The Times has graciously granted me the opportunity to use this space once more to write a farewell on behalf of my husband, Joseph Benham.

Here’s an idea that I hope will appeal to readers: As you plan your celebrations of our nation’s independence, picture yourselves getting ready in the same way that George Washington’s troops did, as the Revolutionary War dragged on until peace was declared in 1783.

It was an approach that startled even jaded theatergoers and drama critics: As the curtain rose on the latest Broadway musical, the only person in sight was a woman past middle age, seated on a stool, silently churning butter!

Please note, my credentials for assessing the Florida massacre are two-fold: We’ve experienced terrorism first-hand, and I know something of the long history of violent movements here and abroad.

As music from “Carousel” reminds us, “June is bustin’ out all over,” and there’s no better time to recognize as many timely and praise-worthy things in our beautiful Hill Country as space allows.

Time was that in much of Texas and most of the Old South, about all that it took for a typical politician to be elected or returned to office were assurances that he’d be more effective than his opponent in “keeping African-Americans in their place” — except that he didn’t say “African-Americans.”

“Those thrilling days of yesteryear” don’t belong exclusively to the heroic Lone Ranger. There’s also a legion of musicians there, whose vast works bear the twin labels big-band era and “Songs That Got Us Through World War II.”

From pastors to police, doctors to teachers, school trustees to sheriff’s deputies, utility workers to firefighters and yes, even journalists, our beautiful area is replete with folks responding to noble callings — including nursing.

While most newsprint and airtime were being devoted over the weekend to the NBA, Kentucky Derby, PGA golf and Major League Baseball, a lot of Hill Country student athletes were winning one title after another — some at the expense of big-city schools.

Thousands of songs could have inspired Ralph Stanley to define country music as “three chords and then truth,” but it’s hard to think of lyrics that fit the definition of that eminent musicologist better than what Merle Haggard wrote:

I hope that every subscriber read the column by Greg Schrader, former editor and publisher of this newspaper, who has returned with his lovely and talented wife to put down retirement roots.

I fear that some readers may fall for nonsense pouring mostly from the Trump and Clinton camps, to the effect that open political conventions will put an end to American democracy and threaten survival of the Republic.

Readers of a certain age may recall Teresa Brewer, “the little girl with the big voice,” whose biggest hits included the song that begins, “Put another nickel in, in the Nickelodeon, all I want is lovin’ you and music, music, music.”

The increasingly sad state of presidential politics reminds me of two things in particular: the ditty “Every Man a King,” played and sung by Louisiana Sen. Huey Long, and the Peggy Lee ballad that asks plaintively, “Is that all there is?”

Hearing of widespread job losses in the Oil Patch may tempt some readers to sympathize while assuming that with neither oilfields nor refineries here in our beautiful Hill Country, we’re insulated from that downturn.

Quick now: What do Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, Humphrey Bogart, Nathan Lane, Elvis, the Gershwins, Phil Silvers, Shirley MacLaine, Duke Ellington and Buster Keaton have in common?

By the time these musings reach you on Wednesday morning, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and their followers should have finished celebrating their apparent victories in the Iowa caucuses and moved on to court voters in New Hampshire.

Soon after the birth of our daughter, I went to the U.S. Consulate in Buenos Aires, acknowledged the congratulations from the Consul General and filled out papers registering Stephanie Claire Benham as an American citizen born outside the United States.

As March 17 neared each year, the chief of correspondents at U.S. News & World Report assured us good-naturedly that St. Patrick’s is the day “when everybody is Irish or wishes that he were.”

Once a month, more or less, we get word that more friends have dropped their landline telephone service and are using only cellphones.

I know that the Good Book warns that pride will be followed by a fall, but I’ll take that chance. I’m very proud of how family, friends and strangers knocked themselves out to make Christmas 2015 memorable and joyful.

With some politicians seemingly hell-bent on scaring us to death with warnings of supposedly imminent terrorist attacks, it’s tempting to forget how often we and our forbears have confronted such threats — and how Americans have won every time.

It’s surely one of the landmark moments in movie history: in what owner Rick calls his “gin joint” in Nazi-occupied North Africa, a bevy of German soldiers are lustily singing drinking songs. Suddenly, Resistance leader Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) demands that the band play “La Marseillaise…

Having grandchildren (currently 3, 6 and 7) has encouraged my caregiver/better half and myself to become more conscious of the toy market than we had been in decades.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Thanksgiving and Christmas combined. That upsets some folks: A TV commentator groused the other day that she particularly objects to the fact that, “The stores are ignoring Thanksgiving! The minute they took down their Halloween stuff, up went the Christmas …

From graves of the fallen to churches, schools, civic clubs, city streets, the Veterans Center and the Cailloux Theater, our people young and old are turning out by the thousands to honor those who have worn the uniforms of our nation.

It was a weekend in which they “put the big pot in the little one.” For anyone unfamiliar with that saying, it’s one that was used in West Texas when I was growing up to describe something way beyond the ordinary.

Dr. Rob Lohmeyer, the godly man who is our senior pastor, based a recent sermon on the gospel story of men who listened as Jesus taught about achieving eternal life, then grumbled, “That’s a difficult teaching; who can accept it?”

Kudos go to the local branch of the League of Women Voters, our bright young state representative Andrew Murr, the appraisal district’s P.H. “Fourth” Coates and editors of this newspaper for efforts to enlighten voters on the neverending process of amending our rickety state constitution.

When one of my favorite preachers finished an extraordinary three years of sermons from the Gospel of John, he remarked, “There’s so much in this book that I could preach from John for another three years and never repeat a word.”

I see by the papers that the young billionaires who run the self-styled social network called Facebook are considering what they regard as a momentous or perhaps a transcendental change.

As a Presbyterian and grandson of a lifelong Baptist deacon, I was distinctly uneasy on being assigned to cover the 1968 trip to Colombia by Pope Paul VI — the first pontiff to visit South America.

Here’s a guaranteed way to avoid being bamboozled by candidates in tonight’s CNN parade of people seeking the Republican nomination for president, and in future appearances by these and other candidates from both major parties:

I’ve been to Iowa, and I liked what I saw. People are friendly. Prices were and presumably still are more reasonable than in the big cities.

To set the parameters for this week’s effort, let me say right up front that I know first-hand what it is to have mental illness in one’s family. In our case, there have been at least two cases of which I’m aware.

Americans who call themselves nones and independents constitute large and growing segments of the population. That’s worrisome to many in religious and political circles, and with good reason.

Picture this placid, familiar scene: It’s Christmastime, with snow on the ground and carolers gathered in a half circle around the front doors of a very big house. Skyscrapers of an unnamed city are in the distance.

Planned Parenthood and its abortion clinics have been in the news a lot, most recently since clandestine videos surfaced, allegedly showing doctors of that organization casually sipping wine and eating lunch while discussing prices for organs removed from aborted fetuses.

The hottest topic in political circles should be the proposed deal with Iran and whether it would keep the Ayatollah and his “Death to America! Death to Israel!” crowd from reaching their goal of developing nuclear weapons, i.e., The Bomb.