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February 20, 2011

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

As most of you know, when a group of folks get together and begin “reliving the past” many tales are repeated.
And it’s the same way when I write ‘em. So, I’m tellin’ you, if you start readin’ somethin’ I’ve jotted down and you say to yourself, “I’ve already heard this,” I’ll give you a bit of advice – toss it aside and write your own story.
But, first I want to know if any of you recall that long ago the New York Times printed the same Christmas story for many years. It was called, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” I figured if the Times could do it – so can I, so here I go...
The twenty-third is Daughter #4’s birthday. So, what else could I be thinkin’ of but the day she was born.
She came into this world with her mind made up that it was time to make her appearance, whether anybody else thought so or not.
I was in full agreement, but I had a little problem. First let me set the stage for the forth-comin’ story. I’ve relived it and tell it every chance I get.
She is Daughter #4, but the fifth child. A son had been born somewhere in the line of girls, and he told me, “Mama, don’t bring another girl home from the hospital.”
Just a short time before it was time for me to go to the hospital, a great tragedy occurred. Our beloved Dr. Jennings died of a heart attack.
The whole town and entire area was heart broken. I felt I couldn’t have my baby without his presence. Then I received a call from Dr. Hall, a good friend of Dr. Jennings, and co-owner of the Kaufman Hospital at that time.
He told me to come for a visit with him at his office, and I went.
As he held my hand, he said he knew he couldn’t take the place of Dr. Jennings in my heart. But he promised he would be there to take care of me and my newborn when we needed him.
The day came. It was quite early in the morning when my husband and I arrived. I was made comfortable in my room.
The day wore on, as it sometimes happens in such situations. Progress was being made, but kinda slow.
So the “head of our house,” or so he thought, decided to go back home to check on the other kids and Mama, who was with them.
A little later, along came Dr. Hall. He checked me over and said, “I’m going to run home and eat supper. I’ll be back soon.”
He lived real close to the hospital so I said okay and decided to take a little nap – or at least relax and be patient.
But quicker than it takes to tell, #4 let me know she had other plans.
But I could not convince the two nurses-aides, who had been left to “take care of me” that I knew what I was talkin’ about!
The first one came at my bell-ringin’ and said, “Oh, honey, just lay still and rest. You’re not even in labor yet.” And left the room.
I guess she told the other one to answer the constant ringin’ ‘cause she appeared at the door.
Her response was, “I can’t bother the good doctor, he’s home eatin’ supper.” As she turned to leave, I rather loudly yelled, “If you won’t call the doctor, call my husband at home!”
She said, “Oh, okay, what’s the number?” Soon the phone by my bed rang. I picked it up and Mama answered. I don’t remember what all I said but in a very short time my husband walked in the door, fastest trip he’d ever made, I’m sure.
He walked over, took my hand and said, “Honey, just calm down.”
I yelled, “Don’t honey me – get help!”
He did, and I won’t go into details here, but there was lots of action that took place.
Somebody pushed the gurney-thing into the room. He told ‘em, “Get that tea-cart out of here. It’s too late to move her now!”
Somebody else came along and pushed it back in. He picked it up (I think) and threw it back into the hall!
‘Bout this time the doctor came rushin’ in the door. Looked the situation over, reached down and picked up #4, who was laying at my feet, and took care of us as he had promised.
One thing that has stuck in my mind all these many years is hearin’ him tell my two “care-givers” that when somebody who has had as many babies as Mis’ Opal, you’d better listen to her. He didn’t use his usual kind, soft voice either. I took great satisfaction in that. Still do.
There’s a lot more to the story. But I’m plumb worn out tellin’ it – one more time.
As I was saying, what else could I be thinkin’ of but her birthday.

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

Leader needed...
While feeding the mud hens lately I noticed they are still super sensitive and flighty. I can never get them to come for bread or corn like big ducks. They circle away and take off as soon as they see me. Then they sneak back and get whatever the other birds have left.
But yesterday, I saw the beginnings of a mud hen leader. The tiny duck did not swim away when I appeared with my bread bag. She did not fly away as others did when the bread wrapper made a sound of rustling. She eyed me warily but just swam some 30 feet off the shore. Everybody else took off for the reeds. There she was paddling with her little feet and weaving and bobbing all the time, watching me cast bread upon the water. Little fish sprang up from everywhere and began to crumble the edges of the bread.
I sat down on a bench and waited. The bread floated her way as she came slowly towards the free meal. With great hesitation, she pecked at the bread and when it went under water she flew upward in a flap frenzy, and came to settle back on the surface about a foot away.
She must have liked the small piece she ate, but she was still unsure as she came closer. This is how leaders are born in animal and human species. We are all afraid of the unknown to some degree, but some are more frightened than others, and always run away no matter what. Leaders have something the rest of us do not have in the general makeup, and it is called courage, with a generous swipe of curiosity.
Leaders do not follow the crowd, and they are not afraid to think for themselves and be a bit different. When I used to teach horseback riding, I told my students it was more than okay to be set apart from the crowd and be different. I would encourage them to not follow the crowd off the cliff.
All of a sudden, somebody in the feathered group noticed she was eating something. Two of the other small ducks began to swim toward the leader. Then three or four more ventured out of the rushes and swam in her general direction. Bread began to go at an alarming rate, and our leader squawked but shared her bounty.
Every time a piece of bread broke off, another hen took it into her beak, and soon there were about 50 of them splashing about in the sparkling water on a sunny day.
I felt good to be out in the sun after so much snow and such cold temperatures. It must have felt good to the ducks as well, because everybody was cashing in on their tiny leader’s discovery.
Because of her bravery and courage, everybody got something easy to catch, tasty, and found out the woman with the noisy plastic bag, and the funny brown flat things thrown out on their water, was nobody to fear, and their was wheat berry bread for everybody.
I learned, or re-learned, from my little friend that it is more than okay to be different, and sometimes swimming against all odds can actually bring you to a wonderful new place and a tasty discovery. The world needs leaders.


