Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Girl and Her Shoes

When I was a little girl, Mama would take me to Newsome’s Shoe Store just off the square in Decatur twice a year - in the fall to buy my winter shoes, and in the spring to buy my Easter shoes. The spring that I was four years old was no different - we walked from our house on Winnona Drive to downtown Decatur to shop for new shoes. I had outgrown my dark winter shoes, and I was excited about buying a bright new pair of summer ones.

When we entered Newsome’s, a saleslady greeted us and ushered us to a line of chairs, with the accompanying little stool where she would sit and fit me with my new shoes. She measured my foot and asked me what kind of shoes I wanted. A pair of Sunday School shoes was what I asked for, and my mother nodded in agreement and suggested white ones. The saleslady disappeared behind a curtain and soon returned with two shoe boxes. She slipped the first pair of white patent leather shoes onto my little feet, Cinderella-style, and instructed me to stand up while she checked to make sure I had plenty of growing room in the toes. I then walked across the carpeted store, admired my feet in the little mirror close to the floor and returned to my seat, asking to see the second pair, which was similar but had a diffent type of bow on the toe. After the same procedure was repeated, I asked her if she had any more shoes to show me. Back she went behind the curtain to the back room, and soon returned carrying four boxes this time. After trying on all these shoes and walking in them to see how they felt on my feet, Mama’s patience must have been growing thin, and she asked me if I hadn’t seen a pair I liked.

“Oh yes,” I replied and pointed to the first pair I had tried on. The saleslady looked at me and asked me why I wanted to try on so many pairs of shoes if I wanted that pair. My simple answer to her was, “I want to be like a big high lady.”

I am now a not-so-big high lady, and I still love trying on and buying shoes. I’ve discovered Designer Shoe Warehouse, which to me is the ultimate Shoe Heaven. Whenever I enter DSW, I am awestruck with the aisles and aisles of shoes on display for me to look at. My only problem is that there are so many to choose from, and the little girl who wanted to try on all of the shoes in the shoe store emerges, and I find myself overwhelmed by the selection. But I love the store, and I know that I can always find just what I am looking for.

And more.

A girl can’t have too many pairs of shoes.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Family Genes

Several years ago, I went into a drugstore in Greensboro, Georgia, to get a prescription filled for my dad. Before I could even hand the pharmacist the prescription, he looked at me and said, “You must be Henry Campbell’s daughter.” I always knew I looked more like my dad than my mom, but this was the first time anyone had nailed me cold as to my identity.

This past week-end, I was with my other look-alike, my brother, Grady. We are even more alike than my dad and I. I get a kick out of people looking at us when we go into a restaurant or store together, doing a double-take, and then making a comment about the family resemblance. It’s too bad they couldn’t see my son, Wade, as well, because he is more like Grady than I am. Wade and Grady have the same smile, the same facial expressions, and the same voice. It’s eerie. With me being a girl, my brother and I are alike in a male – female sort of way. When I look into a mirror and pull my hair back away from my face, I see my brother in my reflection, and know that there is a family bond.

All of us Campbell kids are alike in one way or another. My brother, Bob, is more like Mama’s side of the family than any of us. He reminds me very much of my Uncle John Hendrick. My sister, Molly, is a wonderful combination of both parents. Sometimes she looks just like the Campbells, but as she is growing older, I see our mother in her face more and more. Grady and me - well, it seems that we were formed from a very similar mold and there’s no mistaking that we are kin.

It’s lots of fun to watch people’s faces when we enter a room together!
(Jennie, Molly, Grady, Bob- click on photo for full view)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ain't No Word for Goodbye

Last night I sat down to watch t.v. just as the movie “Thunderheart” was coming to an end. I had seen this movie several years ago, so I knew what it was about. As I watched the final scenes, the last line spoken by the Sioux character was, “There ain’t no word in Soiux for Goodbye.”

I like that. I don’t like to say “Good-bye”. I wish the word didn’t exist in the English language, either. But then, what would we say?

How about “See you later.” “Godspeed.” “Take care.” “So long.” These are the ones that pop into my mind off the top of my head. I remember talking about saying a final goodbye when my mother was dying, and regretting that I hadn’t had a chance to say Goodbye when my dad died suddenly. But what if we didn’t have this word for expressing our feelings of impending separation? What would we say? Do we really need to say Goodbye?

Phil has a favorite saying, “There is no end without a beginning and there is no beginning without an end.” To me, the thought of Goodbye fits in with this philosophy in an odd sort of way. If we don’t have a word for Goodbye, then can we also eliminate Hello? Maybe we should think more in line with the Sioux, and also with the native Hawaiians. Am I wrong, or does “Aloha” mean both Hello and Goodbye?

