Six years ago this month, I was given the opportunity to pick up my pen and share with you a few thoughts each week in this column. I followed the lovely Lisa Pierce who wrote a column similar to mine in this same space on page two. After a job transfer moved her family away from Whitehouse, she asked me if I would like to sacpeak to the editor and take over for her. Since writing is one of my greatest joys in life, it only took me about five seconds to ponder it and squeal “Yes!”
When I began writing this column, my family teased that I would soon need a security detail to follow me to Brookshire’s to pick up a gallon of milk, or that I would have fans approaching me with Sharpies to autograph their newspaper. Luckily, I can still slip into the gas station in my baggie Tshirt and jeans on a regular basis without needing sunglasses or a wig. I always knew that sort of notoriety and fame was just a silly dream, but it’s been fun to joke about it anyway.
I’ve been approached in public by strangers only a few times these past few years. Each time, the person passed me in the aisle at the grocery store or eyeballed me from across the shoe store before stopping to ask me “Are you the one who writes that column in the Tri County Leader?” I’ve never known whether to smile or wince as I confirmed their suspicions. Fortunately, those strangers have only had kind words and compliments for me.
There has only been one instance of “hate mail”. As a people pleaser by nature, I struggled with that email for about twenty-four hours before I let it go. I really do appreciate comments, suggestions and (eeek!) constructive criticism. However, if you only want to say ugly things and make rude comments about my hometown, consider the words of Thumper from the Disney movie, Bambi. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”
It’s been a joy to take all of you on this journey of the life I live. You’ve told me at church, in the gas station, on the sidewalk by LaHacienda and through emails that you care about me. You have patted my back, squeezed my hand and hugged my neck as you told me that you appreciated one article or another. You have sent word through my children, who are your students, to thank me for the words I’ve typed. For that, I will forever be grateful.
But from the bottom of my heart, it is you who deserve the thanks. Just knowing that you read this column at all is the biggest compliment I could possibly receive! Realizing that I have a whole community of people who read this column and care about me means more to me than any words I could type on this page for you. Thank you for welcoming me into your home each week, for living life with me, for sharing your families and your experiences. That is what makes this town what it is. I can’t imagine living anywhere else, or writing for any other newspaper. God bless you all.