Saturday, April 25, 2015


In the years since Frank and I married, we have been on too many vacations to count. But those vacations aren’t what I’m writing about today. In my childhood, we took only one vacation. That’s right, just one . . . my mother, my daddy, and me, their only child.

Every year, Mother and I would hope that Daddy would take us on a vacation, but he was always too busy with work as a supervisor of Auto-Lec Stores. It seemed to me that he was always on the phone checking on the business in the stores that he worked with. Most of the time during the week, even in the summer, he was on the road working with these same stores. He always had a small piece of paper in his wallet, and on it were written the amounts of money that those stores had done that week.

One summer, though, Daddy surprised us by announcing that we were going on a real vacation. At the time, we lived in New Orleans, and the destination that he had chosen was Biloxi, Mississippi. What Mother and I didn’t know was that Daddy had just helped some folks open up a new store. Almost all the time we were there, he was at the store, helping the owner get everything set up. I don’t remember that Mother and I did much except go to the beach and sit around reading.

He’d join us at night, though, and we’d go out to eat in a restaurant in Biloxi. That was a treat because the three of us seldom went to a restaurant. Mother and I went out while Daddy was out of town, but when he came home, he wanted to eat at home because he’d been eating in restaurants all week. One night we went to a place that had a piano, and Daddy insisted that the manager let me play. You need to understand that I wasn’t all that good, but my daddy thought I was. He thought I could do anything. If I had believed in my childhood all of the wonderful things he thought about me, I’d have a head that wouldn’t fit through the front door! I played, but I’m sure that the people in the restaurant were absolutely bored and clapped at the end because they were happy to see me go.

A day or so after the restaurant fiasco, and a few days before we were scheduled to go home, we left because Daddy needed to get back to work. Mother and I were disappointed, but we were happy that we had as long as we did at our destination.

I guess my work ethic comes from my dad. I followed along in his footsteps as far as travel and being concerned about our people are concerned. I hate to admit that my real downfall is concern about work. My poor husband has suffered through my job with Houghton Mifflin (Harcourt) for almost twenty years after being just as dedicated to teaching for thirty-two years. I won’t say that work has come before God and family, but it’s been close. I wish I didn’t have such dedication, but I do. Real retirement is hanging out there in the not-too-distant future, but I really don’t know how I’ll live without my work. I worry about that a lot . . . A LOT!

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