Monday, October 20, 2014

Giving back ~ my column from Sunday's paper

There are things we give that will outlive us. This train of thought pulled into my mental terminal a few weeks ago while sitting on the back deck watching our great nephew Jordan play.

His mom had to work late and his Nana had a doctor’s appointment, so I picked him up at school.  

I asked him if he’d eaten. “Only a little fudge bar, but I’m pretty sure that’s not really food,” he confessed. I snickered at this observation from a six-year-old kid from rural Alabama. So, we headed out in search of some chicken.

Back at our house, he headed outside after he'd eaten. He loves me to give him challenge runs and time his efforts.

OK, you have to run down and touch the gate, circle the hemlock tree three times, rattle the chicken pen fence, touch the rotting stump and then back to the steps before I count to ten.

Then he’s off like a shot. I adjust the speed of my counting so that he comes in just under the wire.  He will do this until his legs are rubbery.

On that day, when the self-competition was over, we sat on wrought-iron chairs, and drank cool water. The shadows were getting longer with dappled sunlight falling on plants at the end of the deck.

A hummingbird hovered almost silently to drink nectar from the bleeding heart that is still blooming. Without saying a word, we both stood statue still, watching the tiny bird feed.

When it zipped off, Jordan stepped over and leaned in to smell the tiny white flowers with red tongues.

I told him that his great-great grandmother Mammie gave the plant to Jilda long before his mommy was born.

He had to turn that over in his mind a while, and I could tell it was hard for him to determine the age of the plant.

He asked if he could meet Mammie. When I told him she’d died a long time ago, he stood there silently considering the plant she’d left. “It sure is pretty to be so old,” he said.

I told him that some things we give, live long after we're gone. Again, he wrestled with what I was trying to say.

To explain, I told him that whenever he was kind, or did a good deed for someone, they usually remember that kindness.

He understood that, but was eager to move on, so I gave him another running challenge.

I’m not sure what things the children in our lives will remember. We've always encouraged them to read, study, work hard and to give back to society.

I often use a quote by Maya Angelou:

People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

I think in the end, that’s all any of us can hope for –– that we've given enough to make the people in our lives feel special, and feel that they are loved.


  1. Anonymous11:02 PM

    That Maya Angelou quote is beautiful--& VERY true!!

  2. Thoughtful post - reckon Jordan will have good feelings about his Great-Uncle. I love the idea that things we do today - like planting, or maybe even a bit of DIY - will outlive us. And your game with Jordan opened a door on an old memory of mine, which I appreciated; thank you.

  3. Rick, this is so true... we lose sight of this by being busy... sometimes. I am sure Jordan took some of it it, I remember important things ;)

  4. So true, people will remember you by how you made them feel... Feeling are recorded deep in the psych.
    Have a great week.

  5. Very deep thoughts and meaning here. It is good to take time to make 'real' memories. Ones that will definitely out live us. You have done well putting those thoughts in words. I like that about these visits. Again Thanks.

  6. Wonderful sentiment, beautifully written. I can see this so clearly in my mind.

  7. What a sweet child and a lovely connection that you share with him. It's a beautiful gift to give life to the past for a child.

  8. So good. I love it when you write about Jordan. He's a darling child. He will always remember you.


  9. What an enjoyable read! Your Jordan sounds like a thoughtful young man.

  10. And that, my friend, is the greatest gift of all! !t's the one gift money can't buy, yet makes us richer for having been given it!

  11. What a lovely post. Here from POTW and I'm am very glad I came. Well worth it. Oma Linda

  12. Here from Hilary's. Best things in life are fleeting--people, moments, conversations. But the feelings linger. I agree with you and Maya A. Writers hold the feelings on paper and attempt to pass them on.

    1. Hey there, I tried to go to your blog but it won't allow me to see it. Something about you haven't allowed others to see your profile?

  13. Lovely. A man and a boy and wisdom passed on. I am touched.


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