|As I Was Saying
By Opal Toney
“Goin’ with the
This week’s column was pulled from the As I was Saying archives collection.
When Grandpa was not feelin’ well I
remember him saying, “I can’t seem to ‘go with the flo.’”
I still don’t know what he meant, but I think I might have been feelin’ that
Nothin’ serious, I’m just didn’t feel “up to par” – whatever that means.
Daughter #2 brought me my mail she picked up at the Post Office.
No, my new checks I was expectin’ didn’t come, maybe I won’t need ‘em
tonight. I hope not!
But, guess what? I received a letter from a dear friend that I’ve not seen
in quite a while.
Maybe I shouldn’t but here is what was included in her letter:
Who Will You Inspire Today
In our busy lives, we are all rushing around to get to the next minute
trying to get everything accomplished that needs doing in our personal
world. Days become weeks and weeks become years and we never stop to realize
the impression that we make on the people around us or the people we meet.
Case in point. Many years ago I had the good fortune of moving from the big
city to a newly built lake resort area. As I made my way to the then small
country town for groceries I would pass by this very old little house. It
had a hitching rail out front that was covered in morning glories, patches
of blue bonnets blooming in the yard, an old iron pot full of petunias and
rocking chairs on the front porch that were draped with quilts and old
linens. One day there was an “Open – Santa Stops Here” sign on the door, so
I stopped and entered into the most fascinating world of “old stuff” and art
that you have ever seen.
The lady who owned the little house had it moved from her original old
homestead to its current location. This shop was filled to the brim with
beautifully hand-crafted items by local artists. I was in heaven as I had
just embarked on a new adventure of doll-making and tole painting. There
were bird nests in the rafters filled with clay fairies and homemade robin’s
eggs. There were sardine cans that had been rolled up with the key still in
them (the youngster’s won’t remember those kind of cans) that were rusted
and had country scenes with blue bonnets painted inside of them. There were
crocks with chickens painted on them. Every thing in that shop was a feast
for the eyes!
As the years went by, this lady became a dear friend and mentor. She always
had a smile on her face. She always had an encouraging word for those of us
who were learning new crafts. She was always talking about the Lord. She
made the most wonderful old country people dolls out of bread and glue dough
that were dressed in fabric from old clothing. I am blessed to own three of
her dolls. What a delight she was and still is!
This angel of a lady has no idea of the real impact she made on my life and
the lives of others by her everyday actions. I have told her many times how
much I appreciate her but even I don’t realize all that she did until one
day something else pops into my mind because of something Opal did or said.
A kind word, a hug around the neck, a word of positive encouragement, a
scripture from the Bible, a helping hand, a phone call, a short visit, a
positive attitude, a smile; we never know how we will inspire the life of
others. Who will you inspire today? Your spouse, your child, a stranger?
– Edna Bridges
When I finished reading I was overcome with I don’t know what. But, I do
know I got up feeling much better, but it was hard to believe what I had
just read, but I’m hopin’ I can continue to go with the flo.
The Last Word:
There was also an early birthday greeting with a cute little child kissin’ a
pig! I never know what to expect next, but I’m looking forward to a visit
from my dear friend.
View From Here
By Katherine Veno
The power of
I have had lots of dogs and cats all my life. Both give me lots of love and
companionship. A few years ago I was at the Cedar Creek Animal Shelter in
Tool. I fell in love with a cat with no tail.
He reached through the cage bars and caught hold of my blouse. As the fabric
snagged, so did my heartstrings. The attendant took him out and let me hold
him. She explained he was a tail-free cat called a Manx. He was wearing a
black and white tuxedo nature gave him on his birthday. He was all dressed
up to go with me and he let it be known I was his chosen human.
I noticed a soft purr as I held him in my arms. I got a warm feeling. At
home he began sleeping with me at night. He had a habit of laying down in
such a way that his body always touched mine. I had never known cats could
be so affectionate. He woke up at five every morning and parked himself on
my chest with paws folded neatly under his body staring at me until I
finally woke up and stroked him.
Then there was the nearly constant purring that never ceased to bring me
delight. We match in so many ways. He has allergies and his eyes water in
the wind, as do I. He sneezes in the spring and fall just like I do. He
loves tuna, and we often share it together. It is as if we both know how
much we need the other. We never argue, but if he disappears into the
neighboring yards or woods too long, I start calling him and don’t stop
until I hear the tinkle of the little silver bell on his special silver
break-a-way cat collar. I forgive him for his tardiness just like he forgave
me for leaving him. He knows I don’t want to ever lose him again.
