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Downhomer
Life unceasing
Lately, as we’ve traveled here and there down home, I’ve noticed that the leaves are beginning to fall. Admittedly, there’s just a few of them so far, but enough drift down that they become a kind of forerunner of things to come. I’d just as soon if time would slow down enough to hold back the fall season, but there’s some aspects of autumn that I will always be ambivalent of.
Mainly, this is because I tend to paraphrase another and more commonly used cliché to whisper to myself: “If autumn comes; can winter be far behind.” Thankfully, just now the trees are full-leafed and green, the grass has to be mown more often than we’d like, and the hummingbirds are still with us – and have to have their feeders filled almost every day. I buy my sugar in 25 lb. bags, and I doubt if the last one I bought is going to last me till winter.
But things change, and we have to know what’s just around the corner. Soon, much sooner than I anticipate, autumn will be upon us, and I’m not ready for that.
In spite of this, I love the colors of fall, love the rich, ripe, fullness of harvest time. I remember how, when I was a child, my cousins and I spent every weekend gathering black walnuts, hickory nuts and chinquapins, and how we searched for papaws and persimmons. I remember that we would gather the red berries of dogwood trees to string with a needle and thread just to make for ourselves a temporary bracelet, knowing as we did that it would only last for the one wearing.
We never thought much about what would come next, for those days were still hot enough that every chance we got and whenever we thought we wouldn’t be caught, we took off our shoes so that we could wade barefoot in the creeks, liking the coolness of the water which was only slightly warmed by the sun.
All these were fringe benefits of fall, as were those ‘possum grapes hanging in pods from the whipcord-strong vines which climbed up every available tree. And while we knew this kind of wild grape was very bitter and not at all to our tastes, we also knew that small animals loved them and climbed those vines to gather, in the still of the night, this bounty of the ripening nature.
One morning when we got up to go to school (did I mention that the new school year will have begun just prior to the onset of fall?) we found delicate little pictures that Jack Frost had painted on our windows.
We took great pleasure in this, not bothering to think about any significance in the lacy pictures. Instead, we went happily around quoting to each other some of the words of a poem which we had learned in school, that warned us: “Look out! Look out! Jack Frost is about! He’s after our fingers and toes; And all through the night, the gay little sprite is working where nobody knows.”
But I am far from those long ago days of my childhood.
Nowadays, when autumn begins, I shiver in anticipation, for I do hate cold weather. I love the snow, but hate the cold, hate, as well, the occasional power outages we get. I can find it in me to love the beauty of winter, but I hate the ice storms that winter can bring.
I love to be snug and dry inside my house but hate it when storms have caused our electric heat to shut off, making our indoor temperature only a little less cold than the one outside.
Nevertheless, and in spite of all of this, I comfort myself with the lovely verses found in Gen. 8:22 “While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease.” Praise the Lord!


