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February 27, 2011

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

Still amazed...
This week’s column was pulled from the As I was Saying archives collection.
After all the years of experience I’ve had, I’m still amazed how children can out-think their elders.
The other night I was givin’ some thought about such things, and I remembered somethin’ that happened years ago.
My son #2 had over-night company. I went to his room and got the twin beds ready while they were still outside doing no tellin’ what.
When they came in I went back to his room to say good night. I was told by the visitor that my son was in the bath tub. Then he said he had already been there and that it wasn’t big enough for both of ‘em like the creek had been that day!
I pointed to which bed was to be his and I hoped he slept well.
Tony, believe it or not, is his name, told me that he wanted to sleep with his friend.
I said, “Okay, but it’s gonna be a little crowded.”
His answer was, “I don’t care. It will be warmer.” And I said, “Oh! Are you thinkin’ you’ll be cold? There’s plenty of cover and it’s really not very cold at night.”
I thought maybe he was afraid, but knowin’ a little about boys, I didn’t date mention the word “afraid” and embarrass him.
And besides, I was well acquainted with the guest and I had never known of him being afraid of anything.
The next thing he said cleared up the whole thing. He said, “Mama told me to make up my bed in the morning when we got up. And I think it will be easier to make up half a bed than a whole one.”
As I was saying, kids can out-think their elders.

The Last Word:
The guest is now a grown man with children of his own and they are welcome anytime.
– O.T.


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

Where are the timepieces...
I can remember my grandfather’s prize pocket watch. He called it his timepiece. He would sit in his favorite chair by the wood stove and polish the burnished gold on the watch to a fine gleam, then wind it and put it on the table by his bed before he went to sleep.
Every morning he would get up and shave, put on after shave or cologne and then after he was dressed he would slip the golden watch into his vest pocket if he was going to church, or into his overalls if he was going to work. Seven days a week the watch went with him, and he prized it.
He had watches for his wrist through the years, but they never took the place of the pocket watch. Watches were part of a well-dressed man’s wardrobe. It was important to have a watch, but a pocket watch was the mark of a true gentleman.
When he died, the pocket watch chain was draped perfectly from his pocket in his Sunday best suit. I could see the chain, but the watch was tucked away against his body like he always wore it. His body laid “in state” as they called it at home for two whole days before they took him to the church and then delivered him to the city cemetery. Recently I went to the resting places of my parents and grandparents, and I thought about how he is buried separately from his three brothers - all buried together. I am sorry it turned out that way through marriage and re-marriage.
But I knew the watch was there in the dark with him after all these years - with Roman Numerals and a single small diamond on the 12. But all I could really see in my memory was the chain.
Watches have been an important part of my life as well. I still remember my first Bulova and then a Seiko. I even had a fake Rolex once with “real” diamonds. I never went a day without a watch and I felt “undressed” without one. I had sport watches and dress watches. Women had little watch wardrobes.
With the invention of the cell telephone, timepieces are fading away, and dying a slow death all over the world. With their demise goes a bit of class and a lot of history, but young people just use their phones to tell time. Watches are still for sale, but their numbers dwindle every year.
My mother kept the watch she received on her 16th birthday all her life. It was a tiny little thing with a super small black band. Of course her father, my grandfather, who prized watches and clocks or all sorts gave it to her. It was still in her jewelry box when she died at the age of 89. Such was the importance of a watch. They meant something in their day and in mine.
I don’t think people give watches anymore on important dates. They are the dinosaurs now only worn by the ones like me who just will not give up. I still like to look at watches and am proud of my double wrap around leather band on my favorite watch. I feel I am ready for the day when I put on my watch and lipstick. It is part of my getting ready routine much like my grandfather’s of the past. I mean how could Clark Gable become Captain Rhett Butler and charm Scarlett out of her petticoats in Gone With The Wind without that dashing suit and the sparkle of the chain on his shiny pocket watch?
I guess someday watches of all types will just be in museums and in old photographs. They will go the way of so many antiques, and with the vanishing of pocket watches, ticking grandfather clocks, chiming mantle clocks and watches, will go a bit of our collective past.


