Captain JackSusan Annette Smith would like to say she was born on a midsummer night, but as she entered the world early in the morning in the middle of May, that would be a lie. As for the year, she grew up listening to Smoldering Elvis, not Cheeseburger Elvis or Rhinestone Elvis. At age fourteen she fell in love with George because everybody else was in love with John, Paul, or Ringo. (This contrarian trait started early and has no sign of letting up any time soon.) If you must know her age, you can do the math. Early on, her mother taught her the importance of reading and afternoon mud-pie tea parties. Her father taught her the importance of not taking oneself too seriously, as well as the concept of “laughing to keep from crying.” The small Texas town she claimed as home was just large enough to merit a minuscule dot on the official state map. Now the town is even smaller and the dot has disappeared, but her affection for nearly-forgotten, small, quirky Texas communities remains. She met the love of her life and husband of forty-five years in freshman registration line at Southwest Texas State College. (The school’s name has been changed a couple of times since then, possibly to protect the guilty.) The line was long, the wait was boring, and the boy in front of her was cuter than the boy behind her so that’s who she flirted with, and as they say, that was that. Susan was a high school English teacher for fifteen years (little kids give her hives) and then a school librarian for another fifteen. Neither her classes nor her library were ever as quiet as some people thought they should be, but she figured they could just get over it. Today she is the mother of three grown children (aka “groan” children) and grandmother of six. Her grandma name is G.G., short for Gorgeous Granny, Grumpy Grouch, or GREAT Grandma, depending on the grandchild and whether he or she thinks the situation calls for manipulation, a temper tantrum, or sincerity. She wonders if they will ever realize the first two options don’t work. Her husband answers to the awe-inspiring grandpa name of Goat. Along the way she has dabbled in herbal medicine, belly dancing, various arts and crafts, and prodigious piles of laundry. She loves plants, pirates, Vikings, lemons, gypsies, dogs, Johnny Depp, and chocolate. Her most-cherished alter ego, “Captain Jacklyn Sparrow, Herbal Pirate Queen,” combines several of her favorites. Susan is also a TOMS addict (both shoes and coffee), a bumbling beekeeper, a recovering packrat striving toward Minimalism (at least minimally), a mover of rocks (a daily ritual in the Texas Hill Country), a digger of dirt, an avid if not particularly able DIYer, a wearer of inappropriate earrings, and a gypsy at heart. Her favorite TV program is Hell on Wheels, mainly because of the back view of Cullen Bohannon at the end of the credits. In the future she hopes to become a published writer and a certified herbalist, to have healthy bees and a couple more grandchildren, and to meet Johnny Depp and Cullen Bohannon in person. If you keep reading her blog, she’ll be sure to let you know when it all happens.