As I Was Saying
By Opal Toney
Takin' a vacation . . .
The other day I felt like I had been on a vacation, and I
didn’t leave my home.
It came about in a most unusual way. Something I would have never
imagined or dreamed.
I looked out my window and saw my #1 Grandson’s car in the yard.
Which is not unusual. He works nights in Dallas and is about worn out
when he makes it this far on his way home, in Athens.
Most of the time, he passes our house and goes on down the road the
short distance to Daughter #1, who is his mother.
He rests there a while and then goes on home, where his wife and two
fine sons will be waitin’.
I watched as he walked under the trees, probably thinkin’ I was still
I went out and greeted him and asked if he was hungry–and of course, he
So I cooked our breakfast and he seemed to enjoy it. Especially the hot
biscuits and “thickenin” gravy, a favorite with most of my family.
A few don’t care for it and that leaves more for the ones who do.
We then went back outside. I showed him my mimosa tree that
sister-in-law Mary gave me not long ago.
Another grandson planted it in the very spot I wanted it.
It was doin’ well till the hot weather came along.
Our only hose is quite short, and I’ve struggled tryin’ to keep it
I explained all that to him as we walked around.
Then I came inside and got busy doin’ things in the house.
The next time I looked out I saw a stream of water shootin’ up in the
air like a fountain.
I had no idea where he got extra hose. Anyway, he had put enough
together to reach out past the barn.
I had an idea he brought it from his Mama’s house–or maybe from next
That’s what we all do if we need something and don’t have time to go to
Anyway, I know he didn’t leave in his car to buy it–and I also know my
little tree is thirsty no longer.
My next water bill may be a bit higher, but it’s worth it. I appreciate
Sometime later I thought I’d better mention to him it might be time to
go on home and get some rest.
But as I opened the back door smoke was goin’ every which way–mostly
I thought to myself it has been such a quiet pleasant mornin’, what’s
goin’ on now!
He had decided to burn the big pile of leaves, tree limbs and no tellin’
what else that had accumulated in back of the house.
He assured me he had everythin’ under control. So I came back inside.
Finally, all on his own, he thought it was time to get on down the road.
I told him bye and be careful and he left.
Everythin’ seemed to settle down. So as I often do, I went out on the
front porch to catch my breath.
It’s a good place to relax, wave at folks passin’ by, and watch and
listen to the birds. I like doin’ that on nice days, can’t seem to stay
But I found out it’s not always the place to be, unless you enjoy
inhalin’ smoke! And I don’t.
The wind took a notion to change directions and came straight at me,
bringin’ the lingerin’ smoke with it!
I hurried inside, jerked the windows down and made a bee-line to the
back part of the house.
(By the way, I had much rather have fresh air, furnished by the Lord,
than a/c–and I find it much cheaper.)
I was soon comfortable on the ole’ long couch. It was quiet there, no
traffic, and peaceful.
I thought about how much time I used to spend in that part of the house.
But I kinda got out of the habit, I guess.
A lot of books, magazines, pictures and memories are stashed there, and
there’s a nice view out the window.
Now durin’ all this time my car was in the shop, needin’ some help.
I couldn’t make my rounds. So I just stretched out, relaxed and took a
I woke up feelin’ refreshed. But I missed seein’ everybody and findin’
out what might be goin’ on!
As I was saying, I felt like I’d been on vacation, and I didn’t leave my
Athens ETMC launches prostate cancer screening
Special to The Monitor
ATHENS–It’s time to sign up for East Texas Medical Center Regional
Healthcare System’s ninth annual free prostate cancer screening for men.
Last year, ETMC screened more than 1,400 men.
From our annual ETMC PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood tests, 64
tests came back with abnormalities. These men were referred to their
doctors for further evaluation.
The screening is a simple blood test, which identifies the level of PSA
in the blood.
An elevated level is an early sign of prostate cancer. During the past
eight years, ETMC has screened more than 24,000 men during its annual
June prostate cancer screening.
You are at risk and eligible for the screening if you have one or more
of these that apply to you:
• You are 50 or more years of age.
• You are 40 or more and are African-American.
• You are 40 or more and have a family history of prostate cancer.
• You are 40 or more and have not been in the care of a urologist for
any prostate-related problems or diagnosis in the past year.
• You have not had a PSA test since July 1, 2005.
Symptoms of prostate cancer may include a painful or burning sensation
when urinating, difficulty starting or stopping urine flow or inability
to urinate, continuous pain in the lower back, pelvis or upper thighs,
painful ejaculation, frequent urination and blood in urine.
“When prostate cancer is in its earliest, most curable stage, there may
be no symptoms to warn you,” radiation oncologist and medical director
of the ETMC Cancer Institute James Kolker, MD said.
“Prostate cancer is highly curable when detected early,” he added.
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer kills 27,350
men each year and every man has a one-in-six chance of developing the
disease in his lifetime.
Prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in men.
One in 34 men will die from prostate cancer.
This year, 234,460 new cases will be found. African-American men are
more likely to have prostate cancer and to die of it than are white or
The good news is that the death rate is going down because the disease
is being found earlier.
“In addition to surgery, radiation beam therapy, hormone therapy and
various combinations of these treatments, such as radioactive seed
implant are available,” he said.
“This is a one-day procedure, in which small radioactive seeds are
placed inside the prostate gland to give a direct, high dose of
radiation to the prostate tumor,” Kolker explained.
In June, prostate screenings will be available at a number of ETMC
sites, including Athens, Carthage, Cedar Creek Lake, Clarksville,
Crockett, Fairfield, Gilmer, Jacksonville, Mt. Vernon, Pittsburg,
Quitman, Rusk, Trinity and Tyler.
You must have an appointment to take advantage of these special
Please call ETMC HealthFirst to schedule your appointment at (800)
Proceeds from ETMC’s Henry M. Bell Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament help
underwrite the prostate cancer screenings.
The sixth annual charity tournament is set for Friday, Sept. 15, at
Willow Brook Country Club in Tyler.
For more information, contact the ETMC Foundation at (903) 596-3645.