Time can be a moment, an hour, a month, a year or a decade. Whatever it is, it seems endless as it rushes by. I've been writing this column since the late 1970s. It is a long time, yet it seems like only yesterday when I began.
I've covered a heap of topics, and it isn't always easy to choose one that is of interest to everyone. The challenge has been to pick an incident shared by nearly all of us.
Recently I wrote about ants overrunning the homeplace. At least, Dottie tells me they are trying to cart us off in spite of all efforts to control them. She has threatened to move out, leaving me alone with the pests. This is serious stuff, and I figured others in the community were having similar problems.
Well, it turned out there were others with the same problem. Several folks called to sympathize with me. One lady encouraged me to try grits, because that's what she did and her ants are gone! A friend said he liked to eat too, and he was reluctant to waste his breakfast grits on ants. He had a chemical mixture "guaranteed to kill ants," and he offered to share with me.
I was pleased as punch to receive this kind of support and kinship from several of my readers. In the face of adversity, there are things to be thankful for. Cold weather may have brought ants into the house, but, at least, it diminished the grass cutting! The outside honey-do-list isn't all bad, and should the grass on the right-of-way soon begin to grow again, at least it will hide some of the trash thrown out by uncaring fellow citizens.
There are plenty of unhappy stories out there. The war, the economy, politics, terrorist threats seem all too numerous. What we need more of are a few stories to lighten the heart and bring a smile. Looking for them is fun and adding them to a column may bring cheer and encourage readers to look at the up side of life.
For instance, if you drive behind a fellow who leaves no stone unturned, your journey may be a rough one! Have you ever wondered if all of those halos sitting around waiting to be used have already tarnished? It is comforting to know that diapers in Texas probably aren't any bigger than those in Georgia! All of our successes may be due to the Joneses.
The toughest thing about writing an interesting column is learning how to keep it going. Wealth, education, health and good looks may count little for a columnist. Readers may tell you the best columns are about them. They are flattered to see their names in print.
Even if readers and writers do not always live up to expectations, at least they keep trying. Success, after all, improves character. Success for readers and writers is going to sleep each night knowing we have served others with our talents and abilities.
Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author, and law enforcement officer. His column appears each Sunday.