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Woman The County


Hill Country Pools & Spas 1500 Junction Hwy, Kerrville, TX 78028

830-895-4055 Woman The County



Editor in Chief - Freya Pruitt Graphic Design - Avalon Media, Dezign Concepts Editor’s Assistant- Mary Lynn Francis Cover Story-

Guest Writers - Bill Barnes, Chris Forks,

Rue McClanahan

A new book, a new TV series - a whole new life after “Golden Girls”. A rare and intimate look into what makes this great lady tick ...

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Retirement NOT on Birdie M. Hale’s Horizon

A facinating story of an incredible woman whos acting career spans over six decades! At 95, this star is an inspiration to those who might think retirement is “mandatory”...

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The Event that Changed the World

What is Christmas really about? Experience the birth of Christ right out of the Bible and discover how God used the relationship between two women that would eventually affect the course of history around the globe...

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A Father and His Son

A touching true story of respect, loyalty and the power of love that created an unbreakable bond between father and son, one that transcended a biological connection...

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A True Texas Treasure: Dr. Carlee Buford

A pet lover’s dream vet! With a loving heart and a dedication to the welfare of animals, her innovative and successful approach is giving new hope to many pet owners...

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Jenny Forks is On The Move!

You won’t believe the talent and determination of this 25 year old superstar of her self-created jewelry empire! Success has her on the move and there’s no looking back for this dynamo...

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Where is Ellis Island When We Need It?

A true story of a little 8 year old girl who arrived at Ellis Island from Russia in 1930 - alone! Look back in time through the eyes of someone who genuinely earned the title “American”...

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The Gift

A story of love and loss. A story of encouragement and truth. A story that reveals the power of love between a man and woman that couldn’t be destroyed, even by death...

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Woman The County


CWM Published by Write Right Publications

Publisher - Freya Pruitt Distribution - Cox, UAM For more information, or to advertise with CWM, contact

County Woman Magazine P.O. Box 294592 Kerrville, Texas 78029

830-257-5619 email: countywomanmagazine@ The County Woman Magazine is published bimonthly and available free of charge at numerous locations and by paid subscription. Tradmark and U.S. Copyright laws protect The County Woman Magazine of the Hill Country. No part of this paper may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. The County Woman Magazine is not responsible for any editorial comment (other than its own), typographical errors from advertisements submitted as camera ready or any reproductions of advertisements submitted as camera ready. If an advertisement does not meet our standards of acceptance, we may revise or cancel at any time, whether or not it has been already acknowledged and/or previously published. The advertisement does not meet our standards of acceptance we may revise or cancel at any time, whether or not it has been already acknowledged and/or previously published. The advertiser assumes sole responsibility for all statements contained in submitted copy and will protect and indemnify The County Woman Magazine, its owners, publishers, and employees, against any and all liability, loss, or expense arising out of claims for libel, unfair trade names, patents, copyright and propriety rights, and all violations resulting from the publication by this magazine or its advertising copy. Publisher shall be under no liability for failure, for any reason, to insert an advertisement. Publisher shall not be liable by reason or error, omission and/or failure to insert any part of an advertisement. Publisher will not be liable for delay or failure of performance in publication and/or distribution if all or any portion of any issue is delayed or suspended for any reason. The publisher will exercise reasonable judgment in these instances and will make adjustments for the advertiser where and when appropriate. The County Woman Magazine assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material or reproductions made by advertisers.

Representations by The County Woman Magazine Copyright 2005-2007

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!

Woman The County



Retirement NOT on Birdie M. Hale’s Horizon At 95 years young, this star of stage, screen and film is an inspiration to those who might think retirement is “mandatory” BY FREYA PRUITT & MARY LYNN FRANCIS “Well, for my part, that’s one thing I like about being an actress, you never retire,” says Birdie M. Hale who, on October 21, 2007, turned 95 years young, and is a well-known actress. “I was a young actress and now I am an old (actress). Retiring means that you worked for 20 years at a job that you really didn’t like but you that had to keep in order to earn a living. So, you save your money and you work and you retire to do something that you have always wanted to do. Okay, I have been doing what I wanted to do all my life, so what would I retire to?” Birdie goes on to say, “I have never ‘worked.’ I have always made a good living and I love what I am doing. So, I am not working. I am living and loving what I do.” Birdie’s life-long career in acting allows her to use her God-given talents. This keeps her going, keeps her happy and energized. She has always pursued the acting career that she has loved and has no current plans to “retire.” She gives the following advice to the “so-called” older person that has had a regular job their whole life who is making plans to retire: “Prepare your finances so you can finally do what you have dreamed of doing all your working life.” She views her age as a blessing now and doesn’t have to worry about how her rent is going to be paid or where her next meal is coming from. She says the “older person like herself’ has it made.” However, Birdie will be quick to tell you, “These offers from different retirement homes with activities that don’t attract me at all. First of all, I don’t swim and I don’t ride horses and I don’t do any of the things they have in these ‘so-called’ assisted living places. I don’t need that, I don’t need somebody to tell me to go for a walk or a swim. And, for sure, I don’t want anybody fawning over me. And, to me, that’s what these places amount to.” So, instead, Birdie enjoys the New York apartment that she has lived in for the past 31 years and still goes out on auditions to continue plying the trade she has worked at since she was a young girl. Many of our readers may remember Birdie from a well-known Campbell’s Chunky Soup commercial where she plays Reggie White’s mother. Or, you may recognize her from the Eddie Murphy smash hit, “Coming to America.” In this well-known film, Birdie played the passenger on the train to whom Eddie Murphy’s character gives a pair of diamond earrings when he had been rejected by his on-screen love and Birdie’s character tells him, “Well, if you really are a prince, I’ll marry you!” Birdie says, “Working with Eddie Murphy was just absolutely wonderful. He is so funny. When we were filming this scene, I had


Woman The County


no idea that those earrings were real. So, when he put them in my hand and I realized they WERE real, I almost fell on the track. He was saying to me, ‘now wouldn’t it be funny if somebody came and mugged you?’ We were laughing but we were trying not to show it because the camera was on us. They had security standing off camera to take those earrings when we were through with the scene.” “The earrings were real and everything in that movie was real. Even the rose petals that the king stepped out on were real. All the locations were real; they were really in Africa, really in the Waldorf Astoria and really in Queens. I think they spent about $38 million dollars making it. It was a big hit and this role brought attention to me in movies.” When asked how many movies and television shows she had been in she says, “Oy, I don’t think I can remember them all!” The distinguished list includes: “Law And Order: SVU,” “A Lot Like Love,” “Pieces of April,” “Blind Faith,” “Die Hard: With A Vengeance,” “Juice,” “A Rage in Harlem,” “The Cosby Show,” “Loving,” “Magic Sticks,” “Fire with Fire” (aka Captive Hearts), “Death Wish 3,” “Neil Simon’s Only When I Laugh” and “Eddie Murphy Raw.” Her acting career has lasted, Birdie believes, because, “I am very versatile. One has to be able to do more than one thing. I was a dancer and a singer and an actress and a musician and I also sew. I am a professional dressmaker. I make all of my clothes by hand, with needle and thread… not by machine. So, I can go backstage and be in wardrobe. However, I would rather be on stage for $500 than backstage for $5000 because I have an insatiable need to be seen and heard. I must…. it is so paradoxical because I know I am good but I want to always be told. I never get enough of ‘showing off.’ I would never want to be a director because I don’t want to teach somebody to do what I do. I always try to do a character in my own way. You know, you always take a part of yourself into a character and I always made a point of doing my own little original thing that no one else could do. I think that ‘super-ego’ has really helped me especially since getting into this business can be very hard.” “As performers, we consider ourselves superior, if I may. After all, I do some things that, say, the little secretary that works all week, saves her money and buys a ticket to come and see me do something she can’t do. And, I know that. Her approval is important to me. And, I love being recognized when I am walking on the streets of New York!”

“I am not like those ‘stars’ who don’t want to be recognized and who put on a red coat and a yellow hat and a pink dress and boots up to their knees and a skirt so short they can’t sit down and have a cat in a wagon and dark glasses. Now, that is stupid, they purposely want the attention! When I am recognized, I am so happy! Little children, seven years old recognize me. I did Coming to America, 19 or 20 years ago, and these young children still know who I am. They have seen the movie and they even know what I said. That is a great compliment. I was 75 years old when I did Coming to America. As you know, I am 95 now.” When asked about the outrageous attention today’s “superstars” get from the paparazzi, Birdie has a ready answer, “Why it is ridiculous! What’s so super about them? What are they doing? All due respect, I don’t see any real talent. First of all, their hair is in their eyes and they come on and they brush the hair out of their eyes and you can’t understand a word they say. That’s not talent. But if you aren’t that type today, you can’t get hired. But, they are really not hiring ‘talent.’” Before her film credits began to roll, Birdie was trained for the stage. “I graduated from the New York Academy of the Performing Arts. My love is the theatre. I would give anything to have a job in the theatre. I have an insatiable need for that live audience. Nothing takes the place of a live audience because you know instantly whether or not they like you and whether or not they continue to like you. So, when working on stage, you have an opportunity to build on your performance each time. I did 13 productions of ‘Showboat’ as Queenie and every one of them was different. You work with different people, perform in different places and you can always improve on your performance. This is not so, if you do a movie or television or a commercial. That’s it. When they put it together, it’s always the same. You don’t have a chance to grow. As time went on, there were no parts for my type so the commercials and films evolved from my on-stage training.” But where, one wonders, did Birdie come by her versatile talent? Once again, Birdie is more than willing to tell you her story. And for Birdie, the story begins with her family, “They were all musi-

cians but I was the actress. I was always very melodramatic about everything. I saw myself as being a very serious actress.” The amount of varied talent in Birdie’s family is a story in itself. “I’m the fourth child of ten. Everyone calls me ‘Miss Birdie.’ My mother said I looked like a bird when I was born, so that’s what she named me. My dad (among other things) was a professional banjo player. The oldest child, my brother George, worked a short time for Disney. He won a contest with his drawings. So, he worked a short time for Disney. Then he left and joined the Merchant Marines. My sister, Betty, my one older sister was a chef. She did table settings for ‘House and Gardens.’ Later, she was in charge of the kitchen at Sandpoint Naval Base. And another of my older brothers, you see I had two older brothers and only one older sister, well, he was my dance partner, played the saxophone and was an athlete. He played football and baseball and everything. Then, the next brother whom we called Juni (?), (his name was Wilbur.) was a professional drummer. He had been invited to play with the Duke Ellington (band). Actually, we had two drummers in the family. Brother Arthur was a drummer with his own band.

teach me all of the string instruments! So, at this point, I played 9 different instruments. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2000. So, I haven’t kept up with my playing – it was such a terrible, terrible blow – his passing.” As hard as the loss of her long-time teacher and friend, Abe Mandel was to Birdie, she has endured more than her share of losses. “I have survived my mother, my father, my husband, five brothers and their wives, four sisters and their husbands. I am the only one left of 10 children. I have no siblings left. I feel sadness. I would prefer that my immediate family not to be dead. But, I am also a very private person. I can be alone in a

“And one day shortly after that, I got a phone call. The caller said, ‘I understand you want to learn how to play the banjo.’ I said, ‘Yes, how did you know that?’” He told me that Maxine had called him. So, he introduced me to Abe Mandel because he saw that I really want to learn to play the banjo.” “At that time, I had very long nails because I used to model my hands. Abe gave a sample test of the banjo and didn’t say anything about my nails. I knew what he was thinking. And I knew I couldn’t play the banjo with nails like that. Later, after we got acquainted, he said that he didn’t think that I would ever come back because I had beautiful hands and nails and he didn’t think I would cut them off to play. But I did. And, I had such a great ear for music that Abe decided to

Birdie believes that this peace comes from the wonderful way she was raised and her strong, Christian parents. “My dad was good at everything. He had great, great talent. As I said he could play music on anything. He was happy and he was kind and very, very wise. And, my mother! I just don’t know how any of us got here, she was so pure! I can remember when my mother would not let my dad see her nurse one of the babies. And she wouldn’t let our brothers see us change our dolls’ diapers. She lived by God. She always said, ‘take your troubles to the Lord and leave them there. Stay out of his way and let him work.’” The faith that has sustained Birdie throughout her life has come from, “Doing what my mother said to do. If an issue or problem arises then I do the very best I can about it. Because no matter what your plans are, ‘Man proposes and God disposes.’ It is going to come out God’s way, in His time and He’s never late. We can ask for things but we will get what we are supposed to have.” That strong faith can be hard for a lot of people. “I have had it happen to me many times. Problems have come up that I just didn’t know what to do about. So, I just let them go and forget them. Then, it will be resolved in some way! And, I will say to myself, ‘I never thought of that!’ I listen to this small voice, and I believe that is God talking to me. For instance, if I am going out someplace, and something tells me don’t go this way, go some other way. And, it’s for a reason. I’ll meet somebody that I haven’t seen that I haven’t seen in years or something happens in the area that I was going to go into. And that little voice that talks to you is God.”

Sister Beulah was with the Conservatory of Music in San Francisco for years. She was a Doctor of Music in classical and jazz. She had a professional career and taught music too! Jessica was in real estate and banking. She worked on world computers. She was a walking encyclopedia of information. The baby of the family was a registered nurse and a pianist also. Although Birdie was a self-professed actress from a young age, she eventually opened herself to the “musical genes” she inherited from her family. “I didn’t start playing any music until I was 68 years old. It was just one of those things. I was doing a standby for the late Maxine Sullivan on Broadway. I was at rehearsal and she was sitting in on it. We were talking and she was telling us she played the trumpet and two other instruments! I said that I thought I would like to play the banjo like my dad. He could play anything.”

and I go right to sleep!’”

crowd. And the only type of crowd I like is an audience! I am definitely a loner, but I never feel lonesome. I enjoy myself. I can always find ways to entertain myself. Sometimes I just sit and do nothing. Sometimes, I’ll just turn off thinking and relax completely or maybe I’ll just sing to myself or play one of my instruments. I really don’t need someone else. We are born alone, we die alone…why can’t we live alone?” Birdie feels that that her ability to be alone is surely based on her personal relationship with God. “I really think God has some kind of plan for me. I am in good health. I am just old. I am not on any medications. I always say, ‘I am old, healthy and happy.’ Sometimes I just talk out loud when I go to bed at night. I just say, ‘Dear God, you take care of everybody and everything. I say that only you know what we need and you give it to us

“I know that God is going to take care of everything. It is just a blind faith. We were brought up like that. My mother was so Baptist, she didn’t even like us to play with Methodist children! My dad was a die-hard Republican. My mother was just the opposite – she was a Democrat. She said that when you go in the booth, you could vote for anybody. But to keep peace at home, she never mentioned any Democrats so there was never any conflict or anything.” “Well, I feel like I am not in this world. That I am outside looking in on it and it is just incredible,” Birdie says about today’s world and its evolution in her lifetime. “I can’t believe the things that are going on. It is a completely different environment; even words mean a different thing. For instance, now they say, ‘Oh, that’s funky.’ When I was growing up, if someone said, ‘you are funky,’ it would mean you hadn’t taken a bath. Right? And, they say, ‘Oh, he’s bad!’ Now that means you are famous. But if you had said that when I was growing up, you had done something wrong. Our words are completely foreign. I have been on the bus listening to these youngsters talk and they are talking English but I don’t understand a thing they are saying. They are using the same words

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Woman The County



GEORGE WASHINGTON’S PRAYER FOR THE NATION Written at Newburg, June 8, 1783 Sent to the Governors of all the States

Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large. And finally, that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplications, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A PRAYER OF PENITENCE Almighty and most merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from Thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and the desires of our own hearts. We have offended against Thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done; and there is no health in us. But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare Thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore Thou those who are penitent, according to Thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for His sake, that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, to the glory of Thy Holy Name. Amen.


Woman The County


Woman The County



The Event That Changed The World

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”

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What is Christmas really about? Experience the birth of Christ right out of the Bible and discover how God used the relationship between two women that would eventually affect the course of history around the globe... by Freya Pruitt How many of us know the real story of Christmas? The events leading up to Jesus’ birth are fascinating. How DID a virgin conceive and give birth to a person who would change the world forever? Why was Jesus born; what was and is His true purpose? Who is Jesus? How does He function in today’s world? There is only one true story. The facts of history speak for themselves. The word of God is alive and tells a story through His spirit. It is the greatest story ever told. It is… the story of… Jesus… The Son of God.

Matthew 1:18-25: “Now the birth of Jesus is as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold an angel of The Lord appeared to him in a dream saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated “God with us.” Then Joseph, being aroused from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn son. And he called His name JESUS.” Now you might be wondering, how is this all possible? How was Mary prepared for this great event? Who told her not to be afraid? Did she know what was going to happen to her? Did she accept her destiny and how did she feel about it? Continue reading - your questions will be answered.

