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July 3
, 2011

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

'Possum huntin'...
Hearin’ Daughter #5 say she was startled earlier that mornin’, by two little ‘possum eyes peerin’ up from the can, right as she was fixin’ to throw in a bag of trash, had me recallin’ one of my own ‘possum tales. And, yes, I do have more than a few stories involvin’ opossums!
This particular story started out one night as somethin’ woke me kinda’ sudden-like. Quietly, I lay there tryin’ to decide what. I seemed to have heard scratchin’ on the bedpost. I tried to think it was a cricket or a junebug. Switchin’ on the light, I peeked under my bed, but it wasn’t. There lookin’ as surprised as I felt, sat a baby opossum!
Julius was still at his night job, so I ran to the back bedroom yellin’, “Get that ‘possum from under my bed!”
Wakin’ from a sound sleep, with the calmness that can only come from livin’ in a household where nothin’ is thought unusual, my two sons’ mixed reactions were, “Go back to sleep Mama. You didn’t see a ‘possum; you dreamed it.” And from the youngest one, “I’m not about to catch a ‘possum! It might bite me!”
I went back to peek again. It wasn’t there, anymore.
The next mornin’ found me a bit groggy, from spendin’ so much time searchin’ under things, behind the doors, in all the closets, while tryin’ to decide if I did or did not see a ‘possum.
I related it all to my husband when he came home from his midnight shift. He didn’t have much to say, but gave me an odd LOOK, on his way to bed.
Later, as I was sweepin’, I ran across evidence that proved, without a doubt, somethin’ besides us humans were occupyin’ our house. We didn’t have a cat, dog, or any other household pet.
Still jumpy, I tried to relax by doin’ a little readin’. Soon though, I heard a rustlin’ in the corner, glanced over, leaped up yellin’, “There goes that … ‘possum!” as he scooted under the dresser, through the door, then into the dining room!
Julius showed his usual amount of interest in ‘possum huntin’ by yawnin’, “I’m too tired to go ‘possum huntin’”. But, before he turned over to go to sleep, he gave me that LOOK, again!
The boys were wide-awake, this time, and needin’ somethin’ to do, were soon hot on the trail. They went ‘round and ‘round, through the house, finally hemmin’ “him” up in the kitchen. I was right behind them yellin’, “Don’t hurt him! Don’ hurt him!” Dwayne was yellin’, “Don’t let him loose! Don’t let him loose! With Dwight, holdin’ him upside down, by the tail, yellin’ “Sull, you little idiot, sull!”
Weary husband remained in bed, throughout it all. He showed very little attention, except that once, when it appeared as if he might have a frantic, four-legged bedfellow. However, I did notice, as we made another mad dash around his bedroom, a LOOK of relief on his face. He realized, his wife HAD seen a ‘possum.
As I was saying, if you want opossum tales, I got ‘em. The new little pup around our place is named ‘possum, but that’s a different tail.


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

Each decade we evolve...
I was never as intelligent as I was at the age of 17. I certainly knew it all. As I matured and hit my 20s, I found out pretty quick I really did not know much of anything about most everything.
In my 20s, I was a focused go-getter. Capable of taking on challenges with a cool, calm demeanor, I could conquer the world. Studies have shown that when we are in our 20s, our brains impulse-control center is maturing at breakneck speed. Better yet, conscientiousness, which is the predictor of success, is the fastest growing trait. In our 20s we are building dreams to complete in our 30s, 40s and beyond.
I hated turning 30. It was my most difficult of the decade birthdays. But on the upside, I was more confident, and my personality was evolving along with my language and social skills. I put down roots, made new friends and became a little more confident and outgoing.
The 40s were a time I flourished. I felt better and I thought I looked my best. It seemed I was a more well-rounded thinker and I was not as extroverted or gregarious. I had normally contradictory traits. I had introversion and extroversion sharing center stage. I was no longer extra-social and coexisted with new-found reflective wisdom. I took on new hobbies and tackled anything life threw in my way without a second thought.
My 50s found me looking into new opportunities, indulging my interests and expanding my world. I found a sense of control and I was determined to take on new challenges to ensure my second act would be even better than the first. My 50s were my most empowered time. It was time to look to a new me.
Now I am in my 60s. I find all sorts of new ways to be creative. I can see solutions where my younger friends can see none. It is all coming more easily now. I feel smart, confident and socially savvy. I am bold in my dress, and can go to the store with no makeup. No problem. I have the gift of time in a day and whether it is a smile, a helping hand or a good meal, I am ready. I can be a sounding board or give a piece of advice or a pep talk. I can just have some fun. I can take a happy break.
Now I can clearly see there is plenty of joy to go around, but we must not be afraid to claim it. I know I can touch more lives than I thought before, and I believe that hope works.


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

Writing family foibles...
Topics come and go. Never have I written any of these columns and been completely satisfied. I had to learn to let go. Three ideas usually whirl in my mind: those of anger I don’t know enough, those of sadness, which I don’t want to promote, and those, of course, about the family life at any time since about 1970.
Because of these dear problems, mostly the one I helped create, I began the practice of using indicators, such as first child, middle child, Bud, Sis, Brown Eyes, Grands, and so on. One idea was that I could not be the only employed mother with a wanna-be household such as I have endured with tears and smiles.
Some of you can top me on incidents; others cannot imagine what I’ve dealt with or been through. So far, I consider myself blessed, lucky, cautious, or naive.
My children would rather I spared their experiences. But if write about their children, these are clipped and saved. If I write of a dear, dear departed friend I miss so much, I get calls from a daughter with thanks.
My husband has told me to leave him out of the “blasted” column. This is fine because my youngest child gave me fodder for the larder at any stage of his life.
When he left for college and found summer employment on a recreational river below Austin, he worked with a high school friend whose parents liked to visit that area, too. This mother took the local paper and reported to my baby what I had said about him. He called me in disbelief that I could follow him this way. “By the way, please quit calling me “Bubba” in your work. I’m almost 20.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him what other names I could use.
I try to be as complimentary as possible (lie) because writing the bad and ugly makes it seem worse than it really was. I do have a few ounces of pride left. I’m watching a growing grandson in another town become a point of interest. I think he will entertain his mother to the point of insanity; she’ll call me, and I’ll have information on another generation. The oldest of my own has had fights or tiffs or whatever that make people shutter if I relate his act in person. This makes me pen-shy.
But a son moved out west for awhile as a medical salesman, calling on clinics and hospitals. No one knew him there or me except maybe by name. He took an order from an employee of medical expertise one day and began walking down the hall to leave. This woman hollered after him, “You wouldn’t by any chance be related to a woman there who writes for the local paper, would you?” He stopped, not believing what this woman asked.
In complaining to me later, this young man said the woman in the clinic had been born in the city Dad and I lived in and took the local news to keep up.
“I’m moving to a bigger city,” he sighed.


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