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Betty’s Week

By Betty Shearer

On this Memorial Day, many businesses are closed. Even our office will be closing early.

The report was that there was a good turn out for the Memorial Day Service in Downtown Park this morning. Many Vallians have given their lives for our freedom during the wars our country has been involved in.  

Being a history buff, I often read history books and historical novels. Just recently I read a World War I novel, and have a Civil War book on the table to begin as soon as time permits. The death tolls in those wars is astounding, compared to the lower numbers in the recent Gulf Wars.        

These are some hard working folks. And on this Memorial Day Holiday, we all certainly appreciate their efforts in active service, helping to keep America free, and now back at home supporting our troops and helping veterans less fortunate than they.

Technology has greatly reduced the number of fatalities, but even one lost life is devastating. Just this morning I was listening to news of the Gulf War and the report was a little over 5,000 fatalities. I was surprised that it was so low—was sure that it would have been many times this. During this time frame, it’s possible that many of these men and women could have been killed in accidental deaths on their home soil.

In my lifetime I’ve been very lucky. Ed had already served his military duty when we met. He was in the Korean Conflict and never got overseas—although he wanted to. He spent time at Ft. Polk, Louisiana, in Jackson, S.C., and them most of his tour of duty in Colorado Springs, being detailed to several post from there.

He rebuilt carburetors and the Army needed him stateside for this operation. He did battle a rattlesnake in Louisiana, boredom in SC, and cold weather in Wisconsin—though he really enjoyed his time there. My Granddad’s age kept him out of World War I, Dad was really too old for World War II and in addition he had four children, one uncle was 4-F because of flat feet and brothers ages kept them out of Korean and Vietnam.         

Brother Rance did spend some active time in the National Guard, as did brother-in-law Bill. Jim also missed service because of his age. Did have one uncle and many cousins in World War II, who saw lots of duty.

My prayer on this day, and all other days, is that the current war will soon be over and all our service women and men with come home. We do appreciate all of them.


In for a visit on Thursday was John (Larry) Wright of Olive Branch—one of the Wright brothers, the late Gearrell, Danny, Dean and Larry. I always enjoy visiting with Larry.

He was on his way to visit Classmate Jimmy Arrington and his family. We were so sorry to hear of Jimmy’s death over the weekend. He and his wife, Gail, were long-time friends. Didn’t see them often, but it was always enjoyable when we did get to visit. Sympathy is extended to Gail and the entire family.

Larry and I were discussing the upcoming 50th reunion of this class and that another member of the class, B. B. Smith, was lost just recently.


On Friday night we enjoyed a concert by Marcia and Elmo Mercer and it was so good to see them again and hear Elmo play and he and Marcia sing. One of the touching parts of the program was their account of the death of a granddaughter some four years ago—lost to a drug overdose. They did this in conjunction with the song they sang at her funeral.

This beautiful young lady became an addict because of her husband’s involvement in drugs. They had a small daughter, which is being raised by the Mercer’s son, with some help from them I’m sure. They said for a while they did not mention this tragedy, but became burdened by the Lord to share it, because of others who suffered the same loss and the hopes of warning other young people of this horrible addiction. I was amazed that others in the small congregation Friday night had suffered similar losses and it seemed to be comforting to share. This is another blessing our family has enjoyed—we’ve never had a drug problem (that I know of) in our family.

After the musical program, we gathered in the fellowship hall for a time of food and fun.  About ten thirty we went on to the house (they spent the night with me) and we talked until the wee hours. We had breakfast at 9:30 and sat around the table until about 1:30, when they had to leave to make their commitment in Booneville. I sure did hate to see them go.

On their last visit, Marcia had told me about spanking their grapefruit tree to make it bear fruit. I related this story in the column and she says Elmo felt left out because he was not mentioned. They brought pictures of the tree and the spanking must have worked because it was loaded.

I’ll make it up to Elmo this time—he has some fabulous stories. As Mom would say, “He’s an accident looking for a place to happen.” Since his last visit he’s turned his lawn mower over going down the driveway, turned his pickup over in the garden, and fallen off the ladder while cleaning out his gutters.

Coming off the ladder, he fell into some rocky terrain and thought he’d suffered no injury. He said the ladder came down and he wound up on his side and under the ladder. Says he wiggled everything and decided he was O.K., so up he went again to finish the few feet he lacked. Got down, put the ladder away, and then went inside and confessed the fall to Marcia. She insisted that he go to the emergency room to get checked out because in a few days they were supposed to drive to Austin, Texas for the graduation of a  grandson.

He convinced her he didn’t need to. Next morning he changed his mind. After some x-rays they decided he had a tear in the aorta—which could be very serious, even fatal. Called in his heart doctor and a surgeon. After an MRI he found he’d dodged the aorta bullet, but had cracked a vertebra. They fitted him with a brace and in conversation told the doctor that they were going to have to miss the graduation.     Doctor says, “You can go, may not be the most comfortable trip you’ve ever taken, but it won’t hurt you.” So they went and Mo says it was a bit uncomfortable, but he still had a great time.

Bro. Ken, Shelley, Amanda and Amber are visiting with his parents in Florida for a few days.

In his absence we were privileged to hear a sermon delivered by Rev. John Lancaster and he is a wonderful preacher.  


I knew I really liked that fellow the first time I met him. The greeting, “Hello pretty lady, missed you Thursday night,” was from Coach Richard Russo. Jimmie had told me we were playing Bridge Club Thursday night, but didn’t tell me who our hostess was. She told Sara that I would not be able to come—just had to much on my plate.       

I’m sorry I had to miss—visiting in the Russo home is always so much fun. Sara is a great hostess, Richard such a gentleman, and the children, Gabriella and Trea are just little dolls.


The old adage, “Good things come to those who toil,” certainly proved true at noon Monday. As I was nearing the end of this column, through the door came Jack Grass with a delicious fish plate, compliments of the VFW. I do appreciate the lunch and all the things VFW and its auxiliary do through the year.

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