Tuesday, September 06, 2016
|Conversions Are Not Easy|
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Wednesday, January 06, 2016
Carter & Austin Grocery was formed in the mid-fifties and was a family owned and operated business. There were few workers that were not family members. After school and on Saturdays, both my older brother and I worked in the store, as did the two Austin brothers, Billy Carl and Paul David.
Miss Opal was not a full time employee, but she would often drop by to help "clean up." The woman was a whiz with a feather duster. Dad was not too keen on using a feather duster, claiming it only stirred up the dust. Yet, that didn't stop Miss Opal from her appointed rounds. I can still picture her "flying in" to dust the canned goods or straighten up a work area. She was the human equivalent of the cartoon character named the Tasmanian Devil.
I don't know if Miss Opal's parents gave much thought to the meaning of "Opal," but "opal" comes from the Latin opalus, meaning seeing jewel, and she was definitely a jewel. Maybe they knew that symbolically "opal" expresses "hope, happiness, and truth," all desirable characteristics for their newborn.
With four children to tend, a husband, and all that goes with a household to maintain, I once wondered where she got the energy to do all the things she did.
At age 53, Miss Opal went back to school. As a bright student of Science, she soon earned enough college credits to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), and later worked at the hospital in Pontotoc.
Opal also took in boarders during the natural gas pipeline construction days in the sixties, ran a day-care center in the seventies, and, somewhere along the way, found time to pursue an artistic interest in painting, both in oils and water color.
As long as I knew her, Miss Opal had a thirst for knowledge. She knew the Bible as well as a lot of preachers. If she had not been "died-in-the-wool Church of Christ" she'd have been a lot more fun in the scholarly/ theological sense. I always respected her, though I expect she'll be more surprised to see me in Heaven, than I will to see her.
Since 2000, my mother-in-law has been in the same nursing home with Miss Opal. And each time I visited my mother-in-law I would also visit Miss Opal. I was always impressed with Miss Opal’s positive attitude and sense of humor, and I never left her room feeling worse than when I entered.
Many of her Nursing Home days were spent limited by a nerve/ muscle dysfunction, that left her unable to walk and wheel-chair bound. Her Common sense and her medical knowledge stimulated her to maintain a modest exercise regime. She extended her exercise program to her mind, too, reading as she would say, "anything I can get my hands on."
Even in the confining atmosphere of a nursing home, Miss Opal continued to express herself in various forms.
• She was once President of the Resident Council at the Pontotoc Hospital Nursing Home.
• As a church member, she attended the Church Of Christ as often as possible.
• As an encourager, she visited with other residents in the nursing home, talking with them, and sharing unabashedly her good humor with all.
• As a seamstress, she sewed for other nursing home residents and even made a few christening gowns to be passed from her grandchildren to the generations that follow.
At a time when most folks in their upper eighties might have thought of slowing down, Miss Opal, like the Energizer Bunny, just kept going and going.
In fact she kept going right up to 95. The big difference between the Energizer Bunny and Miss Opal is she didn’t have replaceable batteries to keep her going. Her earthly batteries just ran down. However, the Miss Opal that we have known has been made NEW, and she now dwells in a new body that will never grow old and never wear out.
I doubt she’s using a feather duster today, but I’m confident she’s busy doing whatever it is folks do in GLORY LAND and looking forward to the day when she will help welcome us there.
Sunday, July 01, 2012
|Not Current Issue|
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Problem solving has been so much a part of my adult life (perhaps all of my life) that I find myself solving problems almost subconsciously. Before one thinks I’m boasting, I should point out that all solutions to the problems I encounter aren’t necessarily the best solutions, and sometimes I’m not satisfied with the solution that I come up with.
Still, that doesn’t discourage me from trying to solve whatever problem I face. With respect to a given task, I’m always interested in finding a better way to complete it. Even when writing, I often rephrase a thought to better suit me. I’d like to think I’ve gotten better at communicating my thoughts over the past fifteen years that I’ve penned and shared my thoughts and deeds with others, but I’m probably not the best judge.
Since volunteering practically full time with Habitat for Humanity, I’ve been challenged to keep up with the tools I use on the job site. I’ve been known to lay down my hammer, only to discover it’s not where I put it when I went to pick it up again. I have a tool belt that helps with this sort of problem, but it only helps when I wear the tool belt, which is not all the time I use a hammer.
For the past two months, I’ve worked mostly toward creating office space and a board room in an old warehouse. Along with that goes plumbing and electrical work, so it’s a lot like remodeling an old house. With other volunteers working alongside me, it makes tool and equipment organization more difficult because we’re basically using “company” equipment and each person has a much right-of-use as the next person.
In the past week, two utility knives that I “carry” at work have gone missing; I don’t have a clue where my speed square is, or, for that matter, the location of my personal screwdriver.
A month ago, I had two carpenter pencils in my tool belt; today there’s not even one. I did find a used carpenter pencil the other day that had once been sharpened at both ends. It must be getting old, because the lead was pulling loose from the wood that secures it. I discovered this while trying to sharpen it. The utility knife I was using to shave off the wood would grab the lead and pull it out the end of the pencil.
I found a solution that I believe illustrates my problem-solving abilities. No, I didn’t find a way to stop the lead from getting inadvertently pulled out of the pencil while sharpening it. But, I did find a way to continue using the pencil for several more days without sharpening the lead. No, no, I didn’t find a hardener to keep the soft lead from dulling when scribing lumber for cutting or marking starting and ending points for a chalk-line on wallboard or sheetrock.
Are you ready for the solution? I fashioned it into a mechanical pencil, one where the barrel is fixed but the lead moves back and forth inside the barrel.
I know, I know, you want to know how I did that. Okay. I put a sheetrock screw in the other end of the pencil. The diameter of the screw is slightly larger than the hole in the pencil filled by the lead. The screw is about an inch and one-fourth long, so I can “hand” screw it deeper into the hole to push more lead out the other end. Eventually, I’ll have to cut more wood from one end of the pencil to continue using it for whatever purpose a carpenter pencil is needed.
Barbara, my wife and Executive Director of Pontotoc County Habitat for Humanity, has since supplied us with a new box of carpenter pencils, but I’m kind of fond of the one I’m using, and nobody else has asked to borrow it.