I recall having GRIT in our home during my childhood and early youth.
— Leon W. Rhodes
The GRIT Goes On . . .
You can't imagine how delighted and surprised I was to find a GRIT magazine in the grocery store in Sedona, Arizona, last month. Just as many Americans, I grew up with GRIT, but in a very personal way.
My grandfather, Howard R. Davis, was editor in chief for 40+ years or so until 1950, I believe. And then his son, my dad, John B. Davis — who started out as a copy boy in high school, graduated from Penn State and worked with Associated Press for a few years — returned to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to move up through the editorial desks to editor in chief in the 1970s. My stepmother, Anne Long Davis, was social editor in the 1930s and '40s, retiring when she married my dad. So we lived and breathed GRIT every day of our lives.
Your photographs brought back many memories. Dad would take us into the linotype room in the early 1950s and the guys would type out our names in lead, backwards, of course! We were good friends with the Lamades, and Dietrich Lamade III (Rick) was a classmate of ours all through school and in confirmation class at St. Mark's Lutheran Church.
Grandpa, who had an eighth-grade education, started out sweeping the floors at GRIT in the 1890s, and Dietrich Lamade would give him books to read and then they would discuss them — Shakespeare and the great books. One that I have that was passed down to me is The Art of Thinking by Ernest Dimnet, a kind of phenomenology on thought itself, including chapters on How to Read in Order to Think, and How to Read the Newspaper. The founder of GRIT was my grandfather's mentor, and their work together led to his assuming the role of editor for several decades.
I love how the GRIT goes on . . . and I love the feel of your magazine. I miss living in rural Pennsylvania very much, and your publication helps bring home to me in Miami Beach. Thanks very much.
— Carol M. Davis
Coral Gables, Florida
GRIT Reads Better in Color
What a splendid surprise to receive my first new colorful GRIT magazine. I love it. It even reads better in color.
I have just become a great grandma, so everything has taken a back seat, and I am sorry to have delayed writing so long. Our precious baby girl lives out of state, so miles and time make it so easy to neglect thank yous. I am thinking how much pleasure I will have catching up when the snow and cold come.
Thank each and every one of you for the enjoyment I will have with the new GRIT.
— Louise W. Walters
GRIT Reader Letters Welcome
GRIT welcomes letter from our readers. If you would like to comment on an article or share your opinions, send a letter — with clear, high-quality photographs, if you would like — to GRIT, Mail Call, Topeka, KS, or email us at Letters @ GRIT.com. Letters should be under 300 words; they may be edited or shortened. — Editors