Guntersville—we are hurricane evacuees in upper Alabama. The destruction from Hurricane Michael is all over television. It’s sobering to see. If the storm would’ve moved a few miles west, it would’ve ruined our home on the Choctawhatchee Bay.
The woman who cleans our room this morning brought her daughter to work. Her daughter is in sixth grade.
“My name’s Samantha,” says the girl. “I’m helping my mom clean today.”
Samantha holds a basket of cleaning supplies. I introduce myself, but before I can finish talking she says in a shy voice:
“I already know who you are. My friend reads your books.”
And it takes all I have not to cry in front of this sixth-grader. Maybe it’s becasue I’m a softy. Or maybe it’s because of the storm. Or maybe it’s because in this child’s eyes I am a writer.
A real writer.
About me: I wanted to be a writer ever since before Samantha’s age. And it was a ridiculous idea for a kid like me to hold.
After all, I didn’t have the confidence God gave a
turtle. I was shy, lazy, slow, I made terrible grades in school, and I was a lousy first-baseman.
As it happens, Samantha and I have a few things in common. My mother was a cleaning lady many years ago. She toted vacuums, carpet cleaners, laundry bags, and spray bottles by the metric ton.
She scrubbed toilets, washed windows, mopped floors, and emptied crumbs from toaster ovens.
My mother was our family’s champion. She was a college graduate; a hard worker; she could grow anything in container gardens; she could make quilts from old clothes; she could bake fresh bread that attracted people from four counties; she could read an entire novel in two sittings; she could memorize entire passages of scripture—mostly pertaining to being nice to your sister.
She was above no task, and beneath no one. She taught me…