[It is a requirement for foster parents in my state to write an essay about their life's story as part of the qualification process. As I am wont to do, I decided to have some fun with it. Everything you are about to read is true... except for the bullshit, and I point that out for you. I hope you enjoy it. This is what I'm actually turning in to the state board. I hope they have a sense of humor!]
THE LIFE STORY OF ONE
GLENN A. HUGGINS
“Sanity is vastly overrated”
I was born in Montfort Jones Memorial in Kosciusko, Mississippi at quitting time on a Friday, and that largely set the tone for my laid-back personality. My parents were quite old-fashioned, in that they insisted on being married for over a year before conceiving me. They were so pleased with the result that they quickly went to work producing my brother. After he was born, mom had her tubes tied. I'm sure that that was purely coincidence. ***cough***
We lived in Kosciusko my entire childhood. We lived in the same house from the time I was 2 years old until I left for the Navy. In fact, from the day I was born until I left for the Navy on my 18th birthday, I was not outside Attala County for more than 120 days total. The resulting boredom and frustration explains why I was on a bus for the Navy on my 18th birthday. I believe my mental state at that time could best be summed up as follows: “Get me the HELL out of here!!!” I am told this is a common reaction of teenagers to small town life.
I came as close to a “Mayberry” childhood as anyone. My parents quite literally never argued in front of my brother and me. We went to church three times a week, minimum, for 18 years. I'm pretty sure my pew there still has the imprint of my butt on it. Ours was a denomination of the Pentecostal variety, complete with speaking in tongues and people falling out under the influence of the Spirit. (That would be the Holy Spirit, not the kind in a bottle. Sometimes I wonder now if that was always the case, though.) I didn't realize how different our services were until I brought a date to Sunday night service as a 12th grader. I had to go find her when she fled out the back door during the alter call. Did I mention she'd never been to anything but a Southern Baptist church? Turns out the Baptists aren't much into speaking in tongues. Who knew?
The family joke is that my brother and I are twins. He's actually two years younger than me, and was my complete and perfect opposite. He was blond, thin, athletic, popular with the girls, an outdoorsman, and dumb as a box of rocks, at least regarding academics. I asked my parents once why they demanded “A”s from me and accepted “C”s from him. Their response was, “We expect your best from each of you... and that's his best.” Sucked to be me on that point. My brother would be hard pressed to type as much as I've already typed. We grated on each other pretty consistently. He was the prankster, and I was the older brother he kept having thrown in his face as an example. That didn't exactly make for a harmonious relationship.
I loved learning, but quickly grew to hate school. I began reading when I was less than 3 years old. The first day of 1st grade, I tested at a 5th grade reading level. Teachers took me from class to class to have me read for the other teachers. I felt like a freak, a one-boy dog-and-pony show... without the dog or pony, of course. Being the school nerd made me very popular with the other students, as you can imagine. (In case you missed it, that last sentence was intended as sarcasm.) By the time I was in the 6th grade, I was testing out as though I were a college freshman. School quite literally bored me to tears, and if my parents hadn't been as strict as they were I'd have dropped out in frustration.
Also, I started school not long after the courts finally forced integration on this state, and I got to observe the social phenomenon known as “white flight” firsthand... from the perspective of one who didn't fly. Caucasians were always a minority in the county schools, and each year became more so. In the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades, in a class of about 60 students, it was down to me. I was one single almond on the chocolate bar. I still get some funny reactions to my school yearbook, let me tell you! However, I am grateful now for the experience. It taught me a lot about people that I'd not have known otherwise. Basically, all people are people. Some are very good, some are downright evil, but most are in the middle, just trying to get through the day. This holds true for all people of all races, I think. In Mississippi, that view makes me downright liberal, maybe even socialist. I'm good with that.
I am the family freak in several ways. My entire family is blue-collar; I'm the first on either side of the family to even set foot on a college campus. I'm still the only one with a baccalaureate degree or more. I've always loved to read. I taught myself to play chess when I was about 10 years old, just because I wanted to know how to do it. I only had one real nemesis in school, a jerk named Alfred who decided to dedicate himself to the proposition that Glenn needed to really hate life, and he was pretty good at it. Everyone else was on good terms with me, and I with them. However, I didn't have many close friends. When you live in the county, you pretty much just see your classmates at school and that was it. They were too far away to walk to see, and I didn't have the use of a car until I was 16.
