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Education and Common Sense
A true fairy tale

Once upon a time in Eastern Kentucky there lived a family that spent most of their free time in some kind of church work at two different churches, they attended a small country church on Sunday mornings and the bigger church in the county seat town where they lived. The parents had two little girls and ten years later, a little boy.
Our heroine is the younger girl. She was a beautiful child who, at two years old, learned all the little songs her mother was teaching her older sister, and could carry a tune equally as well as her sister. She was full of questions, mostly about God. “Who is God’s daddy?” was one that stymied her mother.
She gave her life to Jesus when she was not quite six years old, and was baptized in Jenny’s Creek, a stream that flowed past the country church the family attended in the mornings. When she was in high school she sometimes was allowed to teach Vacation Bible School. She was a youth leader in the town church group. She was hired by Enterprise Association to go to small churches and find teachers and do V.B.S. for churches that weren’t going to have V.B.S. during the summer. She did that two years.
When she went to college at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, She joined Hillvue Heights Baptist Church, the church that her older sister had already joined three years before. Our heroine loved the church.  It was very student-friendly. She was a Vacation Bible School Director there, and worked with a the Youth Pastor, another Western student, who was married, and had two babies born while he and his wife lived in Bowling Green. All this happened over forty years ago.
After college, the young preacher went to seminary, earned his doctorate, and reared the two sons, one is now an engineer in a hospital whose job is to see that all the machines are running properly, and the other is an International Southern Baptist Missionary in Southeast Asia. Their father became a successful pastor in Louisiana, his home state, and became Executive Director of the Arkansas Baptist Convention, retiring from that position after 17 years. He cared for his wife at home in her losing battle with cancer. He is now an Interim pastor of a church in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Our heroine graduated college, majoring in Art Education.  While teaching in Russellville for 10 years, she also worked for and received her M.A. Degree in that subject.  She moved to Seattle Washington and taught art in three different schools.  She came back to Kentucky to teach five more years so she would be eligible to retire in Kentucky as well as Seattle. So she retired from the Kentucky school system last school year.
In various years, there had been men who were interested in her and interesting, but she was very picky, and always found something wrong with the relationship.
Last spring, our hero, Emil, the lonely widower, decided to come to west Kentucky for the fly-fishing. Patti had bought a house on Barren River Lake with her mentor, who was her favorite college professor’s widow. Emil called his college friend to see if she would like to go out to dinner with him. Of course, she would!
They found out that meal that they laughed at the same jokes, liked the same foods, and it was almost uncanny that they used the same brands of toothpaste and soap! Furthermore, their favorite apple is the Honey Crisp!  They had a long supper that night; they walked miles together in Mammoth Cave the next day, and the road between Scottsville and Little Rock, Arkansas, has been traveled extensively this summer and fall. I believe the telephone has also seen heavy service.
Last Friday at 11:00 a.m. they got married in the chapel at Hillvue Heights Church in Bowling Green, with their college pastor, Gary Watkins, who has remained in touch with Emil through the years, officiating.
Patti wore a simple white lace knee-length dress. Her one attendant, her friend and mentor was Brenda Lane, who wore a navy blue dress. The men, Emil and his two sons, all wore navy blue suits. Two professional videographers made a video of the ceremony so the couple’s friends in Seattle, Washington, Houston, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, Indianapolis, and east and west Kentucky can all watch it in their pajamas! Cathy and I came back to Louisville after a luncheon for the bridal party and had no chores to do afterward.
The couple are on their honeymoon in North Carolina as I write this, but they plan to be at home in Little Rock, Arkansas, by this Sunday.
As mother of the bride, and long –time reader of fairy tales, I know a Beautiful Princess and a Handsome Prince  when I see one, and I am convinced that they will live happily ever after. They will be a good team with many years left to serve their Lord.


