Glamor portrait, 1953 in a borrowed gown.
The program Sunny and her students presented that October night broke all recent records for both attendance and enthusiasm. Most of the children she taught had never had any of the extra curricular music, dancing, or sports classes that are so common today. Performing for an audience was a first for them, while cheering was a first for their parents. Most who came that night to see their youngsters recite poetry, hadn’t even thought about poetry since learning nursery rhymes. But they drank in the words from their own children because they communicated emotions that had never been spoken.
So naturally, the principal immediately put Sunny in charge of the Christmas program, changing all her previous lesson plans.
For that occasion, she put most of the students into a Greek Chorus reciting passages from Luke to tell the Christmas story while others, in makeshift costumes, pantomimed the drama. On the other side of the stage, the school chorus presented Christmas carols at appropriate intervals. Once again the auditorium was filled with cheering families, creating the second major victory accomplished by a novice in her first semester of teaching.
Ever so slowly a new attitude toward school began emerging.
Probably the main reason for Sunny’s immediate success at this particular school was that while students and teacher shared the same financial status, Sunny staunchly maintained a totally different attitude. Her mantra since becoming the sole bread-winner for her family was, “I may be broke, but I refuse to be poor.” With that attitude she lived a lifestyle of great anticipation coupled with hard work far different from those who saw themselves as “I-can’t-do-anything much-because-I’m-so- poor.” While Sunny had reveled in developing her mind with good music, great books, and lofty ideals, most of these families had cheated themselves by considering such as frivolities only for the “rich people.”
But, as you recall from previous posts, Sunny reacted to financial roadblocks by looking for ways around, over, or through them. Such as:
Slowly stashing away enough money to pay for one year of college, so she could at least get a taste of higher education whether or not she got to finish a degree.
Choosing a college in a town where a relative owned a house that she could live in rent free if she fixed it up and kept it up, unlike many renters.
Taking advantage of every concert, play, and program that her Student Activity Fee covered. And insisting the kids take advantage of these chances for enrichment with her.
Cheerfully giving up owning a car while living in a small city, realizing that walking is healthful for the whole family.
Eagerly accepting any part-time or temporary position to make enough money to continue her degree program.
Completely understanding that attitude is far more important than bank account status. It’s never about how much money you have.
Seeing someone in the same boat financially as their own families, but with great energy and a can-do attitude, probably did more to help the student body that year than any subject matter she taught.
Unfortunately, January, 1954 brought a little known infectious disease to the school and Sunny was one of several victims. She was sick a week before her mystified physician put her in the hospital. There they diagnosed her problem as hepatitis, probably what we now know as hepatitis A. After a week at Methodist Hospital in Oak Cliff, she came home for eight weeks of recuperation before returning to school in March.
Copyright 2018 by Kaye Fairweather
The two heroes of Sutherland, Texas
The pictures above hopefully will help erase the other less comforting images from last Sunday in Sutherland, Texas. Wearing the hat is Johnnie Langendorff, 27, who drove his pickup in the chase after the vindictive gunman left the church in an attempt to escape the immediate area. To the right is Stephen Willeford, 55, who had grabbed his rifle and run out of his house barefooted when he heard the sound of gun shots coming from the church.
He confronted the shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, leaving the church and managed to wound him as the young man ran to his car. Kelley immediately raced away, but the older man, seeing Langendorff sitting in his pickup nearby, asked for help and they started the ninety-five mph chase down a local Farm to Market road.
Eventually Kelley lost control of his car and ended up in a ditch, then shot himself. Willeford and Langendorff guarded by waiting nearby until the Texas State Patrol arrived.
Pictures of the two heroes were taken the next evening at a local vigil for the victims of the tragedy at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.
Although praised by both strangers and neighbors as a hero, Willeford insists that he doesn’t think of himself like that. “‘I’m no hero. All I want to stress today, is the people at that church, they’re friends of mine, they’re family, and every time I heard a shot I knew that probably represented a life.”
Picture taken near Houston at height of flooding. The horse was rescued.
I am posting an article about rescue efforts that is on The American Thinker blog today. It is written by a volunteer who worked in the Dallas center for flood victims. Distance between those cities is 240 miles. (
October 16, 2017
What I Saw in the Floodwaters of Houston
John Nolte’s superb article in Breitbart, “Houston Proves Everything the MSM Says about Our ‘Divided’ Country Is a Lie” (September 4, 2017) prompted me to tell my own story. My family and I spent many hours in early September helping out at the “Mega-Shelter” for flood victims in downtown Dallas. What I experienced there was like nothing I have ever seen.
The Responders and the Services
The response of Texans, and Americans from all across the country, to the catastrophic Houston flooding proves the power and resilience of the human spirit. The magnitude of the logistics, the care, and yes, the love, is beyond extraordinary. I know. I have seen it.
Dozens of organizations virtually built a small city almost overnight in a space the size of 10-12 football fields. Evacuees from the floodwaters in Southeast Texas came in by the hundreds, then by the thousands. Hundreds of volunteers rushed in from nearly every state.
