By Betty Shearer
As we finished the paper Tuesday night, David says, “If the weather is bad in the morning call me or Jack and we’ll deliver the papers.” Well that’s exactly what would have happened, because I do not drive on snow and certainly not on ice.
When I rolled out about five it was bitter cold, but nothing was falling, so I made it fine. Back in the office I warmed up pretty quickly and all was fine until the fire broke out on Clay Street. Jack went out to cover it and I stayed inside, watching it through the window. Being close to that window was cold enough. I felt for Jack and for the firefighters—know they were freezing.
This brought back memories of many fires I’ve attended since coming to the Valley. First was on my first visit here, I think. It was early spring and the fire was on Wise Street—we parked on Robinson. I was with Daddy Shearer, because Ed had already been called to another gathering that needed news coverage and I was left with the Shearers.
When the call to the fire came Daddy says, “You’d better learn to cover fires”, so I went with him. He didn’t know that I would not get within a hundred yards of fire. He made pictures and I stood across Wise and talked to many other spectators gathered there. Through the years I was on the scene at many other fires with either Ed or Daddy as the photographer.
The most spectacular fire I remember was the Blackmur Dairy Barn, which burned in a downpour. It began from a lightening strike and firefighters and the pouring rain did not stop the fire. When that fire was over we were all dripping and I’d stayed in the pick-up. Fires always upset me—I do not like to lose a structure and certainly not a life or the lives of animals. Others large fires included the Blackmur Hotel, Bondafoam, and Copperhead and the Funeral Home.
Was glad there were no other fires during the bitter cold last week.
Thursday morning my driveway was covered in snow and ice, so I showered, dressed and waited for the thaw. As I waited I watched the most spectacular bird show. About 20 cardinals came in first and ate for a while, then the bluebirds took a turn feeding, later chickadees were in the side yard, then just numerous other birds passed by. All the while the squirrels were scurrying about.
About ten o’clock I called and Jack said he was by himself and was fine. He reported very little office traffic. He did need to take his Dad for a doctor’s appointment after lunch—which got cancelled. However, the driveway ice turned to liquid, so I went on in and did my day’s work in the afternoon. David had been in Sardis with Charlotte and they came by—reported that there was more ice and snow over there. They left early to get to their home in Holcomb and Jack and I stayed until closing time.
Friday is my day off, so I stayed in all day. Jimmie called to report that their driveway was icy and she was sure Mom’s was also. Saturday the situation was the same, so I was home alone for another day.
I ran the vacuum, dusted, washed clothes and dishes, ate and watched TV.
Watching the new is depressing. Found myself being very critical of the world situation. Can’t imagine people trying to give their children away, and some even taking their lives. Then you have the economy reports. I’m convinced that if people were not so greedy that this would right itself. If everyone would work for a reasonable salary, give an honest day’s work, and stop all these law suits, the U.S. would again be able to compete in the world market. Common laborers cannot make $70-plus per hour, with CEO pulling in billions per year and keep American made products affordable.
Another constant bombardment was lawyers offering to get what you deserved for having willing taking different drugs, using products, etc., that you have been warned about. Ed took several of these drugs that are on the lists and he took them because he weighed the odds and believed his quality and length of life would be better with them. He read all the side effects (and they are many and frightening) and decided that the good out weighed the bad. Now if you’ve done that you don’t have grounds for a law suit and if you did not read and heed the warnings, then it’s your fault that you have a problem. We all have to be accountable for our actions and stop blaming others for what we do. I’m aware that sometimes there are causes for law suits, but I think we have far too many of them.
Did watch a couple of interesting movies during my home-bound days.
First was Kelly’s Heroes, which was being shown on its 40th anniversary. I’d never seen the movie. It was a good show, but better yet was seeing all the cast 40 years younger.
Second was a new made for TV movie, “The Wishing Well”. Got into this one by accident and was glad I did. Much of the content was set in a weekly paper—very similar to the Herald. It was situated in a small Illinois town and the paper’s name was the Chronicle.
The owner, Mark, was fourth generation newspaper. (David is third), and the front office lady answered the phone and set type, much as I do. Her office was next to her bosses, as is mine. The owner had a 12-year old daughter, who helped her dad. David has a daughter, but she doesn’t help us yet.
The receptionist, much like me, would yell, “Mark” and he’d answer the phone or come to the front if summoned. I only yell if there is no one in the office and no one else is on a phone. But every time she yelled I’d get tickled because I realized how much she sounded like me and how rude it was—vowed to do better, but I probably won’t. The other employee was a reporter/photographer. They didn’t have a counterpart for Mel. At the Chronicle everyone had to sell ads and I guess the owner built them, which David can do. It was an interesting show for me.
Of course I checked the weather every few hours on both days, hoping that it would improve—precipitation did but the temps did not.
After church Sunday I did venture over to Mom’s for lunch and spent the afternoon with her. Her driveway was still frozen, but I had no problem traveling over it. I took a supply of food, just in case more bad weather came in. However, it looks like we’re clear for the rest of the week, with temps going into the 40’s and 50’s for highs and mid-20’s to mid-30’s for lows—much better than the single digits last week.
Talked to Jim last night (Sunday) and he says that it has also been cold in New Mexico. He’d been to Albequerque and in that area there had been snow. However, it melts so fast out there you hardly know that it has fallen. Celeste had had the flu, but is better.
Was shocked when I came in this morning to find an obit for Gil McMahen. He looked like the picture of health and was always bubbling over with energy.
Gil was one of my favorite young men, always had a smile and some cute remark. He also took great care of me, often popping in to tell me that I had a windshield peck that needed fixing before we got a run. He kept my insurance on file, did all the paperwork and I never paid a dime.
He had a great voice and I did enjoy his special in the recent Methodist Cantata. In addition to singing in the choir, he filled many other capacities in his church—FUM will miss him, as will many of us. He loved his Lord.
He also loved his family, wife Lee, the children, his mom and dad, and siblings. My sympathy is extended to the family—I’ll miss him, also.