A truly con­tented woman … filled with joy

Rome News-Tribune - - EDITORIALS AND OPINION -

ast week I cel­e­brated my birth­day. It can now be said, I am over 60! God has seen fit to grant me an­other year of life and so I think it is ap­pro­pri­ate to cel­e­brate.

It all started at the fair Thursday af­ter­noon. While we were there we at­tended the Pe­tite Miss and Lit­tle Miss pageants. The con­tes­tant’s name, par­ents, school, fa­vorite color, fa­vorite per­son and fa­vorite food were an­nounced. Usu­ally mac­a­roni and cheese or pizza was the fa­vorite food. Would it be frowned upon for a con­tes­tant’s fa­vorite food to be col­lard greens and ribs?

Fri­day I took the day off from work and my hus­band took me to lunch. Then we en­joyed a visit to the Rome His­tory Mu­seum. In the win­dow dis­play is a diploma from Main High School. It was in the green binder in which it was orig­i­nally pre­sented. I read the name on the diploma but didn’t know the man. My good friend, Deb­bie Gal­loway, told me that some­body found that diploma in the trash and brought it to the mu­seum. Again I looked at the diploma and won­dered if he died and some­body went through his house and got rid of his be­long­ings. That diploma rep­re­sents the re­cip­i­ent’s hard work. It seemed very dis­re­spect­ful to toss it into the garbage. Can you be­lieve some­body threw away that diploma?

My birth­day cel­e­bra­tion con­tin­ued Saturday night when we went to the At­lanta Rhythm Sec­tion con­cert. We thor­oughly en­joyed the con­cert as well as the peo­ple watch­ing be­fore­hand. Most of the con­cert go­ers were mid- to late-50s to 60-some­things. Age didn’t mat­ter when the mu­sic started. They couldn’t sit still. We had great seats on the fifth row from the front cen­ter. We couldn’t sit still. It was a great show. Right on.

Ev­ery year on my birth­day I re­flect on my life and con­sider all the things in which I am in­volved, and how I con­duct my­self. I give se­ri­ous thought to whether or not I am be­ing the best per­son I can be. I won­der if I am mak­ing a dif­fer­ence with all of the peo­ple with whom I stead­fastly deal ev­ery day. I have nu­mer­ous great friends, an ex­tra­or­di­nary fam­ily, a ca­reer I en­joy, and good health, and I re­mem­ber to thank God for it all ev­ery day. I thank God for the hus­band he gave me. I thank God for the par­ents he gave me — par­ents who al­ways had time for us and who stead­fastly be­lieved in us. I thank God for the chil­dren and grand­chil­dren I have, chil­dren who al­ways have time for me. And I think of the idyl­lic child­hood I had.

Grow­ing up in Rome, my cul­tural en­rich­ment came in the form of two things. Dance lessons from Clara El­li­son, and piano lessons from Miss He­len Dean Rhodes. I didn’t stick with dance lessons be­yond the 2nd grade. How­ever, my piano lessons be­gan when I was in the 3rd grade and con­tin­ued through my se­nior year in high school. I re­mem­ber the piano recitals in the Carnegie Li­brary au­di­to­rium. Dur­ing the school year, when I wasn’t do­ing home­work, or prac­tic­ing piano, I was rid­ing my 10-speed bi­cy­cle all over Rome. My friends and I would ride out to Berry Col­lege and back. What great fun we had. My friends were im­por­tant to me and I al­ways had time for them. In­stinc­tively, I knew that some of them had a dif­fi­cult home life. I knew how to be there for them. Al­ways I made them laugh.

One year I was at high tea at the Clare­mont House. I thought Mama would have en­joyed that. I looked around watch­ing ev­ery­one en­joy­ing the day, and I thought, “So­cially, I am where I al­ways wanted to be and I have ev­ery­thing I ever wanted. I am very happy.” I con­fided as much to a friend whom I have known my en­tire life. She said, “Pam! Only a very small per­cent­age of peo­ple can hon­estly say that. Not very many of us are truly happy.”

My daddy had a happy coun­te­nance and a zest for life that was con­ta­gious to all who were for­tu­nate enough to know him. My son has that same happy spirit. Many times I have mused that my son and I in­her­ited, from Daddy, a “happy gene.” I now have a grand­daugh­ter, soon to be 1 year old, who is filled with joy. She has a light in her eye and she laughs of­ten. Clearly, she in­her­ited her great-grand­fa­ther’s dis­po­si­tion. In­deed, what a great way to go through life. Filled with joy. PAM WALKER

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