The Red Cross set up 5,000 cots and provided people who had lost almost everything with blankets, toiletries, showers, laundry service, child care, relocation and job counseling, and many other services. Salvation Army volunteers fed everyone, including volunteers, three meals a day. Volunteers from churches brought in water, juice, snacks, clothing, pillows, and other essentials. Children were provided school clothes, toys, books, puppet shows, and supervised play areas. Chaplains were giving out Bibles and providing spiritual comfort.
A small hospital was put together, including units for triage, primary and acute care, and stocked with all necessary medical equipment and supplies. Scores of doctors, nurses, and other medical staff worked shifts lasting anywhere from eight to eighteen hours. Medical services included mental health counseling, social work, and transport to other medical centers for dialysis and other critical needs.
Walmart established a fully stocked pharmacy for critical prescription needs like insulin and heart medication. HEB set up a store providing food, clothing, and other personal items at no charge. Evacuees were given free transportation to the Dallas Zoo, Six Flags Over Texas, outdoor movies, museums, and other cultural attractions. I even saw a small boy getting a haircut in a makeshift barber shop.
Texas National and State Guard, local police, firefighters, and EMT personnel, and other first responders, were there to provide security and safety, while checking evacuees in and out of the building. Janitorial staff worked around the clock to keep the shelter clean and free of trash. Emergency management volunteers performed countless duties to ensure that the flood victims had whatever they needed. FEMA was there for logistical, equipment, and financial support. The VA was on hand to serve the needs of veterans. The administrative record-keeping needed to keep track of victims, volunteers, services, and supplies was immense.
I came in with other volunteers representing the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), a nationwide network of citizen volunteers organized at the local level and associated with fire or police departments. My assignments consisted of escorting evacuees through the relief center with their few belongings; helping families navigate the huge facility; getting them settled into assigned sleeping spaces; acting as a runner for their various personal needs; and, unexpectedly, becoming a prayer partner.
I met volunteers from Massachusetts, Arizona, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, Missouri, Georgia, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas, and many other states and Texas cities. I worked with hundreds of people who had interrupted their lives and come from distant places to help others in need.
I encountered one young lady who had suddenly decided to put her personal business on hold, get on a plane, and fly from Milwaukee to Dallas just to see if she could help. She had stepped out in faith into the unknown, and we caught her gently in God’s safety net as she fell into a strange and unimaginable world of human need, hardship, and suffering. We gave her a quick tour, taught her to improvise, provided her with whirlwind training, and immersed her into shelter life. She found a calling and confidence to pursue a life of service. She also found herself giving and receiving unanticipated blessings.
As I walked the floor (which I estimated to be the size of 10 to 12 football fields), I found that many people just needed someone to listen to their stories and maybe hold their hands. I saw families and single mothers with two, four, or even six children, including newborns. I spoke to people who had been separated from families or had no one else in the world. I prayed with elderly and handicapped people and became friends with an elderly man with no legs in a wheelchair who always had a smile for me. I procured small stuffed animals and toys for dozens of small children and babies. I was rewarded with tiny smiles and blessed to hold little hands.
I have been amazed by the courage and hope and faith in God displayed by these victims who did not behave like “victims.” They kept up their spirits and told their stories and, in very profound ways, ministered to me and other volunteers. Yes, there was some tension and tribulation, and there were some tears, but I saw miracles of strength and hope, and I love every hour I was there.
Finally, I met a woman who spent 14 hours in chest-deep water in her home – holding her family bible over her head the whole time – before she was rescued. She thought her son had drowned but had learned that he had also been rescued. He was later brought to the Dallas shelter, and they were reunited. We shared stories with each other and read scriptures from the Bible she had rescued. We laughed, we cried, and we hugged. I was blessed to meet this sister in Christ.
Funny: I didn’t see anyone there from Black Lives Matter, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Democratic Party, Hollywood libs, or any other social justice warriors out there helping the thousands of black families who had lost everything in the flood. No one but us heartless Christians, conservatives, and other deplorables.
The liberal newspapers and TV networks can continue to try to divide us, call us racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes, white supremacists, fascists, and worse. Let the leftist professors and their student “snowflakes” in the universities whine and cry about “micro-aggressions” and “trigger warnings.” Let them take offense at every imagined “politically incorrect” comment and run for their “safe spaces” and riot in the streets.
Meanwhile, real Americans – men and women of every race, ethnicity, nationality, and faith – came together and proved them wrong every day through our relief efforts. Almost overnight in Dallas, and in many other relief shelters in Texas and other states, compassionate Americans built truly safe spaces for thousands of our brothers and sisters and their children in desperate need.
And these disaster victims blessed us every day with their broken but beautiful lives.
Hugh Reynolds recently retired from 32 years in federal service. He spent his entire government career in the “fraud, waste, and abuse” business, including 18 years auditing that beleaguered enterprise known as the U.S. Postal Service, which survives without a dime of the taxpayer’s money. He is a lifelong student of public policy and considers himself an American Thinker.
There is a beauty and clarity
that comes from simplicity
that we sometimes do not appreciate
in our thirst for intricate solutions.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
There is a lovely, generous, and gracious member of my family who, like many of us, suffers from too much stuff and too little time. She slipped into acquiring too many things gradually over the years: buying gadgets that would save time, new clothes for special occasions, decorative objects to make her home more beautiful, food that would be available during storms, important books to read later, and even gifts for other people, until it became a serious addiction. The process itself earned her a lot of public praise — even from the people who denigrated her habit behind her back.
