I think that most of you that truly know me will admit that I am very outspoken. There are times that after the fact I regret opening my mouth. But there are other times I need to say things and have chosen to do that in a Karen’s Korner column. I appreciate Neotribune for allowing me to do just that. Just to set the record straight these are always MY opinions and nothing else. You have the right to agree or disagree with me and can read or not read these columns.
Growing up in Italy in the 50s and 60s, my parents, Sunday School teachers and public school teachers tried to teach me to do the right thing even if it meant taking “guff” from others. My mother taught me to always stick up for those that could not stick up for themselves. She taught me that bullies were wrong and were truly just cowards with loud mouths or loud actions. Knights don’t always have to be boys. Some of my Knights were Nelta Hasten, Jewell Major, Maidie Hyles and Nedra Hooser.
Many years ago I read about Sir Lancelot. I remember thinking how amazing it would be to have a Knight in Shining Armor to protect me from scary dragons. Little did I know back then I would have several Knights in my future.
My husband Brian is a good man that God blessed me with over 26 years ago. I am head strong and very independent. He would love to protect me from today’s dragons if I would let him, but most of the time I ask him to allow me to fight my own battles. Nevertheless, he is My Knight.
I have faced bullies all my life and I survived. I have tried to love everyone even when it has been hard. Living in a small town can be rough sometimes, especially when you do things others don’t agree with. I have done several things in my life that I am not proud of, but I own them because they are a part of me. I am a good example why God’s forgiveness through the blood of Christ is so important. I am so thankful he loves me even when I was unlovable.
I have been through a lot in my 66 years on this earth. Being unmarried and pregnant in the 70s in small town Italy was not acceptable. Realizing I could not be the mother that my daughter needed, I placed her for adoption. God has a way of making things right. Many years later my daughter Amy contacted me. That was one of the best days of my life. We shared so many great times after that. I have three amazing, beautiful granddaughters that I love a whole lot. But, things don’t always turn out like you want them to. On April 18, 2015 my Amy died from complications of MS. Amy was one of my Knights. I am so thankful for her.
I am blessed every day to be a cancer survivor and a survivor period. Kayrene Uehlinger and Alysa Kirton taught me by their example how to keep my faith strong, trust God for everything and find joy even in cancer. They were and always will be my Knights.
I know God loves me because of the Knights he has placed in my life. My “kids”, all 300+ of them ARE my Knights. They love me unconditionally and validate me every time I see them. Yep they are my Knights and they wear uniforms, not armor. I am so blessed to be Mama Karen to these amazing “kids”. I have so many unforgettable memories with my kids. The night that Zack Hernandez asked me to escort him through the tunnel at the Athletic Banquet was one of my favorite memories.
My son, Carson, is one of my Knights. He allowed me to be creative by making up bedtime stories when he was a child. He made me a better person and a better writer. He taught me things I never thought possible. We have so much fun when we are together. He has taught me how to laugh when no one else does. Yep, sometimes Knights carry fishing poles not swords.
The whole point of this column is to thank a specific Knight. I want everyone to know who he is and what he has done for me. I know he would prefer I did not do this, but I am gonna do this anyway. I will pay the consequences of embarrassing him later I guess.
I have known this Knight all his life. I have been privileged to watch him grow into an amazing man, husband and father. I have seen his servant’s heart as he volunteered with the IYAA, spent many hours at Upchurch Field and spent many hours working on the Central Baptist Church Fellowship Center. The work he has done with our EDC has made Italy a much better place.
What comes next is not to blast anyone. It is to simply relate what happened and share how he became one of my Knights.
Last year at a city council meeting one of the council members was rude and unkind to me during the meeting. I was hoping one of the elected officials would have let him know since he was relatively new to Italy and the council that it is not acceptable to address a citizen in this manner. Much to my disappointment that did not happen. When the meeting was adjourned, this Knight walked up front and told the council member that he owed me an apology for being rude and unkind. Even thought I thanked him after the meeting, words were just not sufficient. I know it was not because it was me that he spoke up. He would have done that for anyone that was treated wrongly and rudely.
So fast forward to the February 13, 2017 city council meeting. During citizen comments, Jackie D. Cate and I were viciously, verbally attacked by an Italy citizen. I have attended council meetings for at least 20 years and have never witnessed anything like this before and hope I never do again. Never have I seen elected officials allow this type of behavior at a meeting. The elected officials’ lack of action is not what was important. The important thing about what happened is that this same Knight spoke up and stopped the attack.
So, I just want to publicly say thanks to this special Knight. Words are insufficient to tell you how much I appreciate what you did. I know you would have done this for anyone, but you did this for me and that proves you are as special as I know you are.
So you see folks, Knights don’t always wear shining armor. Sometimes they wear dresses and teach Sunday School. Sometimes they wear dresses and teach public school. Sometimes they wear county uniforms and operate heavy equipment. Sometimes they wear blue jeans and go fishing. Sometimes they wear Gladiator uniforms and love their fans. But this time this Knight was not wearing shining armor. He was wearing shorts and a tee shirt. So, CHARLES HYLES, thank you for doing the right thing again and slaying that scary dragon for me.
The end for now.