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  At least we had Green Beans
By Billie Marie Zal
     We were all poor, and didn't know it. The "great depression"
     had ended but its effect on the economy had not.
     My daddy lost his job at Sims Oil Refinery when he was only
     forty years old; he was in line to become the superintendent, but
     they sold out to one of the big oil companies, and this left Daddy
     with a rather bleak future.
     There was another refinery, though, just across from Sims, so
     Daddy applied there for a job and instead of having to "work his
     way up through the yards" they gave him a good job, working in the
     gasoline stills. He thanked God for this wonderful opportunity but
     the other men were jealous and got him fired. So--at such a young
     age--Daddy was faced with the impossibility of finding new work in
     our small town.
     I don't recall his complaining much. Daddy was quiet and
     didn't express himself, but Mama made up for it. When she found
     out we had no income, she exploded, and when Mama exploded the
     whole world knew about it. She blamed the refinery for selling
     out; she cussed the men who had daddy fired, and when she was
     finished with the uproar, she began to settle in, and help Daddy
     figure out what to do.
     We were living in a "company house," so of course we knew we
     would have to move. But where? Daddy found an old home way out
     beyond the "Smackover Creek" that was empty and for sale. They
     only wanted $500 so Daddy managed (I have no idea how) to get the
     money and buY the house. It didn't cost much to move it, and Daddy
     had it put on an acre right out on the highway toward Camden.
     I loved that house, and I painted and stained floors. In
     fact, I almost killed myself staining those floors. I didn't
     realize that all the windows were nailed shut, and I stained myself
     into a corner. When I felt myself passing out, I realized I had
     better get out of there--quick! But the floors looked beautiful
     and for the first time I had a bedroom of my own. My sister
     married soon after we moved into that home so I was left alone.
     Daddy managed to do odd jobs for awhile but he realized that
     we would have to do something, or we would lose this place. He had
     hoped to have a little business and he built a barbecue pit and we
     had the best barbecue in the area. But people wouldn't trade with
     us. I never knew why, Daddy had been such a help to everyone in
     ',.
     need and he worked hard in the church projects, things like that.
     Anyhow, seeing that he was about to lose our home and "pig
     stand," he traded it for an old, dilapidated house way out on the
     Camden Highway. It was surrounded by ten acres and a small peach
     orchard. So we moved out there.
     I was not too despondent. The walls had been stained with
     rain and again, the floors needed staining. There was no indoor
     toilet--that worried me because I was scared of spiders and the
     ublack widows" usually made their webs in the corners of outdoor
     toilets. But in a way, I loved that place. There were left over
     Jonquils which bloomed in Spring, and gardenias...have you ever
     smelled a gardenia bloom? It's heavenly. I wore one every night
     in my hair when I dated. I loved the peach orchard, there was
     something special about it, especially in the Spring when it was
     all pink with fluffy blossoms. Daddy dug a water well. So again,
     we settled in and I didn't know it then, but Daddy had no idea of
     how he would support us.
     I suppose Nature worked against our staying there. A huge
     storm came and ruined the peaches and even though Daddy sold these
     enormous ones that were left for only a dollar a bushel, no one
     would buy them'so he fed them to our hog.
     All the while, I could see that Mama was really getting
     depressed. I tried to find a job but there were no jobs in such a
     tiny .town. I wanted to work at the Rose Drug Store, but they hired
     someone else. I was thinking about all those ice cream sodas I
     could drink for nothing!
     In the meantime, I managed somehow to go to college. I had
     received several scholarships from various colleges--even the
     University of Arkansas--because I was Valedictorian of my Senior
     Class. But how could I go, with no money?
     But I did go--and Mama and Daddy only had to send $24 a month
     for what my scholarship did not cover. I loved Louisiana Tech; it
     was only seventy miles from Smackover, and that comforted me. My
     childhood friends went, too, so I wasn't lonely. I remember the
     first weekend that I came home, Mama and Daddy had done my bedroom
     over. Daddy had papered the walls to cover the stains, and had
     waxed and polished my floor. Mama had even put a bouquet of
     flowers on my chest of drawers where I kept photos of all of my boy
     friends. (One boy friend jokingly called it "the Rogues Gallery".)
     I felt so loved and I had won the coveted position of female
     vocalist for the 12 piece band at college, "The Tech Collegians."
     Life was great!
