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Aunt Hester | The Volunteer Times | Campbell County

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Well My Darlings, I’ve made my last batch of Chocolate Do Das, wrapped my last present, and I’m ready for Christmas. Just these past few weeks, I’ve sat out on the porch of the store and watched as people have been coming and going and I’ve been busy at the store. I did have a customer stop by the other day to ask me to help her figure something out. It seems that her grandson has been spending more time playing video games than she thinks he ought to be spending.

She found several games that he had loaded onto his game player and she wanted to see what they were all about. So, I loaded them up and let me tell you that when she got a gander at what her nine-year-old grandchild had been spending hours watching . . . to say she just about threw a hissy fit is an understatement. Never in all her born days, had she imagined what some of these video games were all about. I asked her where he had gotten these games and she was sure that his older brother had given them to him.

I watched her sit and think and when she got up to go, she turned and said, “I’m going home and call my daughter and her husband and the feathers are going to fly because they need to get their priorities straight and stopped worrying about their kitchen renovation and their stainless steel appliances! And God help them if they don’t have a clue as to what their child has been entertaining himself with as they argue about paint colors while their children are watching this trash! No wonder the older boy flunked out of college and just sits at home all day and complains that he can’t find a job. I guess his studies got in the way of his cell phone and video games. My younger grandson’s grades are dropping and they’re going get him this game dohickey thing that costs a fortune and reward him for his failure as they soothe themselves for their failure? I don’t think so!” When she left, there was no doubt in my mind that Christmas will be interesting for that family this year.

Children are not satisfied this day and age with the games we used to play: Chutes and Ladders, Monopoly, Scrabble, and I remember my parents thinking that Elvis was way too racy for me to watch. Well, things have changed and maybe, in some ways, not for the better.

In the light of recent events, I think we all should take the time to realize just how precious our children happen to be and that they need more from us than just presents under the tree. They need our concern, attention, guidance, and to take responsibility for their futures by teaching them how to be responsible for themselves. To teach them that they don’t always win and life is an investment that if you don’t put anything into it, you don’t get much out of it. That disappointment is something we all experience along with the things we learn when we fail. We have to be really careful as too many of our children are watching too much Trash TV and playing too many games that blur the line between reality and fantasy. I get the impression from some children that they believe that life is a game. Who will teach them that it isn’t a game? Their parents or someone else?

Yes, I think that too many of us have forgotten the “Reason for the Season” and so my gift to you this year is a poem that was written in 1816 and it goes like this: Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright. Round yon Virgin Mother and Child. Holy Infant so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace. Silent night, holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight. Glories stream from heaven afar. Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia! Christ, the Savior is born. Christ, the Savior is born. Silent night, holy night. Son of God, love’s pure light. Radiant beams from Thy holy face. With the dawn of redeeming grace. Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth. Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

Merry Christmas and don’t forget, it’s just a matter of learning . . . unlearning . . . and . . . relearning.











Aunt Hester’s General Store: What a Beautiful Autumn

Darlings, we have been blessed this year with an Autumn that is just absolutely spectacular. Almost everywhere you look, the trees are displaying brilliant colors that I haven’t seen for ages. And as the week has gone on, the leaves are falling and it’s beautiful.

Of course, it’s only a few days now until Halloween, the end of daylight-saving time, and Election Day. Personally, I’ll be glad when all these elections are over because they’re enough to wear a person out! It’s got me so muddled I can’t decided if I want to make some double-dipped chocolate donuts or some chocolate nut brownie bread. So, I’ve made them both and the folks coming to the General Store seem to be glad that I can’t make up my mind.

Then, as I watch the goings on with our County Commission, I feel that not only our government in Washington, D.C., but our county government has grown too large and are not really paying attention to the future.

The future is a strange thing when you think about it because it seems that too many folks don’t look ahead, do they? It’s like Social Security that was never meant to be your only retirement money but a supplement to what you had saved for retirement. Those who run the Postal Service in this country didn’t look ahead and realize what computers and E-Mail would do to that organization, did they? And I guess that many American Workers didn’t realize that with their demands for higher wages and bigger pensions that so much manufacturing would go to other countries, did they? And it’s for sure, that for years our Federal Government hasn’t done a thing to stop the almost 500 billion dollars worth of fraud that it destroying Medicare!

