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The Cookbook Junkie

In Memory of Kayla

By Gini Raineycookbook_junkie[1]

The hearts in my community are breaking this evening. The cause? A young child, only ten years old, was senselessly murdered.  The circumstances around her disappearance from her family’s church and the discovery of her body on family property and the suspect being her uncle could shake the very fiber of the deep faith in God and family that most east Texans hold near and dear.  But the hundreds of people from different walks of faith, different ethnicities, and different political views to search for young Kayla set those differences aside.  As those people, walking only arm-lengths apart in the rain, looking for any sign of this child, a spirit of unity filled the fields and forests outside the small town of Bullard.  And those people, along with thousands more in our area, are hugging their children and grandchildren a little closer tonight and praying for the sanctity of life that we kayla-gomezall sometimes take for granted.

And while I don’t mean to take this platform and use it for such a deeply sad and moving topic, I must say that the events of this weekend have made me yearn for the simpler days and times when I was a child.  Oh, I’m not naïve enough to think that there weren’t predators out there when I was young, but I really don’t think that things like this happened as frequently.  Is this an exponential thing? The more people the more incidences? I don’t know.  But, I wish we could return to a simpler time.

You all know of what I speak.  When we played all day in our neighborhood and stayed out after dark, wishing on the first star and chasing lightening bugs.  When the hardest choice you had to make during the day was a peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese for lunch.  When you didn’t lock your door at night and felt safe and secure.

When the only thing you worried about when you were walking home from school was whether the neighbor’s dog would chase you all the way down the street or the kid up the block would hit you in the head with a snowball.  That the only thing you had to be scared of at night was the dark or the monster under your bed.  When the only funny uncle around at family events was Uncle Ray who would throw hands full of change into the air, and you scrambled with your cousins to pick it up.  I miss those days.  I miss the simple things in life.  I miss the sanctity of life.  I miss the respect we should have for each other and the realization that everyone has their own thoughts, hopes and dreams and are entitled to express them without fear of the judgement of others when they are expressed.

And perhaps I’m going to cop out on a review and a recipe.  Perhaps I’m going to suggest something radical.  Turn off the TV, step away from the computer, turn off your phone.  Gather those kids around you and cook a meal together. BE together.  Talk.  Share.  Listen.  Plan.  Dream.  Hope.  Care.  Love.  And give thanks.  And pray for the Gomez family, because they can’t do any of those things with Kayla tonight.  They just can’t.  Peace.

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