The Downhomer
Springing forward or falling back, and the memories we make

My good friend and prayer partner Bradeleen Mollett called to remind me that Saturday, Nov. 4th; we set our time back by one hour. Twice a year we do this sort of manipulation by the deliberate reprogramming of all our clocks. So this November time change begins just as autumn fades away, and as winter waits on the doorstep to come in. It is the time change we call a falling back; and is the reversal of the springing forward daylight savings time change that was initiated in March. On this November falling back time setting, if we are lucky enough to stay in bed till 7, we are actually getting up at six, rising up into that waiting, breathless darkest dark that comes just before the dawn. Confusing as all this might be, we know that regardless of what our clocks say, going back an hour does not actually mean we have more time to sleep. Actually, most of us do not get up by man made controls, but by our own biological ones.
Regardless, dawn will come as dawn will come, and is not actually controlled by any kind of man made measuring.
As it is, that other attempt to control the length of our daylight hours happens in March when we set our clocks to where they were before we did that falling back. It’s a case of which came first, the chicken or the egg. Whatever, the hour we lost when our clocks were set back in November is supposedly picked up when we go forward in March. The bottom line is that we all are making memories in whatever time we are in, and that how we use the time we have depends on us.
There have been multitudes of studies about the two time changes we go through, with how it affects our circadian rhythms being one of these. Regardless of what the clock might say, we all march to our own drum beat, and when and if something disrupts the individual pattern that we follow, it is perplexing to say the least.
I’ve always had my own share of confusion about this; often have to ask myself; are we marching forward or are we marching back? Lord knows we all have our own opinions of it, both pro and con, and perhaps what we think about it at any given moment determines how we feel.
That the recent time change being front and center in my mind at the moment, and knowing how inadequate my own understanding of it is, I turned to the Internet to see if I could make head or tails of the whole thing. I discovered then, that the first attempt to establish a Daylight Savings Time happened in 1908 at Port Arthur, Canada. This is reasonable considering how close that place is to the land of the midnight sun and long polar nights, it being a whole new ball game.
However, it seems this first effort at daylight savings time did not at first catch on. Then in 1916, in Germany on April 30th, they turned all their clocks back one hour, this time being two years into World War 1. The rationale of this was to minimize the use of artificial lighting in order to save fuel for the war effort; not a very good reason for the controlling of time. However, within a very few weeks, the rest of the world followed suit and did the same time change. Of course, with the end of that war, most nations reverted to regular time keeping, though here at home Benjamin Franklin kept the ball rolling by advocating a policy of Daylight savings, he actually doing so as one of his jokes.
Then when the next war came along, this time change happened again and probably for the same reason. So soon it became a common practice by most nations of the world, with only a few hold outs. Here at home we might vent and struggle with the adjustments we have to make in either one of these changes. However, to my way of thinking everything is relative, and we quickly fall into the pattern change might make in our normal routines. So we adjust, turn then to other things that happen in November.
This coming Saturday will be Veterans Day. We will fly our flag in appreciation of all those service people both living and dead that did their part to help keep our nation free. In my own family, six veterans rest from their labors. This is repeated all over our area; all of us honored by those who gave all and those who still fill the place where they serve. This includes those new inductees as well as all those life long service people like my cousin Burl Branham and my nephew Don Green. Finally, still filled by our thankfulness of Veteran’s Day, we focus on that next Thanksgiving Day soon to come.
Now to regress for a moment. I often say this old house I live in could have been a pattern for that primitive style of decorating so popular now. Whatever. Recently when my house was filled with children, grandchildren and great grand-children, I was informed that they would all come to this house the day after Thanksgiving. I understand; after kids marry, they have two sets of family to go to. So Thank you Lord for all things; for time, and for the memories we make every hour of the time that we have.


