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January 9, 2011

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OpalToney7-24.jpg (37075 bytes)As I Was Saying
By Opal Toney

Woe is me...
This week’s column was pulled from the As I was Saying archives collection.

There is one Bible verse that seems to have my name attached to it.
You may say it seems to haunt me. Well, the truth is, a whole bunch of ‘em do.
But this particular one kinda sticks in my mind.
It starts out by saying, “Make it your ambition to live a quiet life, mind your own business and work with your hands.” And it goes on and says more but that’s about as far as I can read.
Now, I do work with my hands, there’s no doubt ‘bout that. It’s the rest of the requirements that I have trouble with. And, I realize if it says it, right up front, in black and white, one out of three is not a very good score. But I keep tellin’ myself it’s better than nothin’ – and I try harder.
But, while I’m daily faced with the fact that my hands do stay pretty busy, so does my chance for livin’ a quiet life. Woe is me.
I get to talkin’ and lose all sense of time – and things get worse.
There are times when I even forget what day it is. So, I make another note to myself and start over – then I misplace my reminder.
So, over and over I make another note to remember what I’m to do and I start again...and continue using my hands.
I have projects all over my house – and runnin’ over in my mind. Someday I plan to get ‘em all done.
So, by stayin’ so busy I have hopes of living a quiet life. And mindin’ my own business will just naturally fall into place, I figure.
But then I glance at the rest of the verse, which says, “Do all things just as we told you – so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and you will not be dependent on others.”
And that caused me more problems. You see, there are times when it’s kinda nice to be dependent on others.
Like when I can’t find my car keys – or have a flat.
Or when a whole gang gathers and I can relax and watch as a meal appears on the table and all that it asked of me is to help eat it.
But, then I read the verse again and I have to face the fact if I’m to receive “respect from others” I must do all three.
As I was saying, there’s one Bible verse that seems to have my name attached. I Thess. 4:11, and I’m still tryin’ to meet that goal.


honeyandflag.jpg (61206 bytes)The View From Here
By Katherine Veno

Inexpensive delights...
The sweet things in life do not have to carry a big price tag. They are as close at hand as a walk or a drive in the country.
They are free, or at least cheap. How much money do you think a perfect picnic at a city park should cost? How can you beat going to a fabulous estate sale and meandering through a big old house, and perhaps finding a treasure? For instance, while wandering through an overstuffed old house full of two lifetimes of somebody’s treasures and junk, I found the fuzziest, warmest, plushest and surprisingly animal printed blanket for chilly nights. What a surprise it was, and just like that, at $10, a real deal.
I am an estate-sale shopper and a treasure hunter. I am part bargain shopper, recycler and voyeur. I can think of no better adventure than armed with the classifieds, marching through the estate sales on a Saturday morning.
Sometimes, I wonder how things that obviously had sentimental value to their owner ended up on the “to sell” pile. Why did the family or kids not want them?
Sometimes I feel it is the least I can do for a woman I never met as I go through her things laid out in strategic places throughout her home. I honor her by purchasing something she obviously treasured for reasons personal and strong to her, but her own family did not see worth saving. In a lifetime collection of tiny little glass birds I chose one bluebird as a token of my understanding. It was not the 50-cent price tag that drew me to the perfect sheen of blue on the wings or the detail on the painted face of the bird, but the entire collection that probably extended over the owner’s entire lifetime. By taking the one bird, I sent her a message that her work was appreciated.
In doing so, I am reminded that the circle of life is also very much a circle of stuff passing from one gentle, beautiful character to the next.
You can be carried away on the pages of a good book from the library. If travel is your dream, sit down with a few travel brochures and imagine. No money to go anywhere? Let your imagination take you away. Books are beautiful and free at the library.
If, like me, you can still ride a bicycle, let the two wheels take you somewhere and get some leg toning as you pedal. My pink bike likes to do things, not aimlessly wander about. Taking out the trash is an errand down the hill and a real workout up the hill. I mean who can look at us and not smile when you see a little old lady on her bubblegum pink bike with the big 50s era fenders and white sidewall tires? When we arrive back home I will say “good girl” as I put her away at the front of my house.
If you are lucky enough to have a dog, do not leave him or her languishing in the backyard. Get a leash and venture out in the leaves. The ground is covered in leaves right now, and dogs love that. Give yourself and your canine pal an afternoon of pure fun and laughter plodding through the crackle of the fall foliage.
Water has always shaped my memories for as long as I can remember. I can remember a tin pail my mother gave me to take to the creek to hunt for crawfish. Water is my element. I love the way the sun shines on the water and a moonbeam makes it sparkle. When water is angry it can be frightening, but tranquility is the norm for me. When I see a whale or a dolphin spin out of the ocean and then dive back into the deep blue sea I understand why a creature that weighs many tons would do such a thing, because if I could do the same thing and levitate out of the sea like that into the shining sun, I would. What price can you put on a perfect day at the beach? How much should a moonlit walk by the ocean cost?
A radio seems sort of an antiquated way to entertain one, but when I was a little girl I got a transistor radio that picked up other countries’ radio signals. I have never forgotten the thrill of voices from foreign lands or music I had not heard before. It is a free delight to turn on a radio and pick up a signal from far away and let myself be whisked away to a place like Rick’s in Casablanca, Morocco. And, I never left my living room.


