Category Archives: Editorial

Aunt Hester’s General Store: The Twelve Days of Christmas

Darlings, I just don’t enjoy one part of the Christmas Holidays, I enjoy all the Twelve Days of Christmas, beginning on Christmas Day and ending on January the 6th. In many cultures, January the 6th is known as the Feast of the Epiphany because it took the Magi or the Three Kings, to follow the star and travel that long to get to Bethlehem and to fully realize that Jesus was the son of God.

After all my company has left the General Store and gone home, I love to sit and look at my Christmas Cards, the tree, my presents, and enjoy a glass of milk and some tasty Chocolate Do Das. It’s during this time, I have the time, to appreciate all the blessings that have come my way this past year and my friends, are my blessings.

You know, we are thankful for the blessings we see, aren’t we. But I’ve learned to be thankful for the blessings I don’t see, because I know they are the most important blessings. Because there are so many blessings that we are not aware of and they are the ones that keep us going, keep us safe, and give us a sense of what it means to be alive.

These unseen blessings are what makes up the wonder of living. My friend, LaFollette Lou, always is talking about his unseen blessings. Just last week he missed being hit by a truck because he swears it’s because he was held up in a line of shoppers waiting to check out at the Wal-Mart and had he gotten out of that store sooner, he truly believes that the truck would have hit him as he was just one car length away from the accident. If that works for him, then that’s fine with me.

I was just thinking about the coming New Year and what we can expect. What do you expect from the coming of 2012? Maybe it’s not what you expect, but what you are willing to give to your new year that will make a difference?

Well, it’s definitely a time for reflection; this time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and it’s a blessing to be able to take the time to reflect, isn’t it? That’s why I take the Twelve Days of Christmas and enjoy each and every one of them. Then on the January, 6 I’ll take down my tree, and know that I have celebrated and enjoyed the holidays and know what a blessing it was to have another Christmas with the ones I loved.

I hope you enjoyed your Christmas and that you will have a Happy New Year. And this year, because of the way things have been going in this country, I do hope you will take the time to learn . . . unlearn . . . and . . . relearn.

Who else do you know who is celebrating their 2,000th birthday?

While sitting at a psychiatric help desk that costs a mere five cents – the classically beloved Schultz character Charlie Brown begins to unload his burdens, “Actually Lucy, my trouble is Christmas. I just don’t understand it.”
Two thoughts came to mind when I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas with my kids this year:
1) Medical Insurance obviously never effected Charlie’s time as it does our current time, and
2) Jesus’ birthday is still being misunderstood and misconstrued 2,000 +/- years later.
So I asked myself: How is it that after all this time some people – sorry Charlie – don’t “understand” Christmas?
Earlier in this classic, Charlie had confided his quandary of misguided Christmas spirit to his friend Linus.
“Charlie Brown, you’re the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem,” Linus replied.
Well, again Christmas as a problem apparently has flooded our un-cartoonish world just as has problems with medical insurance.
Luckily for Charlie, and those of us who watch this holiday staple year-after-year, Linus later gave the Biblical – true- meaning of Christmas, which can be found in Luke chapter 2. I know its Christmas time, but I won’t tell that story now. However, I did provide the location for those who aren’t familiar with where to find it.
Speaking of Christmas as a problem, many people deny that Jesus was the Son of God. Many deny that Jesus rose from the dead. Many deny that Jesus was brutally hung from a cross until he bled out and died. Many deny that Jesus could’ve been born to a virgin. And yes, there are those who deny Jesus ever lived at all.
The answers are all around us if you look, and you don’t have to be a believer in Christ to see the answers. That’s right. Science – an earthly study of things we can see – also attempts to explain Jesus. There are several TV shows by the History Channel and their subsidiary channels that try to scientifically explain Biblical artifacts, as well as attempting to answer the question, “Who was Jesus?”
Using 3D computer imagery – along with a CAT scanned, carbon-dated skull of a 1st century 12 year-old Galilean, scientists input the data into the software trying to understand what an adolescent Jesus would’ve looked like.
Archeologists are still unearthing the earth that now covers the ruins of where Jesus grew up in an effort to scientifically explain, not only who Jesus himself, but his family and how he may have been treated by other Galilean/Nazarene teens. Laying out historical events – Jesus witnessing Roman invasion and wealth, as well as witnessing ultimately impoverished people around him, etc – these modern-day “wise men” try to explain how Jesus got his vast knowledge of Jewish scripture, as well as how he possibly “came up” with the parables He used in His teachings. I assume these wise men would not be able to blindly follow a star on faith.
“Maybe Lucy’s right. Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Brownist,” I quote Linus again. Perhaps he might say that to these scientists, archeologists and historians.
Sure, a historian’s bread-and-butter is in explaining people – who actually lived I will add- such as Alexander, the Caesars, the Buddha, the Pharaohs, King Herrod, and yes even (Insert Famous name here). But do you know any of those famous historical people’s birthday, hmm?
Instead of telling the Christmas story itself, I was reminded of a passage in Acts 5, in which Luke – a historian himself- tells of the apostles being arrested for preaching about Jesus.
“We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” the high priests said to Peter in vs. 28 (NIV).
(29) Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men! (30) The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead – who you had killed by hanging Him on a tree. (31) God exalted Him to His own right hand as Prince and Savior that He might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.”
To keep your attention on my lengthy holiday explanations, I may skip a few verses, but everyone is welcome to pick up a Bible and read the whole story for yourselves.
(33) When they heard this, they wanted to put them to death. (34) But a Pharisee named Gamaleil, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all people……
What is a Pharisee some might ask? Well, completely in my opinion which comes with no theological degrees, I think the Pharisees and Sadducees were kind of like our modern-day Republican and Democratic Party leaders. They had opposing views on Jewish law and its interpretations, both groups believed that all who were under the law had to follow it to the letter, but yet many of them thought that the law didn’t apply to them.
Sorry for the sidetrack, back to Bible now.
(35) Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. (36) Some time ago Theadus appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all of his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. (37) After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. (38) Therefore in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. (39) But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will find yourselves fighting against God.”
(40) His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, AND LET THEM GO.
(42) Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.
I ask you readers, if Jesus was not of God, would His teachings still be heard around the world today? I don’t think so.
I know, I know. We have to go back to science because it indicates that Jesus was not born on Dec. 25, of the year 0. But seriously, the whole world – every country- knows what Christmas is, whether they celebrate/acknowledge it or not.
I will leave you to ponder two thoughts:
1) is the title of this column “Who else do you know who is celebrating their 2,000th +/- birthday?
2) A summation of Peter’s words: God raised Jesus from the dead and brought Him to His own side “as Prince and Savior that He might give repentance and forgiveness.”