Smile Awhile
Thank you for your service

This past Sunday, the 10th Annual Veterans Referral Center Benefit Telethon was held at the Paintsville Recreation Center on Preston Street; and judging from the turn out, as well as the amount of money raised, one could say without reservation that it was a success.
Up until the last couple of telethons the program went out over the airways only to viewers of Cable Channel 17, the Paintsville Hometown T. V. station.  Then, along came Bob Abrams’ “around Paintsville.com”, and Voila! –
But I will say this, there were a few obstacles to putting on a big show with so many facets to deal with, and my husband tried to deal with all of them.  Consequently, as the designated Master of Ceremonies, he was a little on edge during the previous week.
“I’m worried about the food!” he stated.  “Does everyone know what to cook and will there be enough?”
Now here I must tell you that the telethon dinner was sponsored this year by the Johnson County Republican Women’s Club.  So I told him, “You have enough to worry about.  We girls have got that covered, so go deal with something else.”
“I can’t help it,” he pounced.  “Some of my talent hasn’t called me back and I’m worried I might have to juggle or tell jokes for 2 hours!  And it’s been 3 years since I emceed this thing and we haven’t even tested the old studio equipment yet.  And then there’s the weather.  What if it rains and we don’t draw a crowd?”
However, he need not have worried.  The entire event was a celebration of life and comradeship in a party atmosphere.  There were lots of veterans and families including my Mother-in-Law, Iris Blair, whose husband received a Bronze Star with five battle ribbons in WWII including D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge.  Also in attendance (as he and his wife, Alice, are every year) was former PVA Custer Picklesimer, a WWII Army veteran of the European campaign.
The meal was such a success that we sold out by two o’clock: and why wouldn’t we?  It consisted of soup beans and corn bread, kraut and wieners, macaroni and tomatoes, dessert and a drink.  Ronnie was elated that there was so much food because he just knew there would be left-overs.  Hah!  He didn’t get a bite, and he himself baked 10 batches  of corn bread.
The dinner raised $600, the silent auction raised $500, and the Kiwanis Kettle Korn brought in another $300 (love those Kiwanians). That, along with cash, checks and pledges brought the raised total to $8000; a success indeed.
The only problem is, a while ago I heard Ronnie on the phone with the Referral center Director, Doug Murphy, already making plans for next years event!  Have a great week and don’t forget to Smile Awhile!


Poison Oak
With funeral home fans in hand

For a young man living in a 1940s Eastern Kentucky coal camp, about the only place there was to go was the show on Saturday. So, quite naturally, everybody would get excited when time came for the summer revival at church. Whenever it was scheduled, it never featured just an ordinary preacher. Instead, it didn’t take long for the entire neighborhood to understand that services would be conducted by a “big preacher from off.” Now, I knew that “from off” meant he was from somewhere else. The term “big preacher,” however, sometimes confused me. As far as I could tell, the preachers we already had were pretty “big” themselves. I mean, when they preached fire and brimstone, you could smell the smoke. And on those humid, pre-air conditioner mid-July evenings, it wasn’t too difficult to imagine you could also feel the heat.
Anyway, the revival, being the social event of the year, was always well attended, with all the women smelling of bath powder, Juicy Fruit, and Evening in Paris perfume. With funeral home fans in hand, they fluttered in unison. There’s no way I would let such an opportunity pass, so I was there too, eager  for an evening of edification and entertainment. But as a ten-year-old, I’m afraid I was more entertained than edified because not only was I there to hear the sermon, I was also interested in seeing if the preacher measured up to his billing; to find out for myself just how “big” he really was. Sometimes he measured up, sometimes he didn’t.
That was more than half a century ago, though, and I’ve long since quit preacher measuring. However, what with today’s televangelists and some of the things they’ve come up with to fuel the fires of criticism, I’ve sort of been tempted to pull out the old yardstick again. But the fact that I no longer measure preachers anymore, sort of puts me in the minority. According to what we’re hearing on the news lately, it seems that not only have some folks made it into a hobby, others (especially those who aren’t prone to any particular persuasion in the first place) have apparently turned it into a major sport. Hardly a week goes by that some TV preacher is not in the news regarding his acting… well,  unchristian. I wouldn’t be surprised if some bubble gum company didn’t start printing trading cards like they do sport stars, only this time featuring photos of some of the main characters who we’ve recently come to know and love through prime-time religion.
I’m thinking that maybe we need to realize that although they reach millions of viewers, and even though they are genuine TV personalities, these guys are mere mortals and put their pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us. So, instead of sending our hard-earned dollars to some far away church in TV land, what we probably ought to do is give support -- both monetary and spiritual -- to our little neighborhood congregations. Perhaps if we’d take a real good look, we’d find that many of our little churches, although not housed in million dollar cathedrals with built-in TV studios, do indeed feature “big” preachers who do indeed “measure up.”


