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Monday, May 30, 2011

Nonnie Takes Pride on Memorial Day and So Should You


Nonnie Takes Pride on Memorial Day and So Should You

How brave we are!  Soldiers, too, of course, but I’ve never been in a firefight or disarmed a bomb, so I’m not the one to write about the world’s soldiers.  I’ve dealt with terrors, though, and so have you.  Most of us face them down, whether they are the first day on a new job, or the first few hours after a tornado hits.  We’re a brave bunch.

I have a vivid memory of waiting for my first day of school to start, and of feeling woefully unequipped.  I didn’t know anything and I was going to have to learn everything, maybe that very day!  The Principal, Sister Alice Elenita, stood in front of the doors to St. Paul’s Elementary School with a huge bell and a stern face while the other nuns and teachers sorted out the horde of children in the parking lot and directed us into straight lines.  I didn’t know anybody in my line!  I was too little for this, wasn’t I?  The girl (Debbie Sweeney, it turned out) in front of me was quietly, desperately, crying.  I offered to hold hands and we both felt better until our teacher, Sister Marion, told us we had to stand in line with our arms at out sides.  Then Principal Alice Elenita rang her bell and off we went, eyes front.  Not a single first grader turned back.

No one knew I was afraid of riding the subway by myself when I moved to New York City at 18.  I rode the bus to Juilliard the first few days, but it was pokey and the subway was obviously something I had to deal with, so I did, just like I dealt with driving on the Beltway around Washington, D.C., when that seeming impossibility presented itself.  The first time I tried I took a ramp on and immediately took the next ramp off, but, although I never got over my fear of speeding along in all those lanes of traffic, I did it, along with everyone else who lived around there.  I wonder how many of those drivers were scared, at least at first?

Maybe I could fill a book with the times in my life when courage came through for me.  I’m sure you could, too.  We need to give ourselves credit, you know?  We, most of us, are brimful of courage.  Not long ago I picked up a receipt that was left in the slot of an ATM.  It showed a withdrawal of $40.00 and a remaining balance of $14.62.  Odds are that unknown person was going to do what I somehow did the times I was no- kidding- around- poor. Deal with it- like first graders do going through those big doors without their moms or big brothers near-by.

I saw Too Big to Fail the other night and I’ve been thinking about those rich bankers.  I wonder how much courage it takes to get through a week with dignity when you have a couple of million, or billion, in your account.  Tornado?  Tsunami?  They can check into a Sofitel until things sort themselves out.  What scares billionaires, I wonder?  How does character develop when you’re sitting on a cushion that big? If I ever meet one of those guys, I’ll try to find out for you.  You know, if you’re interested.



1 comment:

Karen said...

Great post, would love to read more of your experiences at Julliard, the big apple... New Mexico!.. courage indeed!