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January 16, 2011

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

Snow, snow, snow...
Here I am looking out my window at the icy snow that’s left.
It was not the kind that would make a snow man, or snowballs and I was thankful.
But it does bring back memories of when I was much younger. But then it was rare for snow to fall ankle high, and we were at the windows and could hardly be still. So, Mama would bundle us up with so many clothes we could hardly walk. And then she would open the door and let us out. And when we made it out here they would come, our older brother J.C. and his pals throwing snowballs at each other, and no telling what else they may do.
I remember they liked wrestling each other in the snow. And my sister and I would start yellin’ for Mama. And here Mama would come yellin’ and telling the wild-acting boys not to hit us, or she might start throwing something and it might not be a snowball.
As I was saying, I’m sittin’ by my window and I wonder what I’ll see in the morning.
The Last Word:
Will it be snow, snow, snow?
– O.T.


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

Let it snow...
I can’t remember when East Texas had so much white stuff falling from the sky, but just tune into the news to see hundreds of snow photographs spanning several counties, small towns, big cities and country roads.
As Texans we are not used to so much snow or any snow at all if we are young enough. It was a real treat to walk among the gigantic snowflakes and feel them melt against my cheeks and float all around me in a dizzying swirl of white.
I started to stay indoors and continue watching the birds at the feeder, but just couldn’t do it. I can walk, I can go outside, so I got my coat, boots, hat, gloves, and bundled up. Out the door I went into the winter wonderland.
Amazing as it seems, snow still thrills me like it did when I was a little girl trying to build a snowman out of about one inch of snow and mud.
The big flakes just kept coming, and if I looked straight up the array of snow headed towards me was dark and menacing at the center of the sky, then magically the dark spots become white sparkle ornaments before disappearing on the ground with their kind.
The solitude and insulating effect of snow is deafening in the silence it blankets everything within. Snow is quiet as a leopard stalking through the trees, and soft as the wings of a wedding dove as it envelops all the unsightly things created by man, or left behind. For a few hours snow makes everything look beautiful, and therefore unrecognizable as everyday objects.
Trees lean under the coating of ice, but seem to fluff out with a soft coating of snow. Birds and squirrels fly and run busily as if actually playing in the white down floating down from the sky. Animals love to play in the snow just as we do.
The best part of a snow walk is when you get back indoors and out of your wet boots, cold socks and take off the gloves. Warmth surrounds you as the white scenario outside the window becomes more dense. Then night falls, and the moon turns the snow covered ground to silver.
We may not see snow very often in East Texas, but when we do, it is magical.


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

School trips...
Sometimes high school teachers sponsor organizations, usually free gratis, sometimes with a small summer stipend. I added the Student Council at one school to my already 125 English IV student load. Someone was needed.
The students on board were usually nice, fun to be around, seldom in trouble, and eager for improvements and services in the school and community. Sometimes one or two of my own children would be on the council.
My younger son worked hard to be a member as those upperclass female reps. and officers were lookers.
The highlight of the year was attendance at the state convention, a spring weekend free to the four males and four females with the most service points. With students signing our Code of Conduct, we went to Austin’s convention center or to DFW Airport. Thousands from the state went; some from the south of the state flew.
For a few trips, someone’s parent would lend me a big van and with no driving practice, I’d load them up and go. I can’t say the trips were without incident, but nothing too bad happened to an excited group of rural people out to mix with everyone from everywhere. Some speakers and programs in the general assemblies are still memorable.
One Saturday night, a free dance required all students in attendance. I drove through Austin like a pro, delivering and picking up students, trying to make all the free meals.
My husband went with me a few years as driver and chaperone; then he resigned his post and my best friend, teaching in the room beside me, said she would love to go, anywhere, somewhere.
But usually I drove my car and she followed in hers, and she had little driving experience, staying on my bumper, running red lights and all.
Never could I stay up all night to chaperone and then drive around in the daytime. I have seldom spent the night awake for any reason. One night in our motel room, across the alley from two rooms for our delegates, the front desk phone rang to tell us the police were at our boys’ room. In anger, my husband dressed quickly, me following, and went to see what awaited.
Our students had asked other students from Anytown, Texas, to come into their room to party a little. Too much noise ensued, and someone called the police. My husband explained our situation to the men in Blue, got the visitors out, promised the authority we would handle the students. They left. My husband began his verbal assault – those other students could have had drugs, or they could have been disguised as students ready to murder. “You’re in a CITY!” he kind of screamed. “Do something like this again, and I’ll call every one of your parents who will have to come get you, even at 4 in the morning because I’m not taking you back.” Nobody was grinning.
Before retiring his driving position, my husband did enjoy a good laugh. Another time, another night, one of the guys called late for my husband to come to their room. It seemed the girls that day had somehow managed to get into the boys’ room with a lost key story, had a large jar of petroleum jelly and used it on inside door knobs, the telephone ear and mouth piece, the mirrors, drawer pulls and multiple other places.
The boys discovered their dilemma quickly and knew the culprits. What went on next is dim, but as my husband began to walk out back to his room, he saw the male caller to our room earlier put the same petroleum-jelly covered ear piece of the phone to his ear to “call those girls.”
For these eight trips I made, I preferred Austin to the airport anytime because of our lodging in high-rise hotels and all the walking territory we had to cover or not easily find our way out of at the airport.
Once safely back home, it might be five years after the fact before I’d hear of something happening on a trip that shocked me. We might have started, “What happens on these Student Council trips stays where it happened.”
I resigned my duties the first summer my stipend stopped because someone in charge said, “She gets her gas reimbursed.” Now, much later, there’s not enough money in the vault to pay me to make one of these trips.



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