Category Archives: Editorial

Aunt Hester’s General Store©: Let’s start a new business

Darlings, I have a wonderful idea. Let’s start a new business. We will put a business plan together and present it to the Federal Government and get ourselves some of this so-called Stimulus Money that flows out of the pockets of the American Citizens, who pay taxes.

Of course, it will have to be a Green Project. You know, one of these save the planet schemes that just seems to not save a thing. I know that you’ve heard and might have seen some of these schemes such as Wind Power. These tall propellers on a pole that turn when the wind blows and generates electricity. Of course, they’ve responsible for the killing a noted symbol of America and that’s the American Bald Eagle. Hmmmmm, that’s a symbol in itself. We’re killing one of our precious symbols to save the planet.

Now you’ve heard of the latest failure of one of these Green Projects. Solyndra, a wanna be Solar Panel Company and they got over a whopping half a billion of this Stimulus Money, and we, as Tax Payer’s co-signed the loan didn’t we? And before this outfit went belly up, they got an additional billion, as they refinanced the loan from so-called “private investors” and again, we, as Tax Payer’s co-signed that and if by chance the company failed, the “private investors” would be in line to get their money repaid before the rest of us. Well, bless their little hearts and once again, thank you the Department of Energy and the Democrats and sorted Republicans.

Well, the company in less than two years, spent the money and filed for bankruptcy. You can watch all the goings on by watching your favorite news program. It’s a mess, Darlings, and it just reflects the mess that happens when the U.S. Government tries to pick and choose the winners in what is supposed to be a Free Enterprise System.

So, let’s start our own business right here in Campbell County and let’s get the money and divide about six billion dollars up among ourselves. We have to have a name, let’s see . . . what would be a good name . . . let me think . . . wait . . . it’s coming . . . it’s coming . . . Yes! I’ve got it! We’ll call it Pumpin’ Sunshine! Why call it that? Because if Campbell County has one enormous talent, it’s Pumpin’ Sunshine. And if you don’t believe that, just go to one of the County Commission Meetings.

Darlings, when you just sit back, and start listing all the things that have happened and are still going on, you can’t help but come to the conclusion that we’re paying for something that we will never get and that’s effective government here in Campbell County. They ask for our help and ideas as they do everything they can, to make sure that we’re not allowed to speak at the meetings!

Yes, PS . . . that will be our logo. And our proposal will read: PS uses no fossil fuels, requires no water, no tress will be wasted, water polluted, American Bald Eagles killed, or the atmosphere filled with harmful gases. PS is truly the greenist and the best use of a natural resource.

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


Aunt Hester’s General Store: The Silence of Goodness

So many times, when someone or a group, does something good, they can’t wait to tell everyone what they’ve done. Well, there is something good going on in LaFollette and folks are being very silent about what they’re doing. I’ve named them the Members of the Silence of Goodness.

I wouldn’t have heard a thing about it had I not looked out the window of the General Store and heard this “Silence of Goodness” by using my eyes.

For days now, folks have been tearing down and rebuilding a small house for two people, who have been living in the silence of a house that was almost falling down around them.

It’s a fact, that some situations require a hero. Well, this situation has inspired many heros: Steve, Doug and another Doug, Randy, Allen, Danny, Mike, Gary, Paul, Bert, Bill, David, and members of many churches and I heard such names whispered such as 1St Baptist, Coolidge, New Horizon, Cumberland Hope, and also mentioned was the City of LaFollette, then it grew silent again.

Later, I heard more whispering that all materials and of course all the labor was being donated. And when I looked out of the window of the General Store last night around 8:30 in the evening, I saw the last of the Members of the Silence of Goodness going home for the night and I’m sure that come tomorrow, other members will be giving the gift of themselves to create a precious gift for some people, who will never know their names or how much they did to give of themselves and whatever talent they possessed to create a wonderful gift for two people, who would have never asked for help.

