Betty’s Week

By Betty Shearer

    Yesterday (Monday) and today are such a contrast to last Tuesday—bright sunshine and low temps, opposed to torrents of rain and muggy temps. Most Tuesday afternoons I travel to Oxford to pick up our J. C. Penney inserts. Even with all the rain we’ve had in the past several weeks, I’d lucked out, with only cloudy skys or at most a slow drizzle during these trips.

    Luck ran out last week—I went up and returned in a downpour. It would have been nice to have traded the ole van for Noah’s ark. I often navigate the Pope/WV Road in these flood conditions, but there you can usually ride the center line and the hump between the rivers.

    Not so on 7 and 9. Traffic there is most always very heavy and last Tuesday with our reduced speeds it was bumper to bumper. Was really surprised at how courteous all drivers were. We all just slowed to about 50 and enjoyed the ride. Only two speed demons tried to advance their progress in a risky way.         With the heavy oncoming traffic, they  were able to pass a couple of vehicles, putting all lives in harms way. Then they were right back in cue and I never lost sight of them, so guess they gave up trying to make risky progress.

  In all the rain we’ve had recently I’ve only seen a couple of accidents—not been involved in any. Both of these I’m sure were from hydroplaning, as they were one vehicle incidents. At both scenes there were only troopers and wreckers—no ambulances and no one seemed to be injured. I’m always thankful when I travel from point A to point B and failed to see an accident—even in perfect weather.

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  For some reason on last week’s trip to Oxford (maybe I was a little later or a little earlier than usual)  I was behind school buses picking up children. At several driveways parents were sitting with the students in their cars. Buses stopped, children hopped out and boarded and the parents either turned around or backed up their driveways.

    Brought back vivid memories of many years ago when I’d take Jim down the hill and wait for Mr. Bill Hudson’s bus. Jim could have ridden to school with us as we came to work, but no he loved riding that bus. Mr. Bill, I think, gave him special treatment. I know that Jim always got to hand out the apples Mr. Bill gave the children at Christmas, and if there was any other special chores, Jim either volunteered or was selected for the task. As long as Mr. Bill drove this bus, Jim rode. After Mr. Bill was no longer his driver he was happy to ride in the station wagon with us.     One particularly bad year, was when our government decided to let us have Daylight Savings Time all year. Well, it was down the hill in the dark every morning for what seemed like months. I forgot to mention that on good weather days, when it was light  outside, Jim walked down the hill and waited by himself—but Mom did not allow this in the dark.

  On DST, I’m ready for it to go away, which it will in a couple of weeks. I’m more than ready for that extra hour of morning light. This is one thing on which Ed and I strongly disagreed—he liked his daylight in the evening and I liked mine in the morning. Think the world is about evenly divided on this issue. Okay morning people, we’re about to have our way for a few months. Standard Time really makes  it easier for me to get papers into the stores timely on Wednesdays. For about a month now, I’ve been getting a few minutes later each week—and my customers have been teasing me about being a sleepily head. It’s hard to hit the floor in the dark and it’s even worse now that we have these cold mornings.

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  Have to tell you about my new refrigerator. Joey delivered it last Wednesday. Jack Sartain came over to tell me that it was here and asked when could I let them deliver it to my house. I gave him a key, explaining that I’d not had time to make them a path in the front door.

    Had intended to take it in the back way, but with all the rain you couldn’t get anywhere close to my back door. I told Jack to tell Joey to just move anything necessary and he did, put the fridge where I wanted it, and even put everything back in place. Now that is a real chore in my house.

  When my old appliance gave up, I went out to find its replacement. Looked at several appliance stores (just to find what I wanted, never intended to buy out of the Valley). My choice was a Whirlpool Gold French Door model. Came back and described it to Jack, who checked with his distributor, and found basically what I thought I wanted.

    Sartains gave me more information than the other companies I’d talked to and, finally, I arrived at a better choice. Jack ordered, Joey delivered and installed, and I’ve paid the bill. I had been given prices by the other dealers, which I really did not compare until I paid my Sartain’s bill. Buying locally, I save on the actual price of the appliance, in addition to the quoted $85 delivery fee if it had been bought out of town.

    If you need anything, you’d better check locally—you might just find that there are bargains to be had in the Valley. I do appreciate all our fine businesses.

  This doesn’t just apply to Sartain’s. I’m sure had I chosen a brand from Magnolia Furniture, I’ve have found the same fine price and service—know this is true because I’ve bought from them. It also goes for lumber and supplies at Valley Lumber, groceries at Larson’s, and the list goes on and on. Even if you have to go out of town for an item—check the Valley first—you just might be surprised at what you can find here and at the super prices available.

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  I had several calls from Jim last week and last night. He’s found accounts of integration in the south from the 60s and early 70s on the internet. His first question was, “How did I miss all of this?”

    Easy answer, Jim was born in 1964. Some of it was very disturbing to him. I explained the situations as best I could, telling him that I certainly did not understand all of it either—and I lived through it.

    I grew up in the Delta and can not remember when I did not have wonderful black friends. Our neighbors down the road were Sam and Maggie Billingsly and their grandson, T-Ward (his parents had died when he was very young). Mrs. Billingsly often cared for us when Mom was sick (volunteer). We ate at her table (she was a great cook, even better than my Mom, and taught me much of what I know).  T-Ward also ate at ours and we played together all the time. We didn’t know there was any difference in us, except that he went to a different school and church. It didn’t harm his education, as he went on to become a very successful doctor. We did attend church with this family on many occasions, as Mom sewed for the ushers and we were always invited to special services.

  Through the years we had many other very special black friends, all of whom I loved like family.

  First friends I remember in the Valley were the late Ora Lee and Snook Wilson (who worked for Blu-Bucks). They were like extra grandparents to Jim. Then there was Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Harris at the funeral home, whom we dealt with all the time—fine people. I eventually got to meet their son, whom I think was the District Attorney of Cook County, Illinois, and his baby son.

    In school and band days, we came to know and love Mr. and Mrs. Herod, Mr. and Mrs. Butler McLeod, Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln Shields, and this paper is not big enough to hold all the names. Currently, in addition to all these, we have Bro. Amos Sims, Mr. Fred White, Russell and Mr. House at Magnolia, Ora Lee Phillips, and the list goes on and on. I love and appreciate you all and I’m glad that we never had serious problems in the Valley.

  Much of the credit for a smooth and peaceful transition in the schools from a two to one system, I believe, is due to the late Clovis Steele’s fine administration. Then much later, when a street situation  was about to erupt, it was the calm head of Mr. Herod that averted this. I know that many others on both sides helped through the years and all are appreciated.

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  Now to my week. On Friday, I cleaned and sealed about a third of the sunroom floor. I could hardly get out of bed on Saturday morning—I’m so out of shape. Saturday,  it was grocery shopping and then over to cook for Mom. Church on Sunday and that’s it folks!

  I missed Bridge on Thursday, then forgot to attend the Main Street meeting. Sounded like this was interesting. I am willing to volunteer Mickey, just tell me what you want done—then remind me to do it. This is a great program and we all need to do our part.

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