     I sensed, however, that something was terribly wrong. I came
     .,
     home that summer when college was over for the year and Mama looked
     so thin and so very worried. She pinched her lip when she worried
     and now she was at it all the time. My sister had been very ill
     and almost died, and Mama and Daddy had nothing to live on. Daddy
     was, for the first time in my life, a defeated man. ,
     I guess because of the age we lived in, none of us thought of
     ourselves as "poor." We rarely had a nickel for a coke, and when
     I went out on a date, my boy friend usually bought us a barbecue
     and a coke and that was it. Total cost was thirty cents.
     This was a blessing in disguise. We found ways to have fun
     which cost us nothing. I dated a boy from EI Dorado who had to sit
     on two pillows, he was so short. He drove a Plymouth and took
     ridiculous chances, but we survived. He always brought along his
     sister Pauline, one of my best friends, and their baby brother. It
     was a wonderful age--just making up ways to enjoy our young years.
     We went to swim in the many artisan ponds that dotted the
     area. The water was so blue, it looked like cobalt and it was
     fresh and sweet from deep down in the ground. One of the ponds was
     "bottomless" and that is where my daddy taught me to swim. He
     would swim out a few feet off the clay shelf at the edge and hold
     out his arms, and I would swim to him, scared to death, but wanting
     his approval and ignoring my fears.
     All of us teenagers had picnics. Once we went out on a dusty
     road to a Spring where we put our watermelons to cool until the
     picnic was over. Our Moms always made us sandwiches and cookies,
     cake, all "from scratch." I seldom had any fruit; now I know it
     was because Daddy couldn't afford it, but we did eat a lot of
     Alberta peaches! We had a cow but I am allergic to milk, so my
     sister got the benefit of pure cow's milk, with cream so thick it
     would be several inches on top of the milk in the bottle.
     Daddy took us fishing and sometimes I took a friend. I never
     realized we needed the fish, our income had dropped to near
     nothing.
     We found a lot of fun, too, by having "formal parties." Each
     of us girls in school had a formal gown. There was always a
     recital or something and our Morns scraped up enough money to buy
     material to make the gown. So we found excuses to wear them, we
     felt so grand. When we had a party at Othello Barnes' home, we
     would inevitably get our gowns dirty at the bottom. This was
     because when we paired off to "go walking" we had to walk on a
     dirt road and the dust was stirred up and ruined our gowns.
     Sometimes we had a "bunking party." All of us would spend the
     night at someone's home. We loved Ruth McDonald's home, it was the
     only "rich home" in town and Mrs. McDonald made us the best food,
     her specialty being peanut brittle.
     The home was two story with a huge attic, and we would sleep
     in the attic. I remember enjoying their beautiful stair case,
     wishing some day. I might have such a home. There was a rose
     garden, too, and Mrs. "D" as she was called, grew roses to
     perfection. I never passed her home without stopping to take into
     my soul the beauty of each flower, every color of the rainbow. I
     never did have any luck with roses, so I am glad I stored Mrs. D's
     roses in my memories.
     There were lots of other memories. The long, hot summer
     providedus time for dances,parties,and an occasionalmovie which
     cost us only ten cents on "Pal Night."
     But now that I was home from college for the summer, I had
     grown up enough to know that my parents were in a crisis situation.
     Mama told me she had to sell her beloved old hens (whom she called
     her "girls") to send me the money each month and Daddy had sold his
     old Trombone, the only musical instrument he had left from his show
     business days.
     This broke my heart and I vowed to do something to pay them
     back, to make it up to them. But things got worse.
     One night my boy friend from EI Dorado came over on a bus. Few
     kids had a car to drive, so he took the bus. Supper time came and
     Mama was so embarrassed. All she had for us was green beans,
     cooked with salt pork.
     My boy friend tried not to notice her tears as she put them on
     the table and said, "There this is supper. It's all we have."
     He felt so sad that after we had our green beans he and I walked
     down the highway to a little store and he bought Mama loaves of
     bread, some lunch meat, candy, and pop. He also bought a few
     potatoes. He didn't have any money, either, but I always loved him
     for this sweet gesture toward my mother.
     I had not told him that all we had each day was green beans.
     Daddy planted a garden and those beans thrived. Daddy called them
     "Kentucky Wonders," and they truly were a wonder. You wouldn't
     recognize them as green beans today--we have such puny ones, even
     from local gardens.
     But I loved those beans. Mama would cook them for hours and
     add just a pinch of sugar to make them sweet. The salt pork cooked
     well and flavored them and to me, it was a feast. I realize now
     that it wasn't normal to like them three times a day. But I did.
     home that summer when college was over for the year and Mama looked
     so thin and so very worried. She pinched her lip when she worried
     and now she was at it all the time. My sister had been very ill
     and almost died, and Mama and Daddy had nothing to live on. Daddy
     was, for the first time in my life, a defeated man. ~
     I guess because of the age we lived in, none of us thought of
     ourselves as "poor." We rarely had a nickel for a coke, and when
     I went out on a date, my boy friend usually bought us a barbecue
     and a coke and that was it. Total cost was thirty cents.
