West: Spring, other issues in focus
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By MIKE WEST

Well anyway...Mother Nature is at least letting us have a nice weekend or two. The weather's been like spring is trying to tease us by giving an occasional glimpse of warm weather.

Saturday before last was nearly perfect. Alright, it was a bit overcast, but it was practically shirtsleeve weather. It was so nice that the Missus and I went to Nashvegas to an antique show. Yep, it was a bit pricey. You might could say "your's truly" was the cheapest antique available at the sale. And no, there were no bidders on old graybeard. So it goes.

Last Saturday, we went on an even bigger adventure ... babysitting. We'll actually no babies were involved, just grandchildren who are growing by leaps and bounds. They are more than match for "Pappy." Yep, that's what they call me ... good ol' Pappy.

Some folks might prefer a nickname more uh, distinquished like "grandfather, grandpa or just plain ol' pa." But this granddad is a little too "smart" for his own good. When he got asked what he wanted to be called, Pappy was the first thing that popped into his brain. Thus, he got stuck with the name. Must confess it is heart-melting when you hear a little youngster add "pappy" to his first few words.

Hearing that nickname even makes chasing down a fleet-footed youngster pleasant. Yep, hearing "you can't catch me Pappy" even sounds pretty good the first half-dozen times you hear it.

But my favorite part of the evening is when the two boys go to bed and "Nana" has to sing a lullaby. "Lullaby, crawfish pie, fille gumbo, la-la-laaaa-la-la."

"Nana" isn't too up with the lyrics to that song, so she ad-libs it to great effect. Those boys are soon out for the count, unless Pappy forgets and switches out the hall light. Instant terror, tears followed by more singing from Nana (who isn't too happy with Pappy).

So welcome to my weekend...

***

Perhaps you haven't heard, but Ruby Jean Bickel passed away on February 19. Mrs. Bickel, who was 85, worked for decades as the public health nurse in Woodbury.

She was a registered nurse and lifelong caregiver for over 42 years. She worked for the state of Tennessee Department of Public Health. Mrs. Bickel earned many service awards for commitment and outstanding service including the distinguished Alex B. Shipley Award in 1997. She even won recognition from then Gov. Ned Ray McWherter for her contributions to the Department of Public Health.

Mrs. Bickel was known for keeping her calm despite the storm that might stir up as serving as a public health nurse. In later years, she discovered a passion for oil and canvas painting and enjoyed playing an active role on the family farm.

Mrs. Bickel was preceded in death by her parents, Earl C. and Ida Lee Todd Jernigan; her first husband Billy Williams, Jr.; one sister, Evelyn Fulks, and one brother, W.C. Jernigan. She is survived by her loving husband of 42 years, Charles K. Bickel; one daughter, Brenda Bickel Lewis of Murfreesboro; two sons, Bill Williams, and wife Carol, of Lynchburg; Bob Williams of Manchester; two sisters, Dean Holt of Murfreesboro, Wanda Ewell of Christiana, Tenn.; one brother, Wayne Jernigan, and wife Maralyn of Crossville; two grandchildren, Jared Lewis of Bradyville, Tenn., and Crystal Hoffman, and husband Daniel, of Murfreesboro. Mrs. Bickel attended the Ivy Bluff United Methodist Church for 42 years.

***

One big difference between Cannon County folks and people who live elsewhere is their love for animals and in particular, their pets.

Many Cannon countians will go out of their way to come to the assistance of a cat or dog that is suffering.

A perfect example is the community effort to help a stray dog called "Goldie Jane."

Goldie had been on her own for four or five years and had resisted any attempt to catch her. It took a team of alert people to finally nab her bedded down under a hollow log near the REACH Center.

Miranda Caffey-Vogeler, the president of the new Cannon County Community for Animals, led the charge catching Goldie and her eight newborn puppies. While it might take a long time to rehabilitate Goldie, her puppies will soon be available for adoption by good families. Interested? Email cccanimals@gmail.com.

If you are interested in helping or joining CCCA, the organization's next meeting is 6 to 8 p.m. March 22 in the Lions Memorial Building.

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