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Education and Common Sense
Christmas greetings from June

Merry Christmas! I am happy to say that I am, at age 89, still on this side of the grass, still kicking, but not high!
I have adjusted to living much as I did in the dormitory at college, except I don’t have a roommate, and I don’t have to study for tests. Thank God, Jesus has taken my final for me and all I have to do is wait until He is ready for me to graduate! It helps to have 1500+ Facebook buddies on the computer as well as ever-so-many channels on the television. Daughter Cayhy sees that I get to wherever I am supposed to be, especially all five doctors and church!
It is wonderful to be able to eat three meals a day without having to grocery shop, cook, wash dishes, or clean the kitchen! A lady comes and cleans my apartment once a week, changes the bed, and washes the sheets and towels. I am responsible for doing my own laundry. Two washers and two dryers are on each wing of the building, so that one can wash the white and colored clothes at the same time, and get the laundry done in an hour.
I have met some very wonderful people here at Horizon Bay, and I am very happy at West Broadway Baptist Church, where daughter Cathy and Son-in-law Marvin have been members for at least thirty years. The church is filled with lovely and loving people. I get to teach a Sunday School class of people my age, who are scheduled to come to my place for lunch on December 18.
This week, I need to produce two columns, address Christmas cards and get them in the  mail, practice reading “The Night Before Christmas” with a group from here in a skit that includes eight reindeer and Rudolph, host the luncheon, read holiday stories and poems Thursday evening to a group from here, be in charge of a Woman’s Missionary Union meeting on International missions and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International missions Wednesday evening after Prayer Meeting, and perform in the skit on Friday.
I am looking forward to seeing all of my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren sometime during the holidays.That will be the best Christmas present I can have.
For those who have written me that you enjoy my writings each week, know that I appreciate you. I love to get messages from children I have loved and taught in the past, and know that I remember you fondly.
I pray that everyone reading this will have a happy and blessed Christmas, and a Happy and healthy New Year!
Here is my 2014 Christmas message:
May the gifts that you give
The prayers that you pray
The songs that you sing
The love that you share
This Christmas season
The blessings you receive
The joy you experience
The happiness you enjoy
At the Advent
Of the Coming to Earth
Of the Eternal WORD
Jesus of Nazareth
Immanuel— God With Us.

December 25th; Who’s Birthday?

This Monday morning, December 14, 2014, my circadian rhythm tricked me, and I awoke long before my usual getting up time, which mostly, is around 4 am. I tried to turn over and go back to sleep. But my body, my mind would have none of it. It was fifteen minutes till 3, (3 am that is) and with sleep gone, no chance of it being wooed back, I had to get up, in a habitual routine that is a throw back to my old Branham grandfather. Up and fully awake, I settled myself to my morning rituals which would only end after I had made that first pot of coffee. This done, I could call Walter. It is not that being awake so early in the morning requires the presence of my significant other. Nope. It was just that I was up and the house was too silent. Thankfully, Walter is easy to waken; I think he can smell coffee in his sleep. In fact, that first cup seems to rev-up his engines, seems always to be such a pleasure to him. So too is the bowl of cereal he gets himself. Doesn’t matter to him what time it is. As soon as we get up, and he has that first cup of coffee, he has a bowl of cereal. Myself, I never have any appetite first thing in the morning, and it might well be 10 am before I get even a little bit hungry. By then Walter is ready for his second breakfast, is pleased to share in whatever I might make for myself, which is never a bowl of cereal. But what has this to do with the advent of Christmas? Well, it’s like this.
At our house, as you can guess by all this, we have an unpredictable getting up time. Even so, we never have to set an alarm clock to waken us, only relying on the alarm clock that is in our minds. In fact, on those mornings when we have to be at the Hammond Church at 7 am for our Sunday morning radio broadcast, we are always up at 4 am. This is even before our sister in the Lord, Bradelene Mollet,t gives us a wake-up call at 5; and I can say that none of us have ever overslept on those days.
This Monday morning, my wake up at 3 am was earlier than usual, even for such early to bed and early to rise people as Walter and myself. I do know, though, why this happened. On Sunday night, I went to bed knowing that, as usual, on Monday I would begin to write another column. Then in a sudden sense of deju-vu, I realized that on Friday, when this new column was read, Christmas would be only a few short days down the road. What! I was not in the least ready for that! So I psyched myself out to get up early, that I might be about my personal agendas. But 3 am? Bummer.
Actually, as I have gotten older, I have changed my conception about Christmas. So it is not the rush it used to be to get things done. Now it’s mostly the groceries I go shopping for, those things that will be part of our Christmas dinner. In fact, I buy very few things that might be called Christmas presents. I do think it nice for children to receive gifts, for whatever reason. But it is in fact debatable if Christ was actually born on Dec.25th, which doesn’t really matter. We keep that day in memory of His birth. In like manner, we give gifts to each other the way wise men gave the first gifts to Him who would give the ultimate gift to mankind. Christmas. It is an occasion deeper than most minds will ponder about, caught up as we are in our rituals. Myself, I still buy gifts for the little ones in my family, but not much else. Instead, on every day of the year I try to give love and support to my grown-up children, as gifts from the heart. In addition, I also would celebrate the birth of Christ every day of my life, rejoice as well at the thought of the man that little Baby became, and what He did for me.
Being just a woman of no great worth, I have no gifts of gold to lay before His Throne. I have no precious gems to fill the treasury of Him who needs no earthly treasures, Himself owning more than all the cattle on a thousand hills. Thus, the only thing that I have to give Him is all of me. So by this, then, I say to all; I wish you a Merry Christ Day.

