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Betty’s Week

By Betty Shearer

    Along with Charles Mays’ (of Sherwood, Ark.) renewal came a very nice letter, one which I’m sure many of you will enjoy, so I’m sharing.
  “Dear Betty,
  “Sorry that I missed seeing you at the Watermelon Carnival last week, but know that your hands were full with your Mom.
  “I could not believe ALL the things that are going on in the Valley as I drove thru town, seeing all the renovations of the old buildings, the repaving and painting crosswalks, etc…Makes me even prouder of being a native Water Vallian!
  “Came down for our 1964  50th Class Reunion and got to see many  people I went to school with, plus saw Coach Don Johnson, Coach Charles Peets, Coach Bob Tyler, and a host of others, including the Herald Columnist, Charles Cooper, whom I met at the Scanlon reunion Friday evening! Also, met many friends at the Lions Pancake Breakfast Satur-day morning.
  “Since I am the LAST of the Mays siblings, I claim the people in Water Valley that I grew up with as FAMILY, and you can’t say that in many cities! There is just something unique about our town that makes you want to come back each year, especially when you see it growing!
  “Anyway, it was an enjoyable weekend and again, sorry I missed seeing you. As always, I enjoy reading your columns each week as you give your readers a very personal touch!
  “God’s riches blessings on you and family. As Philippians 1:3 reminds us: “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.”
  Charles, thanks for writing, and I’m sorry I missed seeing you. You know I  (and the entire Shearer family) loved the Mays family. Often the staff remembers your dad when we read his sports columns, as we scan the pages of the old papers. You know that Jim thought he was another grandfather. Jim has a shotgun and fishing equipment that Ed gave him. My Ed, for many years had a tennis racket that he loved, given to him by your dad. Before he died he gave that racket to Ruby Lee’s son and I hope he cherishes it. Hope to see you next year.
    On Tuesday Kay Goodwin brought by a long-lost relative for a visit. Kay and a second cousin of mine, Judy Lynn Hester, had worked together in Clarksdale for many years. They are both nurses.
    For the first five years of her life I took care of Judy more than her mother did. She was my baby. When Kay wanted to bring her by she said she was sure I would not remember her, but when she walked in and I called her Judy Lynn (using double names is a family things for us. I’m  known as Betty Jane) she said, “Yes, I do believe she knows me.” We talked for a long time, remembering all the good times our families had shared. Her mom, who was my dad’s niece, and my mom were almost like sisters—they actually looked alike and were only a few years apart in age.
    They liked to go  places and would leave the children with my dad, her father, the late Vernell Hester (whom I called Uncle Nell) and me in charge of all the children. We never lost or killed one of them—really think they were all better behaved for us than they were for their mothers.
    It was a great reunion and thank you, Kay, for making it possible.
    Most of you probably know Kay as Brenda Goodwin. I know her as Kay because the first member of this family I knew was her brother, Doyle, who was the maintenance engineer at the Agr Museum, and he called her Kay. I’ve since met all the sisters—there was one deceased brother I never got to know, and Doyle and one of the sisters have also  passed. Their mother, Opal, is still with us.
    Bro. Lynn and Danielle hosted prayer meeting Wednesday night and it was wonderful. We visited their home in Oxford. Bro. Lynn’s backyard garden is so pretty—better than many nursery’s. He has some beautiful plants, some very unique, and has installed a timed irrigation system that takes care of the beds and the pot plants.
    After enjoying punch and Hor’dourves and a tour of the garden, we were treated to a delicious buffet. The food was wonderful, as was the fellowship.
    We thank our pastor and his wife for this delightful outing.
     Left the office Thursday afternoon, just after the hard rain. Got  home and packed the van and decided that I could probably make it to Batesville before the next storm passed through. It came faster than I expected, so from the Shufford Road past the Eureka Community I drove in a downpour. Made it okay, but it is hard to drive with your windshield covered in water and water running across the highway.         Also had some wind, so the road was littered with small limbs and leaves. I got one of those limbs stuck under the van and had to listen to it scrap along the road until I got to the nursing home. Backed  up, thinking it would dislodge. Didn’t work, so I drug it to Mom’s that  night. Got the thing out next morning—I was tired of all that racket.
    This was birthday weekend and Mom made it to the 100th. Her actual birthday was Friday, but we had the party on Saturday.
    The party was just a fun gathering,  held at the Cole home, with lots of food. We did not even take Mom down, but let each family go to visit her at the nursing home. That way she was not overwhelmed with so many folks at once.
    Present were all six of her children, along with the four living spouses, her four granddaughters (three nephews were not able to attend) and two of their spouses, five great-grands (I think), Mom’s two nephews and their spouses, and a great-nephew, several great-great nieces and nephews, and some friends.
    I was Mom’s sitter for most of the weekend, so I missed all the cooking. Jimmie and Bo did a great job with most of the meal—a few dishes were  brought in by other family members.
    Two of the young folks are going back to school. Niece Madison Kilgore is going back for a Master’s in Journalism and plans to teach, and great niece Paige Robinson, who has taught a year, plans to return to school for her master’s. Madison is the daughter of youngest brother, Don, and his wife, Gina Phillips Kilgore, and Paige, is the daughter of Brother Terry’s oldest daughter, Nita (a nurse at University Hospital), and Randy Robinson of Brandon.     Her brother, Spencer, is still a student at Ole Miss. Misty is still teaching at South Panola, Jim is at New Mexico State, William  Cole has a crop insurance agency, and Michael Cole is a State Farm Insurance Agent—both in Batesville. Terry’s youngest, Lisa Gail, is also in education, and her son, Seth, is in elementary school. That gets most of them.
    After learning what everyone is doing, we turned to health.
    I’d talked with Mom’s doctor on Friday and he says her health is excellent for her age. If she could just see she would not have a bad problem. Blood pressure most of the time is fine, heart, lungs, and all major organs are fine.
    Many of her children are in worse shape than her. Brother Terry has COPD and that’s a terrible problem. He’s also had four vertebrae cracked. Most of this is caused, I think, from his habits and life style. For most of his life he drove a truck—not good for your bones. He also has smoked all his life—not good for our lungs.
    If you smoke, quit; if you don’t have that habit, don’t ever start. The other brothers have had the habit during their life times, but they quit in time. Think the girls in our family were smarter—neither Jimmie or I have every smoked and neither did we every consume alcohol. All the boys partook of that at times in their lives. Thankfully, none to the extent that it endangered their health.
    One cousin’s wife is battling cancer, several of us are diabetics (not surprising since it’s been in several generations and is hereditary), some have had heart and blood pressure problems, and other ailments. Was telling Jim all this and his reply is always, “Well, you know we are all getting older.” Guess he’s right and we should be happy that we’re all able to get together and enjoy a good meal.
    We all left, hoping that we’ll celebrate a 101st next year.

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