     This was a blessing in disguise. We found ways to have fun
     which cost us nothing. I dated a boy from EI Dorado who had to sit
     on two pillows, he was so short. He drove a Plymouth and took
     ridiculous chances, but we survived. He always brought along his
     sister Pauline, one of my best friends, and their baby brother. It
     was a wonderful age--just making up ways to enjoy our young years.
     We went to swim in the many artisan ponds that dotted the
     area. The water was so blue, it looked like cobalt and it was
     fresh and sweet from deep down in the ground. One of the ponds was
     "bottomless" and that is where my daddy taught me to swim. He
     would swim out a few feet off the clay shelf at the edge and hold
     out his arms, and I would swim to him, scared to death, but wanting
     his approval and ignoring my fears.
     All of us teenagers had picnics. Once we went out on a dusty
     road to a Spring where we put our watermelons to cool until the
     picnic was over. Our Mornsalways made us sandwiches and cookies,
     cake, all "from scratch." I seldom had any fruit; now I know it
     was because Daddy couldn't afford it, but we did eat a lot of
     Alberta peaches! We had a cow but I am allergic to milk, so my
     sister got the benefit of pure cow's milk, with cream so thick it
     would be several inches on top of the milk in the bottle.
     Daddy took us fishing and sometimes I took a friend.
     realized we needed the fish, our income had dropped
     nothing.
     I never
     to near
     We found a lot of fun, too, by having "formal parties." Each
     of us girls in school had a formal gown. There was always a
     recital or something and our Mornsscraped up enough money to buy
     material to make the gown. So we found excuses to wear them, we
     felt so grand. When we had a party at Othello Barnes' horne,we
     would inevitably get our gowns dirty at the bottom. This was
     because when we paired off to "go walking" we had to walk on a
     dirt road and the dust was stirred up and ruined our gowns.
     Sometimes we had a "bunking party." All of us would spend the
     night at someone's home. We loved Ruth McDonald's home, it was the
     Maybe that is what got me through that terrible summer when Mama
     finally told Daddy he would have to go somewhere and find a job and
     then send for us.
     My Daddy had neve~ NOT been there. He was there when I was a
     tiny girl, to fix.my'knees when I had "boils." He was there when
     I fell and almost broke my shoulder. He always used "Indian ways"
     to heal and it worked. He put alcohol on my shoulder, and kept
     putting packs on it until the pain was all gone. When I broke out
     from "the itch" (scabies, the whole school got it), Daddy was the
     one who daubed my sores with "Epsom salts" and I would howl, but he
     ignored me. And I healed perfectly.
     Now he would leave us for awhile and I was depressed and
     frightened. I hated to leave Mama alone, but she insisted that I
     go out with my boy friends and have fun. I don't think it was ever
     fun again. Daddy was gone, and would he ever find a job?
     Well, he did find a job, a glorious job. It paid so much that
     we could hardly believe it, it was a "defense plant job," and they
     needed all the men they could hire. But it was "up North" and we
     would have to begin preparations to move away from what had always
     been home to me.
     Mama began to advertise for someone to rent our home until she
     could sell it. We had managed somehow to fix it up; and we had
     even papered our living room with beautiful white wall paper with
     huge red roses on them.
     Mama sold our Baby Grand piano; I will never forget the day
     they came to get it. I've never been blessed with one since. And
     she sold other things, pieces of furniture which could bring in a
     few dollars. Daddy had gotten us an old, old Packard and we would
     brave the trip in this broken down car. I was terrified; maybe we
     would break down and someone would kidnap us. Then I realized no
     one would pay a ransom for us: a rather bedraggled family, with a
     mother who pinched her lip and a "police dog" that never policed,
     and a young lady who had not yet found her way in the world.
     The day that we left our home was imprinted upon my mind as a
     desolate day. It was November and we knew .weshould be on our way,
     the snows would begin soon up in Indiana, and later Chicago.
     As we drove away, I looked back just once. I took all of it in--
     the peach orchard, the gardenia bushes, the pretty front yard, and
     I knew I would never see it again. My heart belonged there, not in
     some far away Yankee territory
     But we drove on. Mama, for some reason, figured she had
     better wear warm clothesalthoughit was still hot in Arkansas.She
     put on a long woolen skirt, two sweaters,and one of those berets
     ,.
     that came down over her ears. I refused to smother, so I wore a
     summer dress. As we drove along, at thirty five miles per hour, I
     heard every noise the old car could make: groanings, brakes
     squealing, the muffler banging against the fenders. .