Downhomer
Good friends, squirrels, hummingbirds and signs of the times

Used to be, Walter and I enjoyed the times we spent driving around this area we call home. These days, neither of us drive, we have given away our vehicle, and we feel blessed if we get out and about maybe once or twice a month. Now we go roaming no more. No driving out along country roads to enjoy the landscape. No cruising along shady wooded trails to appreciate the cathedral like stillness of those areas away from urban sprawl.
I have always liked best the places where nature comes into its own. Walter, an old fox hunter who knew every crook of every country road, was always accommodating to this favorite pass-time of mine, it seeming natural to him.
I have loved to see the first blooming of the mayflowers (which most folks know as trailing arbutus). I’ve watched for the sourwood and the locust trees to bloom, for the blackberry, the cucumber magnolia and the rhododendrons to flower in their particular cycles of life.
I have also enjoyed the blooming of the golden rod, the coloring of the leaves in fall, the ripening of the persimmons, the papaw, and the possum grapes; all such things telling their own story.
I have dearly loved to see the progression of the seasons by the changes taking place along the roadsides; loved to see the activity in the forests, thereby to read the message it sends.
Everyone knows that when birds begin to build their nests, it is spring. In addition, the absorbed fly by activity of the hummingbirds signals to us that another summer is nearing its peak.
Now, we read a different set of messages.
Are there a lot of nuts on the walnut and hickory trees? Are the squirrels building their leafy houses high in the tree tops, do they run in and out of cracks in those trees as they build a pantry, does the wooly worm have a thick and uniquely colored covering? By these signs and by so many more that nature sends us, we can know that winter is just around the corner. We ask ourselves: Will it be a hard one, or by a reading of these signs, will it not. My own opinion is that we are in for a bad winter. All those mild or not so mild winters comes and go just as does all of nature, in cycles, and we’re about due for one of the hard ones.
However, being almost homebound at this stage of our lives, Walter and I watch most of the seasonal changes that take place in our down home location from the safety of our windows.
We do get to go to Wally World once in a while. I do admit that much as I liked this in days gone by, I now love it! I love to take my time, look at everything. Sooner or later, though, my conscience will kick in and I’ll remember that someone, usually daughter Deb, is sitting with Walter as the two of them wait for me. So I never really get my fill of this. Deb would more than likely disagree with this, seeing how long it takes me; she being on the waiting end.
I do spend reciprocal time sitting with Walter on those benches at WalMart so that Deb can also do her shopping.
Both Walter and I actually enjoy this. We like seeing the people who pass by, even more so enjoy those who will take a few moments to stop and speak. If it is a church sister or brother who stops to say a few words, our spirits are lifted. For Walter, if it should be another of those old foxhunters, it absolutely makes his day. Just like me, he remembers some of these, but not all.
After I had done my shopping on one of these tit for tat shopping ventures, Walter and I sat waiting for Deb as she did likewise. Several of the people who passed spoke to us, some to pause long enough for the ‘how are you, it’s good to see you’ exchanges.
Bonnie Adkins came by, asked that we pray for her son’s mother-in-law, Flora King. Flora is a sister to Carol Franklin, who is one of my church sisters. Mrs. Keene had fallen, was in a local hospital and was not doing well. Of course I said we would pray.
Then it was Harold Salyers and Marlene who stopped; lingered long enough to have a much appreciated conversation with us.
I have known Harold for years, back to the days when I would see him at one of the places I often visited, this the Eastern Kentucky MCC greenhouse. Later; after Mandy and Tyler took membership at the Flat Gap Baptist Church, I grew to know and admire Rev. Salyer’s wife Marlene. So to see those two like this and that they would deign to stop and talk to a couple of old fogies like Walter and myself, was a double blessing. As was one of the remarks that Harold made to me: “Well”, he said. “I guess you’ll have to stop writing about fall beauty, and start writing about winter!”
I agreed, even as I thought to myself how wonderful it was that someone that I admire was familiar with one of my favorite topics. So thank you, Lord! For the flowers that bloom, for the birds and bees and squirrels, and for all the marvelous people in my life.



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