Luke 1:26-38: Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the most Highest: and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called The Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing

will be impossible.” Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of The Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. You see, dear readers, God is always perfect in His ways. Mary was prepared and educated by the angel so she would know what was to come. She agreed and accepted the will of God in her life. God puts people in our daily walk to be living examples of what His mighty power can do. It is through the power and boldness of faith that the Holy Spirit manifests and brings about miracles in the most unexpected ways. Mary was able to see a living example of a miracle in her relative’s, Elizabeth’s, life. How did the example of Elizabeth’s miracle affect Mary? Continue reading, you will be amazed!

Luke 1:5-26: “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years. So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order

of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many for the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” After Zacharias days of service were completed in the temple, he departed to his own house. Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months saying, “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” The angel Gabriel told Zacharias what was going to happen to Elizabeth. Gabriel knew Zacharias did not truly believe him, even after he explained “he stood in the presence of God.” After Elizabeth conceived she knew the Lord had dealt with her. She believed but could not share her words with her husband as he had become mute because he did not believe what the angel Gabriel told him. “Behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” Once again the power of belief and agreement between believers is emphasized through a living example. The story of Christ’s birth is generally told from a mystical and dramatic viewpoint. But it is very clear how specific events leading up to His birth demonstrate how an attitude of faith works in our lives today. As the story continues, we discover that Ceasar Augustus decreed that the world should be registered through a census. Joseph went to Bethlehem to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. Imagine how the people of that time looked at Mary’s situation!

Luke 1:39-57: “Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with

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Woman The County



The Event That Changed The World

“...Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told to her from the Lord.” a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed , as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told to her from the Lord.” And Mary said, “my soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has great things for me, and holy is His name. And His Mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.” And Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months, and returned to her house. Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son, and they named him “John.” A great transformation happens when a person experiences faith through works. There was no way Elizabeth could deny the fact of her conception and the eventual birth of her son John. We all know that it is virtually impossible for a woman of Elizabeth’s age to give birth to a child. Validation of faith manifested, was shared between Elizabeth and Mary. Both women prophecied to one another and agreed in spirit and words that God had materialized in their lives. Each lifted the other up in spirit and in heart. When Elizabeth says, “blessed is she who believes,” Mary responds in kind by saying, “my soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit magnifies the Lord.” The power of agreement between believers becomes obvious between Mary and Elizabeth. It leaves one to ponder: if Mary accepted the will of God and bonded with Elizabeth in faith, then why can’t we? There is a special interaction between believers. I believe

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the power of agreement through total faith in Jesus Christ can release the power of the kingdom of Heaven. After all, when Jesus teaches us how to pray in Matthew, He is perfectly clear when He says, “on earth as it is in heaven.” Continue reading, as the miracle birth of the Son of God is manifested to the world.

Luke 2:1-21: And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went out to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the

city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Matthew 2:1-23: Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in

Continued on Page 14

Woman The County



The Event That Changed The World

“...and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.” Continued from Page 12 the East and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’” Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then, being divinely warned in a dream they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” Matthew 2:19:

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Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Arise, take the young child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.” When Jesus was born, the world experienced God manifested in the flesh. Jesus IS the dividing line. He is the same today as he was 2,000 years ago. The story of Jesus’ birth, is a written account of the event that changed the world forever. In John 14:6 Jesus speaks to His disciples; “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” In my opinion, those are the most profound and life changing words in the bible. The story of Christ’s birth, and the events surrounding them are factual and fascinating at the same time. My heart’s desire, would be that His words will speak to your heart. The relationship between Mary and Elizabeth is profound, yet rarely discussed. God always seems to come full circle in His perfection. These two women witnessed a living miracle. Mary, a virgin, gave birth to the Son of God. His name was

Jesus. Elizabeth, barren and in her old age, also gave birth to a son; his name was John, “JOHN, THE BAPTIST,” who would one day baptize Jesus in the River Jordan. Luke 3:16-17: John spoke to the people: “I indeed baptize you with water, but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worth to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” Luke 3:21-22: When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the Heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “YOU ARE MY BELOVED SON; IN YOU I AM WELL PLEASED.”

About Larry Jackson Larry specializes in American Victorian antiques and related decorative arts. He has assembled and sold some of the largest and finest collections of John Henry Belter furniture known. He has also assembled extensive collections of Mt. Washington Glass, Wave Crest, American silver and Tiffany glass and lighting. He works with a national network of other experts in the art and antique world.

Ebonized Pine Cabinet decorated with gold incising & white Carrera marble. The front panels feature 19th century art work. circa 1880-1890

214 west main Fredericksburg texas 78624 830-997-0073

Black Forrest Buffet Cabinet with game and oral motif, Circa 1870

Woman The County



A Different Look at

Rue McClanahan Successful, famous and revered - but her greatest gift could just be her golden heart... Interview by Freya Pruitt

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over there until 1948. I spent 4 years in that wonderful house. Then, I went up to Tulsa to go the University. So, I was Oklahoma all the way! Freya: Did you always know, even as a small child, that you were going to be a performer? Rue: Yes, when I was in kindergarten at 5 years old, we put on a production. It was an afternoon performance for the parents called, “Three Little Kittens” and I played the mother cat. I took it very seriously. The other little girls in the play were all giggling, and it made me very upset. I didn’t say, but I thought, “We are not giggling little girls performing for parents, we’re cats! We should be cats now.” I liked the idea of transforming myself into another character. Freya: When did you move to New York?

Freya: Rue, I am going to ask you some questions. The way I would like to proceed is on a very personal basis, to let people know who you really are…your precious sweet self! You were born in Oklahoma correct? Rue: I was born in southern Oklahoma. I was born in Healdton that was a little oil town of about 35,000 people in the 1930’s. I am not sure what my dad was doing at that time, but I don’t think he was working in oil, I think he just happened to locate there. Anyway, my mother had moved there to work when she was 16. This was her first job and she and my dad met there. He was able to do all kinds of different things. He was a carpenter, and learned that skill in his boyhood. My parents met, fell in love, got married, and ten months later, I was born. Healdton was just a darling little town and I had a happy five and a half years there. Then, we moved next to Lafayette, Louisiana. At the time, my father was working on building roads; called “corduroy roads.” I went to school there, spent some time in Louisiana and went to second grade in Houston, Texas. Following this, we moved back to Duran, Oklahoma. We stayed there all through the World War II years. That was a wonderful place as well; southern Oklahoma once again – it’s the head of the Choctaw Nation. It was a wonderful, lazy little town of about 15,000. I made great friends there, many of whom I still have. In high school, we would go to Ardmore after the war was over. My father was working there and it took him several years to build our house, so we didn’t actually get

Rue: Right after college, as soon as I could graduate, I went to New York. I got there in January of 1957, which was a good time to be in New York. I studied drama with Yuta Hagen. Before I came to New York, I had been studying and teaching ballet. I had my own ballet school when I was a junior in high school. It was called the” Oklahoma Dancing Academy” with 53 students. I got the opportunity to do this because my dancing teacher moved away to Texas, and asked me to run the school for him; he even gave me half of the profits. So, I ran the school and the next year, he totally got out of it. It was altogether my school during my senior year. I studied at the Metropolitan School of Ballet and the Holmes Modern Dance Studio. I took modern jazz with a man named Matt Maddox (my heart was not in dance, unfortunately), and of course, studied drama with Yuta Hagen as I mentioned before. I auditioned for the Erie Playhouse that spring and was accepted. I was asked to come and work that fall in Erie, Pennsylvania for the winter season. That was my first paying job. It was non-equity but still, it was an acting job. Freya: So you got the “bug” immediately. Rue: Well, I got the bug when I was 5 and it just kept “bugging” me. I am telling you it is an extremely virulent disease that acting bug.

Freya: Coming from a performance background myself, I would have to say that to make it in entertainment; you’ve really GOT to have that bug. Rue: Well, honey, I’ll tell you the truth. It had to be…do or die. It was truly do or die for me. It was a very serious proposition for me. I thought there was going to be either death or success. I would just become an actress or…well, there just wasn’t an OR. There was not an alternative. I just had to (make it). Freya: So that was your destiny. Rue: Really, it would have been spiritual death to have not succeeded. I felt that I had to succeed. And, I will tell you why - I admired good actresses and good performers so much; I wanted to be admired by those people. The only way I was going to do this was to join their ranks. I wanted to be recognized as one of them. That’s what I really wanted. I didn’t want to be a big star. At this time I didn’t even think about moving to television, I really just wanted to be on the stage. Freya: That is a totally different medium. What is the difference in the way you actually feel when you are acting on Broadway, versus doing a TV show? Rue: It doesn’t have to be on Broadway. It could be off-Broadway, it can be in a smaller theater, or it can be anywhere. But on the stage, the actors are in charge. After the rehearsals, they have to make it happen for the audience, every night, and every performance. Making it

Cont. on Page 20

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Harmony through Practical Spirituality: A Powerful Solution BY BILL BARNES, LCDC “Wherever you go, there you are,” is a simple truth that makes or breaks individuals and has been doing so for generations. The life of every person is impacted by this truth, but none so powerfully as those of us who suffer from chemical dependency. Many folks live with the idea, “if only I could have this, or be there, or do that, then I would know satisfaction and happiness.” Though none of these endeavors are a problem in themselves, neither are they the solution. For in the midst of everyday life, there I am -- just me, in my own skin, with all my complexities. When we mix all this with other people and our life situations, things can get really interesting. We humans are a unique bunch, made up of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual components. Though each of these components have their own set of needs and drives, they interact together to make up the whole person. Abraham Maslow identified a hierarchy of lower “instinctual” needs as physiological, safety and security, love and belonging, and esteem. These lower needs appear to have been genetically programmed into us and have some influence regarding our personal day-to-day survival, interaction with others and our environment as a whole. He also identified the higher role of self actualization, as coming into harmony with the whole person and living up to our highest potential.

My wife and I inherited a dog named Cricket from one of our kids who really didn’t have the time for a new puppy between the demands of work and school. Cricket had spent the first six months

of her life mostly alone in an apartment. Consequently, she had developed some bad behaviors by the time we got her, particularly when it came to being home alone. She accepted the fact of being alone during the day while we were away at work, but once we were home for the evening, she had different expectations. If we left to go somewhere without her, there would be an act of revenge. Though we never witnessed her obsessive behavior, the evidence was always there when we got home. It might be a chewed up shoe, sometimes the trash. Once, she even went so far as to initiate our bed. In Cricket’s case, the needs for security, love and belonging appeared to have been violated by the other “human” members of the pack. Cricket’s instinctual response to this perceived threat was to act out with negative behavior. Similarly, if we run primarily on instinct, without the tempering of practical spirituality, we too have the potential to react in ways that only complicate situations. In our quest for happiness, some area of the lower “instinctual” needs is usually the object of pursuit. This may include everything from our primary day-to-day physical needs, to our interaction with others, and how we feel about ourselves in relation to all of that. The potential for problem arises in the limited approach we often use. We may feel driven to meet those needs, yet having met them, we still find something is missing. Well, “guess what?”-- something is missing. The void we feel is the higher, spiritual part of self, where our conscience, values and beliefs live. It is the place where man meets his Higher Power and finds inspiration for everyday living, a place of spiritual principles that are intended to impact how we conduct ourselves in the area of the lower needs and determine how they are met. It is a place out of which we live everyday life, where the “rubber meets the road”, so to speak. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states, on pg. 25, that “spirituality revolutionizes our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows, and toward God’s universe”, (our environment). If you noticed, that is the territory where the lower “instinctual” needs are being played out every moment of every day. If the spiritual portion of my life is neglected, then I will be a four cylinder person running on three cylinders, or components, and something will always be missing. The lower needs will be the dominant force and primary decision maker in my life. If the means of achieving these needs are misdirected, they may conflict with my own values, with my relationships or spiritual principles. Living in this way is like walking though life blindly, driven by instinct alone and remaining out-of-touch with self and others.

However, if the spiritual portion of my life is awakened and made practical in daily living, it will begin to impact the other components of my life. First, it will provide the principles that regulate how my physical, mental and emotional components interact with each other. By creating a life in alignment with an examined conscience, values and belief system, I will develop harmony within myself, the whole person. Secondly, it will then impact the methods I use to get my day-to -day physical needs met, what I give to others, what I expect in return, and how I perceive myself and my surroundings. Living practical spirituality will then produce an overall sense of harmony within my environment. As for Cricket, she eventually did learn to live in peace and harmony with our family. As she felt more secure and loved, she was no longer driven by the deficiencies of her previous unmet needs. As her sense of well being increased, her negative behaviors began to diminish. She became more comfortable with herself and in her environment. The same can be said for us as we find love, security, and a healthier sense of self. One of the AA slogans we often hear is that, “it is an inside job.” Rather than constantly looking for inner fulfillment in something or someone out there, it begins on the inside, working its way outward into daily life. It is then that I will find a place of genuine satisfaction and happiness, in the here and now, wherever that may be, rather than living in conflict with everyday life, self or others. Now that sounds like it has the ability to equip a person to live up to their highest potential. “Wherever you go, there you are.” Living in that condition can be a bit of a problem. On the other hand, if I can develop harmony through practical spirituality, it can also be a powerful solution.

Bill Barnes is the outpatient program director at Archway Recovery Center in Kerrville, Texas. He can be reached by email at BB_archway@ or by telephone at 830-896-2724.

Woman The County



A Different Look at

Rue McClanahan

“I Thought there was either death or success... I would just have to become an actress.” Continued from Page 17 happen, making it real, and making it exciting, engrossing, funny…whatever it is. Whereas in film, it is truly a director’s medium. The director can cut and paste and change performances any way he desires. In television, it is very much like you are doing a film, a one-camera show, but it is still very much a director’s prerogative. You have to perform it, but you perform it out of sequence without an audience…. except for the crew, and they all looked bored. Except, of course, when I performed then they were just mesmerized! When it is on tape, like Golden Girls, that experience is similar to a stage performance. That’s because it is done in sequence from beginning to end, in front of a live audience, at least once or twice. So, you get the sense…when I first got out there doing Maude, I said, “This is very akin to acting.” The timing is different because you have to hit a mark. Whereas in rehearsal, you needed to be in the moment, but you had to wait for just a fraction of a second, for the camera to be on you before you replied to what was just said to you. So, the timing is different. You are not swimming in this marvelous river on the stage, where you are in control. Of course, you can control it with your fellow actors; but you have to keep everything the way it was rehearsed. You can also improvise – but you have to say what was written; after all, that is the art form for that part of the business. You can’t go in there and usurp the writer’s part. But, you can interpret the role in a slightly different way according to what the other actors give you for

that performance. So, you can grow and change and try to keep to it fresh. Many actors don’t do that; they play it exactly the way they did it the day before. Freya: How boring, right? Rue: You know it is amazing, when you are working with an actor who does that, no matter what you do differently, they don’t respond to that difference. They don’t create with you; they just give you last night’s performance. I find that so uncreative. Freya: Yes, it’s just like a robot. Rue: Well, that’s what they are comfortable with, but it is a shame. Freya: It’s interesting to hear you discuss this subject because Golden Girls was absolute casting magic. The interactions between the characters were amazing. Did this evolve through rehearsals or was it just instantaneous? Rue: It was in the office of NBC. It was there the first time the four of us ever got together to read a scene for the Golden Girls. We had it then. Little things we hadn’t thought of came into being. We had those characters and we had those relationships. You see, someone once said that casting is 99% of the success of the show because it is! It is the casting and it has to be right. When people cast “stars” for a part, JUST because they are stars, it doesn’t mean the show will work. The actors have to be right for the part. There was a show cast on Broadway a couple of years ago and the director only wanted Tony Award winning actors. It was the revival of Steel Magnolias. The cast was all female and they had all received a Tony at some point in their careers. But, it was not a successful show. What they needed were 7 good actresses. Freya: Rue, tell me about your new series. Rue: I am filming in Shreveport, Louisiana for the Logo Channel. The new show is called “Sordid Lies.” It’s about 13 dysfunctional “white trash” people; it’s a very funny script. Del Shores casts it in such a way that the actors and actresses are just right for the roles. Mine is the lead role, but it wasn’t in the movie “Sordid Lies.” My character was a corpse in the movie and the movie was all about her funeral. But in the series, she is very much alive and is a part of everything. Delta Burke was going to play one of the roles (which she created in the movie) but she had to drop out just the other day for health reasons. So now, Del is scrambling to find the right actress to play her role in order to keep the balance the way it needs to be. And, Logo executives are suggesting certain stars that might be wrong for the part and that

20 Woman The County


would not make it a success. They aren’t thinking about the success of their show, which is what they should be thinking about. But, they want “star” names to go with Rue McClanahan and Olivia Newton John. They want a name as big as Delta Burke and that is not necessary. What you need is the right actress. Fortunately Del knows that and he has enough clout to get the right actress. Freya: Great casting is where that symbiotic relationship is created. Going back to The Golden Girls how has that series and the role of Blanche changed your life? Rue: Oh, well. It has made me famous. That is a big change. I can’t go out on the street without being recognized. That part is very good. I am sure it has helped me get other roles that I wouldn’t have been considered for. Of course, unfortunately, people think I am Blanche Devereaux. They don’t realize I have a greater range, but Del Shores did. The character is as far from Blanche Devereaux as she can get. Freya: Well, tell me about this new character. Rue: She is the matriarch of the family, and is in her late sixties. She is a widow, a church-going woman, and has never been in a beer hall. In the very first opening segment, she gets a friend’s daughter, Dixie May, out of prison. When she gets Dixie May out of prison she invites her to live with her. Dixie May is played by Olivia Newton John. And, of course, she is a loving, kind woman and shall we say, not very well educated. They live in a tiny western town in Texas called Winters; you probably know it. It couldn’t be too far from where you are. Under 3,000 in population. Well, she gets in all kinds of trouble. Actually, all of them do. She gets into trouble with Noleta who lives in the trailer park. (Noleta is the character that was to be played by Delta Burke.) Now, Noleta is married to a man named G.W. who is a Vietnam War veteran. He has lost both legs and has prosthetic limbs from the knee down. So, her son, played by Blake Ford, is having a very hard time with his wife because she can’t stand for him to remove the legs when they go to bed. And, he can’t make love very well with the legs on. And

so…they have this problem. It is hysterical! Well the scene continues, and she and G.W. take up with each other. You see, he needs love and she is a very loving woman. So she says to GW, “Well, I am a good Christian woman and I have never been like this. What will people think?” Well, the next thing you see is her dancing with Juanita who is the barfly of a local beer joint. She walks over to the bar and has a couple of beers herself which is unusual for her. She walks over to G.W. and invites him to dance. Well, they fall in love, and she has this horrid affair with Noleta’s husband! And you just know this goes against all of her upbringing. But, she is having a wonderful love affair, which she never experienced with her husband of 33 years. This is a scandal! And, of course, they are trying to keep all of this from Noleta. She and GW would meet at the Galaxy motel, but eventually everyone finds out about it. That’s the main thrust of her story. . Freya: What is your character’s name and when will it air? Rue: Her name is Peggy and it will air in June. Freya: Is this an hour or half-hour show? Rue: It is a weekly half-hour show. Freya: You must just be having a blast with this. Rue: Well, we start it next week. I am so excited, I just can’t tell you. Freya: Tell me about your son, Mark, he’s in Austin, right? Rue: Yes, he teaches at the Austin Guitar School and he has a “loose group.” He gets them together when he wants to record. He is a wonderful jazz guitarist; he is really an artist. He is a collector of primitive art; he has a house full of primitive art from all over the world. He has gone to these places and brought this art back. It is a fascinating house and he is a fascinating man, terrific, good looking, and blue-eyed blond. Freya: I met him at your Christmas party; he and I talked for hours.