It’s a fact, that the future doesn’t take care of itself, it’s up to us to take care of the future and that seems to be a responsibility that not too many folks want to take on. And that is why I don’t know if things will change, until we make a change, do you? Change is a hard thing for many folks, especially here in Campbell County. I guess that change represents an insecurity that they don’t want to deal with. So, too many of us just let things go on and try to keep things just the way they’ve been for years. How is that working out for us?

The drug problem is not getting any smaller and if I had my way, there would not be a pain clinic allowed in the State of Tennessee and medication that begins with OXY would be only given to patients who are terminal! And these Meth Makers would not be out on probation and re-offending. They’d be cleaning up the highways and all these meth houses as a part of their rehabilitation and incarceration! There are several other things I’d suggest should happen to so many of these criminals in prison across this country but that would be too severe to inflict on you gentle folk.

I know, I’m old and I’m inclined to be cranky, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t look ahead and see what could be possible in the future, does it? In the future, what is known as the Postal Service will be almost gone, you will not use checks to pay your bills, that will be taken over with Direct Deposit, bills paid on line, and cash will be on your Debit Card. Laser Surgery will be almost the only form of surgery, and you will not really see many more Family Doctors. You’ll just walk through a Medical Scanner and when you come out on the other side, you’ll have a diagnosis and everything else.

You will not see many clerks in grocery stores or other places because you will check yourself out. All these things will happen in the future along with many other things that now, seems hard to imagine. I’ve heard tell that in less than ten years, there will be no real movie stars and such, it will all be computer generated actors. And do you think that accountants haven’t felt the pinch since the birth of a computer application known as Turbo Tax?

But remember this, with all that will change in the future, you will look out of your window, as I did the other day, and see a tree that it glowing with yellow and red and you will realize what is essentially important; not the change; but how you adapt to the change. You either glory in the magnificence of what you are seeing or you just complain about the leaves on the ground.

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

Aunt Hester’s General Store: Part II: For Women Only-Men Not allowed to Read This

Ladies, sit down here with me and let’s have one more chat about this so-called War on Women. Before we start, help yourself to a few of my Double Dipped Dark Chocolate Bon Bons and a cup of coffee.

Now, for weeks on end, I’ve heard nothing but talk about this War On Women. What really got my dander up was a speech, given at the Democratic Convention by this woman, who has become a pseudo celebrity and she stood up at that convention and yammered on about how the Republicans are deliberately waging this war on women because they, the Republicans don’t want to pay for her birth control.

I did some research regarding the young woman and did you know that she is almost thirty years old and a law student and she’s complaining that she’s entitled to have her birth control paid for by the taxpayers? What has this world come to when we, as women, know darn right well that she pays more for her unmentionables that it cost her to pay for her own contraceptives! Maybe this woman needs to review some history and realize that if things had not been changed by women, she would have never seen the inside of a university. Women, for years weren’t even considered for Law or Medical Schools. For that matter, it was considered a waste for women to even attend high school.

War on Women! What in tarnation, does she know about that? She can vote because women fought for that right. She’s now entitled to many things because other women took responsibility for themselves and marched, stood together, did without, went to jail, lived years without being given credit for all the work and contributions they made to WWI and WWII, have worked for years being paid less for their work than men. Does she even have a clue that it wasn’t until 1920 and the 19th Amendment that allowed women to vote?

She doesn’t realize that it hasn’t been too long before there were laws enacted regarding Domestic Violence. Before that time, when police were called and a woman was found abused, the police just walked away as they told the couple that they needed to calm down and work their problems out. There were no Women’s Shelters and laws to protect women from the violence. And for years, when a man killed his wife, in most cases, it was regarded and Involuntary Manslaughter, and they served a few years in prison. But, if a woman killed her husband, is was Murder One and she would spend the rest of her life in prison!

It took years to get Maternity Leave so a woman to be able to come back to her job. Before that, if a woman got pregnant, she was let go. And it took many more years to get laws regarding Sexual Harassment because before that happened, women had to endure all manner of slurs and remarks just to keep their jobs. And even with the laws, it still goes on to this day.

Have any of us forgotten what happened when Elan Bobbit did a bit of surgery on her cheating, wife-beating husband? She threw the removed piece of his anatomy out of her car window as she drove down the highway and when she told the police, there were more men out searching for it than you could count. And yet, it takes hours to get enough people to get out and look for a missing child!

