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Betty’s Week

 Early last Wednesday morning, as I was delivering papers, even though it was hot as July I realized that I could see a twinge of color in the trees as the sun came up. Coming back up 32 from Sylva Rena Grocery, driving into the sun, and then across the By-Pass to Valley Mart, I kept thinking we may really have some fall yet. I do so  enjoy the fall colors—they’re my favorites, as you can tell by my wardrobe. The golds, tans, burgundys and browns are so pretty. I was just sure we were going to loose all the leaves while they were still green and if you look at my driveway, it’s difficult to see how there are any left. God must have given us more than usual this year, so we’d have some left for fall even though He took so many away during the long dry summer.

  Also, I’m really worried about the wild animals. On my hill deer seem to be hungry. They’re still eating my pot plants and I just let them have them—think they need them worse than I do. I hope they’ve been able to store up enough fat to protect them through what may be a long cold winter, even though it doesn’t seem to be coming on very rapidly. My AC is still running day and night—rarely turning off. Saw the weather prediction last night (Monday) and it looks like it will be a bit cooler this weekend. Even with this report, however, I’m not putting my shorts away yet.

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  Michael Rhyne dropped by last Thursday and shared with me that he was moving his dental practice to Houston. An established practice there became available and so he purchased it. Even though I don’t see him often, I’ll miss him. He was one of “our kids.” For many years Michael came to Ed for music lessons and he was a joy to be around—still is. We enjoyed recalling the good ole days. Michael goes back to when Ed taught upstairs. Even when the music lessons were there I could still hear and I did so enjoy listening to all the students and hearing the progress they were making. Most of Ed’s kids were excellent musicians and Michael was one of the really outstanding players.

  He also told me that he has a new son—four month old. I fussed at him for not having put a birth announcement in the paper and he has promised to get me the info. It’s so hard to believe that the years have gone so fast—many of our kids are having children and some even grands. I am getting old, but I really don’t believe it unless I look in the mirror. Good luck to Michael in his new life venture and we’ll look forward to visits when you’re in the Valley. And to Donna and Dwight: Be thankful, your child is just an hour away, mine’s a day away.

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  Other experiences over the past week that brought vividly to mind my age is the loss of two dear high school classmates. Classmate Yvonne Cannon Brown called middle of the week to tell me that Maurice Mitchell had been killed in a head-on collision on Highway 6, west of Batesville. Injured were his wife, Christine, and her sister. I understand the driver of the at-fault vehicle was also killed. Visitation for Maurice will be this Friday night, with the funeral service on Saturday at Crowder Baptist Church. Maurice was a cousin of the late Beverly Strode, wife of our first hospital administrator, Paul Strode. We spent 12 years together at Crowder School and then went on to NWJC together for awhile. He was a life-long resident of the Crowder area, growing up on the family farm and then taking over the ownership and operation of same. Christine grew up in the Lock Station area and from time to time she was a classmate, alternating between Crowder and Marks. Sympathy is extended to the family—he will be missed.

  Then on Saturday morning Yvonne called again, this time with the news that another classmate, Sue Hastings Reed, had died during the early morning hours. Sue was also one of the charter members of the class and we’d spent 12 years together. Even after our school years, the Crowder Class of ‘55 had remained a family. Sue had a booth at the Watermelon Carnival for a few years. She did beautiful monogramming, cross-stitch, and other hand-work, so some of you may remember her. She was a tiny little redhead. At the end of her life she was the smallest of the redheads—the class had several. During our early years I was the runt, but I overcame that.

  At visitation and the memorial service Sunday afternoon, it was good to see her son, Billy, who was a good friend of Jim’s. He says, “It’s so good to see you, I don’t think I’ve seen you since Mr. Ed’s visitation.” I’m sure that was the last time. He went on to say, “The thing I remember about that night was that I’d never seen so many people at at a visitation—he must have been really loved.” It was also good to see Sue’s husband, Bill, Daughter Suzanne, her mother, other family and friends, and many classmates and their spouses.

  When we were leaving I told Yvonne that she was not to call me with any more bad news this week. Since the week was running out, she says, “I won’t. If I have to call I’ll wait until in the morning.”

  Coming home from Wells Funeral Home, I decided to take 35 to the Terza Road and then to 6. I’ve ridden this road hundreds of times with Ed, but never paid attention, so I says as I was leaving, “You may never see me again, ‘cause you know my sense of direction.” Several offered me their cell phone numbers, promising to get up a search party to find me. I made it fine, even got to church in time for choir practice.

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  I’ve had many inquires about my eating. Well I’m still on soft foods, but I’ve come up with some really tasty things. I’ve never liked scrambled eggs, but I found last week that scrambled egg sandwiches were pretty good. One night I wanted something sweet, was so tired that I really didn’t want to cook, so it was off to Larson’s to explore my options. Found instant puddings. One of the major brands I knew I didn’t like, so I picked up one of the new economical packages. Found it was delicious. Thought it might have been because I was so hungry that it tasted so good, so on Saturday I gave it the acid test. Made a big bowl and fed it to Brother Bo, an avid chocolate pudding eater, Brother-in-law Bill, who loves anything chocolate, and Sister Jimmie also a chocoholic. Even Mom and Carolyn tasted it and deemed it good—neither of them especially like chocolate. It was 35c a package, took 30 seconds to stir, five minutes in the fridge and it was pudding. Bill says, “If you had not told me this was instant, I’d have just thought you had a new recipe.

  I’ve also eaten potatoes (white and sweet) in every imaginable dish, pasta by the tons, soups, pancakes, ice cream, sherbets and lots of other stuff—not a low cal diet. Surprising though, I’ve not gained any weight—but certainly haven’t lost any.

  I’m back on Diet Coke. Jim called last Wednesday (the fifth day) and says, “Have you had a Coke yet?” “Yes,” I had to admit. He says, “I knew you had one in your hand at eleven o’clock.” Surprisingly though, it didn’t taste as good as I thought it would.

  Well, it’s back to see Dr. Perry on Friday. I think I’m fine, but it will be good to hear him tell me that I am.

  I really have not felt bad, but was just tired at the end of each day’s work. So it was home, sit on the couch, just watching those dirty dishes in the sink, clothes in the hamper, and all the rest of the mess at my house. I have a couple of books, given me by Paige Cothren earlier this summer, that I had been wanting to read. They were on my chair-side table, so I picked the top one, Cry of the Camel, up and began to read. It was hard to put down. Finished it in a couple of nights. Then I began the second, At the End of the Swinging Bridge, Which was a continuation of the story. I highly recommend both of these books. Cry of the Camel is very disturbing, but it contains material we all need to be aware of. He has other books available and I can’t wait to get my hands on them. I thank him for sharing these two and plan to order the rest.

  I though I was going to have a short column this week. However I’ve written a book, so I’d better wrap it up and help get a paper ready to send out to you.

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