Cel­e­brate life this sea­son and laugh

The Covington News - - Opinion - Tharon Gid­dens Edi­tor Tharon Gid­dens is edi­tor of The Cov­ing­ton News. Reach him at ((678) 750-5011 or at tgid­dens@cov­news.

I’ve got a new home. Donna and I have found a cot­tage that’s in the heart of Ox­ford but feels as if it’s in some fairy tale for­est.

It’s a hid­den get­away. The hard­woods have spread a mul­ti­color car­pet on the roof and lawn and the land­scape shrub­bery fronting the road­way has gone decades un­clipped so it’s hard to tell there’s a house there at all.

Crit­ters seem to ig­nore the house’s ex­is­tence.

I found a wooly worm crawl­ing across the liv­ing room last night, a vivid red and black that sig­naled it was best not to touch. I let it crawl into a pan and took it back out­side.

We’ve seen no deer in the yard as yet, but we

I’ve got­ten a lump or two in the past year, too. But I’ve got so

much to be thank­ful for.

en­coun­tered four of them on a morn­ing walk be­hind Ox­ford Col­lege. Our grand-dog, So­phie (we’re rais­ing her for our daugh­ter), loves the trail, spend­ing long min­utes sniff­ing out its ex­otic aro­mas. She in­ves­ti­gates, pauses and looks around as if she’s watch­ing the deer or chipmunk that left its musk on the leaves scam­per away.

Our walks take us through the heart of the Ox­ford cam­pus, which is seem­ingly ours at dawn as the stu­dents sleep in. The squir­rels are out at that hour, taunt­ing So­phie and stay­ing just out of her reach.

There are two fes­tively lighted letters in the up­per win­dows of Seney Hall, “L.O.”

I have no idea what they’re there for, but they form a spe­cial mes­sage to me that res­onates in these hard eco­nomic times. “Laugh Out.” Just find the hu­mor and laugh out loud.

I know, that’s hard to do af­ter life’s whacked you hard across the fore­head.

I’ve got­ten a lump or two in the past year, too.

But I’ve got so much to be thank­ful for:

— 33 years of love and life, three kids and in­nu­mer­able cats and dogs raised with Donna. I’m so glad she crashed that party in Athens all those years ago.

— Our par­ents. We’ve each lost our dads, but our moth­ers are go­ing strong. Donna’s mom takes her one-eyed teacup poo­dle to nurs­ing homes to cheer up the res­i­dents. Mine had a mini-stroke on Mon­day and was out walk­ing up the block on Satur­day. They’re pretty in­cred­i­ble, strong women.

— Neigh­bors and friends, old and new. We’ve left our home in Au­gusta af­ter 18 years. Noth­ing makes you ap­pre­ci­ate friends more than the loss of their daily com­pan­ion­ship. Thanks for Face­book, e-mail and cell phones and other forms of in­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion, too.

— And a fan­tas­tic new com­mu­nity to call home. I love ex­chang­ing pleas­antries along the square down­town, get­ting to know the good folks at Ki­wa­nis, and the sheer beauty of the towns and rolling coun­try­side of Newton County.

We’ve got a long way to go to over­come the fi­nan­cial dis­tress of the Great Re­ces­sion, but life is spe­cial here. We have rea­sons to cel­e­brate it and like the letters in those win­dows at Ox­ford im­ply, laugh out loud each day.

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