"When we came home" is a marker in time I have used often since Don was not reelected president of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation in the election of December 1996. As in the number of other election losses our family have experienced through the years, I have never used the word defeated. To me, defeat is not determined by the number of votes but by how we cope with the loss.
Now that a year of transition has passed, I reflect on Don’s eight years in office and I wonder that we were able to maintain that nomadic lifestyle. Although most of our time was spent in Jackson, we never gave up "home" here. The pattern we followed most often was off to Jackson on Sunday afternoon and back to Clear Creek late Friday. In between, the weeks held much traveling outside Jackson. We gratefully acknowledge God’s faithfulness in granting us safe travel throughout this time.
It ended abruptly. The president’s term ends immediately upon the count of the votes. Although we certainly were not rushed, we knew our time was completed. We were eager to make the move and promptly began plans.
Actually, we had never really moved. The exceedingly nice house provided by the company, conveniently located near the magnificent Farm Bureau Building, is fully furnished. Gradually, however, through our eight years of making it our home away from home, we had accumulated many things there. My accumulation of books alone was staggering. And, because I had difficulty remembering which clothes, what groceries, and especially what cleaning supplies I had in each house, I often overstocked. Beth helped with the packing and she declared there were 17 cans of Ajax.
The men from the farm came in vans and a trailer to bring things home. Beth told Don she felt sure no one had ever moved at Northpointe in a horse trailer! Our moving, sorting through duplications, sharing and storing have provided laughs. I have enjoyed writing details of the experience in my family memoirs.
Few experiences come to me which I do not relate to a hymn. This time it is a phrase from Fanny Crosby’s "All the Way My Savior Leads Me," which continues to remind me, " I know what’er befalls me, Jesus doeth all things well." With His direction, we recognize many reasons this disappointment needed to happen at this time. Both Miss Emma, Don’s stepmother, who has depended on him for help since his father’s death in 1981, and Aunt Annie B., whom he has watched after since his Uncle Young Waller died in 1975, now need Don close by.
Also, in Jackson during 1995 and 19961 found it necessary to spend much time quietly alone in order to cope with the worsening tinnitus (inner ear noises) and the frustrations it brings. I had limited my activities to our position-related activities. The depression with which I have dealt and for which I have had professional treatment since 1986, has taken its toll. I have always been a people-oriented person and I feel a great loss from my inability to communicate effectively. In 1967 my ear specialist strongly advised that I should not cease my activities, including working outside the home. With the nature of the handicap, to become reclusive is common. However, now thirty years later, I feel I have maintained this struggle long enough. I find being here in my haven contributes much to my well being.
During our eight years in Jackson, we deepened friendships made years ago, made new ones, and found pleasure in our association with the folks actively involved in Farm Bureau. Don commented openly and repeatedly that when you are in a Farm Bureau meeting you are with some of the finest people of the locale. We love our Farm Bureau family.
When we were away so much, we missed our friends and family here. I missed the views I love—the sunrises and sunsets were never so pretty in the city— the seasons were never so enchanting. Don missed the everyday farming which he loves. We missed the comfortable familiarity of our country home—filled with memories and with our own personal treasures. We don’t miss the time spent on the road, but Jackson is a nice city where medical, shopping, and entertainment opportunities abound. We are glad for the time spent with Don’s family in Jackson, and we are especially glad that we had time close with his sister Mildred before her sudden death.
As with any loss in our lives, we must bring closure. We feel this taking place. Don was honored with a reception and dinner in Jackson where he received many accolades and expressions of appreciation. I have written extensively about these years and the failure to retain a place greatly desired. Some of the writings I have shared; most will be kept private as they have become a part of my own healing process and a part of my personal reminiscences. I seem to find pleasure from all writing, perhaps because it is a silent activity.
We realize we were blessed with an opportunity not given to many. We did love it while it lasted, and we feel enriched by the challenges and experiences. However, recognizing God’s ultimate control of our lives, we are ecstatically happy in our unsought retirement. I smile to myself as I think how much Don and I are enjoying getting old together. In this, too, we are aware of a blessing not granted to all in later life.
When Don was elected, I cried tears of joy. When he was not reelected, I wept tears of disappointment. We had our period of night and surely joy comes with the morning and with our coming home.
As in the past, I wanted to share where God has brought us and His continuing watch care. Communication through the median of this newsletter with the more than 5,000 recipients is a personal pleasure.
You have lightened my burden, Lord, and I am grateful. I opened my heart to You and You lifted me out of the shadows. Thank You. Amen
Ten Commandments For Dealing With Stress
1. Build and maintain an adequate sense of self-esteem People with a decreased sense of personal worth are more likely to become anxious and hostile when they perceive they are being treated negatively in interpersonal relationships. Self-esteem develops when we feel loved and are able to show love in return, especially in devoted service to others or to a worthy cause.
2. Strengthen your professional qualifications. People only weakly qualified are more vulnerable to suffering from stress. Think of a teacher with poor credentials or degrees when the time comes for reduction of faculty size. People with strong qualifications experience less stress when crisis comes be-cause they have more options available to them.
