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May 29
, 2011

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

Lookin' back...
This morning when I opened my eyes and looked out the window by my bed, I saw the tree limbs swaying ‘round and ‘round.
Since my stomach was feeling kinda like that, I closed the curtains and went back to bed. I’m sure many of you now about such things. So let’s change the subject.
I’m looking forward to seeing flowers blooming everywhere. Especially the wild ones, like bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes. That’s two of my favorites. A few are around and I hope to see more.
Son #2 has planted morning glories everywhere, and a garden.
Thinking way back, brings memories of how much Mama liked canning the food that was raised in the garden every year. And Daddy was busy raising cattle, corn, cotton, hay and going fox hunting.
There were no wolves back then. And I don’t have to tell you as I was raised a country girl, and still am just a little.
As I was saying, I don’t have to tell you more, but I will if I have a chance.

 

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

Things we all deserve...
This week’s random thinking deals with all of us girls. We are mothers, daughters, grandmothers, nieces, aunties, step-moms, divorced, married, single, and somewhere in-between. We are girls, and we are women, and we deserve some great things!
We all need a good friend, and if we are lucky and are good friends to our own friends, we have at least a couple of people we can really depend on.
I am not referring to acquaintances, fly-by-night buddies, but those who are there when all the chips fall to the floor. I am speaking of the friend who is there when you are at your worst, look terrible, feel awful, and act crazy. The number one friend is one you can call at 3:25 a.m. If we have this friend, we can cope with most any situation from men to money to death.
We all deserve love you can feel over the phone, even if it is from 1,000 miles away. We deserve to be loved. It is really all there is when everything else is stripped away.
A single flower or a fresh bouquet of blooms once a week, makes any girl feel special and reminds us of all the beauty around us we miss if we don’t stop to smell the roses. Self-picked wild flowers will do just fine. Until we learn to love ourselves, we cannot love anybody else.
All girls deserve a say in whether and when they become a mother. Everyone is not cut out for maternal bliss, and time changes a lot of things.
A few days per year filled with flip-flops, tropical sunsets and the sound of the waves against a background of steel drums. This can be manifested in the back yard, but is best played out on a beach some place where the palm trees sway.
Every girl deserves one good closet with organizers. College dorms don’t have them, nor do first apartments, but as we age, a closet really is a gift from the heart to ourselves or from somebody who built it.
A great bathroom is a prize. Candles all around, a glass of wine, music, bubble bath, need I say more? Privacy is necessary for relaxation until WE say it is time for any sort of company except the cat curled up in the corner on a towel. No kids, no problems, no interruptions contribute to this oasis of serenity. I can go into the sanctuary of a bath a complete monster, and come out a princess. It really is magical.
And for those days when there is too much to do and only a few minutes for ourselves? I want one of those rainforest type showers with cool tiles underfoot and all around. Put a window in it up high and let the trees brush against the glass. Put a big plant in there with blooming flowers dripping with moisture, if there is room. Sigh. A girl has to have her goals.
The wonderful gift of a peaceful heart, and tranquility are things that cannot be bought with money, or traded for by barter. A spirit surrounded with the perfect stillness in which to breathe and listen is to be honored, and sought after. When there is too much noise in my life, I have to dial it down and reach for quiet. Recently I slept on a pallet under a giant oak tree all afternoon. It was a gift to myself.
And finally, it is not a material wish we all deserve, but an emotional letting go. Let it go, and let resentment, judgment, anger, bitterness, pride and pain float away from our hearts and minds. Let the healing begin. Put hatred aside and give the precious gift of forgiveness to ourselves and then to others. We cannot start to live until we let go of, really let go of, all that holds us in an invisible prison.

 

