Some people are just interested in my palate.
And I don't mind it a bit.
When word first filtered in about a planned chili, stew and soup cook-off in Dearing, I secretly hoped someone would call and ask me to be a judge. (I do look the part of a food judge, don't I? Plus, it was for a really good cause - fighting cancer.)
So, when the opportunity did present itself, I was more than happy to oblige. I ended up on the three-man stew team, which meant I tested a couple of kinds of catfish stew, a couple of chicken stews, a beef stew variant and some pork hash.
For the most part, it was all good. And very filling.
But Bill Welch's catfish stew really stood out - so much so that I had three bowls during the test session.
After the judging, it was time to sample the sweets - cakes, brownies, fudge. It was more than enough to shatter that New Year's resolution I made to lose weight.
But - as my taste buds and expanding waistline will vouch - it was absolutely worth it. (Plus, I got an invitation to be a judge at the Dearing Mayfest's burger battle. That made the deal even sweeter.)
Maybe my weight is just fate.
It wouldn't be the only thing - according to a recent InsuranceHotline.com study - that is affected by the stars. The study considered the past six years of driving records of 100,000 North Americans and researchers sorted the drivers by astrological sign, according to a report from Reuters.
And I'm in the group at the bottom of the barrel: Libras.
According to the study, people born between Sept. 23 and Oct. 22 are the most likely to have an accident or get a ticket.
Now, I've been lucky: My driving record is fairly clean, only blemished by a couple of minor accidents and a speeding ticket - all more than 10 years ago. It just goes to prove, you can't believe everything written in the stars.
Still, Aquarians - those birthdays between Jan. 20 and Feb. 18 - are next in line and should be careful, too.
There could be a chunky Libra speeding toward a chili challenge near you.
Meanwhile, a former Thomson High Lady Bulldog is tearing up the court at Brewton-Parker. Senior Monique Martin has racked up all kinds of accolades for the Lady Barons this season. The team improved to 16-3 on the season last week, as they scored 59 points in the second half to beat Columbia College 102-66.
Monique had a double-double - 37 points and 13 rebounds - in the game. She's been praised for her leadership on and off the court, and stands as another great example of the kinds of young people produced by local athletic programs.