Young women are not entitled to have children they can’t take care of and someone needs to remind these young women that you don’t have a child because you want someone to love you. You have a child because you want to love and raise that child under the best possible conditions. I don’t know what I would do these days, but I suspect that I would be giving my daughters some type of Birth Control each day and telling them that it was a vitamin!

Do any of you realize that almost 50% of teenagers are having sex? And after all that’s been written, said, and shown about how difficult it is to have a baby, when you’re still a baby, young girls are not getting the message! And of course, young boys don’t have a clue, they just have an urge! Yes, the Double Standard is alive and well because if a young woman gets pregnant, she’s an irresponsible tramp and the young man is a stud muffin.

And these Right to Life People need to do something about the fact that in this world, one child between the ages of one and four, dies every four seconds. Did you know that the United States has the worst record of any Industrialized Nation when it comes to the death of children between the ages of one and four? And why don’t some of these Right to Life folks, adopt American children, instead of all these children from other countries? It seems that until we can solve the problem of unwanted children in this country, we don’t have a clue how to solve it in any other country!

Maybe much of this business regarding the War on Women got its start with too many preachers of any faith, believing that just because God created a man before he did a woman, that man is superior. Well, maybe God created a woman after He did a man because He realized, that He had not created what the world needed in order to survive.

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



Aunt Hester’s General Store: For Women Only-Men Not Allowed to Read This

As I was putting the final touches on my four-layer, really rich and creamy, double homicide, Chocolate Cake, it came to me, as I was licking the spoon, that a conversation that had just been finished in the General Store, needed to be shared with all you women out there. What we were discussing was the fact that it seems that the time has come for women to stop taking the blame for being the cause of some men’s inability to accept responsibility for their behavior.

This blaming women for the down fall of too many men, got its start in the Garden of Eden when Eve used her powers of persuasion to get Adam to eat from the tree of the Forbidden Fruit. And when Adam took a bite from that fruit, women have had to take the blame for Original Sin, being the temptress, the seducer, a user of feminine wiles, and the one that seems to have to accept all the responsibility for keeping themselves from getting pregnant.

There are dozens of birth control products on the market and heaps of controversy as to who should and shouldn’t have to pay for these products. Then comes the uproar regarding abortion and all that goes with that. And in most cases, if a young girl finds herself with child, she also finds herself with the responsibility of raising that child without a father.

Now, outside of the condom and the much feared Vasectomy, which when mentioned in a room of men, makes them even more nervous than a cat in a room filled with rocking chairs, there’s not much for a male to avail himself of to prevent getting someone pregnant. And come on ladies, how many young fellows or older men even let that thought creep into their minds when they’re being seduced and beguiled by all us wicked women working our charms?

On the contrary . . . there’s Viagra and Cialis, and other assorted enhancements to help the man with the dreaded Erectile Dysfunction. As it turns out, many younger men, without that problem, are using these products as recreational drugs. Not even caring that they can make you blind, give you a heart attack and cause serious damage to other parts of your body! We sent a man to the moon and we can’t come up with a Birth Control product for men? How much effort do you think has been devoted to the development of such a product?

And another thing, do any of you women think that after all the pain and suffering that rape, incest, and Pedophilia has caused after all these years, that any laws will ever get passed that would include Castration as a punishment for these horrible acts? Sure! That’s going to happen just as fast as a birth control pill for men.

For years, in these parts, and all over the world, women are not allowed to be preachers, priests, or to take leadership of churches and why? I’ve heard preaches say that it was because Jesus was a man and that all his Apostles were men. Well, Jesus was a Jew and then, women weren’t even allowed to be educated as men were. And yes, Jesus was a man, but God picked a woman, Mary to be his Mother! Yes, it’s said that woman came from a rib of Adam, but when it came time for Jesus to be born, God gave that honor to a woman!

Of course young women need to be responsible for not having children when they are children themselves, but young men need to be just as responsible not to make children, when they are still children. But it seems that young men are allowed to drop that responsibility for creating life because of the seductive nature of the female. As if males don’t have any control over themselves or an ability to be responsible for themselves, it’s always the fault, in most cases, of the female because she should have been raised better and not allowed it to happen. It’s never made an issue of the fact that the male wasn’t raised correctly. What is it they say? Oh, yes! They say, “Boys will be boys.”

Men can fight wars, move mountains, conquer the world, be preachers, priests, but when it comes to their decision making, they are just wimps when Salome dances around in her seven veils?

