By: Angie Gambill
If you look up a few words in the dictionary – words like caring, compassionate, hard-working, plain spoken, selfless, generous, patient – there is surely a picture of Venia Stout beside each of them.
Miss Veenie, as I always called her, came into my life when I was a child. My grandfather had passed away, and my aunt and uncle had moved in with my grandmother. They both had jobs during the day and needed someone to take care of Grandma while they worked. And so Miss Veenie entered our lives.
My first impression of the tall, gangly woman that had settled so comfortably into my Grandma’s home was more than a little guarded. After all, Grandma’s house was my home-away-from-home, and nobody had asked my opinion on a total stranger’s presence there. I might have to tolerate this intrusion but I didn’t have to like it – or her. And I set out to make sure she was aware of my feelings on the situation.
If Miss Veenie said “black,” I said, “white.” When she made biscuits, I told her about Grandma’s delicious cornbread. If she suggested my grandmother take a nap, I thought fresh air on the porch would do her good. In short, I was quite obnoxious.
Did Miss Veenie take offense at my childish jealousy? If you have to ask that question, you don’t know Miss Veenie.
As time went on, her patience smoothed my jagged edges. Eventually, my jealousy abated and without me realizing it, Miss Veenie had made her way into my heart and family. Her dedication to Grandma put everyone’s mind at ease and Miss Veenie made her days as interesting and eventful as Grandma’s health allowed.
When Grandma passed, I found myself not only grieving for her loss, but also that I wouldn’t be seeing Miss Veenie now. She had become a part of my family, my life and my heart, and I was losing her, too.
No doubt this same scenario has played out time and time again with Miss Veenie – although most children are not as ornery as I was. She has spent her lifetime nursing and caring for the elderly throughout the area and has shared in the lives of many families. I know of no name that brings smiles to more faces than that of Miss Veenie.
Now is the time for those of us that have been touched by Miss Veenie to return a portion of the love shown to us. This one-of-a-kind lady is now in need of some of the tender, loving care that she is known for giving so generously to others. She has been sick for quite some time now, and her “never-give-up” attitude has carried her through much illness and pain, but even her iron will has its limits. She is no longer able to drive or work and her medical bills and medications are mounting.
A benefit is planned for Friday, June 17th at the Crewette building in Mountain City. The day will start with breakfast, then lunch will be served about midday, and will end with dinner. Breakfast will consist of sausage, eggs, gravy and biscuits, and a drink for $7 for adults, $4 for children. Both lunch and dinner will be one hamburger or two hot dogs, coleslaw, chili, potato salad, baked beans, dessert and drink for $7 for adults, $4 for children. Yard sale items will be available as well as a raffle. Folks will be there from 8 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. to assist you with your purchases and donations. Nightline Inc. is sponsoring the raffle and tickets are available at 423-361-7131, 727-5900, 268-0044, 957-7672 and 297-3694. Miss Veenie needs us now. She needs all of us that have benefitted from her care over the years.