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May 15
, 2011

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

Out and about...
I’m feelin’ sicker, with a kidney stone, than I was when I had cancer, I’m thinkin’. But, I’m still happy to be out and about.
This past week, my oldest grandson’s oldest son, Garrett, had his 15th birthday and we all went to “the ranch” to eat cake. It got me to thinkin’ about when my oldest grandson was born, back when I was “doing” the Mabank Banner.
I celebrated being a brand new Grandma in the only way the Editor and pretty much sole employee of the town newspaper could, by putting Toney on the front page, of course!
I called the column “Extra Special,” because that’s the way all of us Grandmas think of our grandbabies.
Then, I invited other proud Grandparents to brag a little, too, by bringing in “extra special” photographs of the newest members of their families. And boy, they sure did! I was soon flooded with baby pictures. I ran one picture in the paper each week for a long time.
I’m often asked how many grandchildren I have, that I am always talkin’ about. My answer is, “I don’t know, I get mixed up!” Daughter #5 even made me a chart.
But right now, my heart and prayers are with the newest “extra special” great-grandbaby, Chloe. She is in the hospital sufferin’ with breathin’ difficulties. I had just been down to Daughter #1’s house to hold Chloe, great-grandbaby #21, the day before. Sickness can come on fast with little ‘uns.
The other day, when I was out and about, I met a man at the doctor’s office. He told me that he bought the paper to read my “story.” I figured he was kiddin’.
After I had been to the doctor, Daughter #3 suggested we go to the Tea Room to see the new spring decor and maybe I could eat a bite of soup, since I couldn’t eat before the X-rays were taken. Soon along came two lady friends and the first thing out of their mouths after “Hello,” was how much they enjoyed reading what I had to say!
A bunch of folks weren’t around to read the “older ones,” (my stories), but I know, for a few of you “older ones,” (my friends), you’ve heard it all before. So, maybe I’ll get back on the job! I do enjoy writing.
As I was saying, I’m still happy to be out and about, I just don’t do it as often.

The Last Word:
I may even mention something about the grand ole Mabank Banner. There are not a lot of us left who used to read it.
– O.T.


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

Looking at the rest of your life......
It has been nearly one year since my 35-year marriage ended in divorce, and watching the recent news about Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger separating after 25 years got me thinking about what really happens to old relationships in some cases. I was, like the rest of the world, surprised and yet not too surprised when Tipper and Al Gore divorced after 40 years, and I understand this trend among people of longtime unions first hand.
Dissolving a first-time marriage with 20-plus years now makes up 25 percent of the divorce rate. In previous generations, people just stayed long after the lights at the party went out. Now, we look at the rest of our lives, realizing we have just a certain amount of quality time left.
There comes a point in one’s life where a question has to be answered. “Do I stay and finish it out or do I move on?”
People change during decades together. Children are born, raised and grow up. They move away. The empty nesters lose their focus.
The feeling of failure is a primary reason people don’t divorce. The fear of being alone and throwing away the investment of decades together keeps more couples together long after they know the marriage is actually dead in the water.
You get down to the point of asking yourself if you stay for appearances and live an illusionary life, or you make a brave move and live an authentic life.
Retirement is a promise of sipping iced tea and sharing common history, but for some it ends with the sharp, painful reality that they grew apart during endless hours of childrearing, and making a living, coping with everyday life and just existing.
It is not the happy ending expected, and things begin to deteriorate. For those who have reached this point in their life and are truly happy together, it is wonderful. But for the ones of us that did not wind up so content, divorce may be the only real answer to consider.
Previous generations, such as my parents, just stayed together, even though they knew it was not what they would really want for their entire life. They stuck it out till death did they part.
During my volunteer work with neglected and abused women, I asked women why they stayed, and one big problem is money, or the lack thereof. So they hang on in violent, dangerous and loveless situations. Splitting assets keeps men home as well. Years on entangled money and property seems quite overwhelming, so they just stay in their chair and make no moves.
I grew up in the church, and I really believed in forever, until forever was no longer a reality. Like most others when I married, I believed in the institution of marriage, but like many couples have found out, not everybody gets a happy ending.


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

Having faith...
Some babies must be born with condfidence. We’ve reared a grandchild from 12 years to 18, 19, 20, as you know, and it did not take long to see “that mind of her own.” Somewhat shy at first, she quietly and slyly went about gaining authority.
Maybe I first noticed when at 13 she said, “Ganny, promise me when you get old you won’t wear gold shoes.” That seemed innoculous, but what did I know. “I’m praying to have feet,” I said.
Years later, this grown daughter visited us. On her feet were gold, bejeweled, fancy flipflops. I said nothing, but she knew my thoughts. “They are the latest trend, Ganny, hot!” I only smiled.
I thought I outsmarted her once, but she probably thought of another route. She and her first boyriend used phones to watch television together. She was in our house; he, in his. Then they talked until late or just kept the phones on their shoulders for any ready thoughts. How I found out I don’t know. But we were in the room with the landphone jack (and I know nothing much about what I say) right by her wired connection cord.
Thus, when we turned in for the night, I reached behind my bed and pulled the cord out. No one ever said anything.
Once, I went to elementary school here, asked to read a story to first-graders. The granddaughter was now in high school and preceded to tell me what to wear – something I looked better in, (to her) a long skirt, vest and knit shirt with sleeves under the vest. This was when she told me, “Ganny, for a fat woman, you don’t have fat legs.” Thank you?
Then came that ruling about 17, being of age and maturity. This was a lengthy proclamation about living alone at 17 in special circumstances, if one had a job, home, auto, in school, etc. All the teens heard was “grown at 17. Mature at 17. An adult.”
Granddaughter, 17, announced this mature part, that she knew what was best for her and would make her decisions. I won’t say any more, but we watched her closer than ever and saw no change whatsoever in curfew, goings and comings, and counted the days to graduation.
Once we had a new car, a black Nissan (she still drives by the way), although now she calls it a piece of junk. The year we bought it, I said, “Listen, I want my car today. You drive it more than I.”
“But, Ganny, I look so good in it.” She had her license as early as she could get it. No waiting around as some did.
Now 23, this “child” has apologized for sudden outbursts and other events and admitted we were right a few times.
I simply smile again and say little. I suppose I’m gunshy.
But I love this oldest of the grandchildren so much it can hurt. She has not taken my advice when she should have. Then she was the first to call me on Mother’s Day. We had just returned from visiting family in the Metroplex and attending church to witness the dedication to God of our youngest grandchild, Cole.
The sermon followed on a Biblical mother, Hannah, a barren married woman who prayed for a son, which she would, at the appropriate time take to the religious leader for her people. All came to pass, and when her boy, Samuel, was almost 3, his mother took him to Eli and kept her promise for Samuel to be used of God in Shiloh. Samuel proved full of promise.
My youngest grandson is Cole Samuel; my granddad was Samuel; my husband’s granddad was Samuel. Then the middle name of my husband and this child’s dad is, too, Samuel. We almost begged for someone to use Samuel. Then when this baby was born, it happened. Where was my confidence? It doesn’t matter. I should have had “faith.”
I should wear an apron now emblazoned with these words to cover many events, starting with the raising of another generation: “O, Ye of Little Faith.”



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