It’s inspiring to see something like this happening and not having to hear the clamoring for credit that seems to follow these so-called Acts of Goodness. Many people here don’t have much to give or so we’re told. Yet, in this situation, any gift of time or labor is appreciated and welcomed. And it makes false the claim that when you’re poor, you don’t have anything to give to others. That’s because the gift of ones’ self has been so unappreciated and not considered valuable.

I have always believed that there are more good people in this world and I’m not so convinced that as I’ve heard: No good deed goes unpunished. I think that the only way a good deed gets you punished is when you did the “good deed” with an expectation that your effort would be rewarded with anything other than the satisfaction that you did something without expecting something in return.

We all can become Members of the Silence of Goodness if we are willing to just do something because we can without any expectation of having any other reward except the satisfaction that we gave of ourselves. I do have a great respect for those folks I see building something new out of what was falling apart. Congratulations to those working on this project because all of you are lights in the darkness and thank you for making the world a brighter place.

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

The Love That Conquers All Hate

This is somewhat of a personal entry, almost too personal to be written but one that needs to be told. In an era where everything seems hopeless, the world desperately needs light among the darkness. And it was in that darkness I learned about the love that conquers all hate.

When I was five years old my parents divorced, and my father became estranged from my life. I did get to see him on and off during my early childhood years but that was about it. I grew up knowing nothing about how to be a man. Everything I learned about responsibility and independence I taught myself.

Years passed, and he became nothing more than a stranger to me. I grew up hating him, because of his absence. Everything I experienced was his fault, and everything I didn’t experience was his fault. It was an anger I’d never known before and a hate addiction that quickly consumed me.

In Spring of 2006 I met an acquaintance of the family who told me my father was dying of cancer. I was floored because I wanted my father to die an old man in a nursing home, I’d give him “what-for”, and then he’d die of shock that way. It sounds morbid, but you just had to have been there.

I always thought when he’d die I’d have my closure. The truth is his untimely death didn’t bring closure. Instead, it magnified into a hell I couldn’t have fathomed.

Christmas 2006 came and I got the phone call from Mom. She told me she’d went to visit with him and insisted I did the same. I was reluctant, but went anyway. I spoke to my step mom and she felt my visit would help him.

When I saw him in his feeble state, it was like nothing really mattered, except that moment. And when the day came when I finally forgave him, it was like years of anger and hate melted away, and the little boy in me stopped weeping in darkness and walked into gentle rays of light.

How did I forgive him? I’m not really sure. It wasn’t as colossal a change of heart as you’d think. I forgave him and just decided to let it all go. When death comes, nothing’s as important as anyone thinks it would be, except the uncontrolled stray thoughts of wondering what might’ve been.

On January 16, 2007, Michael David Bolton died peacefully in his sleep. And when he died, I kissed his hand and embraced him like a child. When he was laid to rest, I remembered how important it was that I said goodbye to him as my dad instead of the man I never knew.

His hands held me when I came into this world, and my hands held him when he left it; and that, my dear friends, was the most precious moment of my life.

Aunt Hester’s General Store©

Most of the E Mails I get, I just delete but I thought that some of you just might be interested in this one. It’s true, sometimes, we can’t wait for our government to make a difference, WE have to make the difference. I have nothing against China, but I do want more jobs in America and for Americans to take more responsibility than they have been taking when it comes to doing something that will make a difference.

So, My Darlings, read the following and see if you’re willing to make a difference. It begins: Well over 50 yrs ago I knew a lady who would not buy Christmas gifts if they were made in China . Did y’all see Diane Sawyer’s special report? They removed ALL items from a typical, middle class family’s home that were not made in the USA .

There was hardly anything left besides the kitchen sink. Literally. During the special they showed truckloads of items USA made being brought in to replace everything and talked about how to find these items and the difference in price etc.. It was interesting that Diane said if every American spent just $64 more than normal on USA made items this year, it would create something like

200,000 new jobs!

