By BOB MCKINNEY
It was with a bit of astonishment that I read Kelly Gilfillan’s letter to readers last week, marking the 10th anniversary of Home Page Media Group. Time flies and I couldn’t believe it had been 10 years since she and Susan Leathers started their small business that has morphed into a credible news organization that thousands of us rely on each day.
I am fortunate enough to have been a part of things for eight of those 10 years. As I have previously shared, I might have pestered Susan just a little until she finally gave me this gig. In return, I promised to be low-maintenance and meet my weekly deadline. (And I promised to stop pestering her).
And as I’ve also told you before, it’s a true labor of love. I ran into Kelly recently and told her, again, how grateful I am.
In keeping with the theme of looking back (and because I’ve had one of those weeks where new material just wasn’t going to be forthcoming), I’m rerunning the second column I wrote here, which followed the first one in which I introduced myself. I figured I didn’t need to do that again.
Happy anniversary to my good friends at Home Page Media Group, and thanks for keeping me around. Lots of water under the proverbial bridge since this first ran June 12, 2011:
I tire of hearing people say how busy they are, as if they have no control over that. It’s the oldest excuse in the book for not doing something you don’t want to do.
The way I look at it, nobody is holding a gun to my head to make me do anything.
Granted, I am not independently wealthy, so I work. That takes up a lot of time. But everything else is pretty much discretionary. If I am “so busy,” it is really of my own choosing.
Children take up a lot of time, especially when they are very young, but they are also not mandatory. If my wife and I had not wanted to give our time and attention to people decades younger than ourselves, we would not have chosen to join with God in bringing three of them into the world.
So please, as you read on, understand that I am not complaining about any of the activities in my life right now.
If you need me to come over and water your plants or feed your dog, it might not be the best time, but I will not tell you it’s because I’m “so busy.” I will tell you that it probably would not be in the best interest of your plants or dog. I tend to miss things when I over-commit.
For my dear wife and me, it’s like all these major events converged on us at once. We are on the downhill part of it now, but it’s been non-stop action for a while, with three graduations and a wedding on our calendar between May 9 and June 18.
Add to that moving a college graduate (along with all of her earthly belongings) back home; attending end-of-season rugby games and tournaments; addressing and mailing graduation, rehearsal dinner and post-wedding brunch invitations; throwing a graduation party for the high school graduate-to-be; sitting on high school graduate-to-be, firmly entrenched in the “Senior Slide,” to make sure everything at school is in order so he will, in fact, graduate; hosting family and friends coming for graduation; and, of course, those pesky jobs we have, and you’ve got a couple of fatigued middle-agers who require more rest than they once did.
And oh yeah, I also decided to become a columnist during this time, and one of my cousins planned a family reunion in Savannah, Ga., this past weekend.
So it came as a bit of a surprise when my wife, bless her sweet little heart, called me at work recently and told me that, in addition to the aforementioned calendar fillers, we would soon be having our first dance lesson. You see, we will be expected to dance — in front of people — at our son’s wedding reception and my wife is convinced we just don’t possess the skills to do that without making fools of ourselves.
I don’t know that I can argue with her much. Having been in my prime during the Saturday Night Fever years, I never learned much in the way of real dancing. What dancing I did was not anything I would want to repeat, or anyone would want to see, all these years later.
My wife told me our first lesson would be about “you learning to lead and me learning to follow” and yes, she walked right into that one.
What self-respecting husband could resist making some sarcastic comment, questioning the ability of a dance instructor to instill something that has eluded us for 27 years? Good material like that doesn’t come along every day.
We now have a couple of lessons under our belt and this week it is as if we are cramming for the final exam.
It’s not pretty but it’s not terrible. The leading and following are coming along and I will not comment on whether it has spilled over into other areas.
Nobody will mistake us for Fred and Ginger (or their modern-day equivalent), nor will any reality TV shows be beating our door down. But come this weekend, we should be able to maintain some semblance of rhythm on the dance floor as we commemorate our son’s marriage – hopefully without making him regret inviting us.
And maybe – just maybe — after that, we can rest.
Or at least slow dance.
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.