Rue: Well, that was about 3 years ago. Freya: Yes, he and I were sharing stories about Texas. I need to call him because he will get a kick out of this. Just think, here we are; both back in Texas, about an hour and a half away from each other. Rue: Is that all? Freya: That’s all. We really are close. I’ll have to call him. How did you like Austin when you did your book promotion there? Rue: Well, I have been there many times to see Mark since he moved there in 1992. I love visiting, making friends, and just falling in love with Austin and the Austin people. Freya: It is gorgeous, isn’t it? Rue: It is a very lovely place; it is just an oasis. It is so different from any other town in Texas. He really likes it there and I really like it too. Freya: I read that you were considering buying a home in Austin. Is that true? Rue: Oh, I have been considering that for eight or nine years. I am still thinking about it. Freya: You should give it some good consideration. It is gorgeous. Rue: My husband, you see, won’t move out of Manhattan. It would have to just be a part-time home, but I am considering it. Freya: Rue, you just mentioned your husband, Morrow. Tell me about him. Rue: He is putting together a Noel Coward evening that he is going to sing and present at the Players Club in January. It is called, “Noel Coward 101.” Of course, your mother has taught him how to really sing. He had so many voice teachers and until he met Luba he just didn’t have one that was good. She is brilliant and they have a wonderful relationship. He put together this cabaret evening of Noel Coward songs and anecdotes. He is also working on a wonderful novel called “For Stephanie.” He is such a great writer; oh, he is SUCH a writer. . Freya: Speaking about books, tell me about your book: MY FIRST FIVE HUSBANDS…AND THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY. What inspired you to write it? Rue: I was asked and urged by friends for many years to write about my so-called “colorful” life. The first thing that came to me was the title. At first my husband said, “The One That Got Away.” I thought that would be a really great way to sell it and it has been. But, it truly is about my career and my life, my family and my love for animals. It has got everything in it. It has also got men and those stories make it saleable. Freya: Your book is the commercial end of the business. Tell me about your involvement in animal rights. Do you consider yourself an animal activist? Rue: Yes, I do and I have helped PETA. Although I haven’t marched naked in Tokyo or anything like that, I have gone to many functions and given many speeches and tried to stop so many atrocities in the small way that I could. PETA protests

against the use of fur. They are the true heroes. Mr. Newkirk started this movement, and he is my all time hero. He is just fearless and amazing; all of these people are amazing. I got involved with them many years ago and am also active in several other animal societies. We’re trying to awaken people to see how cruelly animals are treated. And how wonderful they are and how much we have to learn from them. We are just now beginning to discover how many traits we have in common. We just slaughter them instead of trying to promote how very smart they are. Animals are very smart and very loving. Winston Churchill said it very well, “A cat will look down at you and a dog will look up at you, but a pig will look you right in the eye.” Freya: Well, are you a vegetarian? Rue: No, I am not. When I had cancer, the doctor put me back on fish and, to my chagrin; I do eat chicken and turkey. I know some chicken and turkeys personally and I really do not approve of it. But, I do approve of staying alive and healthy. I do have to eat salmon twice a week. And, by the way, no one should be eating tuna anymore. Tuna is very, very high in mercury and you can’t get it out of the tuna .You are just loading your body with mercury. Everybody should have a mercury test. I found out that I had levels way above what is considered the top number. The doctor said, “No more tuna or swordfish for the rest of your life.” I said, “Ok.” And, you people think you can’t live without tuna! So many people are into canned tuna. They have tuna sandwiches and tuna salads and tuna, tuna, tuna. But, you know what? You can get along without it very well. Freya: You have also gone around the country given health seminars, is that correct? Rue: I have given some speeches called “Growing Old Gracefully.” It’s a comedy speech but it also has some health hints and dietary tips. You know lifestyle stuff. That has been very interesting meeting everybody. But, of course, everybody thinks they are meeting Blanche.

Continued on Page 30

Woman The County



Working with a Life Coach... by leah francisco You may have heard the term “life coaching” and wondered what it really means. A life coach is someone trained to help you to experience greater personal well being, solve a problem, or clarify what you want most and how to acheive it. In other words, a coach is an objective and supportive outsider who helps get you from here to there. A coach is neither a therapist nor an advice giver ready to fix you in some way, but rather an equal partner with you, reflecting your greatness and guiding you toward your own powerful choices and actions. Executive/career coaches help you manage your job performance or career, and in most cases, the coaching client will also be evaluating life areas such as family, health, relationships, spiritual growth. In my years of both executive and life coaching, I have seen how personal balance is critical to someone’s choices about work. Basically, coaching is about change. When a coaching client comes to me, she is ready to change something. In fact, she may not even know what that change is, and will say, “I know I want my life to be different in some way, but I am not sure what I want to change.” The coach’s role then is to explore life areas that will help the clarify what she is after. Sometimes, a person has an immediate problem to handle and may benefit from working with a coach who can give perspective and additional options--”Should I take a part-time job?” “How do I want to handle this difficult family problem, where I am in the middle?” Depending on the client’s goal, the coaching can be as short as two or three sessions or as long as a year or more. Most coaches develop special areas of skilll. My niche has been working with women in transitions, whether

by choice (a new career, a new relationship,etc.) or by an unplanned event (a divorce, the illness of a family member, a promotion opportunity). Since coaching is a relatively new field--only about 25 years old--it is growing rapidly and still is largely unregulated. The gold standard today for a well qualified coach is credentialing through the International Coach Federation (, which sets high standards and ethical requirements for coaches. However, there are many fine coaches who do not have these credentials. Here are some things to look for when you are thinking about working with a coach: • See coaching as a positive partnership. Working with a coach does not mean that you need repairing, that there is something wrong with you. People who want to be even more effective in their lives seek coaching. Your coach is a true partner, a guide who can help you see things in new ways. • Evaluate the experience of a coach. What is her/his training and how long has she been coaching? Ask her if she has she worked with clients with goals and needs similar to yours. You can find coaches through the International Coach Federation and the coaching programs it recognizes. • Find out if the coach offers an initial free consultation (Most do). This gives you the opportunity to find out how the coach works (by phone, in person, email) and what to expect in working with her. You can also ask about fees, which vary widely depending on the location, market and experience of the coach, and if money is a concern, be sure to ask the coach if other payment arrangements can be made.

• Look for specific competencies in a coach. All good coaching programs emphasize key attributes in coaching. Integrity is essential along with total positive regard for the person being coached. A coach is always truthful about what she sees and never overpromises what coaching can do. Coaches must maintain strict confidentialty about the coaching relationship. Other competencies include trust, skilled listening, empathy, ability to assess and communicate about the needs of the client. Your coach can help you work with your fears and get unstuck. Coaching is not about telling someone what to do; it is about understanding the question to be asked and belief in the client’s ability to answer it. • Choose a coach you are comfortable with because buidling trust means that the partnership feels like a good fit. Leia Francisco, M.A., ACC, has 20 years of experience in coaching women in transition and helping them realize their dreams. She has recently moved part of her coaching practice from the Washington, D.C. area to the Hill Country, where she has enjoyed meeting more great women. She has been recognized nationally as a speaker on the interests of women and and women’s leadership. You can reach her by phone at 830.896.2738 and by email at

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Woman The County



Christmas Carol has Special Meaning Some little-known facts about a very well-known song... One English Christmas carol well-known worldwide today is, however, more than a repetitious tune with pretty phrases and strange gifts. “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is a song with different levels of meaning. From 1558 to 1829, the Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. During this period, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written in England as a catechism song for young Catholics. The hidden meanings of the song’s gifts were intended to help the children remember lessons of their faith. Instead of referring to an earthly suitor, the “true love” mentioned in the song refers to God Himself. The “me” who receives the presents is symbolic of every baptized person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings. The meaning of the other symbols are: Two turtle doves - the Old and New Testaments; Three French hens - Faith, Hope and Charity; Four calling birds - the four Gospels; Five golden rings - the first five books of the Old Testament, which give the history of man’s fall from grace; Six geese a-laying - the six days of creation; Seven swans a-swimming - seven gifts of the Holy Spirit; Eight maids a-milking - the eight Beatitudes; Nine ladies dancing - nine fruits of the Holy Spirit; Ten lords a-leaping - the Ten Commandments; Eleven pipers piping - the eleven faithful disciples; Twelve drummers drumming - the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed

(cf. Newsletter of the Catholic Medical Mission Board, December 1988). (The above is excerpted from A Handbook of Catholic Sacramentals, written by Ann Ball and published by Our Sunday Visitor.)

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Open Sunday-Thursday 11AM-8:30PM Friday & Saturday 11AM-9PM

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A Father and His Son... A story of Respect, Loyalty and the Transcending Power of Love BY FREYA PRUITT Look at these two men. Don’t they look alike? Look at their eyes. Look how proud they are of each other. The bond is so obvious, so strong, so loving. There is nothing quite like the love between father and son. It is truly that “man” thing. No matter how much a mother loves her son, she cannot BE a father. These two men are NOT biologically linked. However, they served a very profound purpose in each other’s lives. Jordan’s biological father died when he was fifteen. His entire world was shattered. His heart sank deep into a pit of depression, drugs and alcohol. No matter what I did, no matter how much I loved him, he desperately needed that grounding strength only a father can give his son. This living “horror” lasted twenty years. It continued and permeated a seventeen year marriage to my beloved husband Reggie. It was hard to see in the beginning, but these two men shared a lot of the same traits. Reggie was a highly decorated Viet Nam Veteran and suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) his entire life. He was a great man. He really never received his due honor until the relationship between he and Jordan fully matured. Reggie lost his medals in a fire thirty years ago. I urged him to contact the pentagon and retrieve them. This took many years, but when that box arrived at our front door, he quietly opened it in a room all by himself. He emerged a few hours later with a blank look on his face. Looking back, in

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some ways, I wish he had NOT gotten them back. On the other hand, when he took his medals to the hospital to show my son Jordan, he experienced something so precious it is hard to describe. When we entered the hospital, father and son hugged each other and slapped each other on the back as they always did. Jordan would just light up like a Christmas tree when he saw his dad. And, so did his dad! I always kidded them, maybe I shouldn’t visit because it was like I was not even in the room! When Jordan saw the box his dad was carrying, he stepped back and said, “Dad! Is that THEM? Are those your medals?” Reggie never said a word - he just handed the case to Jordan. For the rest of my life, I will never forget what transpired between those two men. Jordan got down on the floor and took each medal out of its case, like a baby bird, and lovingly touched them. He was absolutely in awe. He had such honor for his dad, for his service in Viet Nam. But when he saw the bronze star, the purple heart, the Viet Nam medal of honor, and so many more, he looked up at his dad and said, “Dad! I am so proud of you.” At that exact moment, both men received from each other what they had been missing for so many years. Jordan stayed on his knees for about an hour. Only after he opened each case individually, touched it, and acknowledged his dad, did he stand up. Both men had tears in their eyes. They hugged each other as Jordan whispered, “Oh Dad, I am so proud of you. I love you.” Reggie responded in kind; “I love you too, son. I am so proud of YOU!”

Reggie died eight months later, while Jordan was still in the hospital. I was overwhelmed with grief and scared for my son’s welfare. My God, how would he take the news? Would he crash and burn again? I am happy to say; no way. I was astounded by the strength and concern my son showed towards me. When I told him the news on the phone, he let out a gasp from the depth of his soul. “DAD? Not Dad!” We both cried together. We both kept saying to each other, “I’m so sorry… I’m so sorry.” Then something wonderful happened. Jordan said he needed to be strong for me… for dad. That’s what his “duty” was now; to help and take care of me. He was so upset that I was going through this grief alone. He wished he was home to comfort and support me. At that moment I knew my son would be okay. He was going to make it. He was going to step up to the plate and be the man his dad knew he could be. They saw the best in each other. They shared a sorrow they hid deep in their souls. Somehow through the years, they were able to bandage each other’s wounds. Their strong bond healed an aching space in Jordan’s heart. In return, Jordan became Reggie’s true son, and gave him the honor and respect he had longed for. They gave each other the greatest gift of all. They gave each other themselves. Reggie will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His son Jordan will be there in spirit. He will be saluting his father in honor. He will have to say goodbye, but he will never forget. Reggie’s strength will live on in Jordan. After all, he left him a father’s legacy; not built on blood, but built on the love between a father and a son.


SUSAN GOODWIN Financial Consultant



A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc., Member SIPC

Woman The County



A True Texas Treasure Carlee Buford BY FREYA PRUITT

The first time I met Carlee, I sensed a gentle spirit, a kind loving heart, and a quiet strength. She is a beautiful woman, both inside and out. You have to be born to be a veterinarian. Needless to say, not many of us have what it takes to be in charge of man’s best friend! Many of us consider our pets a part of the family. When one is ill we want the best treatment and care for them. When they are babies we want to make sure they are protected. When they are old, we dread the inevitable, and realize we, as pet owners, need a person we can trust and rely on. We may even need a shoulder to cry on. And we want the shoulders of Dr. Carlee Buford, DVM. Dr. Carlee Buford was born in Shreveport, Louisiana and moved to Texas in 1957. She graduated from Texas A&M Veterinary School in 1987. She is celebrating her twentieth year in veterinary practice in Ingram, Texas. She has been married to her husband, Terry, for 25 years and has two daughters; Amy and Brandy. She exudes an inner light which most assuredly

comes from her love of the Lord. Her husband and girls are a reflection of Carlee’s loving spirit. No matter how busy her day has been, she always has time for a person in need. She never operates on an animal without praying for it first. The Lord is the beginning of each day and the end. Her faith and dedication to the welfare of animals is the foundation of security and trust for their owners. One afternoon Carlee told me the story of her and her beloved horse, Bouncer. They truly were best buddies. Bouncer knew instantly whether Carlee was happy or sad. She picked up every subtle nuance, sometimes even before Carlee knew! She had that horse for thirtyfour years. Bouncer was getting very old and was very tired. Carlee knew it was “her time to go”, but Bouncer just kept hanging on, probably for Carlee. It hurt Carlee to see her beloved horse suffer, so one day she went outside and hugged Bouncer around the neck and said: “It really is okay to go… I’ll be just fine.” She lay down with the horse and put her arm around her. She kept talking to her and stroking her back. Not too much later, as the sun began to set, Bouncer took her last breath with Carlee by her side. As she gently said goodbye to her best buddy, she knew in her heart she had to give her permission to go. And when she did, she was gone. I’m sure we pet lovers DREAM of finding a vet like Carlee. On the other token, her husband Terry knows how lucky he is. Terry said, “When God speaks of a woman, ev-

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eryone thinks about Adam and Eve. I think about Proverbs 31. “Who can find a virtuous woman? She is worth more than precious rubies, her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She will not hinder him but help him all her life. She is energetic, strong, a hard worker, and always helps the poor. When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule when she gives instruction.” This is the woman I married, she has given a passion to life that is very rare. Carlee was a junior in college when we married, and then spent four more years in veterinary school. When she graduated, she went to work for a large animal vet in the valley. I found out that she had not only a compassion for animals, but also a compassion for people. She loved Jesus then and her wisdom has only grown since. She has all the virtues we all need, charity, forgiveness, long-suffering, joy, peace, mercy, meekness, gentleness, goodness and kindness. After all, she would have to have these attributes to be married to me! She has given me two wonderful daughters that are a copy of her. One is in college and is the president of the honor society. The other is still in high school and is on the honor roll with a 4.0 grade average. She has instilled in both girls to commit their life to God first and then their plans will succeed. Carlee

was definitely God sent in my life. Yes, a perfect wife.” Dr. Buford’s goal is to give each family pet it’s optimum quality of health. She believes strongly in using natural remedies whenever possible, and when indicated, conventional medicine as well. She has many clients experiencing miraculous results with the use of mangosteen juice produced by XanGo. Dr. Buford is a highly skilled, trained, and well educated veterinarian. She offers scientific insight into the properties of XanGo. “The mangosteen fruit is grown on the mangosteen tree, a tropical evergreen tree, believed to have originated in the Sundra Island and the Moluccas. The rind of the mangosteen is a deep, reddish purple when ripe. The fragrant edible flesh is sweet and creamy and has both a citrus and slight peach flavor. The adult fruit will range in size from that of a tangerine to a tennis ball. The fruit is hard until it’s final, abrupt ripening stage. There have been multiple scientific research papers done on XanGo, which are compounded, by the Maker and all of them are super-charged antioxidants. Of all of the xanthones which are known and there are about 200. So far, there have been about 42 or 43 found in the mangosteen fruit itself. Only 1 or 2 have ever been found in any other food source known to man. Every one of the xanthones is super-charged powerful antioxidant. Additionally, xanthones have other properties such as anti-inflammatory; some are anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-neoplastic. Xanthones are multipurpose. When xanthones are utilized, they target the problem. Since it is a food and not a drug, we can’t predict how it will affect any person or any animal.”