     The first night/came and we were still in Arkansas, up near
     Little Rock. We rented a room in an old tourist cottage (in
     today's society they are motels). We were right by the river and
     I could hear boats going by. My German Shepherd dog, Flapper,
     was "on guard" all night and we didn't sleep much. I remember
     singing in my sleep. At least Mama said I did, the song was, "Kiss
     the Boys Goodbye." I guess I was mentally kissing all my boy
     friends goodbye!
     We finally got to Indiana and spent another night, this time
     in a "tourist home." It was so hot in there I almost smothered;
     the lady of the house had stirred up the furnace and the steam heat
     filled our room. I remember pushing a storm window out a little
     and trying to get a good breath of fresh air.
     The next day we reached our destination: a fishing camp not
     far from "Notre Dame." The people who owned the camp had rented
     out all the summer cottages to the "defense workers" and it was all
     right until the first winter storm hit. Daddy tried to keep the
     coal oil heater going and I wrapped up in several blankets and
     decided I would NEVER live in such a place again.
     We all finally had to move into the main house, well insulated
     and warm as toast. The women all cooked together in the big
     kitchen and I loved communal living. I learned all about winters,
     how much fun I could have in the deep snow, and I even learned to
     ice skate.
     Daddy finally got a job in Chicago and we lived there until I
     went out West to work for the Navy ~n an office on "Treasure
     Island."
     Mama was beginning to relax. She stopped pinching her lip and
     Daddy bought her beautiful things. He was extravagant, and the
     first thing he bought me when he got that big paying job had been
     a wrist watch and a beautiful new suit. It was a dress with a
     fuzzy red jacket to match and I felt so grand! Mama bought lovely
     furniture for a home they found out in the Chicago suburbs, and I
     could finally leave them, knowing they were all right.
     But do we ever leave our parents? Throughout the years, those
     memories come to me. Even when we were so poor Mama would manage
     to make candy for Christmas. I loved her Fondant, date loaf,
     divinity, every kind of delicious treat. We always had home made
     candy at Christmas. And when there were no gifts, there was still
     ..,
     Maybe that is what got me through that terrible summer when Mama
     finally told Daddy he would have to go somewhere and find a job and
     then send for us.
     My Daddy had never NOT been there. He was there when I was a
     tiny girl, to fix.my"'kneeswhen I had "boils." He was there when
     I fell and almost broke my shoulder. He always used "Indian ways"
     to heal and it worked. He put alcohol on my shoulder, and kept
     putting packs on it until the pain was all gone. When I broke out
     from "the itch" (scabies, the whole school got it), Daddy was the
     one who daubed my sores with "Epsom salts" and I would howl, but he
     ignored me. And I healed perfectly.
     Now he would leave us for awhile and I was depressed and
     frightened. I hated to leave Mama alone, but she insisted that I
     go out with my boy friends and have fun. I don't think it was ever
     fun again. Daddy was gone, and would he ever find a job?
     Well, he did find a job, a glorious job. It paid so much that
     we could hardly believe it, it was a "defense plant job," and they
     needed all the men they could hire. But it was "up North" and we
     would have to begin preparations to move away from what had always
     been home to me.
     Mama began to advertise for someone to rent our home until she
     could sell it. We had managed somehow to fix it up; and we had
     even papered our living room with beautiful white wall paper with
     huge red roses on them.
     Mama sold our Baby Grand piano; I will never forget the day
     they carneto get it. I've never been blessed with one since. And
     she sold other things, pieces of furniture which could bring in a
     few dollars. Daddy had gotten us an old, old Packard and we would
     brave the trip in this broken down car. I was terrified; maybe we
     would break down and someone would kidnap us. Then I realized no
     one would pay a ransom for us: a rather bedraggled family, with a
     mother who pinched her lip and a "police dog" that never policed,
     and a young lady who had not yet found her way in the world.
     The day that we left our home was imprinted upon my mind as a
     desolate day. It was November and we knew .weshould be on our way,
     the snows would begin soon up in Indiana, and later Chicago.
     As we drove away, I looked back just once. I took all of it in--
     the peach orchard, the gardenia bushes, the pretty front yard, and
     I knew I would never see it again. My heart belonged there, not in
     some far away Yankee territory
     But we drove on. Mama, for some reason, figured she had
     better wear warm clothesalthoughit was still hot in Arkansas.She
     put on a long woolen skirt, two sweaters,and one of those berets
     the candy.
