Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Nice Surprise

Just received the following e-mail message from my daughter...

"OK, so I told my self a couple of weeks ago 'no more books until I catch up with everything else.' But I picked up OSV to read on a quick break from work... skimmed thru the prologue and first two chapters since I'd already read them. At around chapter ten I told myself to quit and then I saw chapter 13 go by.... I finally quit at 16 however reluctantly.

Shame on you for writing so well!"

What a thrill it was to get this from her. My children are all very discriminating readers and they don't give unwarranted praise. We have a long tradition of open and honest in our family, so that just added to my excitement over receiving such an endorsement for my book.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Excerpt From The Front Porch Prophet

I’m reading The Front Porch Prophet by Raymond L. Atkins to write a review for and the following passage just resonated with me. I was privy to many instances where family members had to make the difficult decision to remove life support from a loved one, and I thought this captured the moment in a particularly poignant way.

A father and son are talking about the wishes of Granmama that she not be kept on life support. The father says he knows her wishes. He just can’t say the words…..

“I’ll take care of it, John Robert,” he said. It was the last thing he wanted and the only thing to do. John Robert slowly nodded. The night passed in silence, and next morning A.J. conferred with Dr. Prine. Granmama’s condition had worsened. He gave a sigh.

“It was my grandmother’s wish, and it is my father’s wish, that we remove life-support when there is no sound medical reason for it to remain.” The words hung in the air, limp as wash on the line.

“Is this your wish as well?” His wishes probably didn’t matter, but it was considerate of Dr. Prine to inquire.

“My wish is that she hops up, and we go get in the truck and go home,” A.J. sadly replied. “But that’s not going to happen.”

And so, late in the afternoon, the ventilator was removed and the life support was shut down. The candle that was Granmama began to burn toward its nub. Not long after, Clara Longstreet, mother of John Robert and grandmother of Arthur John, matriarch of the Longstreet clan, flickered out of this world and took her place beside the clumsy young husband who had waited patiently for her all those years. What Jehovah and a hay baler had put asunder, A.J. and Dr. Prine had now rejoined.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Olympic Thrills

What an exciting week it has been for Michael Phelps as the American swimming team won the final relay race last night to clinch his record eight gold medals in one Olympics. It was a thrilling moment, and I am so impressed with those young men, as well as all the other American athletes.

Watching the swimmers all week, I kept noticing how it appeared that they were having a good time. And there were many instances of good sportsmanship as those who didn't set records or win medals congratulated those who did.

For a full list of the medal winners for the men's and women's swim teams click HERE

By the way, my granddaughter has already made plans for the marriage between her and Michael. She said she is just waiting for the Olympics to be over to tell him. She didn't want to distract him from his goal.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Olympics - You Gotta Love It

Monday - well actually Tuesday in China - was a marvelous day for the U.S. athletes. Michael Phelps won his ninth career Olympic medal, and against all odds, the U.S. mens' gymnastic team won the bronze medal. That was wonderful, and I stayed up way too late last night watching the live competition.

What struck me the most was the character and demeanor of these Olympians. They weren't strutters or braggarts. They showed great sportsmanship throughout, and the expressions on their faces when they finished an event indicated that, while the scores mattered, what mattered most was going out there and "getting it done" as one athlete said.

This is what it is all about.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Farewell to Kenny

I just received notification that a cousin died on Friday night. Kenny was older than me, and I don't have many childhood memories of him. He may have been away at college, or in the service when I was visiting as a young child. But when I was a young adult, I have a vivid memory of him and his wife taking me and a couple of my girlfriends out to party.

He came to pick us up at my grandmother's house in a pink Cadillac. And, no, he didn't work for Mary Kay.

Kenny was considered by some to be the black sheep of the family. He tended to be wild. He liked his drinks and his cigarettes. And he didn't always take care of responsibilities.

But, Kenny was always fun and funny. He was always generous to a fault. And you could never spend time around him without feeling good. For years after that visit, my two girlfriends would talk about the good time they had with my cousin.

Two years ago, we had a family reunion and I saw Kenny for the first time in many years. I could barely see past the wrinkles and other ravages of excess and see the young man who had introduced me to moonshine so many years ago, but when he spoke, I knew it was the same man.

We talked and laughed, and then he started to sing. My father was sitting near him and he joined in. Then other folks were drawn into the music, and pretty soon we had a good sing-along going. That was a high point of the reunion for my father - and for all of us who treasure the sing-alongs that were always a part of our family gatherings.

My father, who was 89 at the time, has been having memory issues, so he didn't recognize everyone at the reunion. After we left the party, he said he didn't know who that young man was, "but boy, he sure could sing good."

I didn't have the heart to tell Daddy that was his nephew, but I did tell Kenny that he made one old man very happy that day.

Rest in peace, Kenny