“We know the top 5 fatal diseases known to man, such as cancer and heart diseases, are all caused by inflammation and free radical damage. So anything that is an extremely strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory can help to prevent or possibly turn back the processes of some of these diseases.” “Xanthones boost the immune system because they are a strong antioxidant. When you have unstable cells they have a free electron. They are actually looking for electron from other cells to help stabilize them. Then, they steal theirs which makes those cells unstable

and that just cascades and causes a chain reaction. This process destroys cells. That affects everything… your immune system etc. If you can do away with chronic inflammation or minimize it, then your immune system will get a boost. Then, your body can fight properly.” “If you have a chronic disease, your immune system can become overwhelmed. It’s so busy fighting these other things, the body has nothing left to fight a cold, virus or bacterial infection. Thus, your immune system is also not capable of fighting any cancer cells that may develop. I have been treating a 14 year old dog for a couple of years now. He went through total kidney failure a few times and the only thing that

has brought him back has been the mangosteen juice. Hypothetically, I would think the primarily cause would be the inflammation. We don’t know the exact mechanism of his particular case because we didn’t do biopsies.. But we think the juice is helping the kidney to heal itself. One of the main characteristics of the juice is that it serves to assist the body in healing itself.” “There are obvious physiologic differences between dogs and cats versus humans. However, the same disease processes that affect dogs and cats also works the same way in humans. So, it is reasonable to say, what has helped hundreds of my animal patients, who have been on the juice and food and supplements ,could also be beneficial to humans. And it actually has! There have been many testimonials from people with very serious diseases that have made dramatic improvements.” “When you have a degenerative disc disease, that’s an inflammation. When you have arthritis, that’s inflammation. It is degenerating the joint because of wear and tear which breaks down the joint cartilage. That’s part of the free radical damage that is going on as well. Primarily, it is inflammation. The juice seems to address the accompanying pain as well. With rheumatory arthritis, you have inflammation and you have pain. The properties of the mangosteen juice help relieve both. It has been proven scientifically that the xanthones that are in that fruit have these properties. The use of this juice has given me renewed hope in treating and preventing disease. That’s where I am blessed personally. Being able to offer hope and good health to my pets and their owners.”

Woman The County



A Different Look at

Rue McClanahan

Continued from Page 21 Freya: Rue, tell us some of your health tips for growing old gracefully. Rue: Oh, everybody knows the right diet. You know, you stay away from junk foods, greasy foods and sugar, basically fats in general. You do have to have some good oil, and a little olive oil here and there. There are various good oils for you. You shouldn’t, by the way, cook with olive oil because it turns carcinogenic above a certain temperature. That temperature is below what you have to heat olive oil to, in order to cook with it. So, you should be cooking with a vegetable oil like canola oil. Canola oil is safe. Olive oil is safe at room temperature for use on a salad and that is great. Most people don’t know that. Freya: I have never heard of that. Rue: It is not a well-known fact. People have been cooking with it for a long time. Freya: Any other interesting facts like the olive oil tip that no one has heard about? Rue: Well, do you know that it is advisable to have 4 almonds a day or maybe 4 walnuts? They are very good for you. I also use some wonderful sweeteners. There is one that comes from cactus. It’s actually cactus syrup. It is sweet like honey. Then, there’s “Stevia” which is what I use for sweetening almost everything. It comes from the leaf and root of a plant that grows in South America and Mexico. It is a lot better for you than say, Splenda. My sister, who is a biologist, said that a popular artificial sweetener on the market today really IS sugar. Chemically, it is the exact opposite of sugar in its construction, but has the same ingredients you shouldn’t have. So, these are some things that maybe not everybody knows. Freya: You had mentioned, Rue, about your breast cancer. Could you give any advice to women who are facing that challenge and what you went through? Rue: Well, it really takes a lot of positive courage and positive determination to conquer this disease - to be the one that wins. I use visualization. I would draw the dumb, dumb cancer cells, with very low IQ’s. Then I would draw my immune system, my very smart immune system, and I would draw my star award machine that would go…ZAP! And kill that cancer cell. Well, I would draw that and lie down and visualize it, relax, go into an alpha state and visualize that during the chemo. I think it is important to catch it early. Do not neglect to go for tests, so that you can be on top of things because by the time I discovered mine, it was in second stage. I found a lump under my arm and it had been a lymph node that had been infected. The lump never showed up in my breast or on the mammogram. The lump was so teeny, but it had metastasized. It was very aggressive, so we had to go for very aggressive treatment. Unfortunately, the chemotherapy damn near kills you because it is so poisonous to your system. After I had the chemo, I noticed I was getting a lot of moles that I never had before. I realized it was my system trying to get that chemo out of my body and was erupting through

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“It is a constant struggle, a constant battle...”

the skin. By the way, my Greek assistant has been taking them off with fresh garlic. You slice the garlic clove and you put it on the mole and secure it with a band-aid and change it every day. We have already had two come off completely, and two more that have crusty tops have come off. It seems to work although we have only been doing it for about a month. It is very exciting when you take the band-aid off and the mole comes off with the garlic. It is an old home remedy. Freya: I wonder what the properties are in the garlic that makes that work. Rue: I don’ know. Castor oil will also do it but garlic works faster. I was using Castor oil and it was helping by taking off the top half of the mole after several applications, you also have to keep applying it. I must tell you that you smell a lot better with Castor oil on you than the garlic smeared all over you. I have gotten used to the garlic smell now. Freya: When did you go through the breast cancer and the entire treatment? Rue: That was a little over 10 years ago. The operation was in July or August of 1997 and the chemo began in September and went on for 5 months and then 6 weeks of radiation. My oncologist, Larry Norton, at Sloan Kettering is very aggressive and he is an expert in the field. He lectures and writes books and articles about it. I was very lucky to get in with him. Freya: How long did it take you to get your strength back and really feel good after the chemo and radiation? Rue: It took many months and I have been working at it ever since. It is a constant struggle, a constant battle. You have to do all the good things, the exercising, drinking plenty of fresh water and the diet is important. I went to a lot to The Lawson spas. There is one in Austin and in Lemon Grove inside San Diego. It is called the “Optimum Health Institute.” My husband went with me. He went on the Lawson diet too. We would go for 2 or 3 weeks at a time and do a good clean out. When you put those chemo chemicals into you, they invade all of the tissue and all of the cells and they don’t just kill cancer cells, they kill a lot of other cells. I mean they really do damage to your body and you have to build that back up. I would say that I am still at work on that. I have a lot of energy again. I didn’t during the last 3 months of the chemo. I was very exhausted and ill. Your immune system is so compromised. Freya: Did you find yourself praying at all during that time? Rue: Oh, yes. My sister’s church prayed for me and there were churches that I heard from all over the country and groups who said they were praying for me. I do believe that prayer has a strong power even if you are atheist. You could get a group of atheists together and get them to pray for a certain thing, I think it has power. I just felt so much help from everybody. I also had a lot of angels around me. I brought down many of my friends who had died, my grandmother, my three best friends from California. I had them by my

side often to talk to and to protect me. Freya: So your faith is very strong and rooted, you would say? Rue: I am not a churchgoer and I am not affiliated with any organized religion. People do not usually live the way He suggested we should be living. Many churchgoers just carry the bible and don’t do anything with it. I think that is true in all religions. You know, people are just people, they aren’t saints most of them, and they don’t get it. And they don’t practice it. Some of the meanest people in the world that I have known have been professed Christians. They are just as selfish and as un-Christian or un-Christ-like as you can imagine. But I also know a lot of wonderful people who are not affiliated with churches who are good. I heard it said so many times that without religion the world would run amok and there would be so much crime. Well, there is. Please, look around. Much of it is caused BY religion. The man with the most integrity of anyone I know is my husband, Morrow, who is honest and FULL of integrity. He has never been part of an organized religion. There is a conscience in him that can be Godly without being affiliated. Freya: It is interesting, being in the “bible belt” to see so many different churches and religions. To me, if somebody says they are a Christian then it is about Jesus. It is not about them. It is about what He said - what He taught. Rue: I do see churches doing good things. They do help the poor; they do help the refugees and the people in Africa. They send help but so do people who are not affiliated with churches. So, it is not that the churches are necessarily doing evil, but so many of the congregation is falling sort. Freya: Rue, what advice would you offer young women today that are considering careers in entertainment? Rue: Well, there are two things. I think if they need (I am pretty harsh on this subject) to ask a lot of questions about “how to do it” then they better do something else. When I started out, I didn’t know a soul. I had no connections, had no idea how to go about it. I just didn’t know where the road was between here and there. But, you just have to want it enough. There is another piece of advice and this is practical. You have to get acting experience. You need to go to a good acting school or teacher .You need to be on the stage in front of an audience. You need to work at learning the “craft” of it because the desire is not enough without the craft to pull it off. You have got to learn and then hopefully, if you are talented enough, that “craft” will allow you to move close to “art.” But, you can’t do it with just walking and talking. People think that if they can walk and talk, they can act. Whereas they realize you can’t play the violin without learning music. But, they figure that with acting, you don’t have to learn how. No, that’s not right; you DO have to learn how.

Continued on Page 48

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Woodwick Candles

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Coming Soon to 1900 Jucnction Highway!

December 07-February 08

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Jenny Forks of Bitter Creek Designs “Dare To Be Bold” Written By: Freya Pruitt

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38 Woman The County


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Where is Ellis Island When We Need It?

A true story of a little 8 year old girl who arrived at Ellis Island from Russia in 1930 - alone! Look back in time through the eyes of someone who genuinely earned the title “American”... A note from the editor: This story is dedicated to the American spirit. It is the true story of an eight-year-old Russian girl, who traveled across the Atlantic on a large ship, alone. It is a true story, which takes us back to Ellis Island in 1930, and describes in detail, what was required of an immigrant to become an American citizen. It is a story of honor and respect. It is not intended to offend anyone. On the contrary, its intention is to honor all people equally. This story shares the true feelings of a person who loves her country and the people in it. But she mourns the loss of common sense, basic decency, and the absence of conscience in following our laws. She feels she earned the right to call herself an American. Now, 77 years after arriving in America, she gives us a rare opportunity to understand history through the eyes of a person who helped create it. This is not a political statement made by a news commentator or radio talk show host. It is not political at all. It is a story of real feelings and events, shared by a real person, who, at 85 years of age, has earned the right to be heard. This is the story of immigrant: Luba Tcheresky. “I have been in America since 1930 and have enjoyed a very good life. I am very proud to be in America as a naturalized citizen, thanks to my dear mother. But, I have to admit; I am so dismayed over the changes that have come about in the past 77 years.”

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“I came to America from Russia when I was eight years old, alone, all by myself on a very large ship. In about 1923, just after I was born, my mother had an opportunity to go to America with the help of her half-sister. She took my two older, halfsisters with her because she wanted a better life for them. My grandmother told my mother she couldn’t take me, because I was too young to go. So, I remained in Russia with my beloved grandmother. I loved my life on the farm, and remember walking the ducks home at night. I think I was born in 1922 or 1923. I am unsure, because I don’t have a birth certificate.”

“My mother went to America and left me with my grandmother, grandfather, cousins, and my Uncle Vanya, who was my favorite relative. We lived in White Russia, which was first Russia, and then Poland. It is Russian again now. But it was Poland at the time and I spoke only Polish.” “I was so happy there but did not, at the time, have a memory of my mother or understand why she was not there. They did not really talk to me about it. I just remember being happy and having fun playing on the huge, farm/estate that my grandfather managed. And, by the way, he was related to Nicholas II, the last Czar of Russia.” “I remember having a great childhood up until I was five years old. I was transferred to a convent in Warsaw for three years so that I could go to school. At about 8, I was told I was being taken out of the convent. I assumed I was to going back to my grandmother’s, to the only home I had ever known. But when I got home, they quickly took me to the port, where suddenly, there was a tag being put on my dress. Whoever took me there said that my mother wanted me in America. There was no discussion. I was going to my mother. I was going to America. I didn’t know my mother. I was very happy with my family in Russia. I remember screaming and screaming with tears rolling down my face, ‘I don’t want to go to

America. I don’t want to see my mother. I want to stay here. I want to stay here!’” “I was put on a boat, with this tag around my neck, with my name on it. I remember this lady with a first class ticket who was supposed to take care of me. I quickly learned she had taken MY first class ticket. I suddenly found myself all alone. I was eight years old and had to fend for myself. There were supposed to be designated people to care for unattended children on these trips. But, I never saw that lady again, and had no one officially looking out for me. However, I do remember the Captain being nice to me. “He used to take me in his room and give me raisins and hard-boiled eggs, which I loved.”

(Story note - the lady taking Luba’s 1st class ticket may have changed how Luba would enter America. On the bigger cruise lines; passengers in 1st or 2nd class were exposed to a “cursory” inspection on the ship. Officials believed that if the passenger could afford 1st or 2nd class, they were probably healthy enough and would not become a “public charge” in America. However, if they were found with illness or legal problems, they were sent off the ship to Ellis Island.) “So, anyway, I was put on this ship and I really don’t remember where I slept, it was the funniest thing. But I remember playing with these kids up and down the stairwells. Once, I nearly flew off the ship because I fell and rolled to the edge of the deck. I was saved because I hit one of the rails. At eight years of age, it all seemed like a lot of fun. In retrospect, it was exceedingly dangerous. I was lucky I ever arrived in America!” “To make things worse, I got chicken pox on the voyage! So, they had to let me off in London and put me in a hospital for a week. I remember being in a room with two English kids and every time the nurse left the room, the three of us jumped out of our beds and ran around the room. We communicated in our own ‘private language,’ with me speaking only Polish.” “When I was well, they put me on another ship and finally, we pulled into New York harbor, and Ellis Island. Ellis Island was run by the Federal Government and everyone that came into New

York from anywhere in the world, was examined by a doctor and had their papers thoroughly reviewed. I don’t think it took days, maybe just hours, because the Captain actually took me to my mother at the dock. I remember I wasn’t frightened during the process but noticed that some people obviously were. Some were very old or very sick, and that meant families were going to being separated. It was very traumatic sometimes. If anybody were ill or had conjunctivitis they would hold them at Ellis Island until they got well. Or, if they were severely ill with something really serious, the families would be separated and the sick would be sent back. Only the healthy would be allowed entry.” (Story note: Having been put off in England could have been a blessing for Luba. If she had arrived in America while sick, her entry process could have been different. Could she have been detained on the Island? Many ill immigrants actually died there. Many were separated from their families because of their illness or were either sent back.) “After being processed on the Island, I remember the Captain taking me by the hand and taking me on the dock and handing me over to these people who had come to New York…my mother, a man she married – probably my stepfather, and my two older sisters were there. When the Captain stood there, holding my hand, introducing me to the family, he said, ‘How do you know it is your mother?’ I looked at her and said, ‘Because she has the same opening between her two front teeth as I do.’”

