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April 3, 2011

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

Working at LAPD...
This week’s column was pulled from the As I was Saying archives collection.
I recently had the privilege of meetin’ a nice couple at church, and guess what? They once lived in Los Angeles – and that gave me the chance to tell them I lived there once, too!
It was in 1942 and I had just graduated from Mabank High School. I have many memories of back then.
One thing I sure remember is the muddy roads when it rained. It wasn’t too bad after we got buses. After that the boys got out and pushed and the girls yelled for them from inside the bus!
Yes, we had dirt for roads back then. There was a lot of happy folks when the roads were oiled!
When I finished school at Prairieville, I came to Mabank by school bus to finish school.
When I graduated from high school, I went to Dallas, as did a lot of my girl friends. Several of us worked at Sears Roebuck.
I got a letter one day from Mama, and she told me she had recently got a letter from my sister, Fannie, who lived in Los Angeles with her husband Leonard who was in the Navy. He was stationed at San Pedro part of the time.
Well, that letter made me really want to see them. So, I wrote Mama from Dallas tellin’ her when she received my letter I would be on my way to California!
I was in for something I wasn’t expectin’. It took us forever to get there. Every time we met a troop train we had to pull off our track for it to move on.
Another girl about my age (16) got on the train and we became good friends. We had sandwiches and water, I think, to drink.
Well, one day we came side by side to another train going the other way and we stopped. She and I decided to walk down the isle (on our train) to see better. And guess what? Two big doors were wide open and there was a lot of good-looking’ service sailors about our age!
They were unloading a big cart of food over to their train – and when they saw us they started giving us the food!
About that time we heard a shrill whistle and here came a couple of MPs – and the food went back to the troops!
We finally made it to LA, and my brother-in-law and sister were waiting for me.
They lived close to Hollywood and I was in heaven.
They had taken me to work and introduced me to their fellow workers.
My brother-in-law was a fingerprint detective and he brought home some terrible pictures of his work.
My sister also worked in the fingerprint department.
I had a ball! I would get on the street bus and go everywhere!
One day when they came home from work, Frankie told me that Captain (I’ve forgotten his name) had a job for me!
I said, “I can’t do what you do.” He told me I’d be workin’ in the filing department.
So, I went to work and there is a lot more to tell so stay tuned, I’m not finished yet.
One day we received a letter from Mama tellin’ us our Daddy was very ill.
So, I quit work and came home. Our Daddy didn’t live very long and at that time my sister was not able to get a ticket to come home.
Back then the whole world was a terrible mess.

The Last Word:
I think it was funny that Frankie’s real name was “Fannie,” but when she moved to California she said her name was “Frankie,” because out there “fannie” meant your behind!
So, I had to learn her “new” name!
– O.T.


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

Creating an oasis of serenity...
Even if I just have an apartment-size tiny patio, I have always loved to create a place for relaxing, beauty, calm and peace. If I have room for one pretty chair, and a few plants, I add some soft music and a good book, a few decorative pieces from a thrift shop, some pretty fabric, and presto, my blood pressure begins to drop as soon as I enter my private oasis.
Through the years, I have found some pretty special ways to escape daily stresses and get in touch with my natural surroundings. If it is morning and I want to chill, I choose a sunny spot to get warm, and if it is the afternoon, I pick a shaded area. Sound too easy? It is good for all of us.
All year long I feed our feathered friends. Birds will happily gather when you place a ceramic feeder filled with seeds on a patio table or hang a feeder in the corner. Waking up to happy birds singing you into the day is a great way to count your blessings. Try stretching exercises as the early hours unwrap themselves.
I don’t need any fancy accoutrements. I can put a bench or a chair in a quiet corner of a yard. Add some pretty flowers and I have a peaceful garden. One thing that is a must is some sort of water sounds. The gentle curves of a fountain combine with the calming sound of trickling water and just ooze peaceful mood and atmosphere.
Wash away worries with ponds, fountains and streams, because water symbolizes cleansing and refreshing of the spirit. No fountain or stream? I fill a bucket or ceramic pot with water and add some floating flowers or plants like water hyacinth.
If I make a retreat to eat a meal, I love a fence of plants or flowers combined with climbing vines. To get to my special place a curved path or walkway represents life’s twists and turns.
Toss a few soft pillows into a chair or wherever I sit, and if I am lucky enough to have room for a hammock, even better for snoozing or reading a good book. I use materials like wood and wicker to be in harmony with my natural surroundings, if I have them. I use lots of the color green which to me means life and growth of my spirit.
Sweet sounds of a wind chime moving in the breeze create harmony and solar lights guide the way and night. Multi-colored stained glass lanterns are a sure way to add energy and atmosphere. I found mine at a yard sale.
A garden or patio spot can give you something to smile about. It is great to put others first, but it is not okay to put yourself last. It is natural to postpone joy until our dreams come true, but I don’t like to wait.
So, every day, starting today, I promise myself I will do something that lifts my spirits and fills my heart. I will go into my private oasis and sip some sweet tea and stress melts away and my energy is restored.
I will remember I can do more than I think with what I have got, and things can turn out even better than I ever hoped.


