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Sept. 11
, 2011

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

A simple shopping trip...
I’m just sittin’ here thinkin’ how simple it used to be to go to the store, but not anymore.
One time, getting close to dark, Daughter #5 called to ask, “Mama, I’m going to the store. Wanna’ come along?”
I responded, “Oh, I guess so. I don’t ‘specially need anything, but I’ll go along for the ride, just to see who I can see.”
So, she came by and soon we were off! I walked up one aisle and down the other; couldn’t think of one thing I needed. But, I decided to get a half-gallon ice cream, while it was on sale. It was the last day for the special price. I got it; the kind called “homemade.” Well, I’ll say it tastes pretty good, but I’d also say it would have to go along way to taste like the kind I grew up on. They don’t make that in stores.
Anyway, I put it in the buggy, I’d been pushin’ around and about that time I met up with Daughter # 5. She questions me sayin’, “Is that all you are going to buy?” I answer, “Yeah, I don’t really need anything.” She tells me to put it in her basket, ‘cause you have to buy at least $10 to get the sale price.
So, I did as I was told. And then I saw the cantaloupes. I could eat ‘em every day. After figurin’ I’d smelled a good ripe one, I headed for the check out counter.
‘Bout that time I realized I didn’t have enough cash to pay for it! So, I decided to write a check, for a little over and pay for the ice cream that was ridin’ around in Daughter #5’s basket.
Then I got to wonderin’. Would it be cheatin’ if I got that ice cream, at the sale price, without personally buyin’ $10 worth of stuff? Well, by that time I was the next customer in line, with several behind me, includin’ Daughter #5, who was kind of in a hurry to get back home.
So, I went ahead and got the change, by writing the check, you know. I went straight to Daughter #5 to give her the money, for the ice cream, before I forgot. And she was diggin’ around in her purse sayin’, “My billfold’s gone!”
Everybody started lookin’ ‘round, the manager was informed, as several women checked to be sure they had theirs. I let the checker know it was my daughter whose billfold was gone and to check her groceries and I would pay for them. And I did, by writin’ another check, while she went to check her car. The billfold was there, everybody standin’ ‘round figured it fell to the floorboard, when she picked up her purse.
Finally, we made it back to the house. Daughter #5 was goin’ over the grocery bill when she asked, “Mama, didn’t you use your Loyalty Card. when you paid for the groceries?”
“No, it wasn’t asked for, and I never once thought of it” was my answer. She tiredly replied, “Well, we didn’t get credit for all the specials.” And I told her, “No wonder. With all the confusion of lookin’ for your lost billfold that wasn’t even lost!”
So, we got back in the car and went back to the store to get all that straightened out. We agreed, that with the price of gas being what it is these days, we probably spent most of the savin’s we got by goin’ back and forth to the store!
But, once again, we made it to my house, where she gave me cash, for the money I paid by check, for her groceries. Then she had to give me the money I gave her to pay for my ice cream, ‘cause I paid for it along with the groceries, since the ice cream was in her basket. And she gave the savin’s we got, when we went back…
Oh, lands sake, I can’t get it all figured out, can you?
As I was saying, it used to be simple to go to the store, but not anymore.

 

