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Author: Jeffrey W. Spencer

Cutting Corners

I was driving across Texas last Tuesday on my way to Houston on business.  Along the way, I was able to take some back roads which included driving through fields of corn and it got me thinking about helping people. Have you ever heard the term “cutting corners?”   You’ve no doubt heard it in regards to builders, ie: “This building exceeds all local codes and I can guarantee that we did not cut any corners.”  Or, perhaps from a politician when he says, “I will not cut any corners in my new administration.”  or the opposite, “He’s cut too many corners while repairing his car and it’s about to fall apart.”  Why is cutting corners bad, and why is not cutting corners good?  Isn’t that an interesting question to be thinking about as you drive 150 miles across Texas? In truth, the term comes from a tradition in American agriculture in response to neighbors needing assistance.   Before the government handed out welfare checks or EBT cards with “free money” for the purchase of food, farmers gave back to their neighbors.  “Not cutting corners” refers to a farmer not cutting the corner of a field during harvest.  Neighbors were free to come into the field with their baskets and take an amount of food sufficient for their needs.  Neighbors would work and take an apportioned amount, thus allowing others to...

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I ain’t afraid of no ghost . . .

After work today, I traveled back to Oatmeal Texas. I had found what I thought was an old abandoned house that appeared to be built in the 1880s – a narrow depth two story home that looked like an old style Texas ranch house. I had thought that it was empty, it had no drapes, no blinds, and appeared to be devoid of furniture. So, when I stopped today – I saw what appeared to be a new water hose hanging on the side of the house, I looked again. The house still appeared to be empty – but...

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Black Bean Soup and Sour Dough Bread

I love good soup. I love good soup with good bread even more. And my mother always said that the way to a persons heart is through the stomach.   This past weekend, my wife and I stopped at a bistro that occupies a building that was built in 1885.  It shares the space with a quirky and eclectic apparel shop upstairs.   So, for my first and official merchant endorsement, I would like to say that the Down the Alley Bistro and Amore Boutique that share the 1885 building in a symbiotic relationship is something that the casual traveler to...

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