Monday, May 20, 2013

A Picture Perfect Day ~ My Column from Sunday's Paper

I cannot remember when blackberry winter lasted this long, but a welcome change came
this week. 
The sky was blue as a first-place ribbon with no clouds in sight. The sun was warm but a breeze out of the west made it feel like San Francisco.
Today I had to drive to Curry Ace Hardware to get parts for my chainsaw, and I decided to take the road less traveled. 
For me that meant driving through Sipsey, turning north on to Highway 69, and turning west onto the road that meanders by Smith Dam westward to Curry.
It looked as if everyone had recently mowed their grass. 
It seemed a shame to ride cooped up inside the cab of my truck, so I rolled down the glass and stuck my head out the window like a dog.  
After a cold wet winter, it felt good to let the wind blow through my hair….well, that’s not quite true, because I don’t have a lot of hair, but the wind felt great in my beard. 
Driving by the dam, I looked toward the water and there was a group of kids basking like turtles on the bank of the lake. 
Beyond the dam, there were lush fields with yellow flowers that reminded me of Ireland. I got a whiff of freshly mown grass and as I drove, I thought to myself, Walker County is a beautiful place on earth.
The hardware store had a crew of young guys working, and they scurried around and fetched the parts I needed. 
My chainsaw is fairly old, and I feared I’d have to donate a kidney to pay for the parts, but when I got the tab, I was pleasantly surprised, and I walked out of the store smiling.
When I got back home I quickly checked my email before settling in to write my column. When I scanned the subject lines I saw a note from one of my writing clients.
It said: Read This! No Seriously, Read This Now! 
Oh crap, I thought I’d been fired.
But when I looked further, I saw the organization had won 13 awards in the Alabama Press Association’s Newspaper contest, and I’d written three of the winning entries. I almost fell out of my swivel chair.
It’s great when my sister or my good friends tell me they enjoy my work, but to win recognition from my peers is something else all together. I’ve never had this kind of validation for my writing.
We keep a bottle of champagne in our fridge for special occasions and when I told Jilda the news, she suggested we celebrate this weekend.
Life is funny. This year has been a rough one here in Watsonville. I kept looking for locusts and pestilence to add to my trials, but then the sun came out, and good things started happening.
I’ve learned there’s a rhythm to life. Just when you think it will rain forever, a ray of sunshine breaks through the clouds and it’s like a harbinger signaling that good things are on the way. The trick is to weather the storms.


  1. It's not too bad living in a small rural area at times..we too have a local hardware store (Home Hardware). All you have to do is enter and someone is at your beck and call to wonder they have survived the big box store craze..service with a smile and the knowledge to back it up! I do hope the rest of your year continues to be better and smiles and nice scenic drives are the norm! Fun article and congrats on those awards...very deserved!

    1. Big Box stores could not compete with the folks at this store :)
      Also, thanks for your kind words.

  2. The first part of my interview with you is on my blog today (Tuesday).


    1. Hey Jane, I saw it already. Thanks so much for the opportunity to share on your blog.

  3. I just read Janie's interview and knew I had to come an visit you. I retired to the desert mountains of California where we have not had enough rain since 2010, I think. Everything here is beige and dull, no wild flowers, not even any lilacs on my bush. But it will change in another year. Nature teaches us patience, I think.

    And you are a wonderful writer.

  4. There certainly is a rhythm to life. It can't all be sunshine! I enjoyed your interview over at Janie's blog!

  5. Yes, there's a definite rhythm to life. Sometimes it isn't fast enough to suit us - especially when it's in the more tragic pieces, but move on it does. Eventually. I guess that's where faith comes in. Congratulations to you on a few fronts. I enjoyed your piece on Janie's blog.

  6. I popped over from Jamie's blog to say howdy. So... howdy!

    Congratulations on the writing awards. Not only is it super to be recognized by your peers, but winning awards for the newspaper also sounds like a healthy shot of job security, too.

    I looked through some of your posts, and really like your laid-back style. It's obvious why you won those awards. Consider me your newest groupie. Nice to meetcha.

    1. Thanks Susan. I started following you too. I howled when I read your last post.

    2. I affect a lot of people that way... (sigh)

  7. Dear Rick, I just read Janie's interview with you and so came to your blog via hers. I so enjoyed the simplicity of your posting today--seeing you at one with nature and your surrounding. I can easily see why your writing has won awards. And congratulations on your three columns being winners. That's exceptional, I think.

    I so like the last paragraph of your posting: "I’ve learned there’s a rhythm to life. Just when you think it will rain forever, a ray of sunshine breaks through the clouds and it’s like a harbinger signaling that good things are on the way. The trick is to weather the storms." That truly speaks to me as I struggle to find readers for the stories I write. Peace.

  8. Anonymous2:17 PM

    I just clicked over from Janie's post & am now a follower of yours. I don't know how I missed you for so long. I love your easy going writing style & am going to go back & read some of your older posts. I felt like we were on your porch talking to each other!!

    1. Thanks. I started following you today.

  9. You are right Rick, the trick is to weather the storm... not always easy but it's worth it ;)

  10. What a beautiful post, Rick! CONGRATULATIONS! You deserve these awards. I'm really happy for you. I agree with you, by the way. No need to add anything.


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