(Story note: The process usually took only 3-5 hours. Doctors gave the immigrants a cursory exam looking for about 6 different things in particular. The ship’s manifests were actually used as the “entry paperwork.”) “The next thing I remember is living in this strange house. I don’t remember the trip from New York City. We might have driven or taken a train, I am not sure. My mother had married this man she met in the factory where she worked. That was common practice for people who entered America legally. Since they didn’t know the language, they got jobs in factories like my mother. She met this man who was working in the factory. He was a tool and die maker. I think she married him mainly to make a home for her two older daughters. And, she wanted to make sure she had a home to bring her third daughter to. I don’t think she was completely happy until I came to America. She told me much later that she never smiled until I arrived. And, I have pictures where she looks very somber in Detroit.” “As a legal immigrant, we were expected and required to go to school. Even my mother, who came at 30, went to school at night to learn English. She always spoke with a little accent but she got her eighth grade diploma, which she was so proud of. She kept it framed on the wall until the day she died. I was required immediately to go to a school in Detroit. When school started in September, I was immediately taken into the George Washington School. Anyone who couldn’t speak English was put in a room called “The Americanization Room.” “The Americanization Room” was actually in the George Washington School proper. There were both older people and younger people who were there to be ‘assimilated.’ To be assimilated was to be taught the customs of America and how to adapt to them. I have often wondered what the ACLU would do would do with that name today! The Americanization Room; to get assimilated? So, I stayed in that room for three years until they thought I was capable, and then they put me in the eighth grade. Later I was sent to Cass Tech High School in Detroit, Michigan.” “The world today is different than the world in Detroit when I was a small girl. One memory I have is the race riots between the blacks and the whites. They were terrible. I really don’t understand why they happened, and did not know the reason at the time. There were both black and

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Woman The County



Where is Ellis Island When We Need It?

white families on our street and we all got along just fine. We all kept up our homes; no one on our street locked their doors. My mother would take pies and cakes to all of the neighbors and had an open house on Sundays and we would never know who was coming. I never remembered being afraid, I would go on errands for my mother and take streetcars with no problem. We were actually one of the last families to move. I was happy there. I never recognized the difference in color between people. We were all just people. In fact, my best friend in school was a little black boy, who protected me in the schoolyard. We were inseparable.” “Before coming to America, I had never even seen a black person. I remember this one great experience involving my best friend in school when I was in the Americanization Room. There was this young black boy who sat in front of me. I don’t even know why he was there exactly. Anyway, I would look at his neck and I found the color of his skin so interesting. Then, one day, I took the little hankie my mother would pin to my dress, and wet it with my mouth to try and clean off his neck, because I thought it was dirt! He just laughed and we became very good friends. We were always at each other’s side. When the girls would start pulling my pigtails at recess, my little friend would come over and stand up for me.” “I graduated from high school at about 15 or 16. My mom wanted me to take music. My mother always stressed education. She would say, “Dochka” (which means daughter), you have to do things to put some glory in your life.” “My mother worked extra jobs ironing, cleaning, and

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“During this time, we were very active in the Russian community in our area. My mother was known as a “prima donna” in the Russian colony, which was very large. We went to big concerts and balls. We had to learn Russian dances and the mandolin. I sang and my momma sang. She was in Russian plays and I did puppet theatre, which was very big in the Russian culture.” “We lived on Dearing Street in Detroit, Michigan, where most of our friends were Russian. My parents belonged to a ‘fancy’ club, which really were just 13 families who got together once a month for a meeting. ‘High class’ Russians, is how they thought of themselves. But the truth was, it was just a good excuse to have a great Old Russian party that lasted all night long!” “I think that I got “Americanized” very fast. I was somewhat confused. I never really quite knew what I was doing. I was told to do this and that, so I did it. I was always being told what I HAD to do! I was told I had to come to America and then, later, I was told I had to go to New York to study with a Russian professor. They made me do it, because they thought I had great talent.”

cooking. She wanted to earn extra money for my music lessons and to buy a piano. Both my sisters and I had lessons, which cost twenty-five or fifty cents. I found that I had a natural talent for music and a good voice. My momma always thought that my older sister, Nadia, would be the one with the voice, but Nadia did not want to learn and apply herself. She was more interested in boys and later ended up being the worst to my mother.” “My mother saw my natural talent and sent me to Cass Tech. It was a great school where you could major in music while taking college grad courses. You had to take 3 instruments, learn orchestration and all of that. Cass Tech always had a girl’s trio and I was picked to join this group of girls.” “We named ourselves the ‘Novelettes.’ Oh, we had great fun. We made our own arrangements and got summer jobs with bands. We sang really great songs from groups like the Andrew Sisters. Then we decided we needed to learn other instruments so we could earn more money. We learned the accordion, the guitar, and the string base. I was always getting solos and won many contests. After Cass Tech, I went to Wayne University, majoring in music and singing.”

“I met my first boyfriend while I was singing at a Russian Ball in Detroit. He was an aeronautical engineer from Russia studying in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I think I might have married him if I had not had been ordered to go to New York. He was tall, blond and very handsome. He would come over to the house and bring Russian records and we would sit and listen to them for hours. He would arrange for weekends in Ann Arbor and would take me to play tennis and go to the wind tunnel and other very romantic places. It was very nice but also very proper. He wanted me to trans-

resident of New York City and lived the horror of 9/11. Unless you were there, you simply can’t imagine.” “When I came to America I became a naturalized citizen. That was the way it was done then. I was naturalized because my mother had already become a citizen. We both went through the process that was set forth at that time. But, most importantly, we participated; we were so proud of being in this country and wanted to give back to our country and community. Even though we practiced many of the traditions of our heritage and our previous culture, we gratefully embraced America for all that it offered us.” “I am not a racist by any means and have no problem with those who come into this country legally, follow the law, and become a contributing member of society. But I feel angered, overwhelmed and abused by the influx of undocumented immigrants who come to one of the ‘sanctuary’ cities, of which New York is one. Literally millions flock to various cities around this country. There are no requirements that they learn English, there is no control over what type of illnesses might be coming into our country, and no emphasis is placed on required education or assimilation. In my opinion, this is happening because current laws are clearly not being enforced. From Washington on down, I feel we have a broken government. Employers who employ illegal workers, should, according to our laws, be fined. But they are not. The laws seem to be unenforceable.” fer to his college, which I would have done.” “Unfortunately…or fortunately, a man from New York had seen me perform in Michigan and told my mother I needed to go to New York. He had a daughter in the Metropolitan Opera Ballet. My mother was very determined that at least one of her daughters would make it in music. So, I went to New York City and studied. I was very young, only 17 years old, but I felt very safe there. I would ride the subway alone and it was a very different life than it is today.” “Everything was very nice, no overcrowding, no pushing, no shoving. I am sure there was crime and unpleasant things, but I was not aware of this. I eventually left New York when I married my husband, Richard. We went to live in his family home in California, where I had two children. I returned to New York 10 years later to pursue a professional singing career. Most American opera singers pursued careers in Europe before they debuted in the states. I made the decision to stay in New York, because I didn’t want to leave my children at their very young age. By this time, Richard and I had divorced.” “I returned to New York City in 1958. The city was still fine at that time, somewhat more populated, but it did not yet feel overwhelming. There wasn’t the unbelievable crowding, shouting, pushing, and rudeness that exist today. The ambience that had surrounded New York City was fading. The overpopulation now is almost unbearable.” “I feel so strongly about what is happening today in regards to illegal immigration. I keep saying, ‘Oh Ellis Island, where are you when we need you?’ I think it is unconscionable that we are the only country that doesn’t secure its borders even after an attack like 9/11. In my opinion, a country should close its borders immediately. Maybe I feel so strongly about this issue because I am a

“I think we, as Americans, are being discriminated against in many ways. For example, when employers and government agencies take jobs or services away from our citizens and favor those who are in our country illegally because they will work for less than minimum wage. I have seen first-hand and have had personal experiences, where I feel my needs were pushed aside in favor of someone who did not legally belong here.” “I have personally experienced a number of situations where the attitudes of undocumented immigrants show their distain for America, its

citizens and our way of life. For example, at all the little coffee shops and restaurants on Broadway, the waiters and busboys, were at one time, all American whites and blacks working for minimum wage. Slowly at first, and now it seems much faster, things began to change. Now, these jobs are filled by those here illegally, by those who do not speak English, and will work for much less. This is the attraction for the employers.” “I have been insulted by workers who insist that I learn Spanish when I patronized an establishment right around the corner from where I have lived for 40 years! A woman I had never seen before confronted me on the street, who started talking about how wonderful HER country was, and how she didn’t like America. I was stunned. I responded, ‘Well, if your country is so wonderful, why do you not go back there?’ She said, ‘Oh, I am! As soon as I get my social security!’ How ironic is that! I was absolutely flabbergasted! On a daily basis, I am amazed what new information I hear about. A friend of mine was moving, and told me there are actually ILLEGAL agencies that will assist in placing ILLEGAL workers in jobs for a certain set cost, based on the type of job! How insane is that? How can this happen in a country of laws? This is America. The constitution hasn’t changed, the government has. I gladly paid the price to be able to call myself an American. I earned the privilege and the right to live in the greatest country in the world. I believe we should all be held accountable, in the same way, for the same reasons.” “I have personally been in a situation years ago where I sought help from a state agency. I waited in line for hours just like everybody else. When I finally got to the front of the line, I was told that it was unlikely that I would get help because, ‘if I would look around the room, I would notice that hardly any of these people spoke English…THEY needed the help - not me!’ What happened to MY rights as a citizen? I actually wound up NOT getting the help I needed, and I am an American citizen.” “Living daily life seems much distorted to me. There is such a double standard of justice. It is practically like we are executing ‘reverse justice.’ It seems like we will be punished in some way for following the law! This story made headline news. At this very moment, there are 2 border patrol officers who are in jail for 10 years because they shot at a known drug dealer coming across the Southern border. Our legal system gave the perpetrator, the known drug dealer, immunity for testifying against these 2 officers who were just trying to do their jobs. This known drug dealer was released and two years later he has continued to run drugs and now has just been arrested again for the same type of crime! Where is the justice in that?”

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Woman The County



Where is Ellis Island When We Need It?

“New York City has changed dramatically in the last 40 years. Yes, there are some people who come to America and respect our laws and way of life. On the other hand, there are too many who do not. My family came to America and honestly applied themselves to the American way of life, while never forgetting where they came from. We were grateful. We wanted to give back to this country for all the opportunity we had received. I met a man in the coffee shop the other day, who was trying to learn English. He was reading a newspaper and asked if he could read to me to practice. I thought that was great! There was such a special exchange between two strangers who wound up feeling like friends. He will be going home this Christmas with the money he has earned during the three years he was here. He will not, of course, be back.” “I am telling you true stories. It makes one who did it the legal way, whose parents did it the legal way feel very frustrated and betrayed. Everyone who was accepted into this country immediately went to work. They studied to learn the language. They contributed to their communities and honored and respected this country and its laws.” “We still have the laws, but there is no enforcement. I think we got this way because of politics, and money, and lobbying. I believe that we are not enforcing the laws effectively because politicians feel that there are votes to be gained by ‘looking the other way.’” “For example, just recently, the governor of New York, Governor Spitzer, wanted to issue driver’s licenses to all of the illegal Immigrants. Why did he do that? He did this, because with a driver’s license, you can go in and vote! In my opinion, the politicians would prosper from millions of illegal

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immigrant votes! There was such an outcry over the driver’s license issue that Governor Spitzer had to take back his proposal. You have to ask yourself; ‘isn’t the law just that...the law?’” “All I know is that I have not seen anything get any better or any nicer or any more livable. It just gets worse and worse. You would think that after something as horrific as 9/11 (the first time in history that we have ever been attacked at home) we would be more vigilant in enforcing the law. It is horrifying to realize that one of the terrorists actually came in illegally through our Southern borders because he was able to get false papers so easily. Something must be done to solve this problem.” “America has the most generous VISA program in the world. We accept so many – more than any other country in the world – legally. Why do people want to come to this country? Because it is the greatest country in the world! Don’t you think the people who arrive here daily, should honor our country by abiding by its laws? After all, it is America who has given these people the chance for a career, a life, and to make a living. Why should there be two sets of rules? Where is the common sense in all of this?” “I have been an American for 77 years. I am a piece of living history. I remember Ellis Island. I remember how proud we all were. I am still proud. But, I am deeply concerned. I think America has lost its focus. Many of our own citizens cannot find work and have been displaced by illegal workers and been the victims of the ‘outsourcing’ of all types of work. It would appear that the most effective way to see change would be for everyone who felt this way to make his or her feelings known. I am too old to march out and carry a flag. But I can assure you; the undocumented immigrants would, if they feel they have been wronged in some way. They could sue or divert services and benefits from those who are born to citizenship, or affect those who have followed the law and earned their citizenship.” “Of what importance is the process that my mother, my sisters and I, as well as millions of others, completed, sometimes at great risk, to become a citizen? How do the other people who have come to America and are going through the legal process for citizenship feel? Do they feel discouraged and cheated when a person illegally circumvents the system? Remember, we are talking about millions

and millions of people. As you are reading this article, there are people jumping fences, crawling through tunnels, and tragically dying in the desert, as they illegally try to enter this country. Where is the sense or justice in any of this? Why are we are all so afraid to speak out? I am 85 years old, and I am not afraid. I am mad! I knew America when it consisted of real people who were part of each other, who stood for something, and who were proud to respect America and its laws. Those people are still here but they need to have their voices heard. They need to be seen.” “I still remember that small 8-year-old girl, standing alone on the deck of a cold steel ship. I remember entering New York harbor 77 years ago. I remember the awe in that little girl’s face as she saw the Statue of Liberty towering above the fog, her light shining to welcome me home. There was a price to pay for the honor of freedom. I paid it and would gladly do it again. I want to see America again through the eyes of that eight-yearold little girl. It still exists; we have just forgotten who we are.”

Woman The County



The Gift By Freya Pruitt Most of us never stop to consider how we would be affected if we suddenly lost our spouse. We go through each day and usually get caught up in the hypnotic routine we call life. We fall in love, get married, and have children and careers. Some of us are fortunate enough to live charmed lives, and some have it tough, really tough. I guess I fall into the latter. But I am lucky; God blessed me with a strong spirit. I value loyalty and honor. Above all else, I value love. I am a person of great faith. I am passionate about life and the welfare of others. I consider myself a strong person. However, I was not prepared, or would have believed, that an emotion so strong could have controlled my entire life. It’s as if it had it’s own power source. It would materialize absolutely out of nowhere. Memories, thoughts and feelings could paralyze me in a split second. The closest experience I could compare it to would be falling in love. Do you remember the butterflies in your stomach? That glorious feeling when you would fall into each other’s arms? Do you remember the sensation of your heart pounding with pure, passionate joy? That feeling kept drawing you into one another. The two of you became the entire world. Everything around you seemed to vanish. There was this overwhelming desire to be together…always, then forever. I remember it well. It never occurred to me that such great love could

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wind up having such a tragic ending. After all, THOSE love stories only happened in the movies! Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that great love has a flip side: grief. And grief, most definitely, has it’s own agenda. Grief has it’s own method of operation. It materializes right out of our sub-conscious. Every second of every life experience that’s been locked up in our personal “safe,” is suddenly exposed. I learned quickly, that no person is immune to a thief in the night. I was caught completely off guard. I never had a chance. I have experienced three great loves in my life. I consider myself blessed. Many people never experience it at all. But in three loves and three marriages, I can assure you; I only had one true husband. He died on our anniversary, September 19, 2007. We were married 17 years. I don’t believe in coincidences. I have never been loved like that before. I never loved another human being so completely. It truly was like we were one person, one flesh, and one soul. No, we never lost our identities. Our identities just metamorphosed into the reflection of each other. My husband had been very ill and was in the throws of a full-blown mid-life crisis. He “hit the road” last December, in my opinion, to have some good old-fashioned fun. God only knows what he told his family; whatever it was, he had them convinced that he was no longer happy. Close

relationships I had shared with his family went up in smoke in a blink of the eye. My husband had the gift of gab and he was VERY convincing. His family never spoke to me again. I have accepted the reality that only my husband, God, and myself, will ever know the real truth. I only wish someone would have listened to me. Maybe if they knew how ill he was, they could have held him accountable for his destructive behavior. Maybe he would be alive today. The facts speak for themselves. We were married for 17 years. Up until the time he left, we only spent three days apart. Eight months after his departure, he was dead. His family never even let me know about his funeral. He had a massive heart attack on September 19, on our anniversary. He was already dead when the paramedics took him to the hospital. He was put on life support, but the plug was pulled the next day, as there was no brain activity. No one even called me to let me know, or asked me what his personal wishes would have been. It was all over in a few days. About a month before Reggie died, he called me and said, ”Freya, I love you. I did you a favor.” Then, he hung up. I didn’t know what to think as he had spoken the most hateful and hurtful things to me, which, by the way, was totally out of character for him. My mother, who knew him really well,

made a valid point. She said, “He tried to make you hate him; he tried to push you away so you would no longer care about him.” Well, it didn’t work. When love is that powerful, it takes on it’s own life, it seems to have it’s own power; it’s own destination. That type of love knows when to let go for the better good of the other half. My husband loved me enough to let me go…to run, as fast as he could, to save me from his demise. I loved him enough to let him go, to do what he had to do. Little did he know, my heart would have been so grateful just to hold him; to have been able to say good-bye. I have accepted the painful fact that I will have no closure. Reggie is gone… and that absolutely terrifies me. I feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach. My aching tears come from a place so deep inside of me, I fear, if they do not cease, I might drown in sorrow. What I am about to tell you will sound like fiction, but I assure you, it is the truth. For two days before I heard the news he had died, I smelled a man’s cologne all around me. Wherever I went, whether I was in the market, the laundry mat, the drugstore, my house: it was everywhere. No, it was not his scent, it was just a man’s cologne. I kept smelling my clothes, the car, and my jacket. I never could identify where it was coming from. There was just this scent in the air. I eventually dismissed it, until the next day. I was sitting with my dear friend Amber at eleven o’clock on a Sunday night. The phone rang. I heard my stepdaughter’s voice say, “mom?” I said, “Elizabeth?” Then without hesitation, I said, “is your father dead?” She kept saying, ”You need to sit down.” I kept saying, ‘is your father dead?” Then she told me the news; five days after the fact.

