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Betty’s Week

By Betty Shearer

Friend Billy Rotenberry was in this (Monday) morning with a great human interest story. Seems he and 13-year-old grandson, Jake, attended the Mississippi State Bulldog football game over the weekend. As they were exiting the stadium late Saturday night, the man in front of them pulled his hands out of his pockets, and along with one of the hands came a couple of bills.
    Jake saw the money and immediately called to the gentleman. He walked on and Jake reached down and picked up one of the bills. Grandpa Billy retrieved the other and called louder to the man, who heard him and turned around. Jake immediately handed his $100 bill to the man, but Billy,  clowning, made like he was going to have to pull the bill he held out of his hand.
    They learned the  man had had the snowcone concession and had been paid with the two $100 bills. He had just placed them in his front pocket, instead of putting them in his billfold. When his hand came out, so did the bills. Jake would not take a reward, but the man told him to come to the concession at the next game and enjoy all the snowcones he would like.
  After the man left Billy says, “Jake did you know that those were $100 bills?” Jake assured him that he did, but the right thing to do was to return them. Jake then  inquired of Granddad Billy, “That’s what you would have done, wasn’t it?” Of course we know that that was exactly what Billy would have done and you can see that the example of right morals had been instilled in Jake.
  It’s so good to hear such a wonderful testimony of a young person who knows what is right and does it.
  Billy went on to tell me about his 70th birthday dinner, held Sunday afternoon. Wife Peggy had planned this surprise party. She didn’t want to give away the surprise, but did urge Billy to change clothes in the afternoon. He was tired from the late night out at the football game the night before and just stayed in his shorts and t-shirt. The first arrival was his former college roommate and his wife—Billy had seen his roommate some eight to ten years ago and the wife he’d not seen in over 30 years.
    He didn’t recognize them at first. His explanation was that he’d been dozing and upon awakening was not fully at himself. Any excuse will do.
  In addition to the roommate and his wife, there were lots of Rotenberry family members attending, many of whom I know.  One I know very well is cousin James from Coldwater, whom I spent 12 years in the classroom with. James and I graduated from Crowder High in 1955. His wife, Peggy, was with him and I’ve known her for many years.
  Belated happy birthday wishes to Billy—know you had a great party. Bet you’ll change clothes next time Peggy suggests doing so.
  Citizens in many areas of the county have been enduring a disturbance of their sleep by cannons being shot at intervals to keep deer out of sweet potato patches. At least some of these cannons were cut out last week, making folks are appreciative of getting to enjoy a good nights sleep.
  In to tell us this story was Gary Bolen. It was good to get to meet him. He is Mimi Childress Bolen’s husband. Mimi is the youngest daughter of the late Tom and Mary Lou Hill Childress.
  Received a letter from the other Bill Sissell (Dr. William E. Sissell, Jr. of Chatham, Massachusetts).
  He writes:
  “Last year when I renewed my subscription I was preparing for a trip out west to tour several of our national parks and monuments, so I did not have a chance to include a letter with my renewal. This time, with nothing pressing on my calendar, there is time for some unrelated bits of news. Incidentally, if you have not had opportunity to visit our national parks I highly recommend it, they are most assuredly among our greatest treasures.
  “This year our local high school was absorbed into a regional system, thus our version of the Blue Devils is no more. The result is that I now have only one corps of Blue Devils for which to cheer, so you young men and women of the Valley teams are challenged to keep up your good work and renowned fine sportsmanship.
  “I do miss the other Bill Sissell’s column, but I suppose all good things must come to an end. I was recently in Kansas and took the time to research some genealogical information on Nettie Harris Sissell and William Zechariah Sissell who migrated to Water Valley from Kansas. Nettie’s father, James Harris, was one of the founders of Cuba, Kansas –a small but active and very friendly town in Richland Township, Kansas, so they brought to the Valley a good work ethic and a strong sense of community spirit.
  “Aside from the loss of Bill’s column all goes well until the weekly continuation of your column occasionally gets bumped off of page six, then I begin to wonder if it is a sign of the end of the world. My best regards to you and all the good citizens of the Valley.”
  Thanks for writing, Mr. Bill, it’s always great to hear from you.
  Enjoyed a phone visit from Mr. James Hubble, who lives in South Carolina. He is a 1942 graduate of Water Valley High School—was a classmate of Oscar Parsons and one grade ahead of Dr. Rayford Edgar.  He shared lots of interesting facts about these two guys and also tells me about many other Vallians, some of whom I know and others I don’t. All of it is interesting.
    Told him that with Ludie, Bruce Gurner, and most of the other older heads gone, I just might have to start calling him to find information I need about former citizens of the Valley—both dead and alive. Mr. Hubble’s life is so interesting from his early days in the Valley, through a distinguished military career, and then on to a career in banking. Thanks for calling.
  Weekend was spent with Mom. We enjoyed watching TV, talking and eating (mostly eating). She is doing very well and thanks to all of you who ask about her. On Saturday morning her home health nurse came by. Was so glad to meet a fellow Vallian—Janice Stacy. She and her husband, Larry, have moved here from Bruce and they bought the home of Sherry Johnson Martin. Found out that they’d visited Woodland Hills a couple of times and was sorry that I’d not met them—I sit in the choir and when I get down most everyone has left the building. Did invite them to come back, though. She was such a nice person.
  Was excited to learn that the Blue Devils had won again Friday night and that Woodland Hills member, J. T. Swinkowski had done more than his share in the strong defensive play. Report was that on one play he stretched out his arms and took out about half of the opposing team. Congratulations to J. T. and all the Blue Devils.

  We had excellent services at Woodland Hills Sunday.
  In the morning service we were excited to have Bro. Ken and Shelley present, but saddened because it was for a final goodbye before entering the next phase of their service in God’s Kingdom. Visiting with this couple is always a treat and we’ll miss them so much.
  Preaching for us Sunday was Valley native, Bro. Hal Clark. This was my first opportunity to hear him deliver a message and I was astounded. He’s in my R. G. Lee Class of preachers—that’s as good as it gets. You really don’t expect a Sunday night service to get better—his did. Do hope he has opportunity to visit with us again before God sends us a pastor.
  The Clark family and I arrived in the Valley at almost the same time in 1958. This was a few years before Hal was born, so I’ve known him all his life. The Clarks lived on Herring Street and often Ed and I would stop for a short visit with Iris if she was sitting on the porch or steps. In later years we were often in the Clark home for rehearsals of The Gene-ration Gap. It was easier to go to her home  since she had Kim and Hal to care for, and her piano was there. These visits were always so much fun.
  As Hal preached I was amazed at how much he looked like his father, Bobby, especially his mannerisms and speech patterns. I also thought about how proud Iris and Bobby would have been of him.
  The Valley has been blessed to have had this fine family as a part of it for over 50  years.

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