Know your neighbor

— A feature highlighting citizens of the Houston area.

Residence: Houston (12 years; Born in Washington, Mo.; grew up in St. Louis).

Birthday: Feb. 3.

Occupation: Publisher-editor assistant, Houston Herald.

Family members: Husband, David (of Houston); sons Jeff, Scott, Jason and John and families (all of St. Charles) and Weston (college student in West Plains); daughters Whitney (and family, of Boston, Mass.) and Lauren (and family of Miami, Fla.); father Ernest Waters (of Houston – turned age 99 today – Dec. 1).

Education: Graduate of Riverview Gardens High School in St. Louis; classes in medical terminology at University of Missouri – St. Louis.

Pets: Two dogs (Buster and Blondie), two cats (Pete and Princess), chickens, ducks and guineas.

Favorite food: Lobster.

Favorite ice cream flavor: Rocky Road.

Least favorite food: “I like most foods, but I’d have to say any kind of bugs.”

Favorite things to cook: Chicken and dumplings, chili.

Best place I ever ate at: Glenn’s Cafe at the Tiger Hotel in Columbia (Mo.). “They had the best steak. It just melted in you mouth.

Two my favorite activities: “Working in my garden with the flowers and vegetables, and playing with my critters. I love my critters. The chickens are so interesting. Sometimes one will sit on my arm and just talk to me and tell me about everything. But the chickens are kind of sassy and the ducks are pretty docile. If the ducks see the chickens coming, they’ll get out of the way.”

Number of states I’ve set foot in: 18.

Favorite state: Missouri. “I like the varied seasons and I love the trees. I’d be very bored in a place where the weather was the same all the time. And of course, in Missouri it changes hourly.”

Place I’d most like to visit: Maine in the fall and winter. “I’d love to be up there and see the leaves in the fall.”

Favorite kind of music: “I like a lot of music – everything except maybe rap and hard rock.”

Favorite musical artist: B.B. King. “I love blues, and I saw him twice in person. It was awesome; he made music look so easy – him and Lucille.”

Favorite movie: “The Green Mile.” “I’m a Stephen King fanatic, and Tom Hanks did a wonderful job in that movie. And that big guy (Michael Clark Duncan) – he was great. And it followed the book really well. A lot times movies don’t.”

Favorite TV show: “The Walking Dead.” “It’s so wild and out there. You get so into the characters, it’s like real.”

Favorite actors: Andrew Lincoln, “The Walking Dead.” “He does a great job because he’s nothing like that character.” Also Morgan Freeman and Ben Affleck.

Favorite zoo animal: Tiger. “They’re so powerful. But I don’t want one for a pet.”

Favorite board game: “Sorry!”

Favorite plants: Hydrenga, lily.

Favorite tree: White oak. “It’s majestic, it feeds all the critters during the winter and it it turns into nice tables.”

Favorite school subject: Music. “I played classical violin for about six years and loved it.”

Least favorite school subject: Math. “I was not good at math.”

All-time favorite politician: President Harry S Truman. “He was from Missouri and if he can grow up on a farm and become president, anybody can do it. And he made some really tough choices; he of course made the decision to drop the bombs on Japan, which had to be a horrible decision to make.”

A big pet peeve: “Politicians who promise things and never pay off.”

Someone (other than parents) who I admire or influenced me: Grandmother Maude Waters. “She lived to be three weeks shy of 100 years old. People often remember the past vibrantly when they get old, and she used to talk about being at the world’s fair in St. Louis and told wonderful stories. And she was quite a fighter and a little sassy. I think you have to have a little sass to make it to 100.”

A memorable moment from my childhood: “I took ballet lessons when I was in fourth-grade and we danced at Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis in front of a big crowd. It was very memorable, but it was scary, too.”

A surprising fact about me: “When I get nervous, I laugh a lot. I was on a job interview at a big hospital and I kept laughing. I kept thinking, ‘you’re really sounding dumb.’ I felt like they must have thought I was a real ding-dong. But I got the job.”

Just saying…

What Houston could really use: “What is needed here is more opportunities for young people to work here and make some money and stay here. If you’re going to make your community vibrant, you need to keep your young people, and we don’t have a lot of that. Also, in the schools I think they need to encourage young people to really live up to their potential. My personal experience here is that a lot of kids are just content to graduate and they need to be encouraged to expand their horizons and not be afraid to really step up.”

Regarding President-elect Donald Trump: “We elected him –we went through the democratic process and he was chosen. So we need to give him a chance and do whatever we can to go forward from here and help our country be great again. And I don’t know, but maybe a businessman will be a good thing for the country. But I think people need to stop all the silly picketing and complaining and move on.”

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