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

Weight matters...
Does anyone choose to be overweight? Enjoy carrying around extra weight? Some think overweight people store food and can rely on this stash in times of emergencies.
Well, science has proven the overweight, without being fed, would die faster than the slender, because hefties have bodies that rely on food and its intake. Maybe it’s an addiction, such as I have for crescent rolls in a can. You’d be amazed at the versatility of these babies. You can fool people who eat from your table with this magic dough in a cobbler or casserole.
Good cooks are not always the fat ones. I am not much of a cook, although I have some specialties. In my kitchen is food I didn’t buy 15 years ago; I must keep my cholesterol low and my spouse is a diabetic. I can eat any food without salt, and who needs pepper? I suppose I’m no true Texan because I can eat all day (and usually do) without ketchup.
The horror of my younger married days has come true. I outweigh my husband. Well, in some twisted sense of fairness, he is recovering from surgery and doing less in activities. So, he has lost 20 pounds and says it will stay off, which means he’ll also have to buy new clothes!
Then this image would pop into my mind, a harbinger of fat, that in later life, I would be the big woman beside the skinny, shrinking man. We might be the same in height, but “little woman” of the house would bring laughter.
With our children, we moved back from West Texas to East Texas, and the battle of the bulges began. It was fast living, taking children to all their sports, lessons, birthday parties, and seldom having time to plan meals. I ate a cinnamon roll on the way to work. My husband went to a DQ and had something. We each put on 60 pounds that we told ourselves, if we found time, we could take off at will.
Not so. I sweated away 30 pounds twice as I aged, but always found room to take it back. Exercise made me hungry, as experts are now admitting, but I didn’t have to drink a soda and eat Hostess Snowball Cakes, especially pink.
Then I began getting shorter, shrinking – so did my husband. Had I eaten as he, I would be bigger. He likes late suppers and midnight snacks. Now he’s lost weight. How do I feel? Betrayed.
The daughter in Kaufman County called, “Mom, aren’t women your age suppose to start dropping weight from nature? And when did you grow at the top?” I blame it on hormones and my cache of medicine. Then I said Mother Nature doesn’t like all people. I added I was trying to avoid more wrinkles. She said, too far away for me to reach, “Little late for the wrinkle part, isn’t it?” She will pay, but I probably won’t be around to see it.
Two of the children seem to be taking after me. They are on high blood pressure medicine and complaining always about some part of the body getting bigger or changing. The older son said one day, “Well, Mom, you can’t deny me. I’m getting just like you (except for his red facial hair).” If he knew what his name would be had he been a daughter, he’d be thankful for his likeness to me as his only curse.
A speaker recently asked the audience if anyone knew the first question a woman asks herself upon waking? Of course, no one knew. She said women think of what they can wear with black slacks that day.
Yes, I have a supply for good reasons. Black makes for neatness, smallness and does not spot easily. I would wear jeans if I weren’t waistless. I do wear the elasticized waist kind sometimes, but work hard to keep this between me and my body.
And I’ve noticed something peculiar about my black slacks lately. The legs don’t fit right. They have extra room. Either the pants are too old to be in style, or weight is shifting from the legs to elsewhere, or I’m actually losing weight in the legs only, another horror I had when younger. The only positive element of being on the fluffy side is having it evenly distributed.
Perhaps you wonder why I don’t find a good scale and weigh, one where no one can see the outcome. I quit weighing years ago. If I remove my shoes, jewelry, jacket and do weigh again, it will have to be on a day I’m having a root canal or repaying for bifocals, because I dropped one lens from the perfectly good pair in the john and now cannot find the lens-missing frames.
I lie. Doctors I see occasionally do have their attendants make me weigh. I just close my eyes for the reading and wait for the doctor’s remarks, if any.



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