I did end up my senior year at Kosciusko High School, thanks to the shenanigans of the principal at my other school. I always believed it infuriated him that the only Caucasian in the class was certain to be valedictorian. My grades were just that far and away above everyone else's. Dad and I always thought that he should have used my success to show that no whites needed to run away to private schools, but... well, the principal didn't see it that way. Dad finally agreed to let me transfer after the principal expressed his displeasure with me by shaking a broom handle in my face and threatening to beat me with it. (He didn't actually hit me with it, but still... that was uncool.) Dad would've been fine with the principal paddling me, but “my boy is not a dog to be hit with a stick” was how I believe Dad put it at the time.
I liked KHS pretty well, but when you transfer in as a senior, you are going to be the outsider anywhere. Still, I had more of a social life there than I'd ever had before, and the girls were very pretty, and that was enjoyable. I never kept up with any of my classmates, but recently I've been using social websites like Facebook to locate a few of them. I'm pleased that most of the ones I've found seem to be doing well with their lives.
MARRIAGE, or “WHY DIDN'T I JUST LEARN HOW TO COOK?”
I see from the questionnaire that I'm to discuss my previous marriages. Sigh. OK, there was the slut, then the nut, then Rhonda. I'd just as soon leave it at that, but I doubt that is what you had in mind for this assignment, huh?
I married Number One when I was 20 years old and still in the Navy. I met her through a Navy buddy who asked me, “Hey, you want a pen pal?” I responded with the same answer I'd given the Navy recruiter who asked me if I'd meet with and talk to him: “Sure. What harm can it do?” (I do not EVER EVER EVER answer a question with that answer anymore, having found out just exactly what harm it could do both times.) We wrote, we met, we had sex. She was my first. I decided that I liked sex very much, so much, in fact, that I moved her from Illinois down to where I was stationed and married her. That went fine until I learned that she'd been given a mission to sleep with every sailor in the 7th Fleet. That kind of hurt my feelings. I'm just glad there were no kids born to us. Boy, howdy, that'd have been bad. So, back I came to Mississippi and started community college. Didn't bother divorcing her; I wasn't looking to ever get married again, so what was the hurry? Then, I met Number Two.
I got talkied into taking drama and getting into a play in junior college to help out Mr. Alexander, a retired old coot who took a class or two in Goodman every semester just to have somewhere to go during the day. Very nice old man, but you'd better have 30 minutes to kill if he saw you coming. No one EVER had a short conversation with Mr. Alexander! Anyway, the cast for the play Mr. Alexander was directing consisted of me, the drama teacher, and three female students. I was about tired of eating my suppers alone, so I resolved to ask one of the three out on a date. I knew two of them already had boyfriends, so I asked the other one out. Turns out she had a boyfriend too, I just didn't know it, but she seemed about ready to kick him to the curb, and he was fine with escaping her clutches... errr, I mean, not being her boyfriend anymore. She and I had more suppers together and got along well enough for me to remember that I still liked sex a LOT. So, we had sex a lot.
Now, you have to remember that I thought I was sterile from being exposed to microwave radiation while in the Navy. Number One and I had tried fervently to have a child. (I only found out later that she was trying even harder than I was, with the entire 7th Fleet.) So, lo and behold, girlfriend comes up pregnant and needed to become Number Two Wife. As I recall, my initial reaction was, “Oh, shit. Maybe I better get divorced now.” We managed to obtain my divorce and get married before she was showing too badly.
The ten years of that marriage weren't all bad, my jokes to the contrary notwithstanding. I love my two kids by her very much, and they love me, and she is a good mother to my children. I don't hate her; we were just a very poor match, and I ended up hitting the 'eject' button before I was driven to desperate measures. But we get along well enough, and neither of us trashes the other one to the kids.We are able to be decent to each other.
I left that marriage fully intent on never again going down that whole 'marriage' road. Rhonda (also known as “she who must be obeyed”) is literally the only woman who would have gotten past that decision. You see, I'd dated Rhonda while I was in the Navy, at the same time I was 'sparking' Wife Number One. Yes, I was a dog. Didn't you figure that out already? I settled on Number One instead of Rhonda. Bad, dumb move, as I discussed above. Anyway, I hadn't seen or heard from Rhonda in many years, but I saw a picture of her at my brother's house which I could tell was recent. He and his wife had stayed in touch with her, unbeknown to me. So, I emailed her pretty much just hoping she'd forgiven me for being an idiot and an ass. Turns out I was her 'long lost love' the same way she'd been mine. Who knew? Rhonda and I went together for a long time, both having been burned twice before, until she decided that my whole “you be my girlfriend forever” plan was not going to happen. She had decided that she was the marrying kind. So, I chose a good moment, proposed to her, and she accepted. Then, we finished having sex. Did I mention I like sex a lot?