3. Take sufficient vacations. Uninterrupted long-term encounter with stressors creates distress. Our body tissues and organs need intermittent relief from constant bombardment by stress-related hormones and other biochemicals that will otherwise eventually produce illness. A break is not long enough if one does not return to action feeling rejuvenated, as well as relaxed.
4. Monitor your own life’s pace. Stress comes from attempting to do too much, always striving to please others and never oneself, and from neglecting to live a balanced life. Time is needed for physical exercise and play, as well as rewarding work; for soul-satisfying prayer and other spiritual exercise; for gratifying intellectual pursuits, and for heart-expanding cultural experiences of beauty. Our need for novelty and for creative accomplishments is too easily overlooked in religious people’s busy and altruistic lives. If we are positioned through God’s Providence to serve others by helping them learn to discover the full richness and goodness of life, surely in conscience we ought first to learn how to develop our own total humanity and love of life, with God’s help, so that belief, reliance, and learning can become possible for others when we offer ourselves as their leaders or helpers.
5. Don’t be a perfectionist; strive to do something that is within your capabilities.
6. Don’t underestimate the genuine pleasure that can come from the simple things in life.
7. Carefully assess each situation to see whether a syntoxic (tolerate it) or catatoxic (engage it in battle) response will serve you best. Only fight for that which is really worth it.
8. Concentrate on the pleasant side of life and on the activities which can improve your lot. As the old proverb says, "Imitate the sundial’s ways: count only the pleasant hours."
9. When you do experience a setback or defeat, reestablish your self-confidence by remembering past accomplishments.
10. Don’t procrastinate in tackling the unpleasant yet necessary task you have to do. Get them over with quickly and face life.
—Dr. Earl Grollman (used with permission)
Stressed Out? Try Popcorn
Popcorn has become the lunch of choice for many folks, and now we know why. According to psychologists who reviewed the results of a recent poll, chewing crunchy food is one way to work out emotions. According to the Popcorn Institute, we consume 18 billion quarts of popcorn each year — or 71 quarts for every man, woman and child in the nation.
Making An Informed Decision About Caskets
Many different styles and prices of caskets are available, but caskets that appear to be similar may differ greatly in quality of construction and in the features that contribute to their value.
At Waller Funeral Home we have many caskets from which you can choose. Because our funeral home seeks to serve the entire community, we feel that it is important that we carry a wide range of merchandise.
Regardless of the number of caskets we display, however, there are only two types of caskets—caskets made of metal and caskets made of wood. More than anything else, the type of material the casket is made from determines the cost.
Hardwood caskets are valued for their natural beauty. Hardwood caskets are constructed by skilled craftsmen with the same patience and careful attention to detail given a fine piece of furniture. The depth of color and individual grain patterns make each hardwood casket truly unique. Hardwood caskets are available in mahogany, oak, cherry, walnut, poplar, maple, and pine. Prices differ in hardwood caskets according to the species of wood, the interior, and the craftsmanship involved.
Soon we will have in stock the new Palatial Mahogany. The lovely mahogany wood of this casket is five inches thick. The casket requires over six weeks of labor and processing. Two new features in the design are the locking memory safe and solid bronze handles. Metal caskets are constructed from bronze, the highest in price; from copper, our medium-priced metal casket; and from steel, which is our least expensive metal casket. The price difference in metal caskets is due to the type of material, thickness of the metal, and quality of the interior.
Bronze offers the ultimate in materials used in metal casket construction. Because of their permanency and durability, these caskets will never rust or corrode. We have a variety of bronze caskets at Waller Funeral Home, and these are quite beautiful. Top-of-the line in bronze caskets is the Promethean. These caskets are constructed by hand, one at a time, taking more than twelve weeks to manufacture. The jewel-finish bronze has a mirror-like sheen protected by an advanced formula diamond top coat. The Promethean features 14-carat gold plated hardware and an exclusive double-locking system. The interior is crafted by hand by a master seamstress in Batesville, Indiana. The resulting casket is a tribute to the quality and craftsmanship of artisans in the areas of welding, polishing, metal working, and finishing fabrics.
Many people consider caskets made of solid copper as an alternative to bronze because copper is also a permanent and durable material, but it costs much less. Copper and bronze represent the finest materials in burial products today. Through the years these semiprecious metals have proven their permanence, their ability to endure. Their resilience, strength, and beauty are legend having withstood the test of time.
Some caskets are made from a heavy gauge of steel. Other steel caskets are constructed from thinner steel; and, therefore, cost less. The thicker the steel, the more expensive the casket. All of our metal caskets are protective caskets because of the gasket and locking device which when engaged connects the top to the sides and bottom of the casket and prevents graveside substances from entering the casket. Some steel caskets have a magnesium bar which inhibits rust formation. This same principle is used in water heaters to extend the life of steel. Steel caskets vary in price due to the thickness of the steel, the quality of the interior, and the kind of finish used on the exterior.