EmilyLundy4-2.jpg (36194 bytes)Escapades of Emily
By Emily Gail Lundy

Driving Days...
One of the highlights of being a teenager has to be learning to drive – a car. Some watch and observe and have little left to learn. A few want no part of driving. But let a lad sit on the seat of a tractor, and he sees himself driving alone down any and all roads in any type car.
Teens and cars are almost synonymous; girls are especially eager today to drive.
My mother taught me to drive in a four-door sedan, a 1953 green Plymouth. I didn’t even think of ever having my own car as a student, but I wanted that license.
Since my husband taught drivers’ education in the springtime after school hours and during the summer to supplement his teaching salary, he was the main driver of our family. He gave the children their lessons, and one by one each found a part-time job and purchased the first klunker.
Whereas I had been the main transportation for the children to go to school each morning, I had steeled myself against the “spats” during the short drive to the designated spots to let my riders out. There was teasing, griping, forgotten items at home I’d have to get at noon, and more. When I finally reached my own parking place, I went to my classroom, turning off all the friction I had just endured. As each child had his or her own wheels about every other year, I found myself commander of my own ship, all alone one year, with no regrets. My blood pressure reading surely improved.
Today, since my husband has been a patient of back surgery, suffering through tests and an operation, about six weeks of time, I have been driver No. 1. And it has not helped our relationship. Dad has a rather clean driving record. Once he rear-ended a car going backward, thinking it was “funny,” but it was our new SUV to use for traveling in our retirement. We were visiting family in Beaumont, later planning to attend the wedding of a cousin in Houston. Our main accommodations were at a rented home on busy Highway 105. There was a front entrance no one used to drive through. Then on one of those little, unpaved roads behind the property, a back entrance led all cars onto the property.
Early Friday morning, my husband went out for coffee, prepared to come back to this house, but drove past the driveway. Unable to see clearly with the morning sun facing him, he backed into a grey car going forward. We could still drive our vehicle, but I was embarrassed and didn’t understand why he was amused.
My recent weeks of chauffering have been no fun. First, I’ve been treated as a student, like “You can make a right on red if the way is clear.” Or, “You can drive the speed limit on the sign you see without getting a ticket.” Or, “Keep both hands on the wheel.” Or, “Have you checked all your mirrors before you make this turn?”
Worse is being treated as the wife. Remarks have been akin to “Are you thinking about what you’re doing as you drive?” Or, “I swear you drive slower on the highway than you do on this bumpy road to our house.” Or, “If you keep parking the car so close to our house, you’re going to wipe out all the steps, and I’ll have to jump on the porch.” Or, “You didn’t have time to get a good look in every direction before pulling out.”
Any day now my trophy will arrive, earned by opening my mouth in defense only twice in these driving sessions. To think of all the flack women have to take about criticizing men’s driving. Maybe it’s time to change drivers with a recorder running under the seat.



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