Smile Awhile
Sara Blair

Fork it over
All my life, I thought the reason that I have been overweight was because I ate too much, or that I wasn’t eating the right things. Either way, the scales have never tipped in my favor except about 30 years ago when I destroyed my metabolism. And when my body realized that I no longer had a metabolism, it turned on me and retaliated by giving me additional fat cells that receded in size from time to time, but never —- I repeat —— never go away.
Thankfully, I am starting to eat better and get more exercise due to Macy Mullins Covington’s new program for, ahem, mature adults. In my quest to find better ways to improve myself through healthier eating and exercise, I happened across a fairly new eating device called a HAPIfork.
In all the advertisements for the HAPIfork, it states that “eating too fast leads to poor digestion and poor weight control.” The HAPIfork is an electronic appliance that helps you monitor and track your eating habits. It also alerts you with an indicator light and gentle vibrations when you are eating too fast.    
Let’s talk.
All of us overweight people have a “fork” problem. Each time I put a fork to my mouth there is inevitably food on the end of it. During the course of a 24-hour period, there is, at regular intervals, a fork (and sometimes a spoon) in my hand. (Actually, I blame this more than swift eating for my extra poundage).
Of course, most of us do eat too fast. There’s no doubt in my mind that I eat  fast, but mostly I eat too much because I like food. It’s one of the few pleasures in life that I don’t have to share. I have to share my paycheck, my bed, my bathroom, my hymnal, the highway, and many other things, but I don’t have to share my Kit Kat bar. I can go hide in the bathroom and eat it all by myself!
From all accounts, the HAPIfork vibrates a little while its in your mouth reminding you to slow down.  (The last time something vibrated in my mouth while I was eating it was a honey bee I didn’t see perched on my lolipop). I suppose a little distraction while you’re eating might remind you to eat more slowly, but I’m afraid that somewhere during the course of the meal I might get so frustrated I’d ditch the fork and replace it with a manual one.  Of course, I suppose that would defeat the purpose.
The HAPIfork is so innovative you can even connect it to your online dashboard Bluetooth at to track your progress. But to a woman that can’t keep her IPhone charged that information really doesn’t help me much.  (The  thing that really excites me is that the HAPIfork comes in several attractive colors that would look great lying on my kitchen counter).
It might be a good idea to look for the HAPIfork as a unique gift this Christmas for that person on your list who needs a gentle reminder that stretch pants and tight leggings don’t look good on everyone except Jane Fonda and Superman.  For the record, I’m going to leave a HAPIfork out for Santa Claus right next to his cookies and milk.
Have a great week and don’t forget to Smile Awhile.