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

Heat Relief...
Birds are singing, breezes are blowing, and summer has sort of relinquished her grip on us for a few days maybe. I do not ever remember a more miserable summer. Of course the largest contributor to our misery is the lack of rain. None of us live without water. This drought has pointed out where a big part of nature’s plan has the same effect on humans, animals and plant life.
For Labor Day I ventured down towards Whitehouse, close to Tyler. The sand blowing looks like the deserts in Arizona and Nevada. Just endless little twisters of spiraling dust, There is no allergy nasal spray going to conquer it either.
I saddled up my horse this morning while the temperatures were languid and the air felt a little more clean. But just after about two hours of riding through the dry woods, equine and human were both sweating. Then add in the dust blowing in the air and you have a human/horse mud pie.
That part of my morning got me to thinking about things. My mother used to call it “pondering.” That was a term she learned from her father from his front porch rocking chair. He told her when you can’t figure out whether you are washing or hanging on the line, it is time to ponder your actions in life and look at your circumstances. So as I made my way through the soft pines that have somehow managed to live in the dark of the woods, I pondered on things like how I hate it that age keeps us from doing things when we are little and too small. If you don’t reach a certain weight or height they won’t let you on certain thrill rides at the State Fair of Texas or Six Flags. When you start getting old you can’t participate in sports like you would like too, or even get on a bicycle or much less a horse. Everybody tells you that you look great “for your age” and you are so fortunate. I guess in some ways they are right. If we can walk, we look okay.
Thinking got me to feeling a bit down about my own physical abilities or changes in them. Pulling myself up on the back of my horse took me longer. Gone are the days when my legs swung my body up with strength into the seat of my saddle. Speaking of saddles, 50 lbs. is a lot heavier now at 65 than it was at 45, or even 55. That is where the pondering comes into play.
I used to love the feel of fall in the air and I would get together with my horse loving friends and we’d ride away the day only stopping for lunch. Now I find myself petting my horse more than sitting on her because it is more work than my body feels like doing. Funny thing is it was not work at all for years. Now I wish there was an automatic saddler attached to my horse trailer ... and some steps up to where you need to be.
If these are the golden years, where are the golden moments. Was the one this morning one of the last? A person gets to looking at themselves a little critically, and gets to thinking about the last times for anything. When do we know it is over for us, or do we stay brave like so many of my girlfriends who ride into their graves in their 70s and 80s. I am certainly not too proud to use a plastic bucket or a tree stump to get on my horse, but all the broken bones now hurt with arthritis setting in. Maybe the pain tells you when the time is finished the the game is over for the last time.
It is probably what professional boxers, football players, basketball players, baseball players and other professional athletes feel when they retire. Nobody forces them to stop. Their bodies tell them time is up. It is sort of like being put out to pasture, and I have never done really well inside four walls.
So, the only thing to do is put myself in a cabin in the woods in the middle of a pasture. I’m seeing it as I am too old to do some things I love, but not too far gone to enjoy it a little bit in pieces or fragments of a day. I don ’t have to ride all day now. I can ride fo half an hour if I want. Nobody is telling me when to stop. My inner voices are just giving me the two second warning.
I have always lived for glorious moments. Not expecting every single day to be one that showered me in sparkling sunlight, I was ready for rainy days. But I have spent my life trying to do all the things I could do in previous decades. Pushing my body beyond the comfort zone, I have marched on to the sound of my own drummer regardless of prices paid.
Now, I am realizing that there is going to be a time when I actually have to give up more than I want to lose. I know there will be moments I will never relive again because my spirit may be willing, but my body will be saying no, and hoping my hardheaded heart does not say yes.
It used to be difficult to crowd everything into a day for me, and now my days most likely include a nap, so there goes a couple of hours. I guess that part is golden anyway.
For all of us there is going to be a last day, a last week, a last month, a last year, and a last breath. The secret to the word golden is to be able to differentiate between the quality of your life as opposed to not having life at all. For me I still think it is a golden moment to be able to walk, talk, drive a car, and if I am real lucky, I can still get on my mare who is middle aged now, and not in as big of a hurry to go anywhere.
So, I had this morning with fall in the air. The wind was blowing my hair as we rounded the stock tank and went up the hill. The leaves were crunching under us, and we saw deer running up ahead. It was a golden moment that I could feel, see, and hear. So the good part is that I still get to see the glory off the back of a horse in my middle 60s, and lots of my friends my age and younger are not even here anymore to enjoy the sunrise.
Must be a Texas woman thing, but I went from plastic ponies from the dime store in the 50s, to the real hoof pounding thing finally in my 40s, so I waited a long time for my dream to come true. Sometimes dreams take a longer time than we want or expect.
I am not quite ready to throw in the towel. There are some fall and winter rides, friends to laugh with, and campfire to sit by. There are some trails I want to re-ride and some new ones I want to share with somebody special. There is a lot of pondering left to do, and I plan to do my share as long as I can manage, and by whatever means I need to employ.
“A woman never looks better than on horseback,” - from the unfinished novel “The Watsons” written between 1803 and 1805 by English novelist Jane Austen - December 16, 1775 - July 18,1817.

 

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

For the love of our family...
It’s no secret. My youngest child at the age of one began his journey of life being a pain, sometimes a sweet one, but obviously not easy to control as a preschooler. This tale comes from way back, when I was a regular at the beauty shop of my choice. The one involved here I could never revisit.
When I had my appointment during the week, I had to take the youngest with me. Free babysitters were scarce. The shop we visited had many customers, operators, and was nicely equipped. I tried to watch my child; if I didn’t hear him, I pretended everything was all right. He was probably three or four years old in age.
One Saturday morning my mother had an appointment at this same shop and went by there on her way to see me. As she sat in front of the mirror with the owner combing and styling her hair, the operator in the next stall, said, “Did you hear about that little Lundy boy who comes out here with his mother?” Then she continued, telling about our family cat that was ill and kept in a box in the garage. This little boy they all knew for unrolling toilet tissue in the bathroom, crushing the soap in the sink and faucet and goodness knows what else, had hurt the cat which bit my child; then the animal died. This caused unprecedented trauma. Of course, the family went to the vet nearby and sent the remains of the cat off for a rabies check. Eventually, everything came back normal.
I might not have ever gotten all right. My mother, in a strong voice, immediately said, “That is not true. It was the older brother, (9 or 10 years old), petting the poor cat which in turn bit him, then died. The cat was not mistreated. The entire family cried.” Well, Dad had a tear or two. My mother had more to say. “That is not true. Fix my hair so I can leave. That little boy you are making a tale about is my grandson. I’m going to visit him right now.”
Here came Mother into the house, hugging the youngest especially tight. When he was out of the room, she repeated what she had been through.
I was frozen with embarrassment, indecision, several emotions. Should I call the beauty shop right then? Many thoughts raced through my mind. Then I began crying from frustration and couldn’t stop. I decided right then, my beauty shop days were over until I could go alone.
In fact, I probably should not take this youngest anywhere in public. We would just visit kinfolks who liked him. When school began for him, out he would pop, a surprise member of the family.
Finally, I could laugh about this as other dilemmas came fast and furious that needed my full attention. That little boy is now the father of children. When their old humane society choice of dog died, he really cried.

 

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