When he was two years old and I had long since fallen so in love with him, I
brought home other cats and he made them feel welcome. He touched their
noses - he played with them.
I am amused with his jealously of other people. He is not happy that I have
other friends, and makes it known. He has even bitten people who get too
close to his human. After spending frightening weeks in an animal shelter, I
guess he is taking no chances.
During a move he was lost from me in the woods and I missed him for six long
months, until a neighbor reunited us. There he was shivering and shaking,
spitting and growling, as if to threaten anybody and everybody. When I
opened the cage door and he heard my voice, his temperament changed, his big
green eyes grew even larger, and shown brightly against his black fur. He
was completely still as he looked into my face. His expression softened and
he began to move towards my body.
As if to say, “I am so glad to see you” he began to rub his head on my hand
and purr. There we were, together again at last, and as for me, I know my
life is richer, fuller, and my heart knows the power of a purr once again.
No stormy night, or lonely day can take a toll on me, because Tuff is right
there beside me. Like old friends, we just fit.
When I had a terrible case of bronchitis this past winter he never left his
position of caregiver except to grab a bite to eat, or drink, or to take
care of his own personal cat business. He even gave up some of his window
bird watching to stay close and offer comfort to his coughing, sneezing,
wheezing, human. When I was well again and we were swinging on the porch, he
was relieved to take an uninterrupted nap.
He is five years old now, and does not play with the catnip mice as much as
he used to do. He is happy to lie by the fireplace while I write my stories,
and if he thinks I take too long, he is prone to jump to the keyboard and
type a bit himself.
It is not just the purr power I love, but it is the true gentleness of a
real friend for life, and the realization of how fragile all our ties are to
this world we know. It is the grateful heart that know what friendship and
love is really all about.
The greatest healing therapy is the love of a true friend.
With special appreciation to Darlene Baumgartner and family.
|Escapades of Emily
By Emily Gail Lundy
Budget cuts to schools, especially eliminating teaching positions, has
really caught my eye. Here is a BIG secret for everyone. Students learn
first from good, solid teachers who take their jobs seriously, eating,
living, and carrying it with them in the backs of their minds as they go
about other assignments in life. If eliminating those who report for duty to
get paid gets done, great, but letting go of the “goodies” or “Oldies but
Goodies” is horrible.
The basic requirement for education comes from teachers, the core, the
basis. Palaces, better and newer books or machines don’t do the job; special
lighting or proper air control might enhance learning but teachers in a
paneled room with enthusiasm, intelligence, gusto, control, fearless to the
line that cannot be stepped over, and students “first” as a motto get
children to learn.
Second is having the student who wants to turn in to all this teacher’s hard
work and research, plus what he knows about his subject, in other words
“wants to learn.”
Third, entice, hire, do something (money talks) to get more men to teach
basic subjects. Then you would see sensible tactics used in teaching, not
games, not more A’s, but possibly more respect with men as role models will
put this nation’s schools on the map. Hire the teacher first, coach second.
And I think sports are important. I know the students going or staying in
school for the sports only. But balance better coaches and teachers
percentage-wise. Really make academics first with the students liking it.
Where do parents come in? They support the schools, don’t run to complain at
the first whine from the child but check it out quietly first, and they
should try to quit reliving their own teen years. It’s been said we never
really get away from our high school years; we must try harder.
Of course, I rue much of my past as a student and a teacher. But good
college grades don’t make the teacher better than another; stylish clothes
matter but not that much; professionalism is the key to the door that will
send students into that huge room alone knowing more than he did.
My husband and I retired early. His age was a factor, and he wanted to try
other worlds. My health and stamina were slipping.
For a short while (maybe a year in total) we team taught. For a particular
area of student, he might say, “Wouldn’t that movie “Name” really bring this
to life?” I agreed, but imagine his surprise to know he had to find the
movie and rent it.
Every year I taught he fussed at me spening my own money for genuine English
tea food, or prizes, or bulletin material, etc. Those “Johnny Carson” tapes
weren’t free, but I could do parts where he mocked Hamlet and other plays,
as he did commercials.
With energy long ago, I took chances by going to a cemetery to read a famous
poem about death by Thomas Gray. When my room stunk, I bought the potpourri
and poured it under tables. I thought if I was nice, students would be nice
back. Probably I never learned, but that part I never regretted. And I still
wish my pay had come close to my efforts - daytime and night-time duties
like sponsoring dances and cleaning up. Those Medieval Times trips went
well, but I lost a year in life every time we went.
Good changes have come along, but the crux of the problem will never be
reached by cutting good teachers. That reasoning would use fewer soldiers to
fight more obstacles.