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Downhomer
The Fallen Leaves and Life Patterns

Now does summer’s crop of leaves begin their waltz of the wind, responding in their eternal programming to the cyclic waxing and waning they must go through.
Do we not all know that the inanimate of nature must inevitably respond to these seasons of their existence? In like manner, so is it also with the quick and the dead.
All must come, and all must go till in a never-ending progression, all will come again.
Thus as October leaves hurry in their shedding, it is not for us to ask why, but just to enjoy. Red and gold or yellow and brown, those leaves tumble from their mother tree to drift to the earth like a flurry of out of season snowflakes.
Nostalgic as this always makes me, there are some down sides to it.
First of all, the ground around my house is waterlogged from all the frequent, almost daily rains that fall and fall again. Thus, inevitably, as the yard becomes covered with this carpet of leaves, they stick to your shoes, are then carried into the house every time you happen to go out.
So far, all those fallen leaves are much too soggy to rake into piles that in my younger days I loved to play in.
Now come rain or shine it is my grandchildren who delight in this performance, watching through the window in a useless wishing for the rain to let up for a spell.
I understand how they feel. I still remember when it was I myself who jumped into those rustling scratchy mounds. And seeing the leaf littered yard around me, I can only hope they can last until the rainstorms stop so that my precious grandchildren could develop a similar memory that they might someday be able to take out and look at as I do mine.
In the meantime the rain goes on.
Today, weather reports are of yet another storm front that is heading toward us. It; enough to make me wonder if we have so shifted from our normal position on the wheel of time that we are in the kind of monsoon condition that is usual to India, or Katmandu, or some other such temperate area of the globe.
To me, this is not inconceivable. We all know that strange and different signs and wonders in the heavens and the earth are occuring almost daily, and you wonder what will happed next.
Will the winter be as full of snow as the summer has been with rain? Whatever, we just take each day as it comes, enjoy all the signs as they come to us. For always, in the midst of the seasons of life, death comes as it will.
I write this subsequent to the death of Arlene Blair, the lady who was my granddaughter-in-law Andrea Fannin’s biologic grandmother. Andrea and her Blair family have always known how really sick this beloved lady was, and I admire their faithfulness that someone of the family was always with her.
Now she goes on the her reward, and it is left to those who remain to carry on the torch she left to them. There were those years of service to the Upper Room Church in Paintsville.
In addition, there was all the love and devotion she lavished on her family, her many friends and all the others who just happened to come across her path.
Although I personally did not know her, I knew of her, and all that I knew was good. She will undoubtedly be missed, but she, even she, as another old saint of God, had no choice, did not want a different choice, but to respond to the Master’s voice when he called her home. I am sure she shouted and praised the Lord in her going.
It is my wish that as I take that last earthly journey from here to there, I also will go singing and shouting, and praising the Lord.
In addition, just as the stars, just as the hills sing with joy to their creator, I am sure that if the leaves that now fall could sing, they also would praise and give thanks to the Lord God Almighty who sees every leaf that falls......


Education and Common Sense
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

I don’t claim to be a deep student of the Bible. I do read it and I do believe it. I have been in several study courses in which we studied the last book, Revelation. None of the teachers’ interpretation of what it meant agreed with the others, so I am still confused about what will usher in the time of Tribulation and the end of the world. I do get uneasy when the war clouds gather around the Middle East and all the surrounding nations demonstrate their hatred of the nation of Israel.
I have read of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which is depicted in Chapter 6. Christ breaks the first of seven seals, and a rider in white clothing on a white horse is named Conquest or Pestilence, depending on which authority is interpreting the vision. The second seal reveals a rider in red clothing on a red horse, which is interpreted War, or the persecution of Christians, again depending on which authority is interpreting. The third rider is dressed in black, riding a black horse, and a Voice says,”A quart of wheat will cost you a whole day’s wages!Three quarts of barley will cost you a day’s wages, too. But don’t ruin the oil and the wine.” (CEV) This is generally interpreted as famine, and some suggest it will be brought about by the rich people oppressing the poor.
The fourth horse and rider are described in the King James version as “pale.” Later versions call it a green horse and rider. This rider was named Death. They could kill one-fourth of the earth with swords, famines, diseases, and wild animals.
What got me started on this kick was a cartoon I saw in a recent newspaper. There were four horses in the cartoon. War, Famine, and Death were sitting on their horses with their swords drawn. One horse was riderless.
“Where is Pestilence?” one rider asks.
“Oh, he rides an airplane these days,” another rider answers, as he gestures toward the sky, where an airplane labeled “EBOLA” is flying.
I was feeling very glad I was far away from Africa, Atlanta or Texas the other day when I went into a doctor’s office that I had not entered in six months. I was immediately given a paper to sign:
“Ebola virus disease (EVD) questionnaire
1. In the last 21 days have you, your child or family lived in or traveled to West Africa OR have you had contact with anyone who is ill and recently lived in or traveled in West Africa?
     a. If No:
           1. questionnaire is complete.
     b. If YES ask the following questions:
            1. Have you, your child or family lived, traveled to OR had contact with anyone who is ill and recently lived, traveled to the following countries in West Africa:
           1. Guinea 2. Liberia 3. Nigeria 4. Sierra Leone 5. Democratic Republic of Congo 6. Senegal
       a. If YES to above question patient is immediately escorted back to private room.”
Fortunately, I could answer ”No” to the question and the interview with the doctor went smoothly.
I did wonder. Is this a part of the “End Times”?


