Dorothy Milligan Byng Correspondent
After suffering several years of drought, most people in Pontotoc County readily concede that God has been good, very good, to us this summer. Just this past week we have had two blessed rains that have brought us between four and five inches of much-needed moisture, and more is predicted for next week. All we can say is POL (Praise the Lord!). We won’t complain about having to mow the ever-growing grass; we’re too pleased at having farm ponds that are brim-full.
I had a pleasant surprise last Tuesday. I was in the Village Beauty Shop, and Nancy, the beautician, was doing her best to work major miracles in my behalf when Susan Abbott came from the office escorting a tall, broad-shouldered African-American gentleman. He stood in front of me, grinning from ear to ear, saying, “Do you know who I am?”
I looked sharply and responded, "I surely do! You’re Bill Green!"
I had good reason to remember this man, for he had been an excellent speech student for his last two years at Byng High School. I remembered him not only for his excellence in speech but also for his unfailing courtesy. We were active in competitive speech on a state level, so before each speech met, we always met at night to practice, practice, practice. When we were finished, the kids would scatter like so many chickens. I stayed to put away props or equipment and to lock several doors. Bill, unlike the others, would stick around to help, and he always made sure my car started. The amazing thing was that these activities took place 45 years ago.
I had known that Bill aspired to attend seminary and become a Church of Christ minister. I kept up with his whereabouts through the late Odell Hightower who was custodian at Byng High School and was a good friend of Bill’s family. I knew when Bill went as a missionary to Africa, and I remember on two occasions he came home on furlough and preached at the Hammond Heights Church of Christ. My husband, George, and I went there to hear him. I lost touch with him after I retired in 1993.
Bill Green is now minister of a church in Conway, Ark. He had been speaker at Hammond Heights church last week, and he had visited Byng High School during that time. He learned my whereabouts there.
I was privileged to meet his wife and their fifth daughter, and we all had a really good visit.
Waiting is one of the hardest tasks most of us are called upon to perform. Our hearts go out to Dave and Jodi Jackson who have to wait until next week to learn what treatment will be prescribed for Dave’s recurring cancer. Last year Dave learned he had lung cancer in the bottom lobe of his left lung. He had surgery followed by chemo-therapy and was assured that he was free of cancer. During a recent vacation to the Black Hills he became ill, and his doctor ordered X-rays when he returned home. The tests revealed an enlarged lymph node near his collar bone. Because of Dave’s history with cancer, a PET scan was ordered which disclosed a further tumor in his left lung and several suspicious lymph nodes. He had surgery Friday to install a port and to remove numerous lymph nodes for biopsy. They hope to learn Monday what kind of treatment is most efficient in ridding his body of cancer.
Freda Flatt, former Byng resident, has returned to her home in Sulphur to recuperate from hip surgery. She suffered a broken bone in her hip (not a joint breakage) when she fell on a marble floor at the Veterans’ Center at Ardmore.
She was returning her husband, Bob Flatt, to the center. Bob, who is a resident at the center, stumbled and fell. Freda, who was holding his hand, was pulled down as well. Bob was unhurt, but Freda was not so fortunate. She had surgery in Ardmore, then came to Mercy Hospital in Ada for a week of rehabilitation. She is managing at home with assistance from home health and meals on wheels. Although she is doing well, she must wait six weeks for the hip to become strong enough for weight bearing.
Freda has been Ada Artists Association's artist of the month during July. Some 15 of her paintings have been on exhibit at Karen’s Art and Frame Shop in Ada. The one-woman show culminated with a reception for the artist on Tuesday, July 30, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Freda was able to attend the reception because her former student, Kelly Pennington Reed, brought a wheelchair and transported her to the gala affair. Freda explains that she had been selected for the show before her accident but had not made selections of paintings. Kelly and Loretta Yin, Ada artist, went to Freda’s studio, selected the portraits and hung them in the showroom. “For the first time in my life, I had no part in preparations for an exhibit. I’m very grateful to my friends and colleagues who made it possible for me to have this show."
New Bethel Church came to Baptist Village for its annual cook-out July 21. Dave and Debbie Painter did their usual good job of grilling hamburgers to the exact excellent degree of doneness. Lanny Sliger and Ruth Ann Taylor hand sliced tomatoes from his garden. Women of the church supplied homemade cookies and brownies. I’m indebted to Ruth Ann for making lemon bars for me.
The Rev. Dale Dunagan and son, Matthew, are moving this week to their former home at Newcastle. His wife, Tonya, is already there. She took her old job back as LPN at the Veterans’ Center at Moore. Dale is continuing to have severe headaches and is incapacitated for much of the time. However, he has survived the brain cancer that forced his resignation as pastor at New Bethel more than a year ago.
Richard and Abby Barron are at home at Byng now after spending several days in Baltimore, Md., visiting her daughter and son-in-law, Dawna "Chele" and Tom Reeves, and grandson, Paul Thomas Reeves. Richard was able to spend a great deal of time sight-seeing in Washington, D.C., and Abby was able to spend almost enough time visiting with little 2 1/2-year-old Paul.