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I have been away from writing this column for so long I hardly know where to start. I became sick on Nov. 15 and entered the hospital on Nov. 17. I had previously finished 10 radiation treatments which resulted in me developing a horrible case of thrush. I have never had anything so painful as that. I did not know it was a side effect of radiation, so I just thought it was a sore throat.

I also had a really bad UTI. I was really, really sick. The doctors didn’t know if I would survive. I came home on Dec. 1 with the help of Home Health and therapy. At the beginning of therapy, I could barely stand. But, after 3 weeks, I have gotten my strength back and am doing well. I hope to begin weekly chemo treatments on Dec. 31 in St. Joe. I don’t look forward to it, but it is my next form of treatment. I don’t know how many treatments I will need. I appreciate your good thoughts and prayers during my treatments.

I appreciate the many get well cards and Christmas cards I have received. I only get out for doctors’ appointments, so I enjoyed the mail so much. I also appreciate the Meals on Wheels I receive at noon Monday-Friday. They are delicious and usually enough for supper, too. Thank you Judy Allen and the guys who deliver it to my door.

We are losing a business, but we have also gained a new business. Rocky and Carly Ruhnke are closing the Stop and Shop on the west edge of Highland, and Harry and Arlene Smith have opened Ernie’s BS. The college students will miss the Stop and Shop with the laundromat. I have heard good reports about the food served at Ernie’s, so we have another place to eat. Also, I have heard that Highland is to be getting a Dollar General store on Main Street. The dorm (Ellis Hall, I think) is to be torn down and the DG will be built there. Highlanders will appreciate having a DG.

Christmas was different for our family this year, but it probably was for you, too. For the first time in 57 years, I didn’t get together with my kids and grandkids on Christmas day. We played it cautious as each family had their own gathering. I went to Michael’s and Judy’s for brunch on Christmas Eve and to Mary’s and Sherman’s for brunch on Christmas day. Other kiddos stopped by my house that evening.

I became the great-grandmother of Stockton Earl Smith, son of Jake and Sarah Smith, on December 18. He was 2 months early, but he weighed 6 lb. & 4 oz. He is still at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, but is doing very well. If he would have been full term, he would have been a big newborn. Jake and Sarah drive to St. Luke’s every day to snuggle with him. Our prayers are he will be able to come home soon.

My sympathy to Jeanette Simpson and her family at the loss of her son Rick last week. Rick was a great guy who loved to laugh and he was a hard worker. He will be greatly missed by his family and all who knew him.

My chemo treatments are getting a little more intense and make me feel yucky for several days after treatment. I don’t have anything to do, so I just go with being lazy and lying around. By the time the next treatment comes around, I feel pretty good. I get a week off on the 21--no treatment--so I may feel good for a longer amount of time. I do enjoy visiting with Karla Diveley because we have chemo on the same days.

Stockton Earl Smith--preemie baby boy of Jake and Sarah Smith--was released from St. Luke’s Hospital yesterday, Sunday, Jan. 10. He was born Dec. 18 and has been at St. Luke’s since then. Westyn--Stockton’s half-brother--is both excited and nervous about Stockton coming home. Westyn hasn’t had to share Mom or Dad or Gramma or Gramma or anyone. The biggest adjustment will be with him. Westyn goes to Troy Grade School every day, so he’ll get a break. I think he’s afraid that Stockton will cry all day. They’ll become good buddies, I am sure.

I watched in disbelief as rioters stormed the capitol building in Washington, D.C. last Wednesday. At first, I didn’t think they would break in or destroy anything. Tears came to my eyes as they smashed windows and doors to gain entry to steal whatever they wanted. A lady rioter was shot and killed. Why? What did all of that prove? She was a 35-year-old Air Force veteran. She served our nation and died a shameful death. Why? Many of the guilty are being arrested and prosecuted. I think the guilty should be sent to federal prison for the rest of their lives.

Those who thought the 2020 election was rigged waited too long to bring forth proof. So, please don’t continue to cause trouble--let’s get through the next 4-years by working peacefully together to make America a place where God will shine His grace of us once again.

Happy New Year to each of you!

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