Happy surprises and known comforts

Have you ever thought you knew someone very well only to find out you knew very little about this person? That’s what happened between Rhonda Elliot and me. Really, all I really knew about her is that we were both strong believers. Then, as a birthday present, Rhonda gave me one of her books that she wrote last year. I couldn’t put it down. I finally finished reading it just before midnight! I’ve never admired her more. She told the unvarnished truth! That’s true love. And I admire her husband for encouraging her to tell her true story. We are so fortunate to have them in our community.

Well I found out that Rhonda was a Canadian. Her ancestors were Russian Jews. They had been persecuted in Russia and finally moved to Canada. There were many parallels in our lives. She lived with prejudice against Jewish people and I lived with prejudice against Italians. Another parallel between us is that we had teachers who encouraged us to write and we both waited until we were adults to start writing. We also both have a strong desire to serve others.

Russ and the boys and I used to sit around the table and talk about being a Peace Corps family. Too bad we never followed through with it. But there is a truth you can count on. Nothing is more rewarding than serving others, even if it’s only putting a smile on someone’s face!

I had a wonderful telephone call from a reader. She said in a second I had her going from crying to laughing. She cried over the poem I wrote for my brother and couldn’t stop laughing over the story about the hermit crabs. I know a lot of people with a good sense of humor and stories to tell, and I try to spread the wealth!

I’ve been very busy for ten days with my nieces, Gert Cimino and Ramona DeMarco, the Rotunda girls. Every year they come from California for the Valone family picnic and they stay with me. They have so many friends in the area, from Silver Creek to North East, Pa.! In the first five days they were here I gained five pounds! Wow! At that rate I was going to gain 10 pounds! I put a curb on that and now I am back to normal.

I have been having problems with pain in my knee. It’s hard for me to get up and I walk gingerly. I tell everyone that I have “knee-moan-ya.” On the other hand, if laughing keeps us healthy, then we’re all good for another year!

I’ve also been working on the CIAO picnic for Saturday, July 27 at 11 a.m. It will be held at Russell Joy Park. We have a new set of officers for the club and they are great. They are bringing new energy to the organization. If you’ve changed your mind about coming or you’d like to join, call me at 679-4772.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. I just reread Carol McCormick’s “The Missing Piece.” She has added 40 new pages. As soon as my nieces left, I picked it up and couldn’t put it down until I finished. It’s a beautiful love story without sex. Carol is such a good writer! Her descriptions are priceless! Currently, she is ranked number four. I hope she’ll soon make the top three! I’m still selling her books. Call her or call me to get your own copy!

Have a great life!

Margaret Valone is a Fredonia resident. Send comments on this column to lifestyles@observertoday.com