Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Big Three

I never leave the house unless I check to make sure if I have the big three- my wallet, my keys, and my cell phone.  These are the three essential things that I cannot go anywhere without.  I keep my wallet in my back, left pocket.  Doctors are now saying that men should not do this because it affects the way they sit and causes back problems.  A wallet, they say, should be carried in one of the front pockets.  Now, that’s a problem because I carry my keys and my cell phone in both front pockets.  To switch my keys to my back pocket would result in tragedy, and I have enough trouble with my cell phone without the added problem of butt dialing someone every time I sit down.

I once tried to switch my keys from my right front pocket to my left front pocket.  When my phone rang I was forever pulling out my keys.  And once I switched my wallet from the left back pocket to the right and I could never quite find the right way to sit.  No, my wallet has to stay in my back left pocket.

As soon as I enter the house I take my keys and wallet out of my pockets and put them in a place reserved for them on the bedroom dresser.  If I don’t put them there I run around the house searching for them, turning things over, saying words I should not say under my breath.  When I finally find them, it is like life is worth living again.  I have imagined life without them and it was not a life that I want to lead.

I used to have a big four.  My glasses were once right up there with my cell phone, wallet and keys.  But now that I broke down and admitted that I needed bifocals, I never forget or misplace my glasses.  I am always wearing them.  So, no more big four.  Just the big three.  When it was the big four, leaving the house looked a lot like I was doing the Macarena.  Now it just looks like I am patting myself on the legs and butt saying, “phone, keys, wallet!  Let’s roll.”


Friday, April 5, 2019

Rules to Live By from Bessie Delphia Helen Griffin Whitley Balkum

I was going through some old Bibles of my mother’s this morning and I found a Bible that was given to her by her mother, Bessie Whitley Balkum.   I thumbed through it, looking for notations in the margin and small things that may have been inserted between the pages.

I found a folded, typed page titled “A Message to My Children”.    It was signed “Written by and lovingly dedicated to my children by Bessie Delphia Helen Griffin Whitley Balkum”.  The text of the “Message” contained some rules for living that she applied to her life and that she wanted her children to incorporate into theirs.

I share the thoughts of my wonderful grandmother now:

“ Be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.”

“Make your friends see that there is something in them.”

“Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.”

“Think only the best.”

“Be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.”

“Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to a greater achievement of the future.”

“Wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.”

“Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.”

“Be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.”

“Think well of yourself and proclaim this fact to the world not in loud words but in great deeds.”

“Live in faith that the world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”

My grandmother raised 13 children.  Her husband died before the last one was born.  She did not have an easy life.  She never had much money or material things.  But she never let her circumstances dictate how she treated others or how she thought of herself.  Visiting her, I was always sure of two things: that she loved me and that she was happy.  And now I know why.  I hope that I can pass these things on to my children.