BYNG — Ask anyone what he is most thankful for when Turkey Day rolls around, and most will say “Family, friends, health, the freedoms we enjoy in the USA, etc.” Certainly, these are worthy things for which to be grateful,  but with a good three weeks to think about it, what is something that inspires an overwhelming gratitude for you?   Therein, I am sure, lie some interesting stories.  Tell me about them.  I’d like to devote a little space each week to your special ‘thanks.’

This thought  came to mind nearly four months ago when I met Candy Wampler, a certified nurse assistant, at Ada Retirement Center.   Knowing that I write a weekly column for the Ada Evening News, she  hesitantly said, “Could you maybe sometime write about the Special Education teachers at Glenwood?”

I stammered a bit and said, “Well, Candy, this is supposed to be a column about Byng people.  There’s no connection with Byng, is there?”

“No,” she admitted, “but I’d like them to know how much I appreciate them.  My son, Jacob, is autistic.  I didn’t know what was wrong with him; his doctor said he was ‘delayed’ when he couldn’t walk or talk at nearly three. He didn’t even make sounds that imitated words.  He went to re-hab at Valley View for a while, and that helped some with his muscles. When he turned three, I enrolled him in Glenwood Early Childhood Education.

“I think his progress has been miraculous.   He talks some now, and he runs, climbs stairs and does many things we couldn’t even hope for three years ago.  He’s six now, and they say he is comparable to a three-year-old,

“His teachers expect him to continue to progress although they assume he will always be delayed.    You can’t know, though, how appreciative I am for what they’ve enabled him to do.” 

His teachers are LaDonna Hill, Tina Davis, and Cindy Davis.  Angela Baltimore is his speech therapist.   Candy says these teachers and therapists have gone beyond the call of duty in working with Jacob.

Do you have something or someone to whom you owe a special debt of gratitude?  Tell us about it, and we’ll share your story. The people or situations  don’t necessarily have to be from Byng. 

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My nomination for Byng’s Most Romantic Husband goes, hands down, to our next-door neighbor, Richard Barron, who is married to our former daughter-in-law, Abby.  When they were married two years ago, they chose what he considered one of the most beautiful spots in the world, Arches National Park, and they’ve gone back to the area for their anniversary twice since then.

Last year, they made several stops on their way to Arches, but this year they drove through to Monticello, Utah, which is at the base of  the Abajo Mountains.   They took along two additions to their family, a pair of easy-traveling Chihuahuas who accompanied them on a hike  to the Native American ruins and natural bridge.  They drove to Muley Point overlooking  the San Juan River and to Valley of the Gods.  A guided Navajo tour of Monument Valley and a visit to Canyon Recreation area and the Anticlime Overlook provided scenes of breathtaking beauty.

Unfortunately, they made only a brief stop at Arches National Park where they were married two years ago.   This time they were turned back by a hailstorm.  No matter; it’s the thought that counts.

While the Barrons were away, Mitch, her nephew/son who makes his home with them, spent the week with his friend, Lejun Walls.  However, Lejun’s younger brother came down with a strep infection, and both boys spent the rest of the week with his grandparents, J.C. and Marcia Allen.

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Three people moved from the community this week whom we’ll miss.  Richard Watson moved five miles eastward to Francis.   His reason for moving is to be nearer his daughter, Linda West and her husband.  Richard has had some health problems in recent years and  Linda says she’d be more comfortable if he lived closer to them.  So, Richard is renting a house that is close to one in which he and his wife lived 15 years ago.   Mrs Watson passed away after they had lived a short time at Byng.   Those of us who are neighbors have been impressed with Richard’s housekeeping and culinary skills in his bachelor pad here. We’re going to miss him at church, and his cronies who drink coffee with him at the Byng grocery will feel his absence as well.

Herbert and Dorothy Stiles were exhausted after making a move this week from the home in which they had lived for 40 years into a smaller place in Ada, “out near the hospital.”   Both the Stiles have had health problems for the past few years.  They were involved in an auto accident that  caused numerous painful injuries from which they have been slow in recovering.  Since neither feels like driving the eight mile or so into town, they are glad to be closer to medical care.

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I think probably everyone in New Bethel Church made a bittersweet visit this week to bid goodbye to our good friend, Margaret Painter.  Doctors had told her the cancer that had invaded her heart was rare and aggressive.  There was no treatment available.  Margaret  knew death was approaching, and she was serene concerning herself, though she regretted the sorrow her family was experiencing.   I think all of us rejoiced with her that she was being relieved of suffering, and that she could look forward to a joyful end to her journey, but we sorrowed for her family and for ourselves because we were losing one of the kindest, most gentle friends we could ever have had.  We are all so thankful that we had the privilege of knowing her.

Margaret’s funeral was at l:00 p.m. Monday at Criswell Chapel.

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PAST (Preserving Area Stories in Time) has received a new shipment of the cookbook Recipes of Our Heritage.   I mentioned before that I considered the cookbook truly outstanding, not only because of the many treasured family recipes it contains, but also because of the stories that accompany many of the recipes.   The format of the book is unusual in that it is in a three-ring binder so additions can be made.  A plastic bookstand enables the user to stand the opened book upright during the process of assembling ingredients.

I was glad to learn that Dr. Ann Klepper who was responsible for the computer typesetting and formatting of the book entered Recipes of Our Heritage in a national cookbook contest, and she has been notified that it is in the top 10 entrants.  Final selection will be made in January.

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“Experiencing China” will be presented by Ruth Ann Taylor at the Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. at New Bethel Church.   She has a collection of slides and videotapes as well as a table displaying  products from that country.   She recently spent a week ton a mission trip there.  Her assignment was teaching conversational English in a middle school in Chefang, a city of 400,000 located in Inner Monogolia that has little tourist traffic.