Whenever we say Hello for the first time, aren’t we in essence saying Goodbye to something else, and vice versa? The same with Goodbye- one thing ends, another begins.

Let’s do away with “Goodbye.” I agree with the Sioux. We don’t need this word in our language.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Planning for the Future

Recently while watching a book review on C-Span, I heard this quote from an author: "Plan your future as if there are an endless number of tomorrows, and greet each morning as it may be your last." I am an optimistic person who lives partly in the future, and being such I knew this statement needed additional thought on my part.

I know that I don't have an endless number of tomorrows. None of us do. However, as I plan for the future, I really don't spend much time contemplating my mortality. Death, whenever it comes, will cancel any plans I've made, but that's no reason for me to stop making them. I want to always be able to look ahead with anticipation and excitement of what is yet to come, but I also want to make sure that I don't miss out on something today if my sights are too far out in front of me!

I love imagining what the future holds and planning for upcoming events in my life. I am a great daydreamer, and I play scenarios over in my mind of what I think something in my future will be like. This is part of the fun of anticipation!

I have learned in my life, however, not to ignore the present. I welcome each morning with a prayer of thanksgiving for the possibilities of the new day and for whatever the day has in store for me. I just need to be careful that I don't ignore the present as I get ready for the future. I don't want to miss something wonderful and noteworthy today because I'm looking ahead of me, further on down the road.

It's a fine balance.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Only in a Small Town!

Yesterday morning, I decided to drive over to the neighborhood supermarket to see if I could find some good prices on out-of-date meat. I hurriedly pulled on a pair of jeans, a sweat shirt and sneakers to make the one-mile trip to the store. The store opens at 8:00 am, and usually by 9:00 all of the sale items are gone. People in Social Circle are early-birds!

When I got there at 8:15, there was a handful of cars in the parking lot. I went straight back to the meat department, where several people hovered over the meat counter, shopping the sales. I selected a couple of black angus filet mignons whose dates had expired, and left the remaining treasures to the other shoppers.

I took my place in line at check-out behind a young woman. Immediately, I noticed that she was wearing fuzzy bedroom slippers. As my eyes traveled upward, I saw flannel pajama bottoms and then a matching pajama top, partially covered by a light jacket. Her hair was pulled up in a pony tail, and looked like it hadn't seen a comb or brush since the sun came up. As she placed her one item on the counter to be rung up, the cashier said to her, "Allison, you're in here early for a Sunday morning." Nothing was said about her attire.
To which she sleepily replied, "When I woke up, I discovered I was out of coffee filters, and I can't start my day without my coffee." Apparently, she had thrown on her jacket, and headed for the Freshway Market to get what she needed to make her morning cup of coffee!

With coffee filters in hand, she padded out of the store.

I paid for my steaks, and followed behind her. I was wondering why I had gone to the trouble to get dressed before going to the store!

Only in a small town!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friends for a Moment, Friends for a Season, Friends for a Lifetime

I received a forwarded email this week with a poem about these three types of friends. The email was sent to me by a friend I’ve had since pre-school Sunday School class days. Receiving this email has made me think about these three types of friends.

Last night, while waiting for Phil to pay for our dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, and while still under the influence of two strong margaritas, I was in a talkative mood. A lady standing next to me, waiting for her husband to pay, seemed to be in the same state of sobriety (or lack of it), and we started talking to one another. Little did we know that Phil and her husband were also striking up a conversation while waiting in line to pay. As they joined us, the four of us stood in the restaurant entry way for another 15 minutes chatting away like we were old friends. In that short period of time, we discovered that we have mutual friends, like the same kinds of foods, are the same age, and have some of the same political views. I learned that their names were Monty and Ann, but got no further than that. Phil handed Monty his business card as we parted company in the parking lot, so we may hear from them. Or, maybe not. These could be Friends for a Moment.

I have had many Friends for a Season. These are the ones who have come into my life under specific circumstances, and then have faded away for some reason. I think of school friends, college roommates, co-workers at the jobs I’ve had throughout my life, fellow students in graduate school, my commuter bus buddies over the past four years, and many others. A few of these friendships have stood the test of time to move into the category of Friends for a Lifetime, but the majority of them have drifted away and I’ve lost track of them. I still receive Christmas cards from a few of them, but that’s all. Their friendship is mostly memory, yet the impressions they made while friends has stuck with me and made an impression in my own life.

Then, there are the jewels – Friends for a Lifetime! Very rare indeed! And, oh so valued and treasured! Sometimes these friends are lost for a season or more, but when they are found, the reunion always feels like no time has passed at all. I marvel at these friendships and am thankful for them. These are the people who will be there for me through thick and thin, as I will be for them. These are the ones who came into my life at different periods and decided to stay. Or, if they left for some reason, have found their way back. Some knew me when I was a little girl or teen-ager, some knew my sons as babies, others have entered my life at other stages. The wonderful thing about these friendships is the endurance. They don’t let go, and they never give up. I don’t have an abundance of Friends for a Lifetime, but those I have are the ones I am supposed to have.

