One thing I know for sure- we all have struggles and times when it is not fun to be us. A while back, My Ansley (who has a one and three year old) was talking about how tough life felt and how exhausting it seemed. For some reason all I could think about was a snow globe. When you see them sitting on the shelf they look kind of blah. Sure they may have a pretty castle or scene in them but what’s so special about that? Now, turn a couple of four year olds loose and you see what all the fuss is about. Those wee beasties will pick up and shake each and every one of those snow globes over and over and over. Afterward, when you look at them you see a thing of rare and exquisite beauty. It mesmerizes you and you can hardly look away because just a few hundred pieces of glitter have made the ordinary look extraordinary. Life is like that sometimes, we look back and see that when it was all shaken up is when it was the absolute best.
Am I saying we should live in turmoil? NO! I’m simply saying that the times in our lives when the kids are little, the house is small, and the paycheck is just barely enough, tend to be some of the sweetest times I can remember. A Friday evening was spent watching the kids play in the yard, Saturday mornings brought the sport of the season (football/basketball/soccer/baseball) and all the fun that comes from watching kids run around with no idea what they are doing! Sunday mornings were for church and nothing is sweeter that hearing a five year old retelling Jonah and the whale. Sure there are meals to cook, laundry to wash and a bigger mess to clean. But friends those years last less than a fourth of your life! There will come a day when your house is painfully quiet and your refrigerator is sadly full. When you will look back at the photos of the chaos years and realize, yep, these were the best days.
What I’m simply trying to say people, is that life is a beautiful thing if you will only try to view the chaos as shiny pieces of sliver glitter swirling all around! After all, I promise you that you will laugh about it …. one day.
We’ve covered the fact that I am a voracious reader before in this post https://wenreeve.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/true-confession/ and while I am a fan of many I’ve never really been a “groupie” of any author but when I heard that Mr. Conroy was going to be in Nashville speaking and signing his new book “Death of the Great Santini” I knew I would move heaven and earth to be there!
My Ansley introduced me to Mr. Conroy when we first met in 2006. You should know that hands down he is her FAVORITE author of all time and has been since she was in her teens. At her recommendation, my first book by Mr. Conroy was “The Water is Wide” and I knew right away that it was love. Mr. Conroy writes in a way no one else even comes close to in my mind. He takes me so deep into the story that I find myself taking on the feelings and struggles of the characters in the book and literally become so wrapped up in them that I struggle to walk away. There is no way I can read his books back to back because I get so involved that I border on morose and know for sure my family would never put up with me like that! If you have never read Mr. Conroy, shame on you. He is a prolific southern gentleman, scholar and writer of prose who pulls from deeply personal struggles in every book. His gift is such that I feel intimately acquainted with each and every character in his books. In my mind I have walked where they walked, ate what they ate and lived their life with them.
Amazingly, not only was Mr. Conroy going to be interviewed about his new book (by Ann Patchett no less- WHAT?!?!) but he was going to sign books afterward. Y’all, I would have been fine just to hear the interview. He. Was. Amazing. Like Ann Patchett said in the interview, “Pat, you write in such a way that we fall in love with a man you hated simply because of your compassion.” Mr. Conroy had us alternately laughing and crying over and over all in the space of an hour. He is bright, funny, charming and lights up when he talks about his family and his books. Then he went into the lobby of the auditorium and singed books for anyone who wanted one for over two hours (I say over two hours because that’s how long we waited and there were more after us!!) When it was your turn, he not only introduced himself to you personally, he looked you in the eye and shook your hand as if you were the only person in the room!!! Then he quietly talked with you while he signed your books. OH MY GOODNESS!!!
It was a night I will always remember and he is a man I will never forget. Mr. Conroy, thank you for being exactly what your mother wanted you to be, a quintessential southern gentleman through and through.