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Betty’s Week

By Betty Shearer

I know masks are necessary, but I think I’m going to lose my ears because of them. I’m wearing ones with elastic ear hooks. Jimmie gave me surgical masks, which tie around your head but I have trouble tying them. I think doctors and nurses do also, since on all the TV news cast, movies and other shows they all have folks tying their masks. 

When I explained this to Jimmie, she made a face and said, “I’m sure Mel or David can tie a bow.”  

The longest I have had to wear a mask was last Wednesday as I started the paper route early that morning.  I had to keep it on for about an hour and a half. Was not mandatory at the stop at Dunn’s, but I kept it on anyway, knowing that if I took it off I’d not want to put it back on and when I crossed back into the city for more stops I’d have to have it. In the office I wear it when a customer comes in – I’m sure if any of the three of us in the office get the virus, we’re all doomed.

My best mask story happened Friday morning. On Thursday Jimmie had called to see if there were any jars lids. Told her that as of Wednesday night there were not – I’d checked. 

However, on Friday morning I had the bright idea that maybe there had been shipments delivered  overnight, which might have contained jar lids, so I ran down to Dollar General to check and found none. 

Of course, I was wearing my mask and when I came out of the store my glasses immediately fogged to the point that I could barely see. Couldn’t even find the van. A young man noticed that I was confused and looking for something and asked, “Betty, what are you looking for?” 

Told him, “My van.”

He laughed but was getting out of his vehicle to help, when I hit my key button and of course the van beeped and the lights came on. Now it is dangerous when you can’t see a thing as big as a silver van. These masks may be killing more folks than they are saving. Larson’s did not have any lids either. 

Carolyn (Bo’s wife) is a master internet shopper and she has tried over most of the country and still has not found any lids or jars, so guess we’ll have to just fill up the freezers and let the rest of the produce spoil. 

Jimmie had just taken lots of fruit juice out of the freezer and made jelly, which freed up some freezer space. Mom’s old freezer is almost empty – needs a little cleaning out and hopefully, new freezers will be available soon. 

Lots of the tomatoes are being turned into BLTs by me. Also they are a big part of my “Salad on Bread” – with tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, and a thin slice of bologna, between two pieces of bread slathered with mayo. Made one bad discovery though. I’ve never liked pecan pie, but had an Edwards in the freezer and I needed the space so I thawed it. Intended to take it to Bill, but since I didn’t get to the Cole home, I decided try the pie. It’s good, as a matter of fact, it’s too good. I’ve eaten about half of it, which I did not  need.


It was alarming to learn that the states of California and Nevada were closing churches. However in Nevada the casinos could remain open. I don’t like to use this word, but the only description for this action is stupid. Church-going Christians are the most likely people in this county to abide by the guidelines put in place. 

They are very concerned for the health and welfare of their fellowman, as well as their families and themselves. In our worship service Sunday, those gathered wore masks in and until they were seated in their proper spaces, which were more than six feet apart, unless they’re family. 

Changing from Sunday School classes, masks were on if there were others in the hallways. We did get a little negligent at the conclusion of the service – it was the first sermon for Bro. Rob Jones, as our pastor. We called him last week. From what I’ve heard, churches in the Water Valley area, if they’re having in-house services, are also observing the regulations. However, many are still using social media as a means of worship.

If Nevada thinks that those gathering in a casino will be more apt to observe the social distancing or  wearing a mask, they really need some more education. The folks gambling with money, do not mind gambling with their own lives and certainly not with the lives of others. 

The clout the casinos have with the state officials is the almighty dollar. And this is going to be the downfall of this nation, not to mention the death of many of its citizens.

In California, a prominent minister tried to buck the system, trying to get the closing of church services overturned—his effort was immediately shut down. We may come to the type of worship services that have been reported during the reign of the Soviet Union, where church services had to be held in basements and other hiding places, and with the lives of those attending threatened. 


