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Memories part of tie that binds us

Carrol Vertrees

Carrol Vertrees

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Updated: November 22, 2012 6:15AM



It is twilight time for me and I want to own up to the kind of guy I was in my “working days.” I will feel better, maybe.

I wrote a lot of opinion stuff and some readers wrote back with picturesque, clever opinions of their own, like the guy who said “You have a mind like an open sewer.”

An area candidate left in a huff after we debated a hot social issue, and he wrote a letter calling me “The paper’s high priest of humanism.” When a co-worker assured me that this was a dirty dig, I was devastated.

After that letter appeared in the paper, a friend answered by writing that “God loves him.” That helped a little.

I learned a useful lesson about opinions: Almost everybody has opinions about religion, patriotism and politics.

It was an education for me.

When I questioned a school’s spanking policy that many readers thought was biblically approved, a fellow wrote: “The Bible, even though the common man can read and understand it, is too lofty for anyone of your intelligence.” He had a point, but I always wondered if he had memorized all of the begat section — an unkind thought, I know.

A reader really hurt my sensitive feelings when he wrote that “I do not believe that you are an intellectual — you are a PSEUDO INTELLECTUAL.” One of my sons asked what that meant and I sent him to his room.

Another reader came straight to the point in a nice example of brevity: “Your remarks show that you ARE in fact depraved!”

We all are a bit touchy on some subjects, because some of us have made up our minds and we resent being disturbed by opposing views.

I see an obvious truth in all of this arguing and attacks: Anger increases our word power, enriching our vocabulary.

A respected American Legion fellow wrote “Your peers should check your background and qualifications. I would guess that you got your degree in journalism with coupons from boxes of Crackerjack.” He also cast some doubts on my patriotism.

All of these slams at me, a purebred country boy, a kind grandfather, a choir singer, a war veteran, an ex-golfer!

Well, my depraved pseudo intellectualism thing is in remission. I am “home” again, sifting through my collection of notes and printed comments from readers who appreciate being reminded that memories, though often unique and private, are similar because they take us to places of the heart.

One reader suggested that I should write for another hundred years and another said she wanted me to stop because I made her cry. Another hoped that I would not stop writing until after she dies. I grin as I watch the obituaries, but I don’t know her name. If she is still out there, I wish her well.

Memories help us understand how we got this far and often lift us over obstacles that may challenge us. The real, comforting truth about memories and kindness is that they are part of the tie that binds us together in this mysterious journey.

This rambling is not about me, but about us.

In the evening of my life, I think of that. It is good medicine for the soul. And it is free.



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