Smile Awhile
Sara Blair

It all depends

The older I get, the easier it has become for me to give up the things of my youth. I’m not saying that I enjoy forgoing many of the things I used to do like eating a late-night snack without worrying about being awakened by acid reflux, or drinking an 18 ounce soda and starting out on a trip without taking a bathroom break first. I admit that I wish I was still able to do these things, but I miss other things a lot more.
For instance, I never actually attended a “Lingerie” party, but I have to admit that I was intrigued by the prospect of them. Actually, “lingerie” parties were in vogue just as I was going “out-of-vogue” so to speak. But there was something mysterious and intriguing about getting together with a group of women and ogling provocative undergarments. (When you are at a certain age, a bustier and a thong are actually considered necessities).
But when you hit your “Golden Years” (I’ll never understand why they’re referred to as golden), you become more comfortable with your body and accept the fact that the apparel you wear “under” your clothes is simply not as important as the ones you wear over them. In fact, from the commercials we are now seeing on television, those in our age group should be more interested in our “underwearness”.
That’s right, folks! Throw out those Victoria Secret and Frederick’s of Hollywood catalogues and step into the 21st century with a pair of Depends.  When I first saw the commercial that had men and women walking down the street wearing adult diapers, I was somewhat dismayed and secretly appalled. I just didn’t expect them to become the “rage” of the “over-the-hill” set. To me, Depends are like Poligrip and Fixodent, you know those products exist, you just don’t want to talk about them.
Somewhere along the way, I started to think that wearing a black lacy underwire bra, with reinforced shoulder straps and an adult diaper overtop of a black garter belt did not “set the mood” for intimacy. And, try as I might, I cannot conjure up an image of Ronnie being a swashbuckling sex symbol while wearing Depends. I mean, it’s hard to have a come-hither look dressed up it that garb. Right?
Several years ago when that scorned woman drove cross-country to avenge her ex-boyfriends lover, wearing an adult diaper so she wouldn’t have to stop to go to the bathroom, I knew that a new kind of “craze”was in our future. I just wasn’t prepared to see people bragging about bladder leakage and incontinence with a smile on their face. I suppose I’m of the old school; I still believe a thick panty liner is more feasible. It still doesn’t qualify as sensuous, but you have to admit it’s less bulky.
All in all, I have come to grips with the fact that adult diapers are here to stay. Like iphones, ipads, and GPS’s, heavy-duty underwear and Botox are synonymous with growing older gracefully. At our age, we might not be considered  sex-symbols anymore, but we can boast the fact that we are “confident” when we enter a room.
Have a great week, and don’t forget to Smile Awhile!


Poison Oak
Clyde Pack

Do you remember corn night?