Making An Informed Decision About Outer Receptacles
A burial vault is the outer burial receptacle. The vault is placed in the grave and the casket is placed inside the vault. The vault protects the casket against the penetration of moisture, the weight of the earth, and elements in the subsoil.
As with caskets, vaults differ in construction, style, and price. The most popular and widely used outer burial container in our area is the concrete vault. These vaults are constructed of high-strength concrete, weighing from 2000 to 3000 pounds and are tested to withstand over 4500 pounds per square inch. The vaults seal with a tongue and groove seal. The tongue and groove are sealed with a specially formulated compound of butyl that merges base and cover to form a sealed single integral unit.
People often have a misconception that vaults are quite expensive. Prices vary according to construction and style. The price of concrete vaults is determined by the amount of concrete used in construction and the material used in lining the vault. Vaults are lined with specially formulated material with varying degrees of high-impact strength and are completely impervious to water or moisture. Such features as imprinting names and dates on the vault and the availability of color selections to coordinate with the casket selection also affect cost.
Alternative outer burial containers such as concrete and wooden boxes are occasionally used, and information on these is available at the funeral home.
A removable Memory Safe is now available on selected hardwood caskets obtained from Batesville Casket Company. The removable drawer can be used to secure and display letters, photographs, and other cherished mementos inside the casket. Located in the foot cap header, the drawer can be displayed open during viewing to invite friends and relatives to reminisce and share memories, passed among those at a service to provide them an opportunity to add meaningful items, or kept closed for private keepsakes. The casket thereby serves as a personal memorial and provides valuable emotional closure for family and friends.
We dedicate this issue of Seasons to those who died and whose families we served from November 15, 1997, through January 31, 1998.
Mrs. Janie Maria Hugh 11/15/97
Mrs. Edree Gossett Denton 11/17/97
Mr. Hugh Phillips 11/18/97
Mr. James Edward Bramlett 11/19/97
Mrs. Faye Grimes Barbee 11/19/97
Mrs. Anna Rose Finney Poole 11/21/97
Mrs. Juanita DePriest Watkins 11/25/97
Mr. Huyel Dean Britt 11/26/97
Mrs. Maude Easley Hawkins 11/27/97
Mr. Robert Dean "Pizza Bob" Whiteaker 11/28/97
Mrs. Mary Alice Stephens Wilson 11/29/97
Mrs. Elizabeth Lowrance Pettis 11/30/97
Dr. Evans Burnham Harrington 12/1/97
Mr. Lemuel Taylor Shaw 12/3/97
Mrs. Reba Estelle Wait Rikard 12/5/97
Mr. Michael Byron Taylor 12/6/97
Mrs. Mary Edna Jenkins Hanks 12/9/97
Mrs. Gloria Lefler Drewek 12/9/97
Mrs Dovie C. Jenkins 12/10/97
Ms Miriam Eloise Peck 12/13/97
Mrs Juanita England Church 12/14/97
Mrs Ruby Zadie Roberts McLarty 12/16/97
Mr RP Busby 12/16/97
Mrs Rubye Bonds Hale 12/19/97
Mr Bert Chesteen 12/20/97
Mr William Rowland Beaver 12/24/97
Mrs. Winifred Harwell Daniels 12/27/97
Mr. Marvin H. "Blue" Waller 12/30/97
Mr. James Odum East 1/2/98
Mr. William P. Callicoat 1/3/98
Mrs. Helen Louise May 1/5/98
Mrs. Lois Marie McCain Cook 1/6/98
Mr. Elie E. "Bud" Bishop 1/6/98
Mr. James Buel Hanks 1/8/98
Mercades Lynn Camp 1/10/98
Mrs. Nola Brummett Davis 1/11/98
Mrs. Violet Marshall Douglas 1/11/98
Mrs. Emma Frances Fitchett 1/13/98
Mrs. Helen Livingston Nail 1/18/98
Mrs. Vyola Galloway Elmore 1/23/98
Mrs. Mattie Davis James 1/29/98
Mr. Nicholas C. "Nick" Calfee, Jr. 1/31/98
I believe in me—my worth as a human being, created and loved by God. I am unique. There is only one of me.
Intellectually I have abilities I can open my mind to new ideas. I can make decisions. I can read and absorb what I read. I can judge, think, and act.
I have inward strength, I can face life and I can face death. I refused to give up before when the going was rough. I can keep on going now.
I can care about other people. I can love. I can show concern outside myself. I can entertain other people for a meal or share a cup of coffee. I can be a friend. I can reach out to others. I can love my family and be loved by them in return.
I can believe enough in myself that "what other people think" need not frighten me. I can be me without fear. I do not need to meet the standards set by other people for me. I am capable of setting standards for myself, of honesty, of social living, of personal life.
I believe in my ideals, symbolized in the cross I wear. I can accept myself as lovable by others, for who and what I am.
I AM GOD’S CHILD! I believe in me.