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It’s Important To Take Time To Offer A Kind Word

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week. Since I don’t get my Herald until a week or ten days later, I just learned of the death of Mary Nell Gurner.  I offer my condolences to Jack and the rest of the family.

It was hard to realize that they had been married for 63 years. I was still living in the Valley when they were dating and when they got married and from what I saw they were made for each other.  It just goes to show that if two people work at it, they can make marriage last a lifetime.

It seems to me that the word brevity is unknown today, especially among politicians. A case in point – just ask one of them for a yes or no answer and see if after five minutes of conversation you get that answer.  President Eisenhower was an exception, as he would give a terse answer to the point and almost abrupt in nature.  

Calvin Coolidge was one of my favorite Presidents as he didn’t believe in using more words that necessary. The story was told that one Sunday, as he returned from church, he was asked what the preacher’s subject was.  

He replied, “sin” and when he saw more explanation was needed he added, “he was agin it.”  He was called “silent Cal,” who never smiled, but when Will Rogers was introduced to him Will said, “I didn’t catch the name” and the President laughed out loud.  

When Will returned from a trip to Egypt he was asked if he saw the sphinx, he answered, “No I had already met Mr. Coolidge,”  Will said, “President Coolidge didn’t do nothing but that was what we wanted done.”  

Will understood way back then that when Washington did nothing we were all better off. I guess the reason we get so much worthless conversation from Congress is so many of them are failed lawyers who never lost the habit.  

Every once in a while I just have to let off steam and now I’ll get back to what I started to write about in the first place.  As you long time readers know, I have a deep conviction about the abiding goodness of the American people.  It was illustrated in the response to the Haiti disaster.          

There are so many examples in little courtesies that people do every day.  I was in The  Big Star after church recently when an elderly black gentleman said something to me and I had to ask him what he said.  

He said “That’s a good looking suit you have on,” and I thanked him and I thought about how that complimentary remark made me feel good. Then I got to thinking about how we all miss the chance to brighten someone’s day with a remark like that.          

Mother has been dead nearly 11 years and for the last few years of her life she was house confined. There was never a day that Ludie or Jeanette Smith didn’t call or come by, and they   always made her day.  Every Sunday her Pastor, Joel Jones, would stop by and talk with her and have a prayer and it made her day since she was unable to attend church.  

Ila Mae McMinn, who is a great cook in her own right, would come by and bring a dish she had prepared and even though she ate very little, it meant so much to her.  Ila Mae told me once that if she hadn’t been by in several days, Mother would call and say, “Ila Mae, what are you cooking today?”

I always tried to call several times a week when I couldn’t visit and it meant so much to her.  She had her telephone buddies including Doyle Redwine and “Wildcat” Wilbourn and if you wanted to know what was going on in town, she knew as much as those who were out every day.          

Hamric Henry was a dear friend and he always brought her a pint of ice cream.  She didn’t eat much ice cream but it was the gesture that meant so much.  Sam Goodwin would come by and treat her yard for fire ants and wouldn’t let her pay.

James Brown would bring her a small bag of pecans and Tom Ashford would bring a watermelon during the summer. They all knew she could afford to pay but they did it out of affection.  Roy Harold and Effie Ford and Melvin were frequent visitors and she loved them dearly.

If I missed thanking any of you, I’m doing it now.  I’m resolving to try to give a kind word any time I can in hope that it will brighten their day.

The last gesture I remember,  when Mother was in the hospital in her last weeks, our pastor would visit her as I would find his card on the table in her room. Even though she was semi-comatose I like to think she was aware of his visit.

 So I ask all of you to try to give a kind word once a day and make someone feel good.  Your input is always appreciated and my email address is still or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tenn. 38101 and have a great week.

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