     My memories bless me. I have gone through some lean times,
     financially, myself and I have tried to remain steadfast in my
     loving trust of our God's ability to take care of me.
     When I moved to my mountain here in Northwest Arkansas, I
     noticed that my check book balance was twenty-five dollars.
     But I looked around and was satisfied. I had moved in, paid the
     movers, made a place for others to live, and here I was on a plot
     of ground that I knew beyond a doubt my Father in heaven created
     before the worlds were totally formed.
     It would be the place I was to "occupy till He comes."
     I went through those first few years without anything substantial
     to rely upon. But God saw to it that I did not starve, and I grew
     in grace and knowledge of Him and His wondrous ways with His own.
     There have been times when I ALMOST gave up. I would look
     into my almost-emptyrefrigeratorand wonder what could I possibly
     fix for supper.
     Then my mind took me back to that day in our home when my boy
     friend sat at the table and Mama came in, put the bowl of green
     beans on the table and said, "This is all there is."
     I am glad for that memory.
     When times get bad and I see our income dwindling and the
     devil does everything within his power to wipe us out, I have this
     word for him, and I tell him, "At least we have green beans."
     And Satan "flees away."
     loves green beans?
     What can he do to a person who still
     I have this confidence, then: if our income dwindles away,
     and the barrel of meal is empty; if there is no grain in the barn,
     and if the fig tree does not blossom, and there is no fruit on the
     vines and the fields yield no food, I will rejoice in the God of my
     salvation. .
     And I will put on a big pot of green beans and get word to the
     others here that, "At least we have green beans."
     ++++++++++++++++++++++
     
     




News Notes
NEWS NOTES;
We,have a very,'special prayer request: Ed,Warnock, one of,the
seven of us here;',is in the hospital. He had 'surgery:fordamage to
his intestines due to a heavy Series of radiation a few years ago.
He is very ill, and in great pain, so please l'ifthim up to our
Father,in heaven, that he might be delivered and healed. Shirley,
his wife, is with him now and she can 'only stay thirty minutes at
a time since'he is still in intensive care. ,All of you would,
l:Lke'to know abput Eddie, . I'm sure. He hi:1sworn himself out by
working overti~e at the post office because he wanted to contribute
his overtime pay, for the most part, to WINGSPREAD. He loves this'
,prison ministry and'is a vital part of it, along,with Shirley, his'
wife. 'They have given 'far above ~d beyond anything most,
Christians would even consider giving, so,we know that the devi~ '
would like to wipe' him 'out and take him out of this world,~ Of
course Eddie would profit by going straight to heaven, 'but he :wants
to be here, with us, because he has felt all along that the rapture
of the Body of Christ on earth is,almost here and as Ed put it, "I
wanted all of us to go together." So just pray, ,andbelieve, and
Eddie will be home recuperating soon.
OUR YARD; Rodney has almost finished with all the landscaping;
, etc.' I don't know if,we will do this next Spring; it takes up,so
. much time and we need to,spend that ,time in getting out the Word of '
God to all of you in prison. But I have loved a pretty yard and we
are finally getting'to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Rodney and "
I'sat out on our swing 'on one of the front'decks yesterday evening'.
It was quiet, for a change,'most of the traffic on the,highway,out',
front was done with for awhile (people had gone home f~om work), "
and we could hear bird song, and my frog'in 'the front water pool,
even sang me a song recently. I love the nights", though,' and' it
hasn~t been really warm enough to enjoy sitting out there late at
, night. We've had cold nights 'and very few, hot days. And we have
had no rain at' all. We do ask your prayers for 'God to send His
rain on "Baca Mountain" and all of this area, so'that we 'won't have
another drought .Everything is green and be~l.itifula~dit would be
so,sad if the trees be'gin to wilt. We can keep our slope green "
with 'watering, but the ~orest would begin to die. " '
THE BEES; Margaret is a great "beekeeper." We did lose one hive
to the cold weather. We didn't know they needed to be 'wrapped in
insulation material when we have a winter 'where temperatures dip
down into the teens. But the other hive,is alive and well and soon
it' will "swarm." Yesterday Rodney and Briari hung a "swarm catcher"
in the tree in Margaret's front yard.' ,There is something in the'
catcher that has a,scent like a queen bee, so they wJ.ll"find it
,when they leave the hive. A new Queen will be born & she will stay
in the hive & the old Queen must leave. I am proud of Margaret,'






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