Trying to help her has convinced me that these two conditions nearly always go together. And, surprise, surprise, I began to see that I also suffer from the same condition. My house is not cluttered and I do manage to keep it clean myself, but my closets, garage, drawers, and files all need to be purged and re-organized immediately. Knowing that I have a certain paper or item that I need, but not being able to find it quickly is pretty disheartening. But even worse is buying something I think I need, then coming home to discover that I already own one — or two — is even worse.
So, I have decreed this fall to be my occasion for change. I expect to also discover more time for the things I love to do, and to enjoy the (fewer) things I love the most.
Unfortunately I fear that I’m not the only one in the beginning stages of this problem. One of the fastest growing businesses in the U.S. is temporary storage facilities. While some are rented by people who need a repository for a move or a temporary work assignment in another country, many are rented just to get stuff out of the house.
In a somewhat parallel fashion our culture has engendered a new mental illness called hoarding. From an occasional news story about someone’s house with pathways made between the stacks of debris throughout to a weekly real life television drama, stuff has grown faster than our capacity to handle it. Instead of humans being controlled by robots, many are now controlled by their stacks of stuff.
Another growing new business is the manufacturing and installation of closet organizers. You see, just a walk-in closet is no longer enough. Now each new iteration of home designs includes more and bigger closets with custom built shelves, drawers, and hanging rods installed to make the very best use of each cubic inch of closet space.
If you have ever toured an antebellum or early 20th century home, you have probably shuddered at the tiny closets even in the grand homes of wealthy people. You wonder, “How did they manage it?” Perhaps the more appropriate question for us would be, “How can I find the golden mean between deprivation and excess?” We need to avoid the abundance that stifles but find the abundance that enriches.
Americans could easily lay a fair portion of the blame on mass media advertising. Although we tell ourselves we don’t listen or watch commercials, still we are influenced just because the messages are repeated so much that we become brain washed since our subconscious hears and believes.
And women, who make most household purchasing decisions, are even more apt to buy if the item is “on sale.” For example, some humorists say that a man will pay $2 for a $1 item that he needs or wants, just to get the purchase over with as quickly as possible. A woman, on the other hand is more likely to buy 2 items she doesn’t really need just because they are a “bargain.”
As someone who once taught writing for radio and television commercials, let me assure you that you don’t have to succumb to nefarious blandishments. You are in control, if you want to be. You are “enough” just as you are. Really.
Advertisers figured out a long time ago that fear of losing is a more powerful incentive to buy than the desire to gain a benefit. So commercial messages are crammed with suggestions and innuendos that make you fear you’ll lose out, become unacceptable as a member of the group, be revealed as inadequate, or just unworthy if you don’t buy X now.
Still you are the decider. You decide if new tennis shoes, a new bedspread, a new eye shadow color, or a new cell phone will really enrich your life for longer than a week.
If you decide that the item that caught your attention is really important to your emotional or physical well being, for heaven’s sake, go ahead and buy it. But give away, sell, or throw away a similar item from your closet or dresser when you get home. Keep your inventory down to save yourself the headache of having so much stuff you can’t find what you need when you really need it.
No one wants to be the “star” of the next episode of Hoarders.
I first wrote about Rick Rescorla in 2003 after finishing James Stewart’s Heart of a Soldier, the book based on Stewart’s New Yorker article “The real heroes are dead.” (“The real heroes are dead” is what Rescorla would say in response to recognition of his heroism on the battlefield in Vietnam.) It’s a good book that touches on profound themes in a thought-provoking way: life and death, love and friendship, Read Here: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/09/a-day-to-be-proud-8.php
From UK Daily Mail:
Twin Towers hero who predicted terror attacks led 2,700 to safety… but died as he went back to look for stragglers
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2033919/Twin-Towers-hero-predicted-terror-attacks-led-2-700-safety–died-went-look-stragglers.html#ixzz4sOH0w87F
From Conservative Tree House:
A man who was convinced the Twin Towers would be targeted in a terror attack led 2,700 people to safety from the World Trade Center before being killed when he went back in looking for stragglers. Security chief Rick Rescorla […]
Volunteer leads the way
Woman and baby rescued from freeway
Whoever needs help, gets it from whomever is available
Fifteen-year-olds using dad’s boat and their energy to help neighbors
This man and his boat were busy all day helping anyone needing to be rescued
A flotilla of volunteers working during the rain to help neighbors and strangers
Some came from Louisiana and some from Waco, Texas to spend their time, money, energy, and equipment to save the lives of strangers.
Using whatever you can find to do the job at hand
US Coast Guard coming inland to offer their services
Pets are not left either
Look closely – this is a cattle drive through town to pasture on higher ground
Life is always more important than mere possessions
Even beer companies shut down the usual production lines to produce free cans of drinking water to send to the flood areas in a far away state
After twelve frantic hours of rescuing scared, stranded people, you rest wherever and whenever you can find a spot