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August 14
, 2011

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

Busy, busy...
The month of September will soon be here and school will start!
Three of my daughters work there, and one at First Baptist in Mabank.
Many of you know Judy, (#4), is sick and I’m taking this opportunity to thank you for the many prayers and visits.
She especially enjoys seeing my great-grandbabies when they are here.
One of my sons lives with Judy and me, and his dog “Opossum.” He keeps busy outside and running errands for us.
As I was saying, this is my way of saying “Thank You All!”


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

Our land without trees...
This drought is taking a terrible toll on our trees. As I drive the highways I see dead trees and dying trees and trees struggling to survive without water.
I have always loved rainy days, so I miss the mist, the dampness and the greenery. The fields look like it is the middle of winter, yet the temperature soars high every single day. Trees in the fields that have given shade to livestock are suffering, and leaves fall as if in surrender to the parched earth and unrelenting heat.
It is hard for somebody like me who has lived in East Texas among the towering oaks and fragrant pines to imagine our land without trees. Trees are so necessary for our own survival, and yet they are like us in so many ways. They need water in order to live, and without it, they hold on as long as they can, but wilt and perish.
With water rationing in effect, I watch my own lawn and plants struggle and some are not going to make it. Others have already parched, burned, and fallen. It is even too hot for sunflowers. They sway, heads bowed, petals down, curled around their faces, and finally I see them lying on the ground.
Water is a precious commodity. It is more valuable than gold or silver, or even money. Without water, everything dies. No amount of wealth can buy rain. There is no currency to open the clouds. I never felt safe in the desert, and now I am feeling uneasy among the perishing landscape.
I heard on the news that “maybe” our trees are going into early hibernation to save their strength and conserve their resources. That would be some kind of wonderful. Falling leaves should drift down to earth in the fall, not in August. My feelings are mixed. On one hand I hope and on the other hand I see all the damage. Only time will tell.
Cities like Kemp running out of water is absolutely terrifying. Who could think cities bordering a huge lake like Cedar Creek Reservoir could be without any water. I live with well water, and every single day I wonder about the level sinking lower and lower. This is one problem that is universal. None of us can live without water.
So my soul yearns for a rainy day and night with the sounds on the metal roof over the porch, and droplets running down the windshield. I want our beautiful trees to stand tall and lush once again and give shade to couples having picnics, and lazy folks like me in a hammock taking a nap. I long to see cattle with plenty of hay, and horses with green grass.
If and when it happens, I will go outside and dance in the rain. I will let it soak me to the bone, and taste it on my lips. I will give thanks.


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

Oh, my aching back...
Time hits again, mentally and physically. Once I doubted the reality of back pain. Why? The complainer was walking, wasn’t he? But then so many complained and pain was in their eyes.
My dad as a younger man spent weeks in a hospital in traction for his back.
At 35, I faced a back dilemma. Where we lived at the time, several women wanted to start a basketball team for fun, exercise, and competition. Since I had played four years in high school, half court style, and been a “rover” on a community college team, I saw little need to attend practices with some who had never played and knew nothing about the game. At 5’6" in my canvas hightop shoes in high school, I was the tallest and guarded the post. We may have won two games in my high school experiences. But a game was a place to go, people to see, songs to sing, and the boy’s team rode the same bus with us on away games.
That Rover spot was a joke for me. It meant two team members could run the full court, crossing the line. The assignment nearly killed me.
But back to that women’s team. Finally, I dressed appropriately, had some athletic shoes, and went to practice. I could dribble, pass and catch the ball. This night I might have been introduced with my experience. And we were practicing long shots.
After bouncing the ball a few times, feeling awkward, I began shooting for the basket. With the third thrust to the basket, a branding iron hit the pit of my back. Casually, I made it to the wall to rest. Then almost crawling, I went out to my car, drove home, and lost all the food intake I had eaten that day. Eventually, I was back to normal and never mentioned the game again.
But then I took a hard fall when I was in my late forties, the mother of teens and a high school teacher. When I stood up, I knew my lower back was on fire. But I sat down, skipped lunch, and endured the day. I was teaching Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales.” Who else could teach it. Sitting in a wooden chair with a heating pad on my back, I taught and took Ibuprofen or something like it. Once home, I lay on the floor for sometime with a vibrator under me.
The pain in the back went to the hip. The next year, that line of pain ran down my leg. Soon I noticed my foot attached to that leg having numb places.
Then, almost three years later, Spring Break came, and the first morning to celebrate I sat up, and bombs went off in my back. I had ruptured or “blown” my lower disk three ways. I could not straighten up or walk, only crawl in agony while the attitude of my busy family will be ignored at this time.
From my bed with my phone I found a military-retired surgeon at Medical City. I had one visit. The doctor said, “I can tell your pain is intense; I’ll operate Thursday, and you walk out Friday, pain free. Walk is all you are to do for six weeks. Your scar will be one inch in length because you’re overweight.” I could have wept from faith and happiness.
Last year, my husband lifted something too heavy and the result was his first incapacitation at 76. He had to have surgery on three vertebrae and something done to his sciatic nerve. Once home he had much to deal with. One night in pain, he looked at me disgustedly and said, “You just can’t imagine the problems I’m having. You’ve never had back pain.”
Hitting him would not have been right.


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