Are we Americans as dumb as we appear or is it that we just do not think? The Chinese, knowingly and intentionally, export inferior and even toxic products and dangerous toys and goods to be sold in American markets. 70% of Americans believe that the trading privileges afforded to the Chinese should be suspended. Why do you need the government to suspend trading privileges? DO IT YOURSELF, AMERICA !!

Simply look on the bottom of every product you buy, and if it says ‘Made in China ‘ or ‘PRC’ (and that now includes Hong Kong ), simply choose another product, or none at all. You will be amazed at how dependent you are on Chinese products, and you will be equally amazed at what you can do without.

Who needs plastic eggs to celebrate Easter? If you must have eggs, use real ones and benefit some American farmer. Easter is just an example. The point is do not wait for the government to act. Just go ahead and assume control on your own. THINK ABOUT THIS: If 200 million Americans each refuse to buy just $20 of Chinese goods, that’s a billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our favor…fast!!

Most of the people who have been reading about this matter are planning on implementing this on Aug. 1st and continue it until Sept. 1st. That is only one month of trading losses, but it will hit the Chinese for 1/12th of the total, or 8%, of their American exports. Then they might have to ask themselves if the benefits of their arrogance and lawlessness were worth it. And if we can do it for one month, why not for a whole year?

Let’s show them that we are Americans and NOBODY can take us for granted. If we can’t live without cheap Chinese goods for one month or longer, just maybe . . .WE DESERVE WHAT WE GET!

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


Humor writer and minister Frank A. Clark once said, “Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.”

One day last week, I was standing in the checkout line at a mega store. And when I say “mega store,” I mean “MEGA” store. It’s those one-stop-shop extravaganza places where everything imaginable is for sale. Ceiling fans and tires, baked goods and underwear, rotisserie chicken and even a banking branch. Let’s just say if I had to barricade myself forever in one place due to an alien invasion, that’s where I’d want to be.

There are several superstores out there, and I admit I‘m a faithful patron to nearly everyone of them. Despite their competitive nature, they don’t sell everything. I have never seen men sitting outside telling tall tales and picking instruments until sundown in front of a “super store“, and I have never had any requests for a bologna and cheese sandwich with the crusts cut off fulfilled either.

These bits of culture can be found only in an old fashioned country store.

When you first walk inside the locally owned establishment, the cow bell rings, the wooden floor creaks, and the cashier greets you by name. Of course, he and/or she never fails to ask how your kinfolks are doing. As always, you say they’re doing fine and gladly ask about their kin.

The country store doesn’t have a mechanical claw game that grabs a stuffed toy if your pay it fifty cents first. Instead, sitting nearby in a wooden rocking chair is the store’s owner. His riddles and jokes are far more entertaining than any game I can think of and all offered for free to eager and responsive ears. He’s part of the experience, and no one would have it any other way.

Even the produce section is special. Fresh melons and ripe peaches overflow out of large bushel baskets, and you can smell the sweet aroma as soon as you walk inside. You don’t need that much fruit, but you gather a couple bags to purchase anyway because the money goes to a special cause: the local farmer who has a large family to support and simply enjoys seeing people eating his prize-winning creations.

Finally, before you leave, you witness candy piled high behind a glass case in front of the cashier’s counter. It’s not just a few confections. There’s every kind of candy you can imagine: jellybeans, licorice, milk chocolate morsels, and malted pieces, just to name a few. You pick just one piece, place your nickel on the counter, and leave the end of another perfect day.

Little places like these are life’s hidden treasures, and we all anticipate these places will be around forever. Nostalgic days at the old country store turn into many years, and the unexpected happens. We wake up one morning and discover the forever fixture has become a distant memory.

It‘s sad to drive by and see the mere shell of what the store used to be. However, the heart’s never really gone. On some days, I still see that same old country store. I see it when another one-of-a-kind store opens. For a brief moment I close my eyes, hear the laugher and tall tales being told by that same store owner. My happier childhood time suddenly resurrects itself, and I smile due to one terrific realization.

The outer shell of something precious may die out, but it’s heart never stops beating.