Education and Common Sense
A most intriguing read
My friend Camille Martin shared a book with me this week that she was very excited about. “I want you to read this book as soon as I get through with it,” she said. “It is a fantasy, and yet the historical facts are true.”
The book, THE HARBINGER, was written by Johnathan Cahn, a Messianic Jew, and published in 2011 by Frontline Books, a division of Charisma Media/Charisma House Book Group, which is based in Lake Mary, Fla. The secondary title of the book is” The Ancient Mystery that Holds the Secret of America’s Future.”
I looked up the word “harbinger.” The dictionary definition  is “A person who goes ahead and makes known the approach of another, or anything that foreshadows a future event; an omen; a sign.”  I had read the word in poetry such as ,”The first robin you see is a harbinger of spring.”  I couldn’t wait to start reading the book that Camille was so excited about.
It did not disappoint me. I read it in two days because I got started late the first day. It is one of the most intriguing, thought-provoking books I have ever read.
On the back cover of the book is the teaser. It reads:
“Is it possible that there exists a greater mystery that holds the secret of America’s future? That this mystery is behind everything from 9/11 to the collapse of the global economy? That God is now sending a prophetic message on which America’s future hangs?”
Our Sunday School lessons last quarter were from the Old Testament  books of Ezekiel and Daniel. Both are books about the nation of Israel that God had previously put a hedge around, but because of their  apostasy and sinfulness, the Lord had let the Chaldeans come in and conquer them and take many of them (including Daniel) to Babylon, where they stayed for 70 years. I kept wondering how long God was going to let this nation, which was founded on Christian principles, and blessed to become the richest nation in the world, was going to continue to be so blessed.
The Harbinger tells the story of a writer who gets an ancient clay seal in the mail, with no indication of where it came from. He puts it in his pocket and later meets a mysterious man, whose name he never learns. He calls him “the prophet.” The prophet helps him to learn what the seal means, and keeps giving him another seal.
The upshot of what the writer discovers is that there is a parallel between Israel’s apostasy and ultimate judgement and destruction, and that of the United States. Both nations were established on Godly principles and were protected by God and blessed by Him. Both nations worshipped  other entities rather than God, and Israel was destroyed and scattered all over the earth, her people hounded and persecuted to this day.
The “teaser” states: “Hidden in an ancient Biblical verse from the book of Isaiah, the mysteries revealed in The Harbinger are so precise that they foretell recent American events—down to the exact days.”
And it is written in such an interesting form that it is hard to put down.
I am left with the question: “Was the destruction of the World Trade Center  on 9/11 allowed by God because of the sinfulness of the people of the United States ? Has God taken His hedge of protection of our country away? Was 9/11 the harbinger of the collapse of the stock market? Was the sycamore tree near Ground Zero a protection for the white stone church that was the location of our first national government? Was that foretold in Isaiah 9:10?
I am convinced that the people of our country should all heed the call in Second Chronicles 7:14:” If My people, which are called by My Name, will humble themselves  and pray, and seek My face . and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sins, and heal their land.”
Read The Harbinger and see if you agree with me.


Smile Awhile
Sara Blair

Identity Crisis

Several weeks ago, I received an ominous looking letter in the mail that informed me that the account that contains the “dibby dabby” check I had been receiving for years was “flagged” meaning that someone had been trying to retrieve information from my source.  Being a “worldly woman” I immediately knew that someone was trying to hack into my bank account.
The letter didn’t state this, but I knew that somewhere out there in “cyber-space”, some young brainiac, sitting in a basement in Poughkeepsie, with fingers yellowed from Cheetos, was hacking into thousands of unsuspecting people’s bank accounts in an attempt to steal their identities.  What that unsuspecting little conniving doofus didn’t know was that “stealing my identity” wouldn’t get him any farther than a defunct Zappos account I used 5 years ago.
But if he’s up to it, he can be my guest.  I don’t even want my identity.
If he wants to steal my identity, then he better be prepared to live my life. What the “hacker” would immediately find out would be that during the middle of the month, after my check is automatically deposited and my on-line checks are automatically deducted, the amount left over isn’t enough to buy a Kit-Kat bar.  If he continues to make purchases on this account, he will see the NSF icon pop-up and he will start being charged $32 a crack for each over-draft.  Usually, by the time this happens, I am living on Chicken Noodle soup and mayonnaise sandwiches, so if he likes carbs, he’s hit the jackpot.
Another thing this “wombat without a conscience” needs to know is that I have to take a weekly shot for rheumatoid arthritis and if I forget to take it, my hands turn into claws and one side of my face draws up and makes me look like I’ve had a stroke.  And if that doesn’t inconvenience him enough, he’s certainly not going to enjoy those painful eye injections I take every 6 weeks to keep me from going blind.  And if that doesn’t deter him, the daily worry of recurring lung cancer should keep him in panic-mode.
Yes, if this idiot wants to steal my identity, he needs to be aware that along with a husband who snores, I sleep with 3 dogs and sometimes a cat that finds it way through the doggy door when we least expect it. (And it hasn’t been de-clawed —-  just ask Ronnie).  There’s also a leak that needs to be fixed in the downstairs bathroom, and all the rooms need painting.  So if he wants my identity, he better be up to the challenge.
The real test of all this will come when he finds out it’s time for my mammogram.
Have a great week and don’t forget to Smile Awhile! 


Poison Oak
Clyde Pack

Somebody’s beans are burning!