My week was very routine, with a bit of washing, dusting, sweeping and mopping. Didn’t even go to Panola County to check on my family. However I did celebrate several events by revisiting old memories. Mom and Dad Shearer’s birthdays are July 20 (hers) and July 21 (his); Celeste and Jim celebrated their 26th Anniversary on the 22; great-nephew, Harris Cole’s birthday was on the 23rd (I think); and brother Rance’s birthday is July 28. Now have a couple more birthdays to add my July list—our new pastor, Bro. Rob Jones, was born July 29, 26 years ago, and his wife, Jordan, celebrated on the 2nd. 

Remembering Celeste and Jim’s anniversary was not  pleasant, although I’m so happy we got Celeste. This was our first time to visit New Mexico in the summer and the temp was way past the hundred degree mark and we were driving Celeste’s car, which was not air conditioned. 

I was amazed at how much difference low humidity made the temp feel – it actually seemed cooler than our low 90s had seemed. Also, I was miserable because I was struggling with the first sunburn of my entire life. I knew that the sun would be vicious out there, so I decided to get a little sun prior to the trip.  On the weekend before our departure, Ed and I, along with the Davises and Crows, went to the Country Club to have fun in the pool. I do not swim, so I just floated in the shallow end. Thought I’d wait until I was a little pink before applying sun lotion. When they realized what I was doing I was informed that when you turn pink you’re cooked. 

No one knew that I’d never sunburned before and that I had no idea how fast  it developed. In my early years I got in the sun as soon as the frost was gone, and slowly turned brown as a bean, never burning. After I started dating Ed and after marriage we went swimming at night, after work was completed, so I was snow white. 

Except where covered by my bathing suit, I had clear blisters on my entire front side, fortunately the back side did not burn, so I could sit  and sleep comfortably – it could have been worse. At this time the cotton jersey t-shirts and pants were in vogue, so I wore them except for the wedding and reception, where I had to put on a dress – misery. 

Ruby Hardy had also introduced me to the Aloe plant, and it did soften the hurt a lot. Lived though it, had a wonderful weekend, and got Celeste as a daughter.

We also usually have a dinner party on Rance’s birthday and that’s always a good meal and lots of fun, but that was another casualty of the virus. 

Second only to those losing their lives to, or having to suffer through a bout of COVID, is not being able to be with loved ones in sad times or fun times – most of our celebrations have had to be curtailed or canceled, even funerals or being at the bedside of loved ones who are very ill. 


Lost three more long-time friends this week. Jeanette Marchbanks for many years answered the phone at Marchbanks Specialty, and her sweet voice could brighten any day. Also, when we visited face-to-face in the office, grocery store, etc. I never saw her without a smile. Actually spent more time with her late husband, Claude, as he took care of all our roofing needs at the Herald office and at our  home. The entire Marchbanks family were and still are wonderful folks. Sympathy is extended to Jeanenne and Joe, Kathy and Keith, and the grands.

We also lost “Little” Joe Elliott. First remember him in his father’s store, Elliott Furniture, along with his father, Joe, Sr. He was a delightful young man and grew to be a wonderful educator. He, along with his wife, Patsy, brought back the Watermelon Carnival in 1980. The entire Valley appreciates this. Last visit I had with Joe, we talked about his Mom and Dad and Ed and Jim. It was always a joy to get in a visit with him. Sympathy is extended to his daughters and all his Elliott and Mixon relatives.

For probably 30 or more yeas I’ve known Russell Polk—in Johnson’s Furniture, Magnolia Furniture, and finally his own store, The Furniture Store. He was a good furniture salesman and a delightful gentleman – always in a good mood, smiling and joking. Usually, if I needed something Russell would find it for me. In Mom’s nursing home room, I often had need of a specific piece of furniture and it had to be a certain size to fit the limited space in that small room. Remember that I needed a green chair, so many inches wide and a certain height. We looked all  over the store and were about to give up when I noticed the customer chair by his desk. 

It was just perfect and Russell says, “Take it, I’m sure I can find something else to use there.” 

Last thing I remember needing was a floor lamp with a small shade. He searched the store and found just what I needed in the store room with damaged goods. Told him I didn’t care if it has dings, so I was sold that lamp at a bargain price. I’m now using it at the Herald behind my desk. 

I’ll think of Russell each time I turn it on. He will be missed on Main Street and my sympathy is extended to his entire family and his store employees. 

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