“That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown,” – Linus.

Aunt Hester’s General Store©: Thinking about Thanksgiving

Whew! I don’t know about you, but I’m plum worn out with all this holiday rush and it’s only Thanksgiving. Slow down, My Darlings, just slow down.

Maybe it’s the economy or all this political bickering back and forth between the political parties. Who, by the way, only seem to bicker and don’t solve a thing. Whatever the cause, it seems that too many of us are under pressure to be happy! How in the world can you allow yourself to be put under pressure to be something that is a gift and not something you can buy in a store and put on your credit card?

Yes, there is this thing called “Retail Therapy” but it just doesn’t last. What is more rewarding, buying something that will only give you or someone else a temporary sense of happiness or not buying something because you are in control of most of your happiness and not some material item in a store?

Thanksgiving, instead of being a true day of Thanksgiving for all the blessings we have, has turned into the starting line for all this commercial rush to have a Happy Christmas. Yes, I’m old and I was happy as a child to get a stocking, not store bought, that was filled with fruit, nuts, some candy, and maybe a small toy such as a yo-yo, a pack of crayons, and such. Not anymore!

Now, children are looking for all the electronic gizmos they can find wrapped up for them on Christmas and they could care less about anything that might require a bit of imagination. I’m not faulting the progress, I’m faulting how the progress has taken away almost as much as it has given.

Electronic gizmos are useful and can bring much information and education if they are used for such purposes. Instead, they have become a way to isolate and even though, you find yourself keeping in touch at home, work, or when shopping, why must you always be in touch?

The greatest present I ever received was one that took me years to understand and it was the gift of being with me. As a child, I didn’t understand why I should take time to sit and think about things and to come up with questions, and then find answers for myself. It took me years to understand that what I was doing was learning who I was and not who everyone else was!

Take time this year to really understand why you must put yourself under such pressure to be happy and make others happy and think about doing something that might give you even greater happiness and that would be to “not” put yourself under such pressure to be happy.

Darlings, happiness is a gift, a blessing, a knowing. A blessing that you know is there, but it doesn’t manifest itself in something material that you own. It manifests itself in a silence of knowing that no matter what you don’t have, that others have; you have it all. You have everything you need and the ability to provide a sense of well-being for yourself and those you love. The blessing is that you know the difference between what you “want” and what you “need.”

It’s just a matter of learning . . . unlearning . . . and . . . relearning.

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Aunt Hester’s General Store©: Veterans’ Day

This Friday, November 11 will be Veterans’ Day and for the first time in many, many years, there will be a Veterans’ Day Parade in LaFollette. School will be out, banks closed, and no mail delivery. For sure, as many people as possible should make a real effort to attend the parade, no matter how large or small the parade will be, to honor all these men and women, who have done so much for this country.

Even if you don’t think so, this is the freest country in the world. We have freedoms that very few other countries enjoy. And no matter where you go in history, we have this freedom because people were willing to give their lives in service of the United States of America.

