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April 10
, 2011

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

“Goin’ with the flo...”
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 way today.
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.
– O.T.


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

The power of a purr...
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.



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

Priorities in schools...
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.



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