Write what you know about

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 13, 2002

As I sit down to write this Monday morning, I'm still glowing from a wonderful Easter weekend with my family. Time spent with my children and my grandson, Buddy, is all the more precious because it is so scarce now that I live in the Tennessee hills.

Even though we had no sunshine or blue skies, the time with them was as warm and cheerful as a summer day. The rain and cold wind did not hamper us at all. And it was wonderful showing off that beautiful, smiling boy.

Yesterday afternoon when they drove away returning to Greenville, most of my energy went with them.

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At 17 months, Buddy can outrun, out-climb, and very possibly out-think his Nanny. I'm as depleted this morning as the Easter Bunny's egg cartons. But it's a good feeling. I'll probably still have this silly grin on my face for days to come.

As I was thinking about writing to you, I kept remembering something my daughter said yesterday. She was catching me up on all the news from Greenville. When the conversation turned to the Advocate, she jokingly reminded me that it still pays crazy old ladies to write about nothing. That's what makes it so great. So I guess it is OK that I'm writing about nothing in particular today. I don't even know where my soapbox is right now.

In 1992, I clipped a blurb from a newspaper in Shreveport, La., written by columnist, Don Williams. "If there's one thing I've learned, it's that you must record what you know. Otherwise it gets away from you, from all of us, and we are the poorer for it," Williams wrote.

When I clipped that thought and stuffed it into my "keepers" file folder, I was remembering my grandmother. Before her death at age 89, her family had so wanted her to tape stories from her life. She had, during her lifetime, gone from the hard labors of raising five daughters on a north Georgia dairy farm to a world of television, computers, air travel and vending machines. She had progressed from wagons pulled by mules to her beloved Greyhound buses. In cast iron pots over backyard fires, she had washed the clothes made by her hands. And in later years, she had sent clothes ordered from Sears catalogs to the dry cleaner. She had been able to give up ringing the big iron bell in the backyard to summon help from the neighbor down the road when my grandfather had one of his "spells" with his bad heart. Before the last spell that took him, she had a telephone.

She had so much knowledge of life and living to share. Yet somehow we talked about recording her stories for the future generations of her family, but we never did it. As Don Williams said, we are the poorer for it.

But today writing what I know has a completely different slant. What I know today would not give you insight into the deeper meaning of life. I have no stories of struggle or hardship. My life has been an easy one. My troubles have been nothing more than a result of my own judgment or lack of it. If I have been hurt, it is because I chose to seek the good in people. That sometimes necessitates that I ignore the not so good in them.

I don't give up on people easily. I'm hopelessly idealistic. A very dear friend once told me that I would go through life always seeing the best in people, even when they hide it so well. And he is right. I don't like to see the dark side. I figure I have two choices: I can live in joy or I can live in sorrow. That's a no-brainer for me.

So, excuse me while I polish my rose-colored glasses. I have some folks to look at. And when I'm through looking, I'm going to sit back and enjoy my weekend memories.