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Honkgate

I don’t have many pet peeves. But unnecessary honking really gets my goad. There are reasons cars were given horns. Someone is backing into you – you honk. Someone is veering into your lane – you honk. Someone is not moving fast enough at a green light – well…. let’s talk about that.

I was stopped at a red light the other day with my 5-year-old daughter in the backseat. We were headed to her ballet class. Next thing I know, the driver behind me is laying on his horn. This was not a gentle tap. This was a full-on honk! I was so startled I jumped in my seat.

The light had *just* turned green. In fact, my brain hadn’t even had time to tell my foot to get off the brake, before this crotchety man decided I needed to get moving. I have no doubt his hand was on his horn ready to honk once he saw the light turn.

Now — there are two extremes to handling a situation like this. You can do the adult thing and move on or you can go all road rage on the guy. I’m embarrased to say, I reacted somewhere in between. I started to feel the anger move up my gut and into my throat. And as if he could hear me, I screamed at the man. Then, threw my hands up and just sat there with my foot on the brake. Real mature, I know.

In my fit of anger, I had forgotten my daughter was in the back seat. And it wasn’t until she said, “Mommy, what’s wrong?” — that I realized how stupid I was being. What was I thinking? Granted, the only weapon this man looked like he was carrying was a cane, but that’s not the point.

The way we react to a difficult situation can be the difference between it ending well and ending very badly. After leaving my foot on the brake for an extra 5 seconds (I really let him have it!), I continued on to my daughter’s ballet class. And he to his early bird special.

FHP campaigns are designed to remind us all to be responsible. I learned my lesson that day. I wonder if he learned his.

Florida Highway Patrol has a campaign for everything these days. There’s “Click it or Ticket” to encourage drivers to wear their seat belts. “Operation Safe Ride” targets aggressive drivers and “Over the Limit. Under Arrest” for drunk driving . But I would like to propose a new campaign for those drivers who think their horn is an extension of their mouth — “Think before you Beep”.

My Publix

There is something very comfortable about my Publix. If you do the grocery shopping for your family, you know exactly what I am talking about.

For instance, I never buy peanut butter, but I know exactly what aisle the peanut butter is on in my Publix. I know 9 times out of 10, Delwanda will be icing a cake in the bakery section at my Publix. And I know that if I accidentally drop an entire glass jar of baby food at my Publix, the young man stocking shelves won’t make me feel like a complete idiot. (Yes, I’ve done that!)

The “Cheers” song should play when I walk into my Publix because everybody really does know my name. And it’s not because they know me from television. They know me from being there 5 days a week! I’m not one of those moms who is super-organized, so I’m constantly running in for one or two items. Yesterday, I just had to run in to get Minute Rice for my daughter’s lunchbox and also came home with  a delicious chick  pea salad, some tilapia and the latest on cashier, Erlande’s baby girl.

There are times when I’m closer to other Publix stores. But everytime I cheat on my Publix, I regret it. I can’t find the milk or the avocados at a new store, much less the peanut butter. I do always seem to be able to find the wine, though.

At my Publix, the older gentleman who bags my groceries may not be the fastest, but he knows how to bag. He is *very* careful with my eggs. And despite the Publix policy against tipping, I always give my bagger a couple of bucks when he helps me to my car.

My Publix is small. It doesn’t have the big, fancy deli or the large selection of Greenwise products.  The produce section is crammed in the corner between the eggs and chips and very rarely are more than 3 checkout aisles operating at one time. But it’s my Publix and I’ll take it over the others anyday.

Why I Chose Broadcasting Over Bugs

I have a confession to make: I went to bug school. Actually, my dad says it wasn’t bug school, but that’s all I remember about it, the bugs.

I was 13 years old and my father wanted me to scout cotton on our family farm in North Florida as a summer job. Scouts walk a pattern through the field, inspect the plants and determine what bugs are invading the cotton plants. This helps the farmer determine what pesticide he needs to spray on the crop.

My dad sent me to a training school for scouts in Tifton, Georgia. (I swear I was the only girl there!) And for two days, I saw more slides of bugs than I care to remember: worms, caterpillars and something called a boll weevil. They all looked the same, except the boll weevil which has a pointy snout and can be extremely damaging to cotton plants.

I returned from Tifton and started working with two other guys in my father’s fields. I didn’t see many bugs, but when I did, I could just ask the guys what to write on the log.

Pretty soon, though, I was scouting cotton on my own. By this point, the cotton plants had grown very tall. I am pretty tall now: 5′ 8″, but at 13, I was a squirt. I was barely 5 feet tall. The cotton plants towered over my head. My parents had to stick a long flag in the back of my pants, so if I ever got lost in the field, they would be able to find me.

I was terrified! There were snakes and bugs and boll weevils in those fields. I would basically run as fast as I could from one end to the other. Sometimes I would check a plant or two, but I didn’t know what I was looking at, so I would make up bugs to put on my log sheet.

I must have fudged the log for weeks before finally confessing to my mother. I really didn’t think it was that big of a deal at the time. But looking back on it, I can’t imagine how many unnecessary pesticides my father sprayed on the cotton because of my fake logs.

My father fired me. Actually, my dad is the only employer to ever fire me. I was a darn good soda-jerk, pharmacy cashier, babysitter, I even bailed hay one summer. But I found my passion in broadcasting. I’ve been doing the news for 15 years now. I believe that if you do what you love, you’ll do it well. I am not and never will be a good cotton scout.