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Betty’s Week

We were after dark completing the Herald Tuesday night. Sometimes it’s rewarding to run a little late and this night was one of them. As I passed O’Tuck Supply, something on my left caught my eyes (now I usually drive looking straight down the highway). Slowed down and the sight I saw was breathtaking. In the side yard of the Metts’ home (former home of the late Elsie and Tomie Ashford on Highway 315) was the most beautifully decorated tree of the year. It’s huge and has perfectly spaced colored lights from top to bottom. Thanks, Metts family, for the beautiful addition to our Christmas season—I’m sure many others will enjoy this as much as I am.


  Two of the Hallmark made for TV movies last week  included scenes of the Northern Lights. Now they are beautiful in the movies or on TV, but to see them in person is spectacular. Many of you have heard my story before. However, I’ll repeat it for those of you who have not. Over 50  years ago, Ed and I were coming home from some meeting in Jackson. It was about two o’clock in the morning and the temperature was very low. We were coming in on Highway 32 and somewhere before getting to the Sylva Rena Community, I  noticed a strange glow to my left. 

Called Ed’s attention to it and he just stopped the car in the middle of the road and says, “Honey do you know what that is?” Had no idea—thought maybe the world might be coming to an end. Ed had spent time  in Wisconsin during his time of service in the Korean War era and had seen the Northern Lights several times while there, so he told me what I was seeing. 

Drove on a short distance and found a spot to get off the road and watched this phenomenon as long as it was visible. From that day hence I’ve wanted to go to a spot where they are visible on a regular basis. The colors are the most beautiful thing I’ve every seen—especially the magenta and the emerald green. Now the Metts’ tree doesn’t quite measure up to the Northern Lights, but it’s pretty spectacular—drive out and take a look.


  Joe Elliott, Jr. was in late last Monday and we reminisced about the revival of the Watermelon Carnival in 1980. He and Patsy single handedly got this huge event up and running again. We missed that first year (Jim was in a band clinic in Jackson), but until three years ago I don’t think I’d missed another. Joe said he got up early on that Saturday morning in 1980 to come down to the park, thinking that he and then-mayor, the late Garlon Maynor, might be the only two folks there. Joe said he was amazed when he arrived to see hundreds  of people already in the park and then during the day they just kept coming. 

For many years the Carnival was only on Saturday—first Saturday of August. Then it expanded to Friday night, with the Lion’s Club barbecue and Rotary’s fish supper, Bank of Water Valley’s Anniversary Street Dance was  on Friday night and then square dancing on the tennis court was added. After many  years Patsy and Joe knew that the Carnival had outgrown two folks, so they handed it over to the Chamber. 

It has now expanded to begin with the Town and Country Garden Club’s Music Festival on Thursday night, then all day arts and crafts and food vendors on both Friday and Saturday,  the Run/Walk on Saturday morning, originally managed by Charlotte and the late Jack Grass, which has been taken over by Mechanics Bank, Odie Shuffield’s Car Show on Saturday, the BBQ Contest, and many other games and activities. It has grown by leaps and bounds though the years and we thank Patsy and Joe for having the foresight to revive this fabulous event.


Jody Grass Leonard was in Tuesday to change their address. She and Dave have moved to the Valley. They bought a  house very close to her mom, Charlotte, and report that they are glad to be here. During her school years, when Jack was in the military and Charlotte and the children were unable to be with him, they stayed in the Valley. Jody and Jim were in the same class and were good friends. She also often would be with her Mom on Main Street and they would play together there. All these Main Street kids have a close bond.  


  Another native child, Steve Holloway, was in on Thursday to tell me of the death  of  his mom, Genora. He popped in the door and says, “You don’t know who I am do you?” Had to think a few minutes, but came up with it. He hasn’t changed—just as jolly and cute as every. Know that his father, Charley, is glad to have him back home. 

  First time I remember meeting the Holloways was at the wedding reception of Dee and Bobby Cox, which was held in the Holloway home. The home was beautiful and Genora looked like a model—she was so pretty then and the last time I saw her she was still very attractive. Steve and Little Charley were the cutest little boys and you know me I love boys. This was before I had my own and I enjoyed playing with them.

  Sympathy is extended to Charley, Steve, and all the Holloway and Swearengen families. 


Many readers ask each week what I’ve eaten in the nursing home when I am taking care of mom during the weekend. Well this week I fared well—especially in the dessert department. Friend Wanda McCluskey brought to prayer meeting Wednesday night a, still warm from the oven, apple skillet cake—hers are the best. She baked this fresh apple cake in an iron skillet and it makes a world of difference in the taste. 

This is my favorite cake and it’s close to Bill Cole’s favorite. I’ve made it for years, but just cooked it in a 9×11 cake pan. Guess I’ll have to try my hand at cooking one in the skillet—know that Bill will never get a sample of one Wanda bakes, unless he’s at the NH when I drive up with a piece. Thanks, Wanda, it was so good and I  had dessert at every meal all weekend long. I’d cooked vegetable soup (Agnes’ was so good last week that I needed more), red beans and rice, and chicken rotel. Had frozen the beans and rice and rotel, so they were good on Friday night and Saturday. Soup will  keep for a week in the fridge, so I could eat it anytime. Also  had made cornbread and slaw. Probably gained a pound or two last weekend.

  Ran into Jimmy Peacock while shopping at Larson’s—needed plates and rolls for the fellowship Sunday night. He had so much bad news—Charles Cooper, who writes Reflections, had suffered a stroke late Saturday and was flown to a hospital in Memphis.  All Jimmy knew was that he was paralyzed on his left side. Talked to Melvin Ford, who is a cousin of Charles, on Monday and  he reported that his recovery, with therapy, would probably be lengthy. His report also included that his left side was paralyzed. Our prayers are for Charles and the family. Do hope you will be well soon .

  Jimmy went on to report that his mom, Jo, who had had knee surgery recently and was recovering from it, now had a very serious case of bronchitis. However, the doctor didn’t think it had gone into bronchial pneumonia. His father, Jim, has serious back problems and is suffering from sciatica. Jim was to have a nerve block Tuesday to help relieve the pain.

  Final blow at the Peacock home was the washing machine broke. Jim said he was going to select a new one on Monday morning. With all his care taking, he needs a washing machine. I’d have taken him mine, if one had not been available.


  Here’s wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving.

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