Since there’s only a few days left until Halloween, spooks, goblins, bats and pumpkins line the shelves of all the stores, and, dressed in bright orange boxes, candy is literally stacked to the ceiling in a couple of them.  
Things sure have changed since I was a kid. Oh, we went trick or treating all right, but if we got half a dozen pieces of candy, we’d feel fortunate.  Therefore, we were a little more into the tricks than we were the treats.
 I can’t think of all that without being reminded of the tale Mom used to tell (as sort of a warning, I’m sure) as I slithered out into the night seeking mischief,  wearing a forty-nine cent false face I had bought at Murphy’s.
Anyway, she’d tell about the long-ago Halloween when this man (she never ever said his name, but she talked like she knew him) decided it would be a funny Halloween prank if he’d chop down a tree and create a road block on Route 581. And this was not a kid; it was a grown man; a man with a family. Therein lies the moral of her story. 
It seems that in the wee hours of the next morning, one of the man’s children became very ill. In his attempt to rush his sick child to the hospital, the man encountered the roadblock he himself had created when he felled the tree. I guess you can write your own ending to her story.
 Mom needn’t have worried about me doing such a thing because chopping trees, even as a Halloween prank was too much like work. My pranksterisms were usually limited to soaping windows and throwing corn. Actually, what is now commonly referred to as “trick or treat night,” in those days was called “corn night.” Of course, shelling corn off the cob was enough like work to prohibit my being particularly interested in that activity, too.
Another corn-night sport that was popular back then was turning over people’s outhouses. Or course; only those old mean boys did things like that, so this little game was something I heard about from others.  Anyway, it was no big deal because with the dawn, as the little houses lay horizontally all in a roll like fallen soldiers in back of the houses, men from the coal company were Johnny on the spot, and by mid-morning, everything had been put back in order.
Although treats were scarce, Halloween in the 1940s was fun for a kid, and was, by and large, a harmless activity.


Education and Common Sense
Facebook’s Absence Leaves a Big Hole

I grew up in rural Kentucky in the thirties. The only entertainment I had was the ability to read books and magazines. The Bible had wonderful stories, and my mother knew songs that her grandfather, who was born the same year Abraham Lincoln was born, had taught her.
When I was ten years old, my brothers, who were college students at Western Kentucky State Teachers College (now WKU), bought the family a battery radio. I was actually listening to Gabriel Heatter, a radio announcer, describe the burning of the German Zeppelin aircraft, the Hindenburg, when it burned in New Jersey in the late thirties.
I actually wrote my college reports in longhand and typed catalog cards on a manual typewriter (by the Hunt, Punch, and Cuss Method) when I first became a librarian. We learned to use the television in our school, and all kinds of Audio-visual aids, and the typewriters became electric ones.
The computer came along, but I had nothing to do with it.
I made the mistake of stating to my family one day, “When they make me put the library on computer, that’s the day I’m walking out!”
My son Steve said,”Mother, that’s the silliest statement I ever heard you say, and I don’t want to ever hear you say it again.”
That Christmas my family pooled their resources and bought me a computer.
When I found that I could type a column, correct all the mistakes, punch “print” and a perfect copy would emerge, I was delighted!
Three years later they gave me one with a modem and I could send my columns to the newspapers via email without using a stamp or buying any gas for the car. Wonderful!
A few years ago, the computer became the source of Facebook, a social network of friends. After 30 + years in the Paintsville High School Library, where I was acquainted with each student in the school from seventh through twelfth grades, I soon had lots of cyber friends, finally reaching 1500!
I enjoyed finding out who was getting married, who had a new grandbaby, who was undergoing difficulties, such as operations, cancer treatments, who had a promotion, who was retiring, whose child was getting baptized, and all sorts of interesting information. I loved Facebook.
I didn’t really feel the loss of all my Paintsville friends when I had to relocate to Louisville. I knew what was happening to all my buddies via Facebook.
Last week, I must have punched the wrong button, and my Facebook is dead. The little devil that won’t let me get hooked up says that my browser (Windows XP) is out of date.
My son-in-law, who knows everything there is to know about computers, has been busy putting ceramic tiles on his kitchen floor. Right now he and Cathy have everything, including the stove and sink, out of their kitchen, and are trying desperately to get the floor laid so that they can put their kitchen back together. They both have other obligations at church and other volunteer services they do. Cathy says that maybe Marvin can take a look at my computer this evening after prayer meeting.
It seems that every advancement in communications has made us more dependent on those new programs. If the televison goes off for a few hours, we are lost. We immediately want to see whatever new thing that has happened.
I shudder to think what would happen to civilization if some evil genius figured out how to dismantle the world’s electrical grid. We wouldn’t even know how to live in the stone age.
I’m having withdrawal symptoms after losing Facebook for four days.



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