Enough will do just fine!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Generation Gaps

I remember my father lamenting about the Generation Gap when I was a teen-ager. He didn’t understand me, and I certainly didn’t understand him! I vowed that there would never be a generation gap between me and my children, and for the most part I’ve been successful in this effort with my two sons. I recently signed on to “Facebook”, and I am getting an education on how the younger generations (the x’s and y’s) keep up with each other, communicate, and stay connected. And now I am in the mix, and am thoroughly immersed in my new Facebook experience. My sons and I stay in touch with each other, and now with Facebook, I can easily get their attention in a brand new way! I’ve even found Friends who were school buddies of mine, and we are having fun communicating with each other through this new avenue.

One thing really bothers me, however, about some of my young friends who are in one of these two alphabet generation categories.

Yesterday, one of my younger friends commented to me when I saw him in person, “You have to understand, Jennie, that I don’t reply to voice mails.” OK. That really makes a lot of sense to me. I make a phone call, which the recipient doesn’t answer, and I leave a voice mail with the gist of the reason for my call, and request a call-back for a live conversation. That’s the end of it. I don’t get a call-back, I don’t have the opportunity to actually talk to the person I need to contact, and I am left dangling in the air, gazing at my cell phone, wondering what’s going on. This may be a generational thing, but to me it’s just a sign of rudeness. I then attempt an email to the person, in which I briefly explain my need to be in contact, and end with a terse “please let me know.” With a particular young friend, the above mentioned attempts are still unanswered. I give up. I now have a Facebook page, but this person doesn’t have one yet, so I can’t even leave a message on her Wall! Unless I run into her on the street somewhere, I don’t expect to hear from her anytime soon.

I find a similar experience with emails to other people who I need to get in touch with, and get very frustrated with the absence of response to email messages. The least a person could do after receiving a message from me would be a simple “Thanks” or “Got it.” Instead, I hear nothing, and am left wondering if I typed in the correct email address, or if the person I sent it to ever received my message. It could be lost forever in their spam folder for all I know.

I may be an aging Baby Boomer, but one thing my father, who was of an even more archaic generation, taught me was manners. I have made the error of expecting the same from my young friends, and I am left disappointed and questioning of my friendship with some of them. I thought that friendship would transcend the generation gap and the age difference, but I now question that this is possible in some cases. How can a relationship develop when it is completely one-dimensional, flat, and consists of recorded messages which dangle and collect somewhere in cyberspace? Even with Facebook, voice mail, text messaging, and email, I am seeing more clearly that many of the relationships that develop aren’t real. They end up being excuses for actually talking to one another.

I need to call my sons soon and leave them a voice mail message, or maybe I’ll go to Facebook and write on their Walls. One thing I can count on is that they will respond. If I was successful in only one thing in bringing them up, it was teaching them manners, like my Daddy taught me.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year 2009!

Another New Year is here – I can hardly believe that it is already 2009. Yesterday, at a friend’s annual New Year’s Day party which I’ve attended for the past 10 years, a few of us “old folks” commented on the party in 1999. Everyone that day was already sweating Y2K and what was going to happen as we approached the turn of the century. It doesn’t seem possible that 10 years has passed so fast and the Y2K scare turned out to be a non-event for most of us. Funny how time travels on in spite of our apprehension and fears.

At the party yesterday there didn’t seem to be a common thread for conversations. Of course, we all had to relate our own personal stories of how our retirement funds have taken a big hit in 2008, and how fast things are changing around us in every aspect of our lives. One attendee was celebrating a semi-retirement, another shared her plans of beginning law school this year, and another shared his dreams of moving out of the United States to Costa Rica. Over all, as far as I could see, the conversations floating around were on the lighter side of life, and with the help of an abundance of champagne and wine, we all were in a very celebratory frame of mind! It was a wonderful party, the food was delicious (everyone ate their share of black-eyed peas and turnip greens), and the friends, both old and new, talked, laughed, and enjoyed the afternoon.

When the conversation drifted to making resolutions for the new year, I don’t recall anyone saying that they were making any this year. I know that for myself, I thought about making one or two, and decided against it. Instead, we joined in multiple cheers and clinking of glasses, all wishing each other everything from health, wealth and wisdom to “One More Year!” And I guess, in actuality, this is what New Year’s Day is all about – hoping for the best in the bright new year, and yearning to find a path that will lead us safely and gently through the coming months until we meet again at Beth’s house next January 1 to celebrate 2010!

Happy New Year, and from me to all who read my blog, a resounding “ONE MORE YEAR!!!”