It’s just a small way of thanking these people for what they have done. So, make an effort and go and watch the parade and while doing so, ask yourself one question, as President John F. Kennedy did, many years ago. Even though the circumstances were different, the question he asked, should be asked over and over again. We face a crisis in this country now and we all must believe in ourselves and this country enough to fight for our future and the futures of those we love. We have a war going on in this country and we need to realize, that in many instances, we have become our own worst enemy.

He said in his speech, “In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility. I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

Yes, what can you do for you country? This Friday, you can show your appreciation for those who answered the call and served their country and had it not been for them and all the others who have died in the service of this country, you may not have been privileged to be watching a Veterans’ Day Parade.

It’s just a matter of learning . . . unlearning . . . and . . . relearning.

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Aunt Hester’s General Store©: Something Stinks

Darlings, a little over a week ago, I stepped outside on the back porch of the General Store and was greeted with something that was right stinky. At first, I thought something had died, maybe a skunk. But, I’m a country girl and I quickly figured out that it wasn’t a skunk and that it was a mixture of sewage and what to me, smelled like Methane Gas.

A few hours later, I had to take care of some business and when I went to run some errands, the smell seemed to have lost most of its stinkiness and if you live around here, it’s not unusual to smell something floating through the air that doesn’t smell like roses.

I’ve smelled tires burning, garbage burning, and the biggest thing you can smell around here are all the exhaust fumes that come from vehicles that blow plumes of smoke into the air all the time. Sometimes, when cleaning the glass in front of the store, there is nothing but what appears to be black soot all over my windows.

As the day went on, the smell seemed to disappear and I didn’t hear too much talk about it until later in the day. From what I heard, it seemed that there had to be some repair work done on the sewage lines near that new bridge they’re building in front of the high school and they had to clear the lines to replace parts of the lines. Then I heard that it was discovered, after a bit, when an oil film was seen floating on the water at the Filtration Plant at Pleasant Ridge, that there had been oil mixed in with what had been pumped and the stink was on!

Speaking of that bridge, where is it coming from that the City of LaFollette is responsible for all the delays? That project belongs to the State of Tennessee and the railroad. And ask anyone, the railroad has to approve every inch of that project, not the City of LaFollette.

Back to the stink . . . what has really been stinky, is the reaction of some folks, as they continue to allege, (That’s to assert without or before proof), is that when the stink was discovered, a plot was hatched to cover up the stink and the consequences. How in blazes could they do that? You can’t cover anything up in Campbell County for too long, and stink is one thing that is never covered up.

You would have thought, by what some folks were alleging, and seem to still be alleging, that there was a conspiracy. That everyone involved, were liars and fellow conspirators. How could anyone deny that there was a stink? Now, it seems the mistake was made by those doing the pumping of the waste into the trucks that were contracted by the contractors of the bridge. How is the LUB responsible for that and we’re to believe that the Management of the LUB and the Mayor of LaFollette were enjoined in a conspiracy to hide the facts of the situation? Tarnation!

Now, as to the severity of the situation, it seems a disservice to this community that anyone would try to make this situation something that it wasn’t: a deliberate act to cover up something that hurt people in this area.

Another disservice to this community would be someone trying to profit from this situation without having any other reason other than to cause confusion, conflict, and make a mountain out of a molehill before all the facts and more than that, before all the truth of the situation was known.

Darlings, if someone approaches you about trying to get yourself signed up for some big-time lawsuit, here’s my advice: Sign up, if you feel that you were directly injured, but by no means, should you part with any money. Lawsuits for something like this take years, and years, and years and that’s when it’s done by some of the top law firms in this country. And when it’s all said and done, the lawyers in the situation, get the biggest share of the cash!

I did some checking with the hospital and it didn’t seem that they were overran with folks complaining on that day. And from what I’ve read, saw on television, all this business is highly suspect as to the motives of those stirring up the alleged conspiracy. Yes! Something stinks, but I’m not too sure it was the event that happened over a week ago.

For sure, something stinks, and it seems that there’s the stink, the stinkee, and stinkers, who are not concerned about this community; only with making a bigger stink and getting their moment in the limelight. If people were, accidentally exposed to a “potential” health hazard, then there’s the truth of the matter and not some contrived situation, filled with lying and liars, to cover up the stink. I’m sure many folks were sickened by the smell, it gave me the a swimmy headed moment myself. But has anyone been injured for life? That’s something to be proven and speculated about.

If there needs to be a lawsuit filed, then it’s a matter of real honesty and integrity to make sure the right culprits are named and not this: We’ll blame everyone and sue everyone, grandstanding.

The stink now seems to be coming from those, pretending to be concerned for the health of the community, and all they’re doing, based on the facts so far, is allegedly creating a stink for profit.

It’s just a matter of learning . . . unlearning . . . and . . . relearning.