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January 30, 2011

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

Old Times...
This week’s column was pulled from the As I was Saying archives collection.
I was havin’ a visit with a longtime friend the other day and as it often happens when I get together with someone my age, we usually spend some time talkin’ about how “it used to be.”
It just so happened that it was the day we both got out Social Security check in the mail.
We agreed we would always remember when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president and he thought it was a good idea for everybody who was working should start saving part of their earnings every pay day – and soon Social Security began.
Some folks gripped, but it has worked out fine since we’ve come to the age we don’t feel like getting up every morning to go to work or try to all night and sleep all day.
In our talking, I told her about the time I went to the P.O. on the usual “pay day” but my check wasn’t there. The next day it was, and lo and behold, the next morning I opened my mail box again and there was another check!
Word got around what had happened and I started gettin’ all kinds of advice from folks.
One or two warned me by saying, “Don’t you dare cash that other check and spend it, or you’ll end up in jail.” Others promised they would come visit me if I went to jail.
Then another said, “Oh, go ahead and spend it the way the government does things, they’ll never miss it.”
And one said, “As slow as the government is, you’ll be long gone before they get it right.”
And then there were folks who just shook their heads and said, “Beats all I ever heard of.”
I felt like the fella who said he wanted to at least hold his check for a few minutes, at least feel it, ‘cause it lasted such a short time.
Well, it took a while but it all got worked out, and I’ve not had any trouble since.
I’m always glad when “pay day” comes, and I thank the Lord for Franklin D’s idea.
As I was saying, when we old friends get together we often talk about how things used to be.


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

Groundhog Day...
If you have ever seen the movie “Groundhog Day,” then you realize that it is possible to wake up in a new world every single day with everything just as it was yesterday.
Imagine if you can, how it would be if you repeated the same behaviors, saw the same people, did the exact same things, every single day.
This is how we fall into a rut of boredom and discontent. It seems that it would be predictable and comforting to know what lies ahead every single day and our future would never vary, but it would drive us crazy if it were actually true.
The things we need to repeat every single day are kindness, gentleness and thoughtfulness. We need to share, care and make a difference. Lots of things we do can be left behind if we concentrate on being better human beings.
When we open our eyes on a new day and breathe deeply, fill our lungs with life-giving oxygen, we have a choice to make. We can choose to make it a good day or mope about and feel sorry for ourselves. Enjoy the rain, enjoy the sun, feel the wind, don’t complain about the weather. You are alive and able to feel, and this is the greatest blessing of all.
Since we have opportunities to take care of ourselves and love others as well, it is better to look in the mirror and tell yourself today is going to be a great day, then go about making it come true.
If our lives fall into too much of a routine, it becomes so comfortable we miss most of the new things that pass us by. Mix it up a little. If you always have coffee, try hot tea. If you skip breakfast, grab a sandwich or at least a glass of juice before you leave the house. Honor your body with good food.
Since as humans we like routines we are able to control, do something out of the ordinary. Take a walk in the park at lunch instead of going to a restaurant for fast food. Feed the ducks.
There is no fast and set rule that tells us how we have to operate, except that we show respect and get through the day without causing harm to another. All the other things that are left to enjoy are just a bonus if we cash them in.
I bought a big bag of sunflower seeds and now I have beautiful cardinals and other birds to enjoy all day if I stop to look. That it is the key to a good day.
There is great benefit for the spirit in being still. Listen to your own heart and hear yourself breathing. Close your eyes and see something beautiful. Open your eyes and smile at a stranger today.
Happiness is there to find among all the duties, jobs, work, clutter and sadness. Look for it in expected and unexpected places.
Choose to be a ray of sun, not a cloud of darkness, and see how your own day unfolds. Don’t see your own shadow like the groundhog and go back into your den. Go out into the sun.


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

Embracing Technology...
Computers and their world are here to stay. They’re helpful, dangerous, and even the human touch is involved in initial input.
For over 20 years I assumed I was computer literate. I’m not. Tested and given a score of 100 for knowing about computers, I might be a 25 if one is generous. Computers can do too much I can’t begin to understand. The computer is my nemesis.
And I am in password purgatory. Same passwords for all our secret information won’t work because of length or content. Whereas one password will work today for a certain program, it won’t work tomorrow. I don’t know if I used a different finger to push a letter, a different padded part of my finger, or what. I can’t take this much longer.
One night my older son and a friend were laughing at material on Facebook. I walked into my laptop territory. My son said, “Let’s put Mama on Facebook.”
Before I could stutter dismay, there I was, picture, profile and all. I even typed a generic greeting.
Immediately an ex-student of mine and family friend sent, “Man, have you lost your mind? Showing your mama Facepage. She’ll be grading our work.”
He recanted later, said maybe I would know secrets about my students. Anyway, I was cool.
If I had any questions from my guests, their remarks were “It’s easy.” Or, I’d get that look “I can’t believe you don’t know that.”
In a few minutes, I was alone, and on my e-mail page, work was popping. Ex-students of 34 years, long-lost relatives, friends from places we might have once lived. I panicked. What did I do? I couldn’t write everyone who sent an e-mail.
Since that night I’ve asked friends, grandchildren, strangers even, what do I have to push on FacePhoto to get to say something. “It’s easy,” again. I experimented, used codes, wrote pitiful messages in any box that would let me and heard from the Facelift people themselves. They gave me enough information to let me type another generic-type memo to anyone out there.
Twice I connected to two faces and could say something brief. I hit all acceptance buttons I saw and went back to my home page. At least I could do that.
I’m still getting e-mails about FaceList, and I’m still dilemma dogged.
One day a neighbor came over to set me up on eBay. I did not want to be there. She talked about all the advanges, of course the money I could save, and soon there I was, name, password, signing something elecronically.
I found tiny shoes for my barefoot collection of Madame Alexander miniature dolls. The shoes were priced low. I made a bid, won, and in days had my package of socks AND shoes. Then connections fell apart.
The owner of the shoes didn’t get her pay. Then she wrote from San Antonio, wanting more than the original price. I still couldn’t talk to her or eBay about the problem. I’ve made an enemy out of a stranger in San Antonio. I’ll have to make a trip there soon, try to find her and hire someone to take me off eBay. I’m not tech-ready.
I can open almost all e-mails, even short film clips, type letters, messages, use Microsoft, research or cheat on crossword puzzles some, write family histories, look at other sections of information, mostly empty, and wonder.
When I first became big in e-mailing, I didn’t know what “tags” were for, a few other symbols too. I sent a cute animal e-mail to a cousin near Canada. There was an attachment. She knew to hit it, and a vulgar picture came up. Now that part of the family e-mails me no more, even though I apologized. Ignorance is no excuse.
I have a printer now. I know what to do in limited ways. My ability to handwrite is leaving. Yesterday came word that schools may quit teaching cursive writing. No, don’t do this. We need backup. As long as we have fingers and toes, writing will be needed somewhere, even if for emotion or tone.
By the way, this is the fourth time to write all this as the other three columns left my page and are somewhere in cyberspace or worse. I’m getting afraid of my own computer. Of course, I’ll never master “twitter,” but that can be done on this invention, too.



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