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

Thoughts for Memorial Day...
It is difficult to write about war and those engaged in it. But America has been defined by battle after battle, beginning with the American Revolution, through world involvement, weeping through our own Civil War stories and pictures, facing unwanted wars, called conflicts by some, and now involved in trying to secure peace, in ways I do not understand or say much about.
It’s the individual that concerns me. What quality willingly leads a man to join the military, train for a new facet of life, find himself in enemy territory, witness a buddy killed beside him, realizing he could be the next target. Not to mention sparse accommodations, accessories, food, family contact and so much more I’ll never understand or even try to explain.
A hero is made (man or woman), mostly from acts carried out from instinct or action one did not know he was capable of – like soldiers in war action by saving the lives of fellowmen or doing something courageous no one else did at the time. But “all gave some; some gave all,” all are heroes. A soldier will fight to save the life of a comrade he may not really like.It comes from pure bonding that can make survivors. This bonding cannot be captured in words, but once home permanently, the soldier has to leave it and adapt another way of life.
Pete, now at peace, was one of these soldiers. A respectable plumber in another town, he had fought in World War II in a long stretch with no breaks. Once he and a comrade walked across a field. The comrade stepped on a land mine and disintegrated before his eyes. Another time Pete rode in a jeep with a friend, the driver. An enemy sniper shot the driver who died instantly. Pete commandeered the steering wheel to safety and went on, but never forgot. He was recognized as a hero for capturing 30 German soldiers alone in a crumbling building, holding them until support arrived. Pete’s medals were displayed then, protected in a glass-front box hanging on his living room wall. What did he do the day he was free to come home, the war over? He plowed 40 acres in that north part of his farm a few miles from his home.
No one knew where Uncle Mickey kept his three medals, one a distinguished “thanks” from France because as a bombardier in WW II, Mickey was part og the mission to liberate the country. A Yankee who married my dad’s sister, he and she both were water-sking, rock hunting, and dancing late in their 60s. They went to all military reunions possible. When this old soldier died, his family found his cache, a box hidden under a loose board in the floor. He was buried in his uniform, medals attached, then detached and sent to his godsons in Pennsylvania. Mickey spoke little of the war but taught my brother and me multiple constellations he knew in the sky. He found postal employment here and did not return to live in mining country, where his parents and siblings lived.
No, the veterans I’ve met have said little about war experiences, or maybe some remembered time will spill out such as acts of benevolence the nonfighters gave to Americans in war-torn countries, wounded, hungry, caught in parachutes in trees and gotten down - dangerous and secretive acts of unarmed people who acted out of compassion over loyalty.
A neighbor here has ridden as a Patriot Guard Rider,crossing the country many times (as well as his wife following in a vehicle with other women) from California, dipped into Texas, ridden north to meet thousands of riders from the South, then on to Washington, D.C. with Arlington Cemetery an important destination. Thunder Roll has become a battle cry of memory for veterans. On May 30, throngs in our nation’s Capital await the roar of miles of motorcycles described by one reporter as the “loudest silence.” Riders dress in dark conservative clothes with the American Flag waving from the bikes.
My neighbor fought in Vietnam on three missions. He was injured several times; metal plates ride inside his body, his mental scars are kept secretive. He took his brother’s place for his last assignment explaining this brother would never survive. This all came to pass, and the brother called Douglas still lives; his brother drowned in Texas years later. Douglas still rides with the Patriots when called for human, unarmed barriers between funerals and protesters, to funerals themselves so no veteran is buried alone, in cemetery drives as support for the fallen, or for many other requests.
When Douglas finally came home, landing in Houston, he was surprised to be told not to dress in uniform. He learned quickly of the taunts, spits, rotten objects of attack from his own people as he walked a plank to touch free soil. We try hard to make up for that era now, but it has to be written somewhere for future readers to know. This war was terrible, but horrendous punishment and degrading awaited those soldiers who disobeyed. And with a different setting, forgotten at home perhaps, mindset can lose reality of the moment.
In home attacks, the messenger took the most blame; many who fought in Vietnam suffer in various ways forever.
Of course, I saw Onslow (Onclow) Airheart but never really knew him. He led our town’s parades, in his uniform, fought in a war as he was told, bringing home medals upon medals. LIFE Magazine in its salute to the 20th Century mentions Audie Murphy and his “most” medals ever received. Then the information tells of another man from Texas, who had one medal less.
I wrote a letter to LIFE telling them of Onslow Airheart of Trinidad and listed some information. LIFE’s return letter stated it had no need for the information at that time. One distinguished modern writer anguishes over the permanence of Memorial Day when flags fly freely, especially in burial places.
I personally knew a young soldier in Dessert Storm who could not let his mother know his place of duty. He did send a tape with gunfire in the background that put the war in better perspective and turned all other noise to nothing.
If given a choice in this country, few would choose war. Peace is a beautiful quality in homes, neighborhoods, and between nations. But we are promised wars upon wars until the end of time because of evil acts, irrational enemies, territorial conflicts, persecution of one’s brothers, much more.
As Americans, we must learn more about wars our brothers are in, care more, love more, do more from our place of security. I’m ashamed of myself. The quality I sought at first must be “fortitude” with all its definitions.

 

 

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