It is fascinating to me, how two people can be so spiritually connected. I knew in a split second, when I heard her voice; he was dead. You may be wondering why I am telling this story at Christmas time. Is this story out of place? Oh no. I assure you dear friends; there are thousands of people around the world, at this very moment, who are not able to celebrate; they are only able to mourn. There is no book or college course you can take, to prepare you for the shock and impending grief of losing a loved one. The only comfort these people can receive, is the cathartic encouragement from someone who has lived it and survived it. If my personal story can touch one person, can lift one wounded heart, then it was worth telling. For the fortunate, who have not had to endure this kind of pain, I hope you will remember how blessed you are. I want you all to know, how much I love publishing this magazine. It is my heart’s intention to touch people’s lives and effect change in the community. At this very special time of the year, I hope you know how honored I am to serve you. If I could give you all just one gift, it would be love. It would be the ability to recognize and value love. It would be the gift of time, the gift of second chances, the gift of having the opportunity to do it all over again. Sadly, we all know that second chances don’t come around too often. They exist in our memories, pull at our heartstrings, and mourn what could have been. Yes, I have been through the “should of, would of, could of’s,” over and over again. In the end, after all the tears and pain, it just winds up being “IT IS, WHAT IT IS.” It is just LOVE. It is not important what anyone else thinks or

believes. Love has it’s own memory; it is it’s own truth. It has it’s own eyes. Love sees a person’s soul. It recognizes value, and cares and honors. It will teach us, if we let it, how to live, how to give, how to be grateful for that special person in our life. After all, it is in a blink of an eye that everything we value can be taken away. So, remember, in the quiet hours before the dawn, as you lay next to the love of your life, remember to appreciate the sound of their breathing…to bask in the warmth of their hand touching your neck. Secretly smile as you gently fall back to sleep with their warm back giving you comfort. The simple things are the most profound. It is there, in the gentle mist of a solemn tear; it is there in the silence; it is there you will feel the presence of God. Be grateful for what He has given you. For it is in gratefulness, and thanksgiving, that we will find the gift. But, what good is a gift if we do not give it away? Silver and gold can’t compare to the purity and honor of loving another. The power of the gift dwells in your heart. The power of the heart is where love lives on forever. Believe in each other, hold on with all your might, and fight to keep the gift you gave each other. Be loyal, be strong, and be steadfast. Never break the invisible thread that binds you both together. When you lay down your life for the honor of loving another, you insure the safety of your own heart for even if it’s broken, a heart can mend. “As long as you both shall live” takes on a different meaning when you experience the death of a loved one. It is no longer an illusion of loss; it is the reality of desire; of what could have been. When one’s breath is gone, it is too late. Take the gift, wrap it up, and then give it away. Once it’s been given, no one, not even God, can take it back. Don’t be afraid; you can never lose what you never had.

Woman The County



A Different Look at

Rue McClanahan

“You cant operate out of love if you are governed by fear.”

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you’re still a baby.

Freya: Especially in this day and age, in the music business…it’s so odd. When I was doing a lot of performing and recording in the 1980’s, it was about the music. Today it is about packaging. It is all commercialism. You could take a 12 yearold kid; sitting behind a desk in a school and dress them up and package them, and have a hit record. It’s crazy.

Freya: Rue, what elements, based on your own experience, are required to make a good marriage? How does one have a good and strong marriage today?

Rue: I know it. You can do the same thing with an actor. Freya: Yes, it is sad. Rue: You know it is all about looks and personality. But that doesn’t last long. When you build a career on that, you soon realize it doesn’t last long and is a flash in a pan. You cannot build a career on looks. Looks fade. Freya: What do you think about these kids like Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton? This trashy persona is publicized to such a degree, that our children wind up idolizing these negative role models. It is really pervasive – even in grade school. Our children relate to what they call the “gansta” look. They actually aspire to become gangsters. What do you say to that? Rue: I think you have to teach them what gangsters are. Like the Sopranos, for instance. I just finally stopped watching that show, and I really don’t like the Godfather movies. I don’t believe in romanticizing the lack of responsibility and the selfishness of people that these organizations were built on. They are truly selfish and I think they are the closest things to the devil. I think what the devil really is, is total selfishness. If you ever saw the movie The Witches of Eastwick, it shows that the devil’s entire goal was to satisfy himself. No matter now much he hurt ANYONE else. I came out of that film transformed in my idea of what the devil meant and how this idea of Satan came to be. Satan is cruelty, hatred, and selfishness. And you have to be crazy to think only of yourself, it’s so twisted. We develop the idea of giving, sharing and doing good very slowly through the years. As we grow and mature, by the time we become adults, we are supposed to have learned not to be selfish like a baby is. It is a babyish thing and that is a form of insanity. It’s insane. Freya: It is interesting you mentioned a baby. I wrote an article for this upcoming issue called “Prolific Innocence.” When a person is born we, as babies, have this innocence. If we could develop this innocence as we mature, we would find that innocence is power. We still have the ability as adults, to look at people through the eyes of a baby. I think we’ve been programmed through so much negative media, to see innocence as weakness. It is horrible. Rue: In other words, you might call it…in a baby, ignorance. Because when you are ignorant of something that means you don’t know. It means you are “ignorant” of it. So, of course, they are INNOCENT of the basic truth of life because they haven’t learned anything yet. So, they are ignorant of it and innocent. But, when you grow up and you’re 21 and you are still ignorant of it;

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Rue: Well, I am experiencing a good marriage for the first time. We are going to have our 10th anniversary this Christmas Day. I believe it is thinking about the other person first and trying to understand the difference between irrational behavior and what the problem is. Usually, the two strongest feelings in life that govern our actions are fear and love. You can’t operate out of love if you are governed by fear. Most of us grow up, although I was very fortunate in my upbringing, so called “dysfunctional” because we didn’t get the love we needed at an early age. If you don’t get the love you need at an early age, you don’t get the security that you need and you don’t become able to function without fear. Most of us are so fearful. There are so many things we are trying to protect. When you are protecting and being fearful, you are incapable of being loving. Love is a very big order. Loving…is even a bigger order. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of stopping and saying, “Now wait a minute,” before you fly off the handle. What is going on here? Now if you are with a fairly well balanced person who is also trying to learn these things, then I think you have a chance to make a marriage or a relationship of any kind work. You have to look into your own fear and find out what it is that’s driving you. In my book, I talk a lot about being stampeded into marriages by my fear...whatever my fear was at that time. I had a very serious, neurotic need for a man in my life that was focused on me like a father or a parent. Someone I could really depend on; someone to take care of me emotionally. You can’t go into a relationship with that fear and expect it to turn out well. That is not the reason to go into a relationship. You really have to be secure in yourself to make a relationship work. You have to be able to think of the other person. If you are not secure in yourself, you are only thinking of yourself. You have to consider yourself; I don’t mean you should be a doormat. But, you have to respect yourself and rely on yourself and know that if the sun goes down and there is nobody in the house but you, you are still okay. I used to get very insecure. I had to have A man, even if he was a cruel person and he was not treating me well. He was there; he was mine. But, he wasn’t mine! I wasn’t happy. And, when I learned to live alone and be secure in myself, then I was ready to take on a mate. Freya: How long were you alone before you met and married Morrow? Rue: I got divorced in 1985 and I met him in 1997. I had a while to grow up. I was in my 50’s but hadn’t quite grown up. Freya: I understand. This is the first time in my entire life that I have ever been alone. And it is very odd. I would say that my first reaction to being alone was terror. Terror…absolute terror. Rue: Terror is just one step up from fear. Freya: Oh, yes, forget fear, mine was terror.

Rue: Then you go from terror into panic. One of the worst experiences in life is panic. I’d rather have any kind of physical pain before I’d take panic. Panic is the most painful thing that I have ever experienced. I don’t know that you can get over it by yourself. I did need therapy to delve into what had created this feeling that I had to have someone here or I am going to be…I don’t know what. Panic doesn’t seem to have a rational face. For me, it is a completely pervasive, overwhelming physical pain in my chest. That feeling of panic… right in the center of my chest and heart, I would think the boogey man was going to get me. Whoa, was it scary! Freya: That type of panic has no discernment. It is not intellectual and in my experience, I would find that it would just come out of nowhere. Rue: And, if someone were to come up to you at that point and say, “Will you marry me?” You are very likely to say yes. Freya: Then the panic will go away. Rue: Then the panic will go away. You might be miserable. Freya: It is odd. It is very, very odd. Rue: It is so common. It is not unusual. I thought I was the only one who ever experienced that, but no, no. And you are then prey for people who are going to take advantage of you. See, their panic may be based on something else. Freya: Yes, I was just thinking as you said that, we probably manifest the same type of mentality in another person. The same type of consciousness …so you wind up with two terrified panicked people in a relationship. Rue: They are going to be really great mates aren’t they? Freya: Oh, how happy they will be! And then why don’t we have a few children along the way? Rue: And, give them the same problems. Freya: Then pass down the generational curse, as I call it. Rue: I am so glad to say that my son has not experienced this particular panic. I am sure he has his own particular problems, but he doesn’t experience this particular panic; thank God, that I had most of my life. He lives alone and is very comfortable. He wants to get married. But, I am so glad that he hasn’t had time also. By the time I was his age, I had three or four husbands by then, and he has been through all of them with me. Mark is in his 40’s, but he looks younger. People think he looks in his 30’s. I was always thinking that I looked older than my years; because I was told I was a mature person early on. Now people are telling me I look younger which I am happy about. Freya: Well, you look like a baby. I loved it when I saw that picture of you in the Austin Statesman. I

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Greater Grace Christian Coffeehouse:

Rescuing Russian Orphans

BY ANDY WHITE Christmas is here. Jesus has long brought us together to share the joy of His humble birth. Our Savior, born in a stable, wrapped in swaddling clothes, on His very first night on earth, laid his head to sleep in a manger of hay. And we sing......”Oh Holy Night....” I am thankful, as I know are most of you, but what do we make of this night? Do we value the humility with which God humbled himself as a man, and came to dwell among the least of us? Knowing that Jesus identified with you personally, with your loss, or your hurt, or your struggle, or your fear, do you feel an identification with Him? I hear the Christmas carols, smell the fresh cut Christmas trees, remember the joys of childhood, and look forward to egg nag and warm laughter with family and friends....these are a few of my favorite things. But something else is on my mind this Christmas. Earlier in the year we began to seek the Lord for a way to pull together the Christians in our community here at Greater Grace Christian Coffee House. Those who joined us were challenged to reach out beyond their comfort zones, asked to visit a Church other than their own, and to offer themselves in service to a Church other than their own. Finally after a few gatherings with a group of Believers from differing denominations, traditions etc. everyone was asked to work together with what we all have in common, and to reach out beyond our community. We began with prayer and God took us on an adventure that included a family adopting a son, new friendships forged in the fire of adversity, and miraculously opened doors to help orphans in Russia. I have been very excited about this opportunity. This has presented a huge challenge to me personally, to seek out every possible resource to effectively make a difference in these children’s lives. What has this to do with Christmas? Another toy collection for underprivileged children? No, I wish it were that simple, but it isn’t. Imagine a child with no parents, no family, in a dormitory filled with other children, all cold, all lonely, with very little hope. Imagine a child, with a beautiful smile, knowing that outside

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of his window, birds sing, the sun glimmers on the snow, and the sounds of children playing outside echo off of the empty walls. Imagine the young girl dreaming of a family, a mother and father, a little sister or brother, music, and the smells of good food as everyone gathers around the table, but when she opens her eyes all she can see is the old wall, the same old wall. Can you really put yourself in the place of these children...please? If it sounds like I am coming close to begging, it’s because I have seen these children with my eyes, I have heard their dreams with my ears, and I see Jesus in every one of their faces. Yes it is Christmas, but for some of God’s children, warmth and love and joy won’t be a reality. Jesus humbled Himself, and came down as a man among men, because He knew that we were helpless to help ourselves. He was willing to have nothing so that we might have everything. He has given us mercy. He has given us love. He has given us hope. “Freely we have received”, and let me reiterate the plea of scripture, “freely also give.” Now, I ask you to join me as I put myself in the place of these children. Do I feel particularly humble begging? No, because these children, upon their release from the orphanage at 15 to 18 years old have almost no living skills, no transitory housing, no supervision, no proverbial net to catch them when they fall, and no family to go to for help. They beg.

They experience rejection; they experience a lot of “No’s” as well as dirty looks, name calling and bullying by peers, and recruitment by thieves, pimps, and drug lords. And they beg. They beg for help. They beg for food. They beg for mercy from the bullies. They beg God to stop the pain, to stop the suffering. And their desperation in a huge percentage of the cases leads them to the only end they can control, suicide. The girls, often as young as fifteen, turn to prostitution and loose any sense of dignity. The boys band together and steal what they can, often turning to drugs and alcohol. Putting myself in these children’s place I feel desperation, humiliation, fear and hopelessness. And yet this is Christmas. With all its song and good cheer. For those of us who are fortunate enough to enjoy it, I am sure it will be very special, but what about those less fortunate than us? The feeling that usually accompanies such reading is not good. We have been overwhelmed with images of starving children, stories of genocide, never ending wars and sometimes we feel as if it is like pouring money down the drain if we were to give. What can we do? Really, we would all like to do some good, make someone’s life a little better, maybe even change the world. But more often than not we feel that we are too far away, too distant to be of any real help. Well that is not the case. These children need you! You can make the difference in whether these children live or die. The odds are dead set against them. But you can change the odds! We have developed a plan to build and demonstrate a prototype of what is commonly used in countries such as Poland that have gone through the same transition that Russia is going through. This includes building a home with eight bedrooms that may house between ten and fourteen orphans. A married couple will live in the home and act as “house parents” The children will experience life much more like a true family than their current dormitory lifestyle. There will be other extremely important differences in the lifestyle that will affect their development as they mature into young men and women. Responsibility will be taught and shared. Education may involve attending a local

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Greater Grace: Rescuing Russian Orphans Continued from Page 50 public school as well as training in a trade school. This probably sounds just normal, but at this time the children who are orphans do not attend outside schools. Attending a school outside of the home/ orphanage will help the children to be a real part of their communities.