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

To cook or not to cook...
Through the years, I may have cooked once or twice on a gas range. The best cooks are said to use gas, not electric ranges. Since my mother had always preferred electric, this was my choice also, and there is doubt about the veracity of my second sentence, coincidence or anything else.
Give me four burners and a durable oven, close to true heat reading, and I shall do my best to produce the edible. It is difficult to form a relationship with a stove, unlike a family car.
When we traded in the trusty old grey Pontiac sedan, the one used by all four children to perfect their ability to drive behind its wheel, I could have wept. This vehicle was like a member of the family.
A kitchen stove lasts for us at least 10 years. We need one now, but its buttons and selections must be on the front, as our choice has to sit behind a raised bar. The idea is to have Papaw cook pancakes to place on the bar above the stove as hungry grandchildren sit on stools to eat food hot off the burner.
Too, because of the way I planned the remodeling of my kitchen, whatever we have should have a down draft or an above the stove vent-a-hood. For our first choice, we had an expensive down-draft black beauty. For the next purchase we went with natural draft. Now, we find limited choices of electric ranges with a low back and buttons on the front; even more limited are electrical appliances for cooking with raised burners.
Cooking and cleaning afterward should not require identical time. These slick-top burners must be cleaned immediately after cooling, with a special substance and touch. Yes, I’ve had one. In stores today, they are displayed everywhere. The stove top made me miserable. A soiled oven can be tolerated, but not a stove stop hidden with a table cloth.
We had a white (color doesn’t help) range of this type once. When one particular summer rolled around, I had plums in abundance and wanted to make jelly.
Early one hot morning, I began my homemaking task. Boiled jars lined the cabinet top, ready to be filled and sealed with plum jelly in all its glory. One back burner, the left, and one front, the right, were on high heat. Right before my eyes, the stove top cracked from the front left to the rear right. Jelly making for the summer was over.
Spectators came in to view the stove, and in time, the top was replaced, with another day of cooking awaiting me. I felt almost like a celebrity as friends were shocked at a free replacement.
However, I know exactly what type range I want in my kitchen. If I can’t get my choice, I guess we’ll have a range only; maybe an oven can go in a wall or I’ll have an excuse not to bake. I have never been able to bake level cakes; that’s why globs of frosting
mount on one side only.
Last Sunday was church dinner day, and we had guests to take with us. One of my grandsons asked me as we cleaned afterward if I had brought any food to eat. “Yes,” I said, “Papaw made salmon croquettes and a bowl of beans.”
The young man interrupted and said, “I mean, did you, bring any food?”
I’m totally tired of this line of disrespectable questioning, and I didn’t answer. Possibly I need only a larger refrigerator, along with a really nice microwave, an outside barbecue pit and a whole new approach to cooking.



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