OFF THE CUFF

August 2017 isn’t even two weeks old, but I’ve already found it to be a very interesting month.

•So how about that weather?

I’m sure many of you, like me, have been outside a lot lately enjoying the oddly wonderful fall-like conditions.

A friend from out of state was visiting me and my wife, Wendy, last weekend. He and his wife own a house and property in Texas County and are quite familiar with south-central Missouri’s normal hot-and-humid climate in early August.

We were sitting outside for hours Sunday evening, and he mentioned several times how nice it was compared to what would be expected. Then, as the Sun was going down, he said something I won’t soon forget.

“I think it’s about time to head back to my place. You know I have a plane to catch in the morning, and it’s getting kind of chilly.”

Chilly in early August – in Texas County, Mo.

I could get used to that.

•There’s an article in this week’s Herald about the new executive director at the Texas County Food Pantry: Katie Mutzebaugh (pronounced muts-a-bah).

At only 26 years of age, Ms. Katie has been plopped into what is arguably one of the most important jobs in the county. Lets face it: There are lots of people here who (for various reasons) take advantage of what the facility has to offer.

My first impression of Ms. Katie is she’s a well-spoken, go-getter of a woman who seems to have her head in the right place regarding what the pantry’s role is – and perhaps should be.

Only a short time into her stint as the facility’s fifth director, Ms. Katie has already expressed desires to make some changes that she believes will lead to improvement.

Here’s hoping that those ideas pan out in the best ways possible, and that she and the organization experience good things in the near and distant future (however long that might be).

•Speaking of women in leadership roles, it’s been well documented that the City of Houston has one as its administrator: Tona Bowen.

I’ve only me her briefly at this point, but she seemed sincerely interested in building a relationship with the local media and generally being a personable, visible connection between the town and its residents.

Look for a feature story in the Herald about Ms. Bowen in the near future (hopefully next week). Like a lot of people I have spoken to about the subject, I am very much looking forward to observing what happens under Ms. Tona’s watch. Here’s hoping it’s good.

•A health food store opens this week on Grand Avenue in downtown Houston.

Us old folks shouldn’t have trouble remembering its name because it’s called The Health Food Store.

Here’s hoping this project undertaken by Kathy Richardson works out well. Obviously, time will tell, but I’m really rooting for this retail store to fly because I feel like it actually addresses a need (unlike many of the new businesses that come and go so often here).

Yeah, we could sure use something like this in Houston, and it will be great not having to go to Springfield to find a loaf of Ezekiel Bread or some organic butter.

Look for some information and photos in next week’s Herald.

•Maybe you recall wasting a little time reading an installment of this column not long ago that explored the mystery of the street in Houston that has two names: Hawthorne and Hawthorn.

Well, add one more to that.

Yep, there are now three different names to the street on signs along its east-west path through Houston’s residential district. The one where the multi-named roadway meets First Street on its eastern end now says HawthRONE.

I don’t know exactly when it appeared (or why its seemingly entirely adequate predecessor was replaced), but boy, did I do a double-take when I first noticed it last week.

And apparently, the street’s three current names aren’t its first three. A friend told me it actually used to be called Silk Stocking Street.

He spelled it “Stalking” in an email. I replied that that sounded creepy.

Another friend, who actually lives on the topsy-turvy street, said he was pondering moving because he could no longer keep track of where he lived due to the name trifecta. Another friend said “only in Houston.”

I replied that that’s part of why I love this place so much. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald.

Email: ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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