Published on August 24, 2021

Look out squirrels, wild hogs on Hwy. 290; here I come

By Shirley Prihoda
The Bulletin

I lived in the beautiful little rural town of Brenham for a while; it’s on the Bluebonnet Trail that encompasses 80 miles of scenic wildflower bliss throughout Washington County.

Brenham is not only known for its hills being alive with bluebonnets, but also for its festivals, which are many. There’s the Bluebonnet Festival, the Scarecrow Festival, the Texas Arts and Music Festival and more antique car shows and wine tastings than one could attend in a lifetime. But there’s four little words known all the way from Dallas to the Caribbean: Blue Bell Ice Cream! That’s what makes Brenham the “Sweetest Little Town in Texas.”

There’s a lot of scenic roads in Washington County to be enjoyed while eating your Blue Bell, that is if you’re the only one on the road. Driving, even in small-town Brenham can sometimes feel combative and takes on a whole new dimension as you age. Why is it that everything inside the car, namely me, has slowed down, but everything on the outside has sped up?

This leads one to wonder what ever happened to the Texas slogan “Drive Friendly?” I long for those friendly drivers and not the ones who use only one digit to acknowledge you. Nowhere is this more prevalent than trying to enter or exit the HEB parking lot anytime remotely near a holiday. To defuse tempers, police are stationed at strategic points and using the authority given to them to stop a car with the simple lift of hand, they ensure you can get in and out of the parking lot.

While I must give credit where it’s due, navigating Hwy. 45 through Houston can’t hold a candle to wild hogs running amuck on Hwy. 290! Inquiring minds would like to know just what got into that mama hog’s mind to take her whole family on a nighttime picnic?

What was it that led mama hog to think the dirt bugs on the other side of the road were more scrumptious than the ones they were eating on the safe side of the road?

There are other critters, both big and small that seem to throw abandon to the wind. I’ve met some pretty pesky squirrels in our city who have developed “which way do you think I am going to go” to an art form. I learned the hard way that swerving can lead to far greater consequences than the stomach-sickening sound of hitting an animal. If an animal is going to play chicken in my lane of the road, they’re just going to have to take their chances.

Recently, my husband and I were out for a drive, and a squirrel decided it was game on. Apparently, he had eaten his Wheaties that day and wanted me to make his day. For you animal lovers, the squirrel made it to play the game another day.

It’s been said that life goes in full circle. You begin in one place and end up there once again, sort of like wearing Pampers. Senior driving is a lot like that.

When I began driving at 12 years old, yes 12, a lot of things were different, including fewer cars on the road and drivers who really did drive friendly.

I drove in slow motion then trying to get everything right. That circle is now complete; I’m driving in slow motion again trying to get everything right. A word of wisdom for all you drivers under 50 anxiously trying to get around us as we’re looking for the entrance into Buc-ee’s, not everything slows down as you age, certainly not the need for frequent restroom breaks.

In our health- and weight-conscious culture, this Strawberry Bread has a 50/50 chance of falling into the healthy category, depending upon one’s view of artificial sweetener. I am a fan; therefore, it’s healthy in my book.

Strawberry Nut Bread

3 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Jar All-Fruit Strawberry Jam
4 Eggs, Beaten
1 ¼ Cup Vegetable Oil
1 ¼ Cup Pecans, Chopped
2 Cups Fresh Strawberries
½ Cup Artificial Sweetener

Preheat oven to 350°. Thoroughly grease and flour two loaf pans.

Wash and slice the strawberries. Add the artificial sweetener and the all-fruit jam to the strawberries and mix well. Set the mixture aside for 30 minutes to soften. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk the dry ingredients to blend well. Add the pecans and stir to distribute throughout.

In another bowl, beat the eggs and add the vegetable oil. Stir well to blend. Pour into the strawberry mixture and stir well. Pour the strawberry mixture into the dry ingredients and stir just until well moistened.
Do not use an electric mixer, just blend by hand. Divide batter equally into the two loaf pans and bake for 60-70 minutes. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for at least five minutes before turning out. Immediately wrap in plastic wrap to develop the wonderful sticky top that is so loved at Starbucks.

The bread is not overly sweet and goes well with a hot cup of coffee. It’s also good with cream cheese. It freezes well and tastes better the next day, that is, if there is any left!

(To contact Shirley, please send emails to john.bulletin@gmail.com or write to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton, Tx. 77516)