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It was good to see Jim and Celeste Shearer Monday afternoon. They are in Mississippi to enjoy Thanksgiving with their family. Son Jim had only been in town a few hours and said he already had two people tell him how much they missed his mother’s front page column in the Herald. Jim has repeatedly encouraged me to continue that tradition, but I told him I wouldn’t measure up.
Instead, I will keep Dave’s World coming from page 4 each week but I thought this would be a good time to write a column in keeping with Betty’s Week. Betty always shared the kind notes we received from Herald subscribers, so I will start with a sweet letter last month from Ludie’s Appleton’s daughter, Ann Appleton Laster. Sadly my time at the Herald office only overlapped a few months with Ludie. She passed away in 2004, the same year I started at the Herald.
Ms. Laster wrote that she had decided not to update her subscription as she had not lived full-time in the Valley since 1954.
“Mother loved everything about the Herald. Our family considered the Shearers, who lived a few houses from us on Clay Street, dear friends,” she wrote.
The letter continued with Ms. Laster sharing that she changed her mind about renewing her subscription after reading her latest edition of the Herald.
“I was reminded how much Water Valley even today is a part of my life. I love reading about the art events, the Garden Club, Chloe Clements’ views on WVHS (I was editor of the school paper my senior year), the band and teachers.
Ms. Laster also shared that growing up in Water Valley, the were two policemen, one a day policeman and one a night policeman. Her maternal grandfather Eric McGonagil was for many years the night marshal.
“Very little of any interest occurred with the two-man force. I am not even sure if either of them carried a gun. My 18 years growing up in Water Valley and then seven summers there truly were an idyllic existence.”
And in September we received a letter from subscriber Deborah Slade in Oxford. She wrote that the Herald is one of – if not THE – best newspapers in Mississippi. Ms. Slade noted that delivery of recent papers, especially during the previous month, had been slow. She is not the only Herald subscriber who experienced delivery problems this year. I think the summer months were the worst ever, and that includes all those years that Mrs. Betty wrote about the postal service’s delivery problems.
I am very appreciative of so many Herald readers who are patient when their paper is late. The problem is not with the local post office, the carriers here do a great job! Our problem is the distribution center in Memphis. Sometimes I think they let those papers sit on the docks for weeks before sending them along their way.
And in keeping with remembrance of Betty’s Week, I should share that Agnes Montgomery brought us four bowls of banana pudding recently. The pudding was finger-licking good. Mrs. Anne Burke sent me a spaghetti plate that reminded me of how wonderful her meals are. Outside of the Bayson Chapel Church’s Thanksgiving meal the ladies served until Covid, some of my best meals in the Valley were in Anne’s kitchen.
When the holidays were approaching at the end of the year, Mrs. Betty would always write about how hard it was to believe that another year had passed and where she was going to spend her Thanksgiving. This year will be her first Thanksgiving in Heaven and I can think of nothing to be more thankful of than a personal relationship with our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.