By Betty Shearer
Stayed home last Friday. My chore for the day was to paint the little (8’x10’) walk-in closet. I’d told Larry Sprouse what I needed paint for and he suggested it would probably take two quarts, so I bought a gallon. I don’t think either of us realized how many square feet there are in even a small room, when you’re painting from the ceiling to the floor (and I painted the floor several times—of course I had to scrub those coats off). Shelves, top and bottom, walls and ceiling, take some time and some paint—I ran out. That was a blessing, because if I had not I probably would not have been able to get out of bed for Sunday morning church services.
In addition to the painting, I had to remove the vent cover, which Ed had put on, and the dresser mirror, also put in place by Ed. Now if you don’t understand this—he tightened screws to where you needed a power driver to remove, and even though we own a couple I didn’t have a clue as to were to find them. When I told Jimmie of my fete, she says, “I don’t believe it!” Also had to remove the shutters, but Bob Lee was still working out in the sunroom, so he got summoned for this. We found that Ed did not put these up, because it was a sloppy job. The carpenters for this put one screw in, found it too time consuming, so just nailed the rest. Now you have to remember that all of this work was done long before power drivers—about 45 years ago.
I had to paint behind myself, and remembered each stroke, each run, and each drip. This closet is part of Jim’s old nursery and the last time it was painted was before he was born.
Of course, the first order when you begin a paint job, is to clear out the room and take down everything on the walls. Clothes filled two beds completely—I hope they don’t fall down from the weight. Then came the shelves. Most interesting things found here was a box of pictures that have not been seen for many years. One was Ed and Jim asleep on the bed on the day Jim was born, two others were Jimmie’s and my wedding announcement photos. The Panolian had found their picture of me a year or so ago and sent it to me. I was so glad to get it because I didn’t have a clue as to where the one used in the Herald was. Had forgotten how pretty Sister Jimmie was—told Jim that his “Sissie” looked like a movie star in her youth. He says, “Save that picture”—he was joking, because she’s still a very attractive woman—don’t tell her I wrote that, she’ll get the big head. When I told her of the find, her words were exactly the same as Jim’s. Also in the box were many early pictures of Jim with his Dad, Granny and Granddaddy, and even a few with me. I was not a beauty, but I sure was a lot smaller and had a lot more hair. There were front and back shots of our original house—no resemblance to the present structure.
My painting was interrupted several times by calls from Jim. First was to tell me that he had something on the website for me to see and to say he’d just heard that we were having a big political debate in Oxford. Says, “Why haven’t you told me this and do you have a press pass?”
Told him that I just assumed he knew it because it had been announced for many month on a regular basis and no, we don’t have passes—we don’t have enough clout. Second was informing me that he was playing that night and that if he’d known in time, I would probably have been there. Sure would have. Willis Deloney, who accompanied Jim while he was at Southern Arkansas State, was at New Mexico State to present a concert and he’d invited Jim to join him on a couple of pieces. Jim has had some wonderful accompanists during his career—the one he has now is tremendous—but I think Willis and he worked together better than any, and I could listen to Willis play all night. Sorry I missed it.
Then he called to tell me that my birthday present was on the way, to watch for it. It came yesterday and was just what I wanted—New Mexico peppers. They were not yet dry, even though they’d been strung into restrarias. I had to get them out of their packaging and hang them to dry before they rotted. Oh, my house smells so good—if you like peppers. After they dry, you can enjoy their beauty, and then you can use them for cooking—I start from the back, so the decoration stays pretty for a long time.
Birthday will be tomorrow (Wed., the 24). Today is the last day of my 70th year.
Have received many cards and I do appreciate them. Lela Mae just came in with a huge coconut cake—my favorite—and we had to stop and sample it while it was still warm. It is delicious—Thanks.
After I ran out of paint Saturday, I went over to Mom’s, gave her and Jimmie a sandwich, and then I cooked Sunday lunch, while Jimmie cleaned house, and beautified Mom. Jimmie had some left over plum juice, so I made a (actually two) plum roll—first in a long time. When they came out of the oven late in the day, Mom and I sampled it. She says, “This is the best thing you’ve made in a long time.”
Left work early Monday to go to Batesville for a mini-class reunion. Classmate Dorothy Jean Wiggs Hardin, and her husband, Orvin, were in from California for a visit, so we had a get-together at the Cracker Barrel. Saw Luanne and Jerry Holt there. Seated at the next table were Mrs. Lorene Daves. who was a resident of the Valley many years ago, her granddaughter, Margaret Anne Finnie, Rev. Roger Richards, pastor of Pope Baptist Church, and several other members of the church. They were celebrating Mrs. Daves’ 93rd birthday. Was so good to see them and get to wish Mrs. Daves a Happy Birthday.
The big happening in our area this week, of course, will be the presidential debate. I plan to stay away from Oxford, if at all possible. I feel for the residents who have to find new routes to their familiar areas, some even to their homes. However, I am glad that the security is so tight, because we certainly would not want any adverse events while the presidential candidates are on our watch. Southerners are a gentle and hospitable people and we want the world to be made aware of this.
As Mom would say, “Let’s all be on our best behavior.”