I heard a country singer say in a TV interview once that had it not been for pinto beans whe he was growing up in the South, his family would have likely starved to death. A bit of hyperbole perhaps, but I know where he was coming from.
A bit of research (thanks to the internet) reveals that pinto beans were introduced to the Europeans as far back as the 15th Century. Don’t know for sure when they were introduced to Eastern Kentuckians, but it had to be sometime before 1939 because they beat me here. When I was six or eight months old, my parents introduced them to me. We didn’t call them “pintos” though.  To us, they were just plain ole “soup beans.” 
I was the sixth of seven kids and according to what Mom told me, one at a time we all sat on Dad’s lap and ate from his plate as soon as we got old enough to sit. By the time my little brother rooted me out, I was well into enjoying my meals by myself. I apparently was very fond of soup beans then, and I still enjoy them today. 
Fortunately, Wilma Jean was a coal miner’s daughter and she still likes them too. So, about every week or ten days, they are featured on our supper menu.
“Pinto” means painted or spotted (like Tonto’s horse … no research needed here), and, of course, that’s how they look before they’re cooked. Since my readership pretty much consists of this newspaper, it’s very difficult for me to imagine anyone reading this that is not as familiar with soup beans as I am. But just in case I’m wrong, I’ll attempt to give a brief description: They have reddish brown spots on a lighter brownish beige background. Of course, when they’re cooked, they’re just plain brown.
 In early Eastern Kentucky coal camps, being plentiful, extremely nourishing … and cheap, soup beans pretty much dominated center stage at the supper table. In the late afternoons there’d be three or four wives standing near the backyard fences catching up on (or spreading) the latest gossip. Someone would get a whiff and yell, “Somebody’s beans are burning,” and every one of them, in a panic, would run into their house. 
But as popular as they were then, I’m afraid that soup beans today are misunderstood. More than likely, it’s because that in the early days, hard-working folks (like coal miners) had to depend on them so much in order to feed their large families. It’s almost as if some of the economically better off and obviously bean-challenged folks believe that soup beans are just for poor people. But again, research shows that not only are pinto beans among the healthiest food that folks can eat, they are also considered a delicacy in some parts of the world and are the most widely consumed bean in the United States.
That’s certainly a fact at our house.


Education and Common Sense
My letter to Medicare

I have had two knee replacements, two cataract surgeries, and various other ailments, including Mysathenia Gravis since I turned sixty-five and got plugged in to Medicare. I have been happy so far with the coverage I have received and have been happy to pay the modest co-payments that I paid for very competent medical service.
This week I got a disturbing letter from Medicare and I think my answer to it will explain why I am disturbed. I sent the following letter to the address they gave me to file a complaint:
To Whom it May Concern:
I am an 89-year-old woman who lived in Paintsville, Kentucky, for sixty years. I became seriously ill in 2010, and moved to a retirement community in Louisville to be near my daughter.
My family and I were on vacation last July at a location near Paintsville when my right knee, which had been fitted with a prosthesis fifteen years before, suddenly swelled up, and I was unable to walk on it.
Fortunately, I had my former primary care physician’s cell telephone number in my address book. He had given it to me several years ago when I was very ill, and he wanted me to be able to contact him immediately, if necessary. I had never called the number, and I did not know if it was still a working number.
I called Dr. Jason Rice, and he answered! He agreed to see me. He looked at my knee and said my trouble could be “Water on the Knee,” the prosthesis could have malfunctioned, or I could have a blood clot. He sent me across the street to Paul B. Hall Medical Center, to have x-rays of my knee to see if the artificial knee was OK, and ran a test to see if I had a blood clot. I was pleased that they performed and read the tests immediately.
I have had notification from Humana Insurance and Medicare that those tests were not approved. (It turned out that all the tests were negative. It was “Water on the Knee.” )
Dr. Rice prescribed a $56.00 tube of ointment that took the swelling down immediately, and I have not had any more trouble. However, If I had had a blood clot, I could have died, and Dr. Rice knew that.
I got a notice from Medicare yesterday that none of the four tests had been approved and that I may be billed $3,124.62!
I had previously received a bill for the radiologist’s professional fees of $36.00, which I paid on September 7, 2014.
As yet, I have not received a record that Dr. Rice, who is a long-time friend, has submitted a bill.
There has been no explanation as to why these claims were not approved. I have heard that claims are not approved by Medicare unless they are submitted by the patient’s primary physician.  Dr. Rice was my primary physician for many more years than my present primary physician, who was 185 miles away when I needed care.
Please, see what you can do! I am on a fixed income and I cannot AFFORD a $3,124.62 medical bill!
Yours very truly,
June. B Rice
( I am sure this story is To Be Continued...)



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