Poison Oak
Clyde Pack

Papaw’s Christmases     

I remember when I was just a boy sitting on the steps of his front porch down on Hammond Creek in eastern Johnson County with my Papaw, Liss Baldridge. As he stuffed Prince Albert into his ever-present pipe, he talked about his Christmases as a boy back in the late 1800s. I marveled at his memory as he told, in much detail, of things that had occurred sixty-five or seventy years before I was even born.
He said his presents were few, but he did recall a little wooden wagon carved by his uncle, and as he looked just above my head as if watching it all unfold on some invisible movie screen, he told of how he played for hours with the little wagon. He said he hauled twigs that had become locust posts for fencing in his livestock. But what he said he looked forward to at Christmastime more than anything else, was oranges. He said when he was a boy, the only time he ever so much as even saw an orange was at Christmastime. All his life, he had associated oranges with Christmas. 
Papaw has been gone for nearly sixty years now, and no doubt would have done a little marveling himself if he had suddenly found himself in one of our local stores the day after Thanksgiving as shelves were emptied and carts were piled high with literally hundreds of dollars’ worth of every kind of toy imaginable.
Christmas indeed has come a long way since papaw’s time – or depending upon how you want to view it – perhaps has regressed to a terrible state. The odd thing about it all is that one would be hard pressed to find anybody anywhere that wouldn’t agree that the holiday has gotten completely out of hand; that we over indulge in every aspect of our celebration. Yet it seems that nobody makes any effort to do anything about it.
Sadly, it’s all about money, but even the traditional songs that Papaw heard as a boy, like “Silent Night,” or “Joy to the World,” songs that have long provided peace and solitude to the season, have been replaced in popularity by songs like the one depicting a poor old lady attempting to take her medication and ends up lying in the snow after being trampled to death by reindeer. Unfortunately, Christmas is not alone when it comes to being commercialized. Seems that all our holidays have morphed into a bunch of monsters bent on stripping us of hard-earned cash and maxing our plastic to the hilt. But, as they say, that’s another story for another time.
Of course, it will never happen, and I’ll admit that I for one would never have done it, but can you imagine what it’d be like on Christmas morning, 2014, if, just like Papaw Baldridge did, your child awoke on Christmas morning to find nothing but a little homemade wooden wagon and a couple of oranges under the tree.
Gives you kind of a warm feeling, doesn’t it?

Education and Common Sense
Some old rules updated
I am deeply disappointed in Bill Cosby. If even one of the women who is accusing him of the forty years ago crime of drugging her and sexually assaulting her while she was knocked out is true, he is not the man I thought he was. I admired him for getting his doctorate after he was already rich and famous. I admired him for telling his fellow black males to “Pull up your pants! Speak English! and Get a job!” I loved the Huxtable television series and am grieved that it is now off the air and I won’t see it again, because Cosby is now out of favor with everybody.
Certainly, if he took advantage of a fifteen-year-old girl in a Playboy club by drugging her drink, that is a serious crime. However, I wonder what her parents were thinking when they let her GO to the Playboy club at that tender age? I can’t help wondering if that little girl wasn’t trying her best to look at least eighteen.
He was BILL COSBY. There was no reason for him to have to DRUG a girl . He could have had his choice of WILLING partners!
I admit to being old, and it has been at least sixty-five years since my body was attractve with or without clothes. However, I do worry about my teen-aged granddaughters and grandsons and great grandsons. I have some advice for the girls and for the boys that I have gained from watching the news lately.
For the girls:
1. Keep yourself covered. I don’t mean that you have to have every bit of your body covered as you will after the Muslims take over the world, but when you cross your legs, please don’t show your whole thigh, as the women do on the late night talk shows I sometimes watch.
2. Don’t get drunk. If you have sex willingly with a boy after you are alcohol impaired, he is assumed to have raped you, even if he is also alcohol-impaired.
3. Don’t be alone with an older man you don’t know very well. Certainly don’t drink with him.
4. Go out with boys your own age that you know and trust. There is safety in numbers.
5. Your body is yours. Do not let anybody desecrate it.
For the boys:
1. Remember that no matter how willing a girl is, if she decides to tell that you raped her, it is her word against yours, and they will believe her.
2. Be sure to chose a girl to date that respects herslf and that you can respect.
3. I told my son when he was getting old enough to date that I would probably be able to tell if either of my daughters got pregnant, but I wanted to be sure that I would be able to take care of any of my grandchildren if they needed me. I told him I wanted to know all of my grandchildren.
4. What seems like youthful hijinks may come back to bite you when you are a respected 77-year-old man.
I do not know what to think about the “gang rape” of the girl at the University of Virginia. I think if you are a girl and going to a fraternity party, don’t be the only girl there, and if you are one of the boys, please leave before anything bad happens!
It pays to look out for Number One.

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