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New Hopes†

excerpt number nineteen 

Jackson McGrath


        Greetings! I suppose another week has  passed by. I am sitting here listening to the thunder  and watching the clouds and hoping and praying that God sends a rain. 
        The grass is growing. The birds are singing.
         There are blackbirds around our place like in winter. Though Christmas is almost here I haven’t bought a light since my son drowned. 
        I called around this morning for news. Hi Mrs. Johnson. I still have some deer meat you gave me. Hi Rachel. Hi Mr. Buster. You and Mrs. Annie are going to make it. I was talking to Sis Leora McClendon last night and she said that one of our friends had woke up dead. Then I called Mrs. Porter and she said she didn’t really have any  news, but told me I could come get some greens.
        I think that things are going so bad and then I look at the news and I realize we are not doing that bad at all. We are so busy watching TV we don’t know what is going on.
        On Tuesday an elder lady watched TV so much it had gotten in her blood, I think! She got up in church and asked for prayer for a girl on “As the World Turns” that she wouldn’t get killed. 
        We also had a misprint of information  last week. If you read it and wondered where that  information came from, you were right, it came  from nowhere. 

Addie B.


        Greetings! Our little community remains  the same this week as it did last week. The Lord left us here for a purpose. 
        I am always happy to see the seasons be as they are supposed to be. Today is the day the Lord has made. It is raining and you can’t see people or their crops.
        A father said to his son, “I’ve been getting  calls saying you’ve been using bad words. Is it  true?” “Yes, daddy.” “Well, son, I did the same  thing when I was your age.” Aren’t we thankful  people are concerned enough to print what happens  in our town? Believe me, New Hope is a place of interest.
        Carl is on vacation in Houston.
        Deer are eating Alzro’s garden.
     My buddy Charlene gave me a ride home. I asked a sick friend did he want me to bring him a pie and he said, “Yes baked potato.” So I carried him sweet potato. 
        I do hope you will take a few minutes this  Saturday to cast your vote for whoever you wish to  have in office as mayor. We need politicians who  listen to people. Let us know and we will put your  name on the ballot. 
        And remember to bring a covered dish and  your own chair. 
        Oh, and watch your steps this week because snakes are beginning to crawl. Those snakes kill. I  keep a hoe at my door to kill them.

Addie B. 



        Greetings again!! I know all you faithful  readers were waiting on the edge of their seats for  the next episode in the lives of the people from New  Hope.
        There is so much news to report this week I don’t know where to start. The guns have been blasting and the deer have been falling. The  berries are ripe and I am afraid to get in the weeds. Just now a lady drove in my yard and said, “Are you Addie B.” I said “Yes.” 
        Today it is cold, cold. The only problem is it’s so hot. I can remember when I didn’t know what an electric fan was. 
        In church Alice said a little boy asked why  the Ten Commandments were written on stone. The answer was, So men could not keep them or break them and they could not bend them. This is a crazy saying.
        As you know, the big election was Saturday. We had 31 votes and I beat John by just 5, so I am mayor and Charlene is sheriff. When you pass through New Hope, blow your horn then I’ll know you’ve been by.
        If you are interested in having your garbage  picked up, call John at 4-2949. Since he lost the mayor race, he decided he would offer his service to our community in this way. 

By now. Addie B.

        Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you  plenty to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.


Miss Addie B., who writes the New Hope News, is  in the hospital to have a pacemaker installed. Please keep her in your prayers. We will miss her column  this week.


We went to Tyler today. I thought about Addie B.  McClendon when we passed the New Hope Baptist  Church out on Hwy. 84 West. I know she was proud of it. Though I know that the Lord only takes the best, he truly took a jewel from us when he swept our sweet Addie B. away. Our hearts were broken as her golden heart stopped beating. 

Addie, we miss you!


†All of the language in this piece was taken from sources describing the thirty-some towns named
“New Hope” in Texas. This excerpt includes just one: New Hope number 19, in Shelby County.

Jackson McGrath is a writer in Chicago, Illinois.