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By LEON YOUNGBLOOD
First, I want to thank those who prayed for brother-in-law Jerry’s pancreatic cancer surgery last week. He is doing great. The surgery was Friday, he pretty well loafed and took it easy Saturday, by Sunday he was lucid, talking and even walking—God has and is blessing us.
So now, if we can pray for the residents of the small Alabama town of Brewton, who suffered a direct hit from a tornado spawned the tropical storm that passed through this past weekend that devastated the community. Most Oklahomans do not need to be told anything about tornadoes. Consequently, many Oklahomans know what to pray for, for the devastated Brewton community.
And if I may ask, pray for me, too. Here to house-sit and tend to sister Susan’s chihuahua Shadow, I have had it good. I haven’t missed any meal I did not want to miss, and Crestview has some fine restaurants. I’m old enough that going to the Gulf Coast beaches is no longer a necessity when I’m visiting. The tragic congestion and tropically depressed weather conditions have made being a “tourist” more trouble that it’s worth. I am far enough east of the storm to sit safely on the back porch watching the heavy rains and gusty winds while snacking on Susan’s homemade Chex mix, enjoying the weather. Shadow has become a “buddy”, and a perfect housemate, as he sleeps most of the time.
Tending house is easy work, but I am not completely idle, however. I like “fly fryers”, those tennis racket shaped bug zappers that enliven many dull afternoons and evenings, and amuse myself with one two or three times a day. From Doris’ Pond at Briar Circle, beavers have gnawed several small trees into walking sticks. I have idled away some time sanding them, painting them with spar varnish, and wrapping the upper quarter of the walking stick with the tape they use on tennis racket handles. The beavers do excellent work in providing the unfinished sticks.
I made a ramp, too, for Shadow to use instead of the steps to enter and exit the house to tend to dog issues in the yard. It can support about 12 pounds of weight, which is six pounds more than Shadow weighs. The steps can be more than he wants to deal with, sometimes, and the ramp has made a big difference. None of these activities involved actual work, however.
Memories flow in, too. I am writing in the room that Mom died in. There are a few old friends I want to visit. I want to get lunch from Coney Island hamburgers, the only business that has been in Crestview my entire life in the same location by the downtown railroad tracks, and probably still serving from the same menu. I see where old businesses have come and gone, and think Crestview is doing well. Many of these businesses were “Mom & Pop” places. When Mom or Pop died or retired, the business space merely changed hands. Still, there are many vacant former business spaces that are not going to be filled, just like in Heavener and numerous other small towns across the country.
One feature I always enjoy about visiting by boyhood home is the military presence. Eglin Air Force and the Naval Air Station in Pensacola have provided the region with good, friendly, patriotic men and women, none of whom I know personally; but they are serving to protect our freedoms. How can you not respect people like that, and pray for them, and maybe sometimes pay for their lunch, just as an expression of appreciation?
This may be more difficult to do in LeFlore County. There is not a strong military presence here, but there is no shortage of patriotic citizens who serve the public. But we still have fire fighters, law officers, EMS medics, people who save lives while risking their own. They deserve our appreciation.
So do our teachers, pastors, librarians, restaurant workers—do not be taken in, but have an “attitude of gratitude” toward people serious about serving!
And, of course, this includes the editor and contributors serving from the Heavener Ledger. (We would appreciate it if you’ll show your appreciation by subscribing and advertising.}
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