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Lots of folks must have been enjoying the Veterans’ Day holiday last Wednesday, as there was very little traffic as I delivered papers, until I got back into the city where I picked up the school buses and parents and other caretakers, transporting students.
Schools, like the Herald staff, did not get a holiday. We had forgotten that Wednesday was a holiday and did not prepare our subscribers for a late mail delivery. Had several stop by and pick up a paper.
At Express Mart I enjoyed a visit with a young man I had never met. As I exited the store, he ask if I was Betty Shearer and I says, “I am.”
He introduced himself, Chris Shelton and says I’ve wanted to meet you for a long time, as I think you knew my grandparents. Not only did I know his grandparents, the late Ernest and Betty Shelton; I also knew his great grandmother, Mrs. Tisha Shelton; his father, Mike; and his Uncle Glenn. They were all members of Camp Ground Baptist Church.
Grandfather, “Ern” (as we called him) worked for the late L. D. Jones at Jones Lumber and Construction Company. Betty was employed at Rice-Stix. Shortly after our marriage, Ed and I joined Camp Ground Church and he became the music director. We were the babies of the choir, until Patsy Griffin and Bobby Frank Wilbourn married and joined.
The choir often gathered after Sunday night services and choir practice on Thursday nights at the homes of either the Sheltons, the Jones, the Ed Hills, or the Frank or “Huck” Wilbourns – they had the biggest homes.
So I had spent many enjoyable evenings in the Shelton home, which is the house located next to Woodland Hills. I was happy to be able to tell him where his grandparents’ home was.
This choir had many other members (can’t remember all their names) – Camp Ground at that time had a large membership and a big choir. We also had a youth choir, which Ed directed, and Mike and Glenn were probably members. This was also a fun group.
Chris, his wife and daughters live in the Orwood Community and are members of Water Valley First Baptist Church. I’m looking forward to another visit with Chris – this one brought up lots of great memories.
As I was reading the proofs last Tuesday I discovered another youngster from the early Camp Ground Days. Jeff Parks, son of our former pastor at Camp Ground, Rev. and Mrs. Johnny Parks. He was covering the Choctaw County/Water Valley football game for the Choctaw Plaindealer and shared his pictures with the Herald.
Jeff also included a note to tell me “hello” when he learned I was still working at the paper.
Johnny was our pastor from 1969 until 1972. Jeff was a member of the Boys Junior Class (back then we had boys and girls classes). Betty Hill and I taught the girls and, occasionally, when teachers of both boys’ classes were absent, Betty would take the girls and I’d teach the boys, so I got to know Jeff really well. His mother also sang in the choir, so he had to come to practice on Thursday nights and Ed and I often visited in the Parks home, as Ed was the music director and he and Johnny would confer on music to fit with the message.
Jim was younger, but he and Jeff became friends because at practice they were the only two children there and also Jim and I usually went along with Ed to the Parks home, where he and Jeff played while Mrs. Parks and I visited. Was so great to hear from Jeff.
Mel took a two-day house-cleaning holiday, on Thursday and Friday, so I came in to help David. Any excuse to get out of housecleaning works for me. We had very little traffic in the office and not even many calls. I’d expected the phone to ring off he hook, since folks were not receiving their paper at its scheduled time. Apparently most folks did not realize what day of the week it was and hadn’t noticed the holiday disruption – with this pandemic I sometimes have to look at the calendar to know what day it is.
My pass-time for both days was to finish reading John Grisham’s book, “The Last Juror,” which is about a young man buying and learning to manage and edit a small weekly newspaper. I could certainly sympathize with him, even though my initial days were not quite as bad as his.
He went from being a college student and playboy to anewspaper owner with very little instruction. Advertising was slow when he started, but a big story breaking was the start of the revival of the business.
All I had to do when I started was learn to wait on customers, take advertising, answer the phone, keep up the mailing list, compute the postage bill, sell office supplies and keep the books. This also coincided with the loss of our linotype operate, who had a lot of experience. She left to join her husband, who had been transferred out of town. Our office manager quit, but I picked it all up pretty fast.
