Sunday, March 29, 2015

Goodbye, Winter (finally)

I was so glad to say goodbye to winter this year. It seemed like it would never end... We never have more than one or two "weather" days where we have to close school. This year we had seven.

Our job in the Office of Communications is to make sure the information gets out to all faculty, staff and students  in a timely manner (really early in the morning!) and folks don't get out in the weather if they don't have to. I am the social media and news media back up. I was very fortunate that my two co-workers (the ones I am the back up for) were both always available.

When you have to make a decision to close a school, you really come under fire from some people. There are always those people who want to criticize the folks who make that decision, whether they think you did it too early, or too late or... whatever they can think of to criticize you for.  No matter how careful you are in your wording of the information, somebody always misunderstands. 

My VP and our Police Chief are the folks who lead the charge in that decision-making process, along with our president. These two men take their jobs seriously. They ride the roads to see if they are passable. They worry endlessly about the safety of their employees and their students. They make the best decisions they can.

We made it through that awful stretch and onto our Spring Break. For me it was a great time. I went to Birmingham to take care of my Rosie. She and I had a wonderful week together, playing and laughing. That bonding time was so precious to me. She lifts my spirits like no one else can! 

After a few days, we left on a trip to California for our niece's wedding. We had a great time seeing family and friends and reconnecting with folks we had not seen in a while. My husband and his brother Jim had been in a band when I first met them about 40 years ago. One of the guys who was in their band back then came out and the son of another came and the four of them played a few songs at the reception. It was magical. 

The wedding was a very special time for our family. My niece and nephew were supposed to be married last October and the wedding had to be postponed, as my new nephew got very sick. We were so thankful as a family, that the kids were able to make it through a tough time and are now on their honeymoon. 

We are very blessed as a family. To see my niece in her wedding dress so happy was such a blessing to me. 

Now the weather is getting warmer, and the trees and shrubs are blooming. So, goodbye winter. We know it's hard for you to go, but we will not miss you any more. 

Our newlyweds

Our son came to the wedding with us. 

Our house just a month ago
A little bit of springtime in my life. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Our Lawrence

This past Thursday, my sister-in-law called to tell me that a sweet wonderful man from my home county had died. His name was Lawrence Price, and he was a part of our extended family. His daughter Angie married my nephew Keith probably around 1979. I got to know Lawrence and his wife Shirley and their two young sons when my nephew started dating Angie.

From the first day I met him, I loved him. You couldn't help but love him. He accepted my family as a part of his family straight off the bat.

Lawrence was one of those guys who, as Southerners like to say, "Never met a stranger." He always had a smile on his face and a story to tell.  As years went by, I realized that the light that shone from Lawrence was the light of Christ.

When Lauren was a baby, probably about a year old, she was what my husband liked to call, "mommified." She clung to me and really didn't want anybody to hold her except me, most of the time. Around that time, we took a family vacation to visit my family in South Carolina. During that visit, Lawrence and family came to a family dinner and a miracle happened! My shy baby girl, who would never go to a stranger let Lawrence not only hold her, he carried her around all over my nephew's yard, talking gently to her and making her giggle. She loved him for the rest of her life.

Over the years, she would go straight to him and give him a big hug. He was devastated when she died. The other night, I thought how sweet it must have been when she saw him again.

Lawrence stood strong as a rock through the deaths of my nephew and many other family members. He coached at least 3 generations of Dixie Youth baseball in my home county. He worked as a prison guard for many years, and was even loved by the inmates he served there, primarily because he treated them with respect. He loved the Carolina Gamecocks, so much so, that you rarely ever saw him without a USC hat or shirt on. He served his church faithfully, and loved his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren fiercely.

Saturday morning, I listened to a streaming broadcast of my hometown radio station. They were playing a tribute to Lawrence. I learned a lot about a man I had known for years. I learned that practically everybody in my home county knew him and loved him. I found out that he was a regular on the station's SportsTalk show, and that he had never coached a championship team, but he had coached an All-Star team and that he was in the Dixie Youth (I think) Hall of Fame.
When they signed off, they played the Gamecock Fight song. Perfect.

I talked to Angie the other night after I heard the news. I said to her that there was no telling how many people's lives her dad had touched. I saw a quote from Jack Kerouac that reminds me of Lawrence: "Be in love with your life. Every minute of it." He did, and all who knew him are better because of it.

Lawrence Price