THE IDLE AMERICAN: Faith along the way

Published 12:12 am Saturday, April 18, 2020

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Don Newbury

If bodies grew weary of exercising, two of my friends–Dr. Lanny Hall in Abilene and Katheleene Green in Burleson–would be too sore to stand up. Truth to tell, Katheleene has been a devotee to physical exercise much longer. She attains age 100 come July 18.

Dr. Hall, three decades her junior, has never been keen on physical exertion, but exercising deep faith this year has been rewarding, perhaps even lifesaving. That counts, too.

Diagnosed with lymphoma in December, he has been treated in Abilene and Houston. On March 24, his M. D. Anderson Hospital oncologist declared the lymphoma to be in remission, head-to-toe, 100%.

Someone said Katheleene is “avid about all good things.” Also an “overcomer,” she fooled doctors a while back. Widowed 28 years ago, she has lived independently ever since, despite suffering a fall in her yard half-a-dozen years ago. (Until that time, she had done all of her own yard work.)

Katheleene was unconscious for almost a month, and doctors told her son and daughter that she’d need to be in a care center the “rest of the way.”

She disagreed, voluntarily giving up driving about the same time. She remains otherwise independent, cleaning house, cooking and remaining a good citizen.

Hall, serving a quarter-century as president of Wayland, Howard Payne and Hardin-Simmons Universities, likewise seeks life’s “sunny sides.”

Serving three terms in the legislature–plus his years in education–he is dedicated to the max.

He has always looked and sounded like a distinguished leader, but when he “klutzes things up,” there’ve been some “lulu’s.”.

Before a recent trip to Houston, his H-SU colleagues sent him off with a top-of-the-line face mask. He decided he’d wear it when he checked in for treatment the next day.

“That’s a great face mask,” the attending nurse said. He thanked her for noticing.

But, her answer stung: “It will work better if you put it on right side up.” (Dr. Hall can take it as well as dish out. He didn’t have to tell anyone about this “flub.”).

Katheleene also crams much into her days. For example, she sews, reads, and walks, plus cooks for her children and their families every Sunday. When there’s a death at the church, she usually bakes two pies–one of which is always coconut–for the bereaved family. She is envied by throngs, including friends Earl and Helen Knox, with whom Katheleene rides to church each Sunday. (“Why don’t you make pie crusts from scratch?” Earl asks Helen. Her response: I’m NOT Katheleene.”)

Right now, Mrs. Green is making face masks for her friends. Last year she made four king-size quilts, all “pieced and quilted” by hand.

The oldest living member of her church, she walks two miles daily on the track there. When the church is closed, she walks for an hour at her home, figuring it to be about the same distance..

Back to the topic of “klutziness.” I can hold my own in this department.

Learning about Katheleene’s making quilts “the old-fashioned way,” I keenly remember when my limited knowledge of quilt-making let me down. Attending a fund-raiser in El Paso a few decades ago, I needed to participate in the women’s auxiliary auction held annually to support a college extension center. I spent $150 for four quilts, somewhat proud not only for “helping out,” but also taking home gifts my wife would love. (They barely fit in the plane’s overhead bin.)

I rolled on about how the ladies must have spent hours at the quilting frame.

Unimpressed, Brenda asked, “Why do the labels say ‘made in Taiwan’?”

My soul is refreshed with thoughts of Easter and of friends like Katheleene and Lanny.

They’ll meet soon, and hit it off, for sure.

And Lanny’ll impress his wife, “Nurse Carol,” if he learns Katheleene’s quilting skills. First, he has to build the frame.


Dr.Newbury is a former educator who writes weekly and is a longtime public speaker. Comments/speaking inquiries to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: Twitter: @donnewbury. Facebook: don newbury.