Learned to do everything but set type on the linotype – never learned this operation. However, when we went to setting type on the teletype punch, I began setting all the text. Then when we went computer, I continued setting the text and still do a little of this. I highly recommend the book if you are interested in 1970s law in Mississippi or newspaper production.
Got over to the Cole Farm Saturday morning. Van was not loaded very heavy. Did return my “library” book and took some canned green beans – I eat frozen beans, but they like the canned ones. Brought home a couple more books to read – like I need more books, our library has probably a couple thousand, or more, volumes.
However, it’s nice that Jimmie knows what I like so she reads them and picks out the ones I’ll enjoy. She does have more reading time than I do. Her granddaughter, Caroline, was visiting, so we watched her play with slime and also got to watch the Disney Channel.
The mother on one of the shows was the smallest child on the Bill Cosby Show. She was so cute in the early show and is still a very energetic woman in the present show. After being told who she was, the only recognizable features were her eyes and her personality.
The hay patch gang needed lunch, so we spread up the sandwiches, found brownies for desert, and water and soft drinks to drink.
Delivery was necessary Saturday, so we were off to the hayfield, with directions that they’re next to the falling-down chicken houses. Caroline wanted to know what a chicken house was and Jimmie’s explanation was interesting, to say the least. I never understood why chicken raising in our area was not a success, since we had a great processing plant. But you see abandoned broiler houses in many areas around here.
Next to the hayfield were two, one almost completely on the ground, and the other with just the skeleton frame still standing. I remember Bo and Rance being employed to help catch the broilers for a few years and later the houses just seemed to sit vacant until most fell down. Caroline and I stayed in the car as Jimmie delivered lunch. There was a huge Rottweiler dog roaming loose and he did not see friendly.
A cousin came home with us—think he’d had enough of the hayfield—and he and Caroline played outside. Jimmie and I continued our very productive day Watched a couple of shows where contractors and decorators take houses that need lots of help and turn them into showcases. Wanted to hire one of these teams to come renovate my house – their prices seemed very reasonable.
The last make-over we watched was a houseboat. It was as big as our original house and was deemed water worthy. It was purchased for $28,000 and with a max of $85,000 they turned it into a beauty. Thought it would be fun to have a house like that on Enid and I don’t even like water. Had to leave the house renovating to head home before dark so I wouldn’t have to fight the deer. Also needed to do a little laundry and study my Sunday School lesson.
Sunday we had a full day in church at Woodland Hills. After Sunday school and worship, Wanda, Bud and I enjoyed a picnic from Sonic in the fellowship hall. Next we attended the ordination service for their son-in-law, Brennan Allen at Elam Baptist Church. It was a beautiful service, with many excellent speakers. The music was under the direction of long-time friend, Claude Allen Hughes.
When we began work on the Woodland Hills Building, Claude Allen did lots of the plumbing work and when he had to wait for supplies or for something to progress to the next step, he’d often hang doors or do various other carpentry. He was truly a gracious man with his time and we do appreciate all the help. He also has one of the best voices in the county and I’ve always enjoyed hearing him sing. Didn’t get to speak to him, but did enjoy seeing him.
However, I did get to visit with many friends that I’d not seen in a while, due to the pandemic. After the service, had just enough time to run home, change into jeans and a sweater and get back for discipleship training and evening worship. Even though our choir members were few, we had an enjoyable practice. We do like to sing and even though everyone was tired, we sang for quite a while and everyone seemed to perk up.
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is only a week away. We’re having our holiday meal at Woodland Hills Wednesday night and it will be a traditional Thanksgiving meal, complete with turkey and dressing and all the trimmings. This is one of my favorite meals, and I’m looking forward to a second turkey and dressing meal on Thanksgiving Day – why I could even forgo barbecue on the Fourth of July in lieu of some more dressing. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving season.