Friday, May 04, 2007

Thank You For Another Year [CCR]

We have shared stories and memories together in the Colbert County Reporter for over a year now. My first article, Barbershop Memories and the Comforts of Home, had been written for quite some time when I first submitted it to the newspaper. It is my desire to divulge the memories that bring me back to the place I love, my home.

Thirty years ago I would have laughed if you had told me I would be sharing these stories with you. Yet, we never know where the future will take us. Each decision we make means we have renewed ourselves in one direction or another. As we approach the end of another school year our graduates are excited with anticipation of their “release” into our world. Over twelve years our schools attempted to provide the tools needed to be successful. Hopefully they received eighteen or more years learning the morals needed to survive in our society.

But now the true test has arrived. Some will search additional educational degrees while others proceed directly to contributing to society and earning for themselves or a family. While they may think it unfortunate, no matter which direction they choose the schooling does not end. Now begins the lessons of wisdom so rarely absorbed while under the watchful eye of teachers or family members.

My graduation night seems like yesterday. I strolled across that high school stage with the fans blowing the tassel in my face. My photograph still shows the feeling of relief on completing this stage of life not realizing it was one of the easier stages for me. My friends and I gathered after graduation and went to celebrate. It was a simple celebration, a slice of pie at a restaurant in Muscle Shoals. But it was an important celebration. For while I have seen a few of my friends, some I have not seen since that time together.

Today I watch my own daughter approach the same gateway into the next phase of life. She is attending her prom and then preparing for her own move out of the house. I remember her tiny body exasperated from its first cry and laying impatient on the warming tray after her birth. I can still remember when she told her Granddaddy “I am no squirt” at her first birthday celebration. We’ve shared many good memories and a few sad ones, but together they have formed a set of memories that I hope give her the same comfort I find in my writings.

I chose to start my visits with you sharing my memories of a barbershop, a simple innocent time. Entering the barbershop meant leaving your worries at the door’s threshold. The shop was a safe zone where you could drop all defenses and just be yourself, share a joke, or spin a yarn. It was an obvious choice because retreating to that comfort zone is a very recuperating time of thought.

The Colbert County Reporter has been very kind to provide a means to share those memories and hopefully bring a cheerful thought to you, my home family. I hope to continue sharing those stories and I thank you for inviting me into your home each week to sit a spell, share a smile, and hopefully spark similar comforting memories.