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October 16
, 2011

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

Things remembered...
Here I am at my window looking outside.
This year the school bus route is not on the road that goes by our house.
I kinda miss ‘em, if I was outside I would wave and the kids on the bus would wave back.
Right now I’m lookin’ at the beautiful pink moss. It’s the tall kind that I like. The other kind is spread out on the ground.
My Mama loves flowers and we looked forward for spring to come. There were trees of beautiful colors everywhere.
There was one thing we girls, and Mama, didn’t like at all.
My brother had a big Billy Goat. One of the things he liked to do was knock down anything he could, and if our brother was not around my sister and me were afraid to go outside.
When Mama walked out on the front porch, the first thing she saw was the big Four o’Clock plant with pretty little red blooms laying on the ground.
She grabbed her broom and here the goat went.
As I was saying, here I am at my window.

The Last Word:
My sister and I would yell and Mama would come with her broom. The goat would see the broom and take off running.
– O.T.


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

Decisions are so difficult...
Sometimes when you can’t really decide what to do, you just hold your nose and jump. I’m not saying you will always land in a bed of rose petals either. But at least you get off the bench and play the game of life.
I have always been a wavering decision maker. Wishing that were not the case, I have attempted to change my behavior through the years. From choosing a paint color for a wall, to deciding whether to move, I have always liked to sit on the fence comfortably not drifting in either direction while somebody else does it for me.
This has been my weakest flaw, and whether you have it or not, one can recognize the agony it brings. Things like panic, stress, headaches, come along with difficult decision or even the smallest cross road. I have always admired those who could make quick decisions, although through the years I have seen some suffer great difficulties from their impatience and stubbornness. It is not always the best thing to make a quick decision on things of great importance.
It is not going to matter if I wear makeup or not, or even brush my hair, but it is going to have a big impact when I choose to do something stupid like quit college. That is my biggest regret. I was a junior in my second semester and dropped out of school. That was crazy. Let me tell you young people right now – don’t do it. Just go to class and keep going to class.
Decisions can get us into all sorts of trouble if we go the wrong direction. Choose to accept the wrong date, and you end up in a completely foreign spot, way out of your comfort zone. Make a quick decision about spending money and you have buyers remorse. Turn down a great opportunity and you end up regretting it forever because one like it does not come around again. The list is endless of how we can turn our lives upside down with a simple or complex decision.
It is like being on a path and ending up at a fork. Do I go to the left or to the right or keep straight ahead? Who knows what to do. I have just done the best with whatever I could handle at the time ... and sometimes I have been seriously wrong and often when I followed my instincts, I have been positively right.
At this point in my life most of my life changing decisions are for the most part, made and whether right or wrong, I am going to live with it. When I was young, and the whole world was an open book with lots of blank pages, I did not concentrate so well and paid the price.
Now, in the winter of my life, I am going a lot slower. I choose more wisely. I trust less often. I find solace and beauty in the simpler things in life. The value of love is high, and the price must be paid. The cost of everything has sky rocketed through the roof, so we all have to choose wisely.
I think the most valuable thing I have learned about decisions is that one simple move or even a complex one can change the road of our life travels forever. Nothing is free, and we do not get something of value for no exchange at all. We must be givers, not takers.
I am happy to have each morning when I can decide how my day will go. This is the blessing of retirement. One never knows what adventure is just around the corner. I keep my friends close and my life goes better for it. There is no sin in bouncing a decision off another heart or mind.
That is the final thing I know about decisions. Some you make in your heart. Others you make in your head. The best ones are not made alone, but you have to trust yourself. Believing in yourself is a great gift, and sometimes it is one of the most difficult achievements you will ever make. Remember, you will never know how really strong and courageous you are until you have to be.


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

Talk, talk, talk
Someone help me. I’m talking and I can’t shut up.
Of course, others are known to have this problem too. I listen, wanting so badly to get a remark included but hesitate to interrupt which is the only way to be heard.
My husband interrupts me, but he says it is necessary. Aging is known for old memories, repeated stories, recalls going no where. But retiring early and leaving friends at the work place is hard. Then moving to another town, smaller with few team members or classmates living here or living at all makes store clerks suddenly have a new status whether I buy or not. There are many opportunities to get into groups of wonderful people. I sign up, but for some reason I can’t make the deadline. I find I cannot get my talking “done.”
In my husband’s family, the parents repeated episodes. Usually the stories were too interesting or humorous to ignore, and occasionally one never heard at all would come out. Everyone in my husband’s family had a joke quirk I had not witnessed. After the joke, with laughter, the teller would repeat the punch line again to almost silence. This has not stopped as far as I know. My mother did this, and I would tell her I had heard the tale, but she kept going.
But who am I to criticize. Over 25 years ago, a son in college wrote me a letter. “Writing a letter to you shows just how bored I am right now,” the son scripted. Then somewhere along the lines, he said, “And this way I don’t have to hear all the repeats, over and over.” I wasn’t aware. Now I panic on the phone wondering if I’ve already told something. I’ll ask, but those speaking to me won’t tell me the truth. Or they’ll mumble and say, Oh, I’ve forgotten it anyway. Go ahead.
What I am most effective in doing is sitting by a stranger, finding her nice, and telling my life’s history while she goes into a coma. This works in some places well, though, like doctor’s offices where we sit and sit and sit. We find we all have the same appointment time. This gets comical. “Has anyone seen someone come out?” One will ask. Sometimes we solve our ailments by sharing what we know. Everyone eventually talks.
Years ago, a friend rode with me through Athens, and we passed an apartment complex no longer there today. “When I first married, this was one of our homes as I did my student teaching in AISD,” I would tell her.
The close friend said, “If we pass here one more time and you tell me that, I am going to choke you to death.” That made an impression.


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