We are working with church leaders, government officials, and concerned citizens of Russia. With the political conflict between our governments it is easy to write the entire populace off as “the opposition.” But, I can assure you, they are not our enemies. The Russian people are beautiful, sharing, compassionate, and yes patriotic just as we are. They have a wonderful culture, a rich history, incredible artists, writers, athletes, and musicians. They love freedom, but can hardly relate to freedom as we do because they have never really tasted it the way we have. Imagine living here in America and having our entire government as well as the current way of life completely thrown out the door, no employment, no method of confirming or establishing ownership of private property, no system of law and the whole world expecting you to prosper in your new “freedom.” I am an eyewitness to this. I went to Russia on mission trips and interacted with the people on many levels. City people, with their fast paced life, dependant on public transportation, lines forming before dawn at the bread store, the formerly beautifully landscaped streets and boulevards neglected and dirty, all waiting for the promised benefits of this wonderful dream called “freedom.” Country people, dependant on agriculture, accustomed to communal farming, heavy handed delegation of duty, ownership of a tiny plot of land and a small “summer home” called a Dacha where each family raised their own food, often one family member would work at a factory that built in the center of the community such as a bottle making factory. But the communal farm was now abandoned; the factory only barely functioned because the materials needed to make the bottles no longer arrived on time, if ever. The employees did not receive any pay because the government no longer owned the factory. Out of desperation the government began to sell literally everything, after all, this “privatization” is what the West recommended for a successful economy. Well, the new owners weren’t Westerners and the legal system didn’t protect the workers, and the government didn’t have experience in taxation so they had no way to fund any welfare assistance. It wasn’t long before the people became desperate, the fledgling government was made up entirely of people raised under Communism, and though many were eager for change, they were just learning to swim, so to speak. Often it appeared they were drowning, and

anyone who tried to help would get overpowered and go down with them. Since that awful time, change has come; oil has begun to fill the government’s empty coffers. President Putting has restored a sense of dignity to the office which Yeltsin had tainted with carelessness and foolish behavior, much as Bush restored dignity for our office of the presidency after Clinton had his affairs. We as Americans do not see an overbearing domineering leader as a positive thing, but from a Russian perspective, the American dream of “freedom” wasn’t such a great thing, and this “great leader” saved them from utter desolation. I can imagine being in their shoes and thinking “so what’s so wrong with a good strong leader if we aren’t starving to death?” In actuality the people as a whole have worked very hard to create jobs, they had no choice. Like here, some businesses make it and some don’t. I know young Russians who took up being interpreters, opening grocery kiosks, doing construction, selling their own art, many work two jobs, and some even three. Education is highly valued and many continue to improve their standing through education. There are some other things we have in common that are not so positive. We, like they, have a media that the majority of citizens do not trust, or believe are objective. They, like us, are quickly becoming a consumer society and this will ultimately lead to a trade imbalance. They, like us, fear for their future and the prophets of doom abound. We really have a lot in common, more than any of us would imagine just watching the news. Now, you probably feel closer to these people, maybe even identify with them in a personal way that has you cheering them on, hoping for their success and sharing something of their reality. Now you can understand that being born under the flag of an oppressive government wasn’t their choice. Now you can understand that forming a new government from absolutely nothing is a lot like feeding 5000 people with a few fish and a few loaves of bread, it takes a miracle, and the only one that does those sort of Miracles is Jesus, our God and Savior. He did it for us in the infancy of our Nation, and I personally believe we have forgotten His love for us, forgotten what He did for us in founding this country that we are so very blessed to live in. So we have something else in common, Americans and Russians alike need to look to God for a secure future. You, whoever you may be, need to know a couple of things; first, you are just as good as anyone else and don’t ever forget it. God created you and He loves you just as you are; second you are loved, God showed His love by sending His only Son to die so that you could have life, that means both in the eternal sense and in the abundant sense, Jesus really loves you; third, you are accepted, Christ died for all of us while we were sinners, he knew just exactly what you were and He paid a price that you could never pay, and he accepted you right where you are; fourth, you are forgiven, in the heart of every man, woman, and child is a keen sense of guilt when we fail, and God offers and in fact promises to forgive you, all he asks of you is to believe that and trust Him. This precious message is the truth that Jesus came to earth to bring. Yes, this is the Christmas message, and here it is Christmas. Will you help a little child who just like you needs this message? Will you open your heart and believe and trust that whatever you can do to help, that God can take your gift and change lives with it! Water to wine is impressive, death to life is amazing, but from hopeless and

lonely to happy and loved is beyond words. A home, a future, independence, maturity, purpose, these are the gifts we hope to give. And hope. Maybe now you understand why I am willing to ...beg? I would like these children to have the same opportunity to live and enjoy life that I do, and that you do. I am asking for your help. To build the prototype facility, and get it furnished, and pay a reasonable salary to the house parents we have estimated the need to be 250,000.00 dollars. We won’t start until we have the means to finish, because we cannot give these children false hope. There are many other opportunities if we succeed first at this, a trade school, and an arts school especially designed and staffed with people who specialize in the care, instruction and development of orphans. What do you think Jesus idea of a Christmas present would be? Maybe, I like to think of Jesus as selfless so I’d probably say he wouldn’t ask for much…. But hey, I am challenged every day to break those religious images of what God “ought” to be, “ought” to want, “ought” to think, and this is one of those times. Let me just ask you to be open to the possibility that you could give Jesus a Christmas present. Something He would really LOVE! Something that would really make Him happy! I found a clue in His own words, “I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you grace me drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Then those sheep are going to say, “Master, what are you talking about? When did we even see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?” then Jesus will say “I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me - you did it to me.”

Now, if you are open to the possibility that you could really, really, give Jesus a Christmas present …you may be getting some ideas. Picture any one of these little orphans, receiving a gift, maybe a small toy, maybe a snack or special treat, or maybe a letter from a caring person expressing love and making a commitment to help in the future. See that child smiling, holding that letter close as he or she falls asleep. Now see Jesus, smiling, tears of joy in His eyes, looking at YOU! If you would like to give Jesus a Christmas present, if you would like to give an orphan a lifetime present, consider giving a gift of any amount, whether it is 20.00 or 20,000.00 if it is given with love and a heart to bless the children, it will be a great Christmas present for Jesus! Please consider the children’s need, love them and send your Christmas present for Jesus to:

Grace Missions Intl. 311 E San Antonio St. Fredericksburg Tx. 78624

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Retirement NOT on Birdie M. Hale’s Horizon (Continued from Page 7) that I use but in a different context. And I don’t know what they are talking about. It is like I am in a foreign country and I am not aware of what is going on. The people even look different. Everything is completely another world for me at this age.” And what about Birdie’s age? “Well, I don’t think about age. People say to me, ‘Well, you don’t look like you are 95.’ What are 95 year-old people supposed to look like? When they find out my age, ‘Oh you look good!’ As opposed to what, I want to know. That’s not a compliment because what they are really saying is, ‘oh, you’re 95, you’re supposed to be ugly!’ Age, death and sickness and ugliness are not entirely indigenous to age. If that were so, how do you explain the stillborn in the children’s hospitals? I mean age has nothing to do with it. You could be 40 and look like you have lived 90 years because of your lifestyle. I am a very ‘young,’ old lady and I don’t like women in general. I especially don’t like ‘old’ women. I can’t stand the feeble gibberish they speak like the complaining, stereotyped older person. If something is wrong with you, go see what it is and do something about it. And you don’t have to be sick because you have lived a certain amount of years. I don’t like that at all. I walk four miles a day and drink half a gallon of water—that keeps me healthy. I have no sympathy for people who abuse their health.”

should find out what his or her body needs such as the amount of food, what foods are good for them according to their age and frame and activity. And, then eat and drink that kind of thing. Okay, if I am not supposed to have pork chops, why should I buy them, why have them in the house? Have only those things in your house that are beneficial to you. Why go out and buy something you are not supposed to have? If I buy only the foods that I can have then I can eat all day and it won’t bother me.”

know my place and I can make my own breakfast and so forth and I know the shops and people know me in the neighborhood.” “I have been going to the same restaurant across the street, the Flame, for more than 12 years. They know me. On Mondays, I usually have lamb chop and on Tuesday, I will have salmon or fish. On Wednesday, I have bacon and egg and on Thursday, I have fish again. On Friday, a doubledecker it is, turkey and lettuce and tomatoes. Then on Saturday, I will have salmon again. On Sunday, it is just freewheeling, whatever I want. I usually have cranberry juice and for dessert, I usually have ice cream. And, one time I went in, they were very, very busy and I waited and waited. When the waiter came to me, he brought my food because they saw me come in and they know what I eat on a certain day.”

“First of all, we should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. When you eat breakfast that means you ‘break the fast.’ Breakfast should be your biggest meal. I’m through with dinner by eight o’clock at night and I go to bed no later than eleven o’clock. I sleep all night and I get up at seven o’clock the next morning. I have gone eleven hours without anything to eat.”

“A large part of my family is in Las Vegas, and they would gladly have me out there. But, I couldn’t take care of myself in Las Vegas. If I were living with my niece, I’d have a room but I wouldn’t know how to use all the stoves. For instance, they use gas and I am used to electricity. I don’t know the neighbors and I don’t know where things are in the city. Someone would have to take me here or take me there. So, I wouldn’t be an asset. I would be a burden, so to speak. They would have to take care of me and I am not geared to that.”

“I am so hungry when I get up. If I have been suspected of doing a crime, all they would have to do is refuse to give me breakfast and I would confess to anything! I am so hungry when I get up; I am literally nervous and cranky. I am thirsty and I am hungry and I am stinky and the whole thing. And, I have to have something to eat immediately. I eat (and, there’s no such thing as ‘breakfast’ food) food! I might have had lamb chops left over from dinner and mashed potatoes, so this is what I would eat it for breakfast. When you are hungry, your stomach doesn’t know what time it is, you are hungry. So, there’s no such thing as ‘breakfast’ food, ‘dinner’ food or ‘lunch’ food. It is food.”

“I like my independence. And, I am still working. Suppose I were there and received a call for me to do an audition. What would I do? I can’t run back and forth from the coast and I am anchored here for auditions. I have been ensconced here so long; it would take me two years to moving out of here. I have had my post office box for 55 years. Can you imagine what would happen if I suddenly wanted all my mail changed to some street in Las Vegas? Why, they would think I’d lost my mind. No, that doesn’t make any kind of sense. I am free to travel whenever I want to and able to. And, as I said I am not lonesome and if I feel I want to see somebody on the coast, I go.”

“People are obsessed with not getting old. Getting old is a blessing. If you live long enough, you are going to get old. The only thing that can keep you from getting old is to die young. Birdie agrees with the idea that people can’t perceive age and beauty at the same time but doesn’t understand it. I don’t know why people don’t understand it. Well, maybe it is my ego but I think I look better than I did 30 years ago!

Birdie’s practical views on aging and her diet follow form and function with her views on other important matters in our world today. Birdie has lived in New York City since 1943 when she came to New York to see her husband off to war and has been there ever since. Belonging to New York is important to Birdie because, “I was born in Pandeo, West Virginia, which doesn’t exist any more. My father was a coal miner in addition to everything else. He moved from town to town. There were coalmining sites and when the coal was mined out then the miners moved on and there was no more city or town. So that’s why there is no Pandeo left. So, my passport just says I was born in West Virginia on October 21, 1912 with no city listed.”

Despite her fondness for New York, Birdie does sometimes miss the “New York” of 1943. The New York of 2007, according to Birdie, “Has changed completely. I feel like I am in a foreign country. You walk down the street and you hear every language but English. It’s like living in a foreign country. There are different foods in the markets and I don’t know what they are. The people seemed nicer, too, in the 40’s and 50’s. I used to ride the subway up into Harlem, at two or three o’clock in the morning. You couldn’t go there now without an armored car. So many different people have come to live in New York living different lifestyles. We didn’t use to have all this crime and shootings and stealing.”

“Well, I have never used make-up and I don’t go for these plastic surgeries and that sort of thing. I just have never thought of myself in terms of aging. I mean that this is just not a part of my thinking. So, if I have a wrinkle, so what? I am not going to have plastic surgery. It changes your face, it changes your eyes and you get so you can’t speak and you can’t smile.”

Birdie can’t even really consider West Virginia much of a “home” because she only lived there for the first two months of her life. “My family moved to Washington State which is also a coal mining area. Later, we moved to Ellumsburg (?), Washington and we had a farm because my dad’s health was failing him from mining. Just like MacDonald’s farm, we had some of everything.”

What other trends does Birdie think are silly in today’s somewhat narcissistic society? “I am so sick of this losing weight and losing weight and losing weight. Okay, first of all, we are all different. What is sugar to one is salt to another. One

Although Birdie still has some family in the western United States, she wouldn’t ever consider leaving the “hometown city” she knows so well. She feels that she has evolved as a New Yorker. “I can take care of myself in New York. For instance, I

While Birdie feels that acting ‘old’ is not for her, neither are the lengths people go to KEEP from looking ‘old.’ Her views on plastic surgery are very specific, “You have a wrinkle; they cut your skin by the ear and pull the skin back to straighten out the wrinkle. Okay, what have you done? You’ve replaced a wrinkle with a scar. And, it’s not permanent either. And in a few months, your face is going to sag again. And you have to do it again. So every time you remove a wrinkle, you get a scar. Does that make sense?”

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Birdie, usually definite on what she thinks about many subjects given her vast experiences, maturity and wisdom, is somewhat at a loss to explain why these drastic changes have come about. “I just wish I knew and wish we could find out what we can do about it. Economic conditions could be part of it.” However, after contemplating further, her answer becomes very definite, reaching back to her days as a girl being raised in a very strong, Christian household. “I feel that people have denied God. There’s no God. Everything is scientific. If there’s not a God, where do all of these flowers come from and different animals and the trees? And if this is all scientific, why don’t they do something about all the floods and stop all

represent death to me, so I stay away from them. My mother, God rest her, was the most ambitious little lady! She always said that she was too busy to die and death would have to make an appointment with her! She couldn’t sit home and wait for him. My mother worked, believe it or not, she was a certified caregiver and she went to the hospital and had two little retarded children that she would feed. She was living alone and on the day she died, she came home from the hospital by bus and went in and made something to eat and just died. Like me, she never had any surgery, she was on no medication, and she just died. I’ll probably do the same thing.” “My grandmother, my father’s mother, died when she wanted to. She said she had done everything she wanted to, she’d been everyplace she wanted to go and now she was going to die. She got in the bed and she said, (and this is the truth), ‘I don’t want you yelling and screaming over me and don’t call any doctor because I am not sick, I am just going to die.’ And she folded her arms and took a deep breath and died! She was 97.”

these hurricanes and what have you? Who’s in charge of all this if there is no supreme power? I feel like it has to go full circle and something like Noah’s Ark has to happen again.” Birdie believes that the future of America obviously lies in the hands of today’s parents and in the strength of our families. “There’s no family. People don’t regard their family. Charity belongs at home. It is a sin. Really. I mean if papa and mama don’t do right, how can you expect children to do right?” She goes on to say about the parents that do not monitor their children’s activities properly either in or out of the house, “Where are the parents of all the children being stolen and molested? And these young people 14 and 15 years old, what are they doing out at such crazy hours? Where are their mothers and fathers? I don’t remember any time not coming home and my mother wasn’t there. I always say, and I mean it, no one has had or will have better parents than I had.

have no moral standards anymore. Economics are definitely are part of the problem. Children have too much too soon. They don’t know the value of working and earning a dollar. Being a parent is more than being able to buy their child a mink coat at 10 and a Mercedes Benz to go to the prom in. And, they don’t know the value of working and earning your bread by the sweat of your brow as the Bible says. We’re supposed to work and earn our money and save for hard times. Teenagers and young adults have plenty of money and no responsibility and they just do whatever they want to do. They get bored so they try sex. After all, they have feelings and so they just experiment. Possibly because they have nothing else to do, they don’t have to worry about the rent. They can go out and pay $100 for a pair of shoes and go the clubs and drink when they are 14 and 15 years old and hang out and all that. So, they do all the things they are not supposed to do and God only knows where their parents are.”

Single motherhood and teenage pregnancy are two other subjects that Birdie feels very strongly about. “I am sick and tired of so many single parents, single mothers especially. There is no such thing as a single mother. There has to be a father someplace and I think they should be held accountable just as much as the mother. The mother didn’t make the baby all by herself, and so these ‘single’ mothers should find the dads who made the babies and hold them accountable too. And, there have been times when I have been asked about teenage pregnancy. I feel the same about teenage pregnancy as I do about pregnancy at any age. Motherhood, parenthood, is forever. You don’t have a baby on Friday and you are through with it on Monday. It lasts forever. So, therefore, I advise teenagers and women of ANY age to open their mind before their open their legs.”

Even traveling around the city has been made more difficult through the changes that Birdie has seen over the past decades in New York. She doesn’t have a car and can’t ride the subway anymore because she can’t handle the steps and the pushing crowds. “I don’t even use the bus because sometimes you can’t get a seat and these youngsters are rude. They’ll sit right there in the seats that are designated for the older people and they won’t get up and apparently the driver has no authority to make them move. So, I only take taxis now.” But, despite the challenges of inner city travel and expense, Birdie still goes to her auditions. “I usually go to 4 auditions a month. On an average, going to just one is going to cost me $30 or $35 for taxis and lunches since I am away from home. So, it can be very expensive for an audition for a part that maybe I’ll get and maybe I won’t.”

