I Smile Through The Tears

For most people, at least I hope so, life is full of the love of family. Holidays are a special time. The family gathers to enjoy a holiday feast, but most importantly, they gather to share their love for one another.

That is most families. I, unfortunately, don’t know how that feels.

I used to. Before my dad died, family holidays were the best! Actually, we didn’t just get together for holidays. We got together all the time.

I was blessed to have two grandmas growing up and a grandpa. My grandpa Sundquist died when I was 3, so I don’t have many memories of him.

I also was lucky enough to have the extended family! Many aunts and uncles and great aunts and uncles. My great Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Leroy were more like grandparents to me than a great aunt and uncle.

Time passes People pass away. Family dynamics change.

Let’s fast forward to 1999. Dad died from an accident at work. We had to take him off of life support. I won’t go into details about that. Most people would understand how awful that would be.

I remember telling the love of my life, my husband Jeff, how I knew if Dad died before Mom, it wouldn’t be long, and I would be out of the family. I don’t know if it was just a feeling I had, or knowing how I was treated differently by mom.

I feared her all of my life. I still do. Nothing I ever did was right. She ridiculed my laugh. She actually told me to just shut up. Who says that? I know my laugh is loud. How do I change my laugh? I have laughed this way all of my life! I was born with my laugh. Her comments cut me to the core.

Three years ago in July, the family was to gather at Fremont Lakes for a sort of get together. This was a get together my sister Angie had been in charge of for a few years. Jeff and I had planned on going, as we usually did when it was his weekend off of work. Angie tried to plan it so all of us could go. But, later that morning, Jeff told me he didn’t want to go. He was just exhausted after a long week of work. He only gets every other weekend off, so being tired was understandable. So, we didn’t go.

I really didn’t think it was a big deal. Until later in the day when my sister Angie texted me calling me many names I won’t repeat.

Since then, I have been deleted from the family. So has my daughter Whitney.

She didn’t go because she was visiting her brother-in-law in the hospital.

I have reached out to my mother and my siblings only to be ignored or to have horrible things said to me that are not close to true. How can someone that has known me all of my life say such things? How can my own mother say the horrendous things she said to me that day? I had her on speaker phone so Jeff heard her. He was shocked. I just can’t repeat it. What she said is so beyond my realm of understanding. She had texted me months prior telling me that she was going to call Jeff and tell him he better straighten me out! What??? I do know how much Angie loathes me. She has all of her life. I tolerated her behavior because I wanted to get along. She took advantage of me and yes, I let her. I am beyond appalled at how this all turned out.

Maybe I shouldn’t share this. But, I am going to. If my dad was here, this would not be happening. I was his “sis.” He was always my good parent. He read to me when I was little. He was always there for me. He was the best dad ever. He would be ashamed at how the family that he loved and was so proud of, turned out.

At the end of the day, I have so much to be thankful for. Whitney and I have gotten so much closer. Her and her husband Tri, and the kids, Penelope and Rowen mean the world to me. And another one is on the way! We spend our holidays and so many other days together. I love them more than I can say.

Each and every night, when I close my eyes to go to sleep, I pray to my dad. I know he is looking out for me. I know I have his love each and every day. He gave me life, but more than that, he gave me all of his love. And for that, I will be eternally grateful.


James Stearnes of Oakland NE

James Stearnes of Oakland, Nebraska, passed away Monday, November 12, 2018 at his home in Oakland.

Funeral Services pending with Pelan Funeral Services Oakland.

Election is in Just Five Days!

I would like to start my column by reminding everyone to vote! Also, for the citizens of Oakland, remember, there is a debate tonight with the candidates for the Mayor and the candidates for the Oakland-Craig School Board. The debate begins at 6:30 p.m. at the gymnasium in the new school. This is your chance to learn about the candidates, where they stand on issues, why they are running for their respective offices and also for them to answer questions from those in attendance.

I strongly encourage everyone to attend. I have always believed in getting the facts about those running for office before making a decision on whom to vote for. I don’t vote for someone just because I know them or like them. People often are different once they are elected to an office than who they are personally. I am also one that doesn’t like vague responses to questions. I want exact answers. To me, if someone is being vague, they are hiding something. I lose trust for those type of people quickly.

There is another item on the ballot that concerns Oakland citizens greatly. Do you want the sales tax in Oakland raised 1/2%? I will vote no for this. Why? Because as I just mentioned in the last paragraph, vague answers as to what the money will be used for. Do we need an auditorium? Maybe. But, bottom line to me is, do we want the library moved to a new building, possibly the upstairs of the auditorium? Or, more recently, the rumor has been going around town that the library could be moved to the Police Department building. As I said, rumor. Nobody is being clear on the future of the library. I will say, I have been in the Police Department, and that is not, in my opinion, a good fit for the library. Size is a concern to me. Keep in mind, the library purchased the vacant lot next to them to add on to the library. I am all for that happening!

I agree the city could use more money. Budgets are difficult to do. I am personally aware of that. But, definite answers are what I need to hear before I will vote for a sales tax increase. Maybe there are other ways to come up with the money? I have looked at the budget sheets for the last several years and this year. I wish everyone would. Then maybe you would see where your money is going. I am sure after looking over the budgets, you would have some serious concerns. I know I do.

Remember, every one of us has freedom of speech. I personally don’t care if you have a sign in your yard indicating who you favor in the election. You have every right to say who your candidate is, who you will vote for and yes, put the sign in your yard if you so choose. Nobody should treat anyone differently because of who they are supporting in an election. And, you should never fear backlash for doing so.

Let’s be kind.

Go to the debate.

Go to the polls.


Whoever is elected, we want the best for the community and the school.

Wednesday, the 7th, we move forward.


People Flock to Memories Cafe for Free Food on Halloween

Memories was a hit during the Halloween festivities on Oakland’s Main Street. The cafe was giving away free hot dogs, beef burgers, chips, cookies and drinks for people to enjoy while out trick or treating! My granddaughter, Snow White, was one of those that enjoyed a break from trick or treating, stopping into Memories for food and refreshments! All Photos credit of Denise Gilliland/Editor and Chief, Kat Country Hub.

Trick or Treating on Oakland’s Main Street

Oakland’s Main Street was full of kids on Halloween, going up and down the streets in their various costumes, trick or treating at the local businesses. It was a beautiful day and enjoyed by all. All photos credit of Denise Gilliland/Editor and Chief, Kat Country Hub.

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