Dear Editor,

I recently had a health scare. Believe me...I was scared. Vinton has an excellent ambulance service! They arrived immediately, and they were both professional and compassionate. When I was teaching in Kansas, I had the occasion to be in two different hospitals. One in Minneapolis, Kansas, and the other in Salina, Kansas. The Salina hospital was much larger than our hospital here. Our hospital, I think, is better. Dr. Meeker, the PAs, the nurses, and the aides took excellent care of me! Everything they did in helping me to get better was explained completely, and if I had any questions, they were answered. I developed a new respect for Dr. Meeker. And I know in my follow up, he will do what's best for me! We are extremely fortunate and blessed to have the Virginia Gay Hospital here in our small community.

Every day when I was in my bed or sitting in a chair in my room, I discovered and watched this huge pine tree across the way. Maybe only a retired English teacher can stare at a pine tree and notice its perfection. I pondered on how long it might have been there and why the weather had left it so unscathed. Had children played games under its branches? Had someone taken the time from their busy life to read a classic written years and years before. [It was under such a tree where I was first introduced to The Great Gatsby at Robert Morris College in the spring of 1967.] Had someone had a picnic lunch underneath the branches and realized that their peanut butter and jelly sandwich was the best one ever? Did two lovers share a first kiss without anyone stealing that special moment? In my mind, the possibilities were both endless and exciting!It may sound crazy, but that tree made an impression on me and may have changed me for the better! Yesterday, I laughed with good friends. And I didn't watch the ABC Nightly News with David Muir or check the Fox News online before I went to bed. Do I still care about Ron DeSantis becoming the president of the United States? Heck, yes!! [Check my yard and driveway.] BUT I look at it this way now. I'm 75...Biden is 81...Trump is 77. Unlike the Rocky series, I can guarantee there will not be a BIDEN-TRUMP #3!! That thought brings me an "AH" and some peace of mind. I am now on the first step of my next big adventure. I'm selling this big old house and moving into an efficiency apartment. Everything there will be my favorite things like all the pictures of my grandparents from when they read little golden books to me and when I filled Grandpa's pipe with Prince Albert tobacco; pictures of my precious brother Bob and me [Hes been gone 20 years.]; pictures of my kids at various ages; my two Joe Paterno autographed footballs; and a table and chairs where a dear neighbor and I had coffee every Monday and Thursday afternoons before he passed away., and so on. I want to take walks and be as stress-free as I can be in my little home.We never know when God will decide that it's our last day here. All of us rush around like hamsters in a wheel. I'd love to spend the time I have left appreciating all the marvelous times I've been given by God. Can't say there haven't been some times I'd like to forget, but they were there for a reason. I became a teacher at 41, and I got to do something I had always wanted to do: Coach the girls' junior varsity basketball team. I'll never forget our first win. I remember so many of the outstanding kids I had the privilege of teaching literature and writing skills to. [When you have students from 7th through 12th grade, you get to see them mature to young adults.] Those years and memories are great to look back on!!I guess in the scheme of things, it's not worth getting upset about Joe Biden or Donald Trump. Takes too much time away from the grand moments of our lives here on this great earth. Yes, we all have a way we'd like things to be, but are they more important than our families and our friends? It doesn't take any energy at all to smile and say "Hi' to a person downtown. Tell someone that you care. So...When do pleasant thoughts arrive? Maybe when you spot that perfect pine tree!Peggy Kelley


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CB June 21, 2023, 2:55 pm Why was it necessary to mention your political opinions in this otherwise pleasant essay?
SG June 21, 2023, 4:02 pm CB
Why not? It's her letter...
GB June 22, 2023, 9:51 pm Thanks for sharing PK. Hope you are on the road to fully recovering.
KG June 23, 2023, 4:13 pm PK your last paragraph is spot on of what my feelings are. My pine tree is a beautiful red cardinal that I've seen almost everyday for almost 6 years. Don't waste time on the negative. Enjoy the positive in life, whatever that is for you! I enjoyed your article. It is refreshing. Have a great day.
IK June 25, 2023, 5:26 pm That was a wonderful, uplifting letter PK. And to CB she didn't mention anything about either candidate that was in appropriate. She mentioned their ages (along with hers) and we'll probably have a Biden-Trump rematch. Nothing political
IK June 25, 2023, 5:29 pm Excuse me. She did mention Ron Desantis.
PK June 27, 2023, 10:01 am Thank you for ALL the positives!! Yes...I must admit that I did sneak R.D. in. Oops!! Must have seen a campaign button under a tree limb. [SMILE!!]