Birdie continues about the epidemic of teenage pregnancies, birth control and the general state of affairs in this area, “The thing is not birth control but control not to get pregnant. It’s control itself. Why don’t they give something to the men to keep them from impregnating the women? We

Birdie has made clear she is certainly not ready for retirement, but what are her views on heaven and dying and money? “If I were to decide to die, which I doubt that I ever would, I have three places I would go. I’d either go to the hospital, a rest home or Hawaii. All of those three things

“One of my brothers had had 2 heart attacks and was recovering and he had an appointment at the hospital for a checkup. So he went with his wife up to the hospital and his wife died right there. Heart attack. My brother went to my sister from the hospital and I got this phone call about one a.m. in the morning. My sister said, ‘Oh, I hate to tell you but Edna died.’ And, I said, ‘Oh no, what happened? Where is brother?’ She said, ‘Oh, he’s here.’ I said, ‘Put him on the line.’ So he came to the phone. I said, ‘Oh, Juni (we called him Juni), I’m sorry, I don’t know what to say.’ He said, ‘You don’t need to say nothing, she’s dead!’ And I said, ‘What do you want me to do?’ Do you want me to send some flowers or some money or something?’ He said, ‘Send some money, I have my flowers in the yard.’ And they buried her and the funeral was exactly 21 minutes. She had had some beautiful jewelry on. When the services were over, he sat down by the casket and he took all that jewelry off her and he said now that’s it. And they buried her. He wasn’t going to bury the jewelry with her. Well, you don’t take it with you and you can’t come back and get it.’ “Money doesn’t do you any good unless you spend it. And, I’m not going leave anything for anybody to fight over. If I want somebody to have something, I give it to them and watch them enjoy it. Why do they have to wait until I am dead to get it? I won’t know whether they enjoyed it or not.” “You know, all my siblings are gone. I think the reason that I am not gone is that God didn’t need what I do at this particular time. He needed an artist, my brother; he needed a carpenter, one of my brothers; he need a cook and he needed musicians. He needed all of the things that my siblings and parents had to offer but he didn’t need an actress. But when it comes time for a need in that department, then he will take me. But although my immediate family is gone, they are watching me. They are with me all the time. When something goes wrong, my dad always comes to me. And, when my dad shows up in my dreams, things will straighten out.” “So, as I said, at this point, God doesn’t need an actress; everything is just going along fine. There were no parts for me to play in the theatre that they have there right now. So, when something comes up there that he needs me, well then, he will take me.” When that day comes, the beautiful Birdie M. Hale will, then, truly NEVER retire!

Woman The County





BY FREYA PRUITT The future of America rests in a parent’s hands. I’m sure we are all acutely aware of the precarious condition of the family unit as we know it. In this great nation, young and old alike agree; we appear to be in a stalemate. What can we do? Are we really helpless? Can we affect change? Can we keep our children safe in a world that seems to have lost its basic values? Well, consider this; we as adults may feel helpless, frustrated and angry, but a baby at birth is a wealth of purity and innocence. I think there is great power in innocence. I believe innocence has to be cultivated and preserved. In a world where our children are inundated with violence, obscenity, negative peer pressure, war, the pain of divorce, staggering workloads at school, a lack of integrity in society and our government, it seems to all add up to no trust and plain old oppression. As long as our focus is on division we will remain divided. Is it really about what party you belong to or what church or religion you choose? Have you ever considered

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what would happen to our nation if we all stood up at one time and said; NO! I WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS ANYMORE!? This country was founded on Christian values - not division. We all have the right to choose in America. It is time we consider what power we have given away and choose to take it back. It must be overwhelming to a parent to embark on a journey of raising a child in a world that presents such an uncertain path. Our children are exposed to constant media that promotes a “gangster” image as a role model, and are constantly promoted to play video games that present the image of chopping off people’s heads - as FUN! How insane is that? Well, there IS an answer. It has been right in front of our eyes all along. Look in the mirror; it is YOU. You have the power to affect change! If God created man in His image, that can’t be changed. It is still there… complete with all the properties of character, love and honor. Look into these children’s eyes. You will see their souls. Let

their eyes speak to you. Let their eyes reflect that YOU have these same qualities. But you have a unique advantage; you have the maturity and life experience to make a choice to stand in the truth of what God MADE; not man’s self-inflicted mess. It is never too late. Pick up the sword of the spirit and the shield of faith and protect your investment! Our children ARE our future and the future exists right now. Live in the moment. You cannot recapture the last five minutes, let alone project absolute personal goals for tomorrow or next year. Time doesn’t exist in that realm. Look for those mysterious moments IN BETWEEN the seconds. That’s where God’s power moves freely. It is there, in that special place, where you will find your power. It is there, in between the seconds… in that secret place, that you will find yourself. That is where, by the light of the living God, you will make a difference in this world. It is there, in that secret place, in the cleft of the rock; it is there… where miracles live.

Woman The County



YUKI YAO is a New York Citybased international fashion and jewelry designer. Women around the world wear his signature clothes. The outstanding reviews he has recieved throughout his career describe his unique and versatile creations, reminiscent of the elegant forties.

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Woman The County



A Different Look at

Rue McClanahan

Continued from Page 48 said, “My Lord!” I also just love the picture on your book; I just think it’s wonderful. Rue: Well, I love it too, but let’s be honest. That was done with lighting and makeup and hair and 64 different takes. Freya: Yes, but it is still you, honey. They could have done that to somebody else and it wouldn’t look like that. Rue: Well, I did look like that for a second or two. Freya: Yes, and that’s going to be on the cover of my magazine…you’re still going to be out there looking like that! Well, I sure wish we could get you to South Texas, and do a book promotion. We would love to have you, Rue. Rue: Well, thank you for the invitation. I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you, because I am going to be busy on this TV show. Freya: Well, that is great. Keep me posted on that. I won’t hold MY breath, because I would go into more panic attacks! I have had enough. Rue: I hope you’re not serious, after Reggie’s death and all? Freya: Well, actually, it took a couple of months. Well, not a couple of months…practically a year. It was very strange. For a couple of months, I’d turn the lights off and walk down the hall to go to bed. My heart would start pounding. You have absolutely no control whatsoever. Right out of your sub-conscious, you get hit – head on. Then I became aware of it...when I could identify it…it would go away. It was very odd. And then, when Reggie died a couple of months ago, that was horrible. That was terrifying. There are certain places that I can’t go anymore like the market because I will have a panic attack. Rue: Why a market? Freya: I am trying to figure this out. It is where Reggie and I used to go shopping all the time. Rue: Well, that’s normal. Freya: Yeah, so now I stay out of those places. If I stay out of certain places, then it generally doesn’t happen. Rue: Were you living together when he died? Freya: No, he had his classic mid-life crisis last December, went and bought a Harley Davidson and grew his hair all the way down his back. He was going to go off and paint. I think he knew he was dying Rue, because he had been very ill. He went back to Wyoming to search out his roots as a child and met a lot of his high school friends. Then, 8 months after he left, he died, on our anniversary. He crawled into bed, had a massive heart attack and died. I don’t believe that was a coincidence. Rue: I don’t think it was either. Let me ask you this, when he died was that an additional panic attack? Freya: It was more. It was similar. It was very interesting. We were married for 17 years. I also had been married before. But this was my first HUS-

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“I’ll tell you what I love; I love the absence of pain.”

BAND. There was a profound difference. We never considered that we would not be together until we died. It was a real, real marriage. When he left, it’s weird, I never really said this before, but I knew in my heart, he would either complete what he was going through and come home, or he would probably die. Rue: And you were hoping that it would be the former and as long as he was alive there was that chance? Freya: I guess… I reached some sort of acceptance. With publishing the magazine, you don’t really have one day to go through any mourning process. Even death doesn’t supersede a deadline. I did the best I could. You go through the process, but you just continue to work. But when he died, that was a horror. That was such a terrifying feeling because that is so final. That was it. It is the only time I have ever experienced a death of someone where I just got in my gut - they were gone. That’s it – gone. There was no chance to mend anything or say good-bye or heal. It was a similar feeling that I had last December when he left. But the death, WOW, that was… Rue: What about before he left and you were going to these places together? Were you able to go to these places after he left, but while he was still living? Freya: Yes. It was only after his death. I went around and did what I had to do and obviously continued to work. I always frequented those places. The first time the terror was really obvious to me was when a friend, who had moved into a new home, said, “I want to get a big screen, come with me and give me your opinion.” So, I met her at Wal-Mart, and while we were looking at different TV’s I said, “Oh, this is good.” Well, out of nowhere, I turned as a red as a beet, I started to sweat and shake and I had to lie down on the floor in the middle of WalMart! I couldn’t move! It was the weirdest thing. It was pure horror and I felt numb. My blood pressure went up and my body and head felt numb. They had to get me some water. I was so overwhelmed; I couldn’t even be embarrassed. I had to go home and go to bed. Rue: That is a sub-conscious reaction. Freya: It is, Rue. Rue: You got that in there, and you know what I think Freya? I think that you will have 2 choices here. I think if you don’t confront it and solve it for yourself that it will get worse. It will become, like a needle playing in a groove on a record, it will just become more and more engraved. Like every time you go to that Wal-Mart, or to the market. You haven’t fixed it yet and I think it will get worse. That’s just my amateur opinion, but it seems that you need to possibly see a therapist to help you get through this period of mourning. There is mourning to do with divorce and mourning to do with death. Since you didn’t go through it when he left you and you kept thinking that maybe he’d come back, maybe you’d get back together, maybe, maybe. And when he died, that was over. So, perhaps now is the period of mourning. It has only been 2 months. So, that’s nothing. And you need to have someone who is objective and experienced to help you. Those psychiatrists and psychologists, because of their training, think outside the box. I was involved with my first husband for 25 years; I was still in love with him especially when I was pregnant with Mark. I never

fell out of love with him and that’s one reason why none of the other marriages worked. Out of love, let me put it that way, this was like a virus. I called it the Tom Virus. I caught this virus and when Mark was 20-something, Tom came back into my life and I tried to get him to tell me why he had left me when I was pregnant, and why he stayed away and why he hadn’t come back into my life in all these years and why all this had happened. He was unable to talk about it. He kept saying, “I don’t know, I have no words for it, I have no words for it.” So, I got him to go with me to my little Burbank psychologist. After the first meeting when he heard Tommy and we talked for a while, that little fell said, “Well Tom, I think you see Rue as your father.” I sat there stunned. Tom thought for a second and said “Yes, I see what you mean, you are right!” I thought well no wonder he couldn’t be in love with me. He sees me as his father! He hates his father! The authority figure, the grown-up, the one that ruined his fun. Now, I would never have come up with that, but do you know it cured me with being in love with him? I GOT it. Finally, I GOT it and I got over him. I mean completely over that illness of wanting him and being hurt by him. And wanting him and Mark to be together and wanting and wanting. So, I am thinking if you could be as lucky to have someone with that kind of insight, you might get cured just as quickly. Freya: It is interesting because I feel we probably think very much alike. If I can understand something, in a pathological or intellectual way, then it just goes away. Rue: You haven’t got the penicillin shot. Freya: The limbo. It is horrible. I am getting better with it. Actually, much, much better. Rue: You know something occurred to me – let me tell you before I forget it. Could it be possible…when you go to those places, if you DON’T feel the pain, you might be “belittling” or lessening the relationship with him? Freya: You mean, like dishonoring his memory? Rue: Yes, dishonoring, exactly. Freya: I don’t know, Rue, it is so sub-conscious. It is just certain places that I go. And, you know that I am just thinking of something as you are saying it. The two places it always happens are the market and Wal-Mart. Both of them have to do with nurturing; food, nourishment, clothing…. things that have to do with everyday life that a couple would participate in. Rue: Did you ever go to the movie together? Freya: No. Rue: Where is someplace you went to together that doesn’t make you feel bad. Freya: Restaurants. Rue: That has to do with food. Freya: Yes, I know. That’s weird. It’s just those two places. I did move out of my other house because

Continued on Page 64 Continued from Page 62

Woman The County



A Different Look at

Rue McClanahan

there were just too many, as I call it, “ghosts,” too many memories. That helped. But, I guess it is the finality. In my case, I realize I will have zero closure. None. Because the man would never speak to me, he just ran away. Rue: Well, thank God I finally got that done. I had been running for 25 years and that hurt a whole lot. You do need an answer. Have you ever taken anyone with you to these places and not experienced the panic if you had a companion? Freya: No. One time I had my friend Vicky with me...and it still happened. Just the other day… I was walking up and down the aisles...I started to cry. I guess it will eventually go away. Rue: Maybe that’s part of the mourning. Freya: Yes, it’s just so unusual. After I got the news that Reggie had died, on our anniversary no less, I had to go to print that week. I got the call on a Sunday night. It was absolute madness, having to go to print. So for that week, everyone kept coming in the office. The assistants, typists and graphic people. I had “no eyes,” just swollen slits. I would cry constantly, but I continued to work and did go to print. I am going to write a story about it, that was something.

“If you told me I would have a book out, I’d have said ‘You’re crazy’!”

like it is in someone else’s head. It is in you and you can get to it. Freya: I thank you for the words of encouragement. That’s part of sharing personal stories and what we have been through. That’s where the encouragement comes from in life. So many people don’t talk about their problems. Rue: That’s because they are afraid to. They think that they are weird, and they are not. They’d be weird if they didn’t have these problems. Freya: I think, in a way, it is very ego-oriented and narcissistic when people want to just look and feel perfect. Rue: It is just fear, that’s all. They don’t want people to think that there is something wrong with them or that they are weak. Freya: Fear is extremely debilitating. It is not a good emotion. Rue: I wonder if there is a group that you could talk to, like a group therapy session where you actually do tell each other things.

Freya: You know what; I think I will do that, my friend.

Freya: That’s a good idea. I have a lot of people, some very good friends here that did come in and sit with me. That was an interesting experience for me. I never really experienced that sort of support in my life. My Mom refers to me as “the warrior.” I am a strong woman, but with this…I felt cut off at the knees. I wish there was an answer.

Rue: You could even write a letter to Reggie.

Rue: There is – you have to grow up.

Freya: Well, I did write a letter to his mom.

Freya: I do need to grow-up.

Rue: No, I mean to him.

Rue: I mean everybody has to grow-up. We don’t grow up at 21 or whatever.

Rue: I feel that writing a story about this would be extremely beneficial to you.

Freya: Oh, to him. Rue: You might even talk to him about it and ask him to go to Wal-Mart with you next time. You have to do this. You know, it would be really wonderful if you had a therapist that would go to Wal-Mart with you. Do some analytical stuff. That would be hard to do by yourself. Take a notebook with you, take notes, “I am walking down aisle 2 and what’s on aisle 2 and how do I feel on aisle 2? Is it just the overall general place or is it a specific thing?” Freya: No, it is the general place, it hits the minute I walk in there. I guess it is just memories. When you have been like one person for 17 years, that connection just doesn’t go away. It never leaves you. It is haunting. I have considered finding an appropriate therapist. I guess the operative word would be “appropriate.” I don’t need to go into analysis. I don’t need that. I just need someone to tell me, why this is happening, and this is what I can do so I can get on with it. Rue: It is like having the flu. You aren’t going to have it all of your life, but you have it right now and right now is when you need a doctor to get you over the flu. It can become a permanent thing if you don’t get over it. Freya: Yes, because it is so sub-conscious. It is absolutely not …conscious. Rue: You know the important thing to remember? The sub-conscious is there and you can get to it. It may be hidden right now, but it is in there. It is not

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too. Freya: Well, I am thrilled. I always say God works in strange ways. Rue: It is amazing isn’t it? Freya: It is, God’s networking. Here I was at your Christmas party 3 years ago and, if you had told me I would wind up being an editor and a publisher of a magazine, I’d have said that you were crazy. Rue: If you told me that I would have a book out, I’d have said that you are crazy! Freya: Right, it is a tough business. It is something. But who knows? Maybe I can help you sell a couple of million books! That would be a good as well. Rue: Yes, that would be a very good thing. Freya: Tell me about it! Rue, we talked about a lot of things in this interview. Is there anything you want me to exclude? Rue: No. Just be sure to say Morrow and I are having our 10th anniversary and we love each other a lot, which is true. Freya: I know that is true. I will do that. Rue: I am very proud of him. Freya: I am excited about the Noel Coward show. That’s fabulous. I’m glad he is getting out there and doing his thing. It is about time, right? Rue: He never thought he would be singing. He thought he would be acting, but he is singing. And this is something he is very excited about. Freya: Well, Luba says he has a gorgeous voice.

Freya: I like maturity. I have gotten used to it. I think maturity is kind of cool.

Rue: Yes he does. He has a good voice, a very good voice. And she has helped to make it much stronger.

Rue: I’ll tell you what I love; I love the absence of pain.

Freya: Well, you give Morrow my love, and I will keep in touch. God Bless you Rue, and have the absolute best Christmas of your life.

Freya: Oh, thank God, yes. The absence of pain! I love it, yes. Well, it sounds like you are in a real good spot in your life...a good time in your life.

Rue: Freya, let me be sure that you are going to take care of yourself.

Rue: Well, I am and our marriage is in a good place. We have a lot of simple things to keep working on. Luckily, we are both willing to work.

Freya: I promise, I promise.

Freya: I am glad you are happy and that it is working out. I can’t wait for your television show to come out. Please let me know the date it is going to air In June, right?

Freya: You helped me a lot Rue, and I am very, very appreciative. I am honored to have you on my cover. I will make sure NYC and south Texas is saturated with the beautiful face of Rue McClanahan!

Rue: Del Shores says he’ll have it all edited and ready to go, and it will go on the air in June. For 12 shows.

Rue: I mean emotionally.

Rue: That’s grand!

Freya: Which network?

Freya: All right. Thank you so much, Rue!

Rue: Logo for at least for the first season. It is possible that he might sell it to a network after that. Who knows? It depends on how well it does.

Rue: Thank you, Freya.

Freya: Well, I can’t wait to see it and I am so honored to have you on our cover, Rue. And, I bless you. Rue: Well, I am proud of it. It is a good thing for me

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66 Woman The County


Woman The County



Volume 2 Issue 6  
Volume 2 Issue 6  

Rue McClanahan - A rare, intimate look at what makes this "Golden Girl" tick!