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

Fish tales...
at will.
Regardless of the weather, men like my husband at this time of year itch for an opportunity to fish. A day or two of pleasant warmth only entices fishermen everywhere.
When we married, I knew our differences were numerous, but our priorities and values were strong enough to balance our lives. I don’t fish. I don’t bait hooks, clean the fish, or fry/bake them; however, I do eat what’s caught and clean up afterward.
Fishing as a hobby doesn’t take as much financially as some sports, unless a big boat is needed. My spouse is happy on a bank of a creek with rod and reel, or a pole and line. He seldom comes home empty-handed. He has killed one deer in his life, multiple rabbits, squirrels and possibly snakes. The deer shot just happened. He was on hunting land, driving a jeep, a loaded gun belonging to someone else in the front seat. Suddenly, a buck was 10 feet in front of him. Male instinct took over, and he aimed the gun, shot, and had something bigger to clean. He was not proud of his act.
I’m not too fond of how this man cleans fish, but as long as he stays outside with his catch, I try to be quiet. If he doesn’t empty his scrap bucket that same day or night, I get a little unhappy.
Once we lived in West Texas, out of Big Spring. There was a small lake nearby and a larger one miles and miles away. When we visited East Texas, and my husband was asked about his fishing luck in Coahoma, Texas, he would say, “Great! I’m the middle of the best fishing places in Texas – 500 miles east, west, north, or south, and I’m catching all I want.”
John Donne once wrote in the 17th century that a good marriage was like a compass, a joining at the top with the two stems going in separate paths. My hobby was shopping and reading. Now it is resting after any occasion, especially shopping.
The fishermen I know leave early, pull a John-boat behind a pickup, eat breakfast on the way, take water and snacks, and return when they are ready, which may mean nighttime. My husband had sons and grandsons baiting their own hooks before turning 2. I can’t compete with that.
I’ve told my husband he could call when he stays out for a lengthy time. I become antsy about him when darkness comes. He could be at the bottom of a creek somewhere, and I would be clueless as to rescue. His answer was, ”If I go that way, you’ll know I went happy. Be thankful.” Easy for him to say.
Lakes don’t appeal to my fisherman; neither does a partner who can’t remain quiet. He’s not too happy about anyone with him who gets close to his casting spot. In other words, he may be his favorite person to accompany him. I would be out of the boat and back on bank within 10 minutes.
After a well-told story of a trip decades ago, he never asked me seriously to go with him again. On Caney Creek in Henderson County, in a rugged land area, we, two teenage daughters and I, met Dad, who was fishing and camping with a brother and his wife. This was a hot summer night, and the mosquitoes were hungry. I had a toothache, not too happy, and did not even nap. The next morning, a dentist was going to meet me in Mabank to take action with the tooth.
Early at sunrise, the daughters decided to leave with me for home. Dad had to take us by motorboat to my car. We were crossing the shallow end of the lake with our pillows and makeup bags when water began lashing over the back of our boat. Soon water filled the boat, and out we all went. To our surprise we could touch bottom. Thus, we walked through the water, pillows and bags above our heads, single-file, following our captain. Every time my husband tells this story, he embellishes it more. Of course, the weight of the passengers (guess which one) comes up, and I try to tune the story out. Talk about sullen daughters. This was over 30 years ago, when these girls wouldn’t fuss aloud much, but I knew their thoughts.
Living in East Texas, sitting on the porch with a neighbor as we watched my husband returning home after time spent in “heaven,” my neighbor said, “If you have ever worried that another woman might be involved in these fishing excursions, don’t. Have you seen how he’s dressed and smelled the fish all over him?”
He has come upon some trusting spots that involved couples, not expecting to be seen. He says he has spoken, “Hello, how are y’all today?” and continued on his mission, going around them.
No, he can keep on fishing by himself. I have too much I want to do by myself.



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