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October 23, 1996
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Being an only child and growing up in the era before television,
entertainment was limited to an occasional visit of a neighboring family
or a weekend visit to my grandparents.
Recently I met up with one of my classmates whom I hadn't seen in
years, and we were reminiscing the "good ole days" when he commented,
"Remember when we looked forward for school to start so we could hang up
our hoes and get back with our friends whom we hadn't seen all summer
long?" After 3 months around the farm, the classroom was a welcomed
Speaking of grandparents - I always looked forward to their visits and
set spellbound listening to the tales, and my grandpa was a master story
teller. He enjoyed talking and one captive listener was all he needed
for an audience.
Those of you in West Texas can relate well to the tales he told about
when he farmed in Lamb County.
On this particular occasion the wind was blowing so feriosciouly and
the dust was so dense that by mid afternoon the sun had disappeared.
Papa (as all we grandkids called him) abandoned his plowing, took his
team to the barn and unharnessed them, then headed for the house.
Holding his hat on his head with one hand, he turned back and closed
and bolted the door to the corn crib, which he noticed open as he
By the time he got to the house, the kids were getting in from school
and everybody was scrambling for the cobbler pie that was left over from
After their snack, somebody mentioned "Mama" - but where was Mama?
One of the kids was sent to the only neighbor's house to see whether
she might have gone visiting - which was unlikely - besides she always
left a note on the table if she went somewhere.
When the child returned to inform that the neighbors hadn't seen her,
everyone started hunting Mama. Hollo and search as they would, nobody
could find Mama.
As night approached, the girls started supper and the boys went to do
the chores. Papa was still wandering around the place shouting
"Matt...Matt... Where are you, Matt!
When one of the boys opened the door to the corn crib to get corn for
the hogs, there appeared Mama, calmly shelling corn.
After lunch, she had gone to the corn crib to shell corn - a good place
to be inside during a howling sandstorm, until somebody comes by and
locks you inside. And shout as you might, who's going to hear you above
the screeching wind and the rattling shut metal?
Jerry Hulsey is a former school teacher who writes for fun.
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It was almost overlooked in the excitement, but there really was a
notable and important issue addressed - sort of - in last week's
Both major-party candidates had been using a sort of ``Get Out of Jail
Free'' card on the subject of Social Security. They had passed on it. No
one had even claimed that the other fellow was against Social Security,
because it would have opened the subject to debate in an election year.
But a member of the audience asked a question, and it turned out that
President Clinton and Republican candidate Bob Dole are pretty much on
the same page. Clinton, correctly, pointed out that Social Security and
Medicare (Medicare has been a topic for vivid disagreement and
name-calling) are very different subjects, requiring different
solutions. Then he said that an ``adjustment'' for Social Security might
best be done by a bipartisan commission, as it was in 1983. He even gave
Dole credit for his role on that commission.
Dole appeared to agree. A commission, he pointed out, would take most
of the politics out of the issue.
It was the only answer that either man could give, because it is
obvious that real changes in COLAs, retirement age, how funds are
invested, etc. - more than an ``adjustment'' is needed to preserve
Social Security for future generations - will have to have the ``cover''
of a bipartisan commission recommendation, just as in 1983. But at least
Social Security, so vital for so many Americans, is now out in the open.
Maybe soon, after the election, some of Washington's cooler heads can
actually sit down and start talking about giving it longer life.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
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