Myra recalls past 13 years in final column

By Myra Starkey
Aug. 22, 2017 at 4:06 p.m.
Updated Aug. 22, 2017 at 10:25 p.m.

Crowd pleaser chocolate chip pie

Crowd pleaser chocolate chip pie   Contributed Photo for The Victoria Advocate

All good things eventually come to an end. The "Seinfeld" show lasted nine seasons and "Bonanza" lasted 14.

I have been writing Cooking with Myra since 2004. In these last 13 years, you have learned a lot about my life, some things fairly interesting and others more routine.

Perhaps it is interesting to look through the window to see what other people do.

But now I'm done. I'm not done with life. I think some of my best years are ahead of me.

I did have the chance to travel a fair amount these past years, and one thing I noticed is people are pretty much the same everywhere. If you watch the news, you would think there is conflict and hatred everywhere, that other folks won't like you if you are a different race, political party, religion or sexual orientation. I don't think that is true.

My experience has been that wherever I go, people seem to enjoy life, work, friends and family and in almost all situations are kind to strangers or travelers. In fact, they are often interested in people who are from other places.

Conflict, tragedy, gossip, violence, hatred and war sells newspapers and attracts viewers on television, and so naturally, that is what the media reports. We hear all this negative stuff so often that we begin to view other people in a bad way.

I still believe most folks are honest and kind, want their lives to be meaningful and enjoy connecting with others. Most of us seek to understand our higher purpose through God.

I have been part of the media for the last 13 years. I'm not convinced that the personal news I have been reporting is any different from what happens in your life.

The most important things that happen in our lives are not usually newsworthy.

On the other hand, all the important news we read that may affect us emotionally never actually touches our lives, it's just another day of news.

The news of greatest importance is what comes in a phone call, text or letter from a friend or relative such as, "I got into college!" or "I'm having a baby!" or "The doctor told me it's cancer. Please pray for me" or "I've met the person who I want to spend the rest of my life with!" or "Your father and I are so proud of you" or "We just got back in town. Are you free for supper?"

And sometimes the news comes suddenly with a knock on the front door and a stranger in a uniform is there hanging their head and telling you news you hoped you would never hear and your life is never the same again. That is the news that matters.

The past 13 years, my kids have gone from their educational years at home to mostly independent lives in the workplace. They all graduated from Baylor during that time, so we have spent a lot of money and time in Waco. It was worth it.

Our oldest son, Miles, lives in Austin and works for an art/education nonprofit.

Our middle child, Hannah, is married to lawyer/golfer Ben, and she is a fourth-year surgery resident in Houston.

Our youngest child, Spencer, is married to kind/beautiful Rachel, and he does commercial real estate in Houston.

We hope someday they will move back to Victoria because this is such an awesome town with great people (and I am totally serious about that).

My biggest dream is someday I will have several grandkids, although this has not yet happened. This is probably fortunate for you, dear readers, because if I had a grandchild then many of my Cooking with Myra columns would have been about that kid and how wonderful they were.

In the past 13 years, my mom died of ovarian cancer, and I was by her side as she passed away from an overdose of chemotherapy. I still miss her.

My dad was remarried a couple of years later to a nice, Christian lady his age in Lake Charles. He is fairly healthy, although his memory is declining.

Taylor's parents are still active in their mid-80s, and we get along well.

My kids have suffered no major problems other than Spencer nearly dying about four years ago when he was mugged in Houston. He nearly bled to death, and we did not find him until the next day in Ben Taub Hospital. I still cringe when I see the scar on his neck. I never wrote a column about this because it is too painful of a memory.

My parents taught me long ago that nothing good happens after midnight, and I wish all kids could learn this without nearly losing their life.

Finally, I would like to thank the staff of the Victoria Advocate, particularly Robbi, Meredith and Chris, for allowing me to share my life with all of you every Wednesday morning as you drank your morning coffee.

I hope that you were sitting next to your best friend at the breakfast table as I was. Taylor has helped me write this column more than I can say. He has an amazing talent to write exactly like a middle-aged woman. My side-kick, Janet, has helped me with the excellent photography all these years with no compensation other than my unwavering friendship.

What could my final words be to you? Live simply, love freely and seek God. Never turn down a reasonable request from a friend. Cherish the great treasure of old friends but don't miss out on the opportunity to meet new folks. Get out and see the world. It is a great place and full of great people, each person a unique creation of God.

These are two of my favorite recipes for guests. The coffee cake can be made easily in the morning and served with coffee. I make the coffee cake in a square pan or a cheesecake pan and cut in wedges.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email myra@vicad.com.


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