Fee, fee, fi, fi, fo-fo, fum

Look at Molly now, here she comes

Wearin’ her wig hat and shades to match

She’s got high-heeled shoes and an alligator hat

Wearin’ her pearls and her diamond rings

She’s got bracelets on her fingers, now, and everything.

Devil with the blue dress, blue dress, blue dress

Devil with the blue dress on

Devil with the blue dress, blue dress, blue dress

Devil with the blue dress on.

Darlings, when Adam was tempted, all he had to do was to accept his responsibility and say one word to Eve and that word should have been . . . NO!

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




Aunt Hester’s General Store: Back To School

Yes, school has started again and for the life of me, I have yet to see the advantage of beginning school until after Labor Day. There must be a reason and for whatever the reason, it hasn’t seemed to improve the standard of education. The United States is 27th in the world when it comes to education and it’s a shame that the State of Tennessee is very low in the ratings in the United States.

Be that as it may, the other day, I had just finished making a batch of my chocolate-triple-infused-chocolate chip cookies, when one of my steady customers came in, sat down, and I could tell from just looking at her that she was filled with troubles. So I brought her a cup of coffee and some of my fresh-baked delights and sat down with her for a talk.

It took a bit for her to say much but then she commenced to crying and after she was done telling me what was going on, I just sat back and tried to come up with something that would be of comfort. The upshot of the whole situation was this: Both she and her husband were working hard. He about fifty-five hours a week and she about fifty herself just to keep their household running. They have a son and daughter in highschool, a big mortgage and they are paying payments and insurance on four cars and a cell phone bill that runs upwards to four-hundred dollars a month. And to top it all off, she had just charged almost two thousand dollars, on her almost maxed out credit cards to get those two teenagers ready for school in the hope that both of them would do more with their time in school and make better grades.

Before I said much, I asked a few questions: Did both of her children need a car if they were going to the same school? Why was the cell phone bill so high? And what had she spent so much money on to get them ready for school? She told me that even though the school bus stopped a few doors away, all her children’s friends drove to school. That her children’s cell phone usage was what cost so much. Then she told me that her son and daughter had to have the latest shoes and such, just like the rest of their friends. I couldn’t believe my ears when she told me that she had paid almost two-hundred dollars for her son’s shoes and a hundred and fifty dollars for a pair of blue jeans for her daughter!

I drank my coffee and ate my tasty delights just to keep from losing my perspective. Once I’d settled down, I listened to her tell me that she and her husband were living from payday to payday and that it seemed that his hours were going to be cut back and she didn’t know how they were going to make it. She also let me know that the whole situation was harming her marriage and that she and her husband were growing apart, bill after bill.

Darlings, you and I both know that her lamenting is not just the odd story, it’s pretty much what has been going on with too many families for too long. So, I asked, “Why are you not being honest with yourself and your children and allowing them to not understand that money doesn’t grow on trees?” She replied, “I want my children to have more than I did and I don’t want them to go without. Or to feel they are deprived.”

I told her that when she was a child, how much did she do without? Did she have two loving and caring parents? Did she have clean clothes and wasn’t she expected to go to school and make something of that time without being bribed with a car and clothes? Didn’t she acquire a good work ethic and learn the meaning of the true worth of things? Had she and her husband not received a good education that had allowed both of them to go to work and provide for themselves? Weren’t there things expected of her?

She wiped her eyes, blew her nose, and said, “Yes. But I wanted more for my children, for things to be easier.” To which I said, “Darling, what more can give to your children but your love, interest, and protection. What more can you give your children than love with honesty and truth? Do your children have any idea that while you’ve been trying to keep up with the Jones’ that the Jones’ have filed for bankruptcy and that’s where you and your husband are heading? And have your forgotten that prosperity can’t be bought, it has to be earned?”

We talked for a spell and when she left, I really understood that she was going home and for the first time, she was going to have, what we of the “Older Generation” know as a “Come to Jesus Meeting!” Yes, I know that I’m old-fashioned but I believe that too many of our children are being cheated out of a future that they will be better equipped to handle if they learn early on, just what it costs to run a household and how they can contribute to the family.

They need to know that just because you wear a label on your clothing, doesn’t mean you are what the label represents. Yes, I know all about peer-pressure and the need to belong, and fit in. But I also know that if you build character in your child, you build character into their futures. And if you give a child, too much of what is NOT important when they are young, they end up not being able to get what IS important when they get older.

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