Her upbringing and mine could hardly be more different, and our personalities reflect it. Where my upbringing was the ultimate in stability, hers was a model of change and chaos. So now, I'm very calm, centered, and do not express my emotions very much, other than through my humor. She has to be part Italian: if she's awake, she's emotional. Hell, sometimes if she's asleep, she's emotional. But it has been a good blend so far. We very seldom ever disagree, let alone argue. However, that last fight we had was a doozy. We went round and round half the night, but when it was over she came to me on her hands and knees, and do you know what she said? She said, “Come out from under that bed and finish this fight, you weenie!” (OK, I made that part up. It's one of my wife's favorite jokes that I tell. I doubt that fact surprises you.)
Most of the problems Rhonda and I have had to overcome have been in one of two categories: financial and the “Brady Bunch” factor. Hey, I have five kids to care for, not to mention a wife and an ex. I go around singing “Come on, payday” so much that people think I've recorded it. (I haven't. Yet. We'll see.) Blending the families, especially the children, has been a challenge, but it has been almost 10 years now. We're doing fine on that front. Of course, that brings me to your next category of questions: Children.
CHILDREN, or “WHY DID I HAVE TO LIKE SEX SO MUCH??”
One of my few pet peeves is when people ask me which of my five children are mine. “They all are” is my polite and honest reply. It just happens that two are mine by biology, and three are mine by choice, both my choice and theirs. It amuses me to show people our family picture and ask them to pick out the two that happen to share some genetic code with me. To date, no one has been able to do so correctly. They usually say, “But they ALL look like you!” This fact just goes to prove an old adage in DHS: if you feed them long enough, they look like you. I love all five of mine, and I am confident they all love me. I'll list them off chronologically, and no, I don't intend to point out the biological from the adoptive. They are all mine. Did I mention that requests to differentiate them are a pet peeve of mine?
HOPE: she's the oldest, being 24 years old now. She's married and old-fashioned like my parents, since she didn't bring me my granddaughter until 13 months after her marriage. We wouldn't have a grandchild even now, except that her husband is Irish Catholic and she has her mother's fertility. That birth control pill didn't stand a chance. She is perhaps the most academically gifted of the five, and has a bright, cheerful personality that she formerly tried to hide under a “Goth-ish” exterior. No one was fooled. While she has my intellect, she has her mother's emotional expressiveness. Now, if I could just get her to clean her room...
CHRISTOPHER: the oldest son, he turns 20 this month. He probably looks more like me than any of the other children; we've been mistaken for each other, at least from the back and side. He is far more disciplined and focused than I was at that age, combining college and work and doing well in both. It took four years in the Navy to give me that ability. He shares my sense of humor and my fierce loyalty to my friends, but he has a maturity and self-control that I didn't at his age. He's also possessed of some musical talents and is learning guitar more quickly than most people can. Now, if I could just get him to clean his room...
JONATHAN: 18 years old and graduating high school this year. He has the biggest dreams of the five, and works hard to achieve them. He already has his plans laid out for college and becoming a writer, and I give him a better chance to succeed at it than most people. He can focus on a problem intensely when he must, as I can. He and I share a love of politics, religion, and sports, and we can talk about them for hours. His worse weakness is his desire for the approval of others, which gets him into trouble sometimes, but he has improved on that greatly. He has an optimistic spirit that I have never had. Now, if I could just get him to clean his room...
ANTHONY: 16 years old, and as rebellious as you might expect. He is the least academically inclined of the five. Unlike my brother, Anthony's problem is a lack of interest, not a lack of ability. Like many teens, he both wants his freedom and somewhere safe to go, and I think he has a lot of both. He has a mercurial temperament, but can quickly get to the heart of a problem and solve it--- when he chooses to do so. He generally has an open and friendly nature, but also has a quick wit and sharp tongue when he is provoked. He has been an enigma to me much of his life, but he's on balance shaping into a fine young man. Now, if I could just get him to clean his room...
AMBER: the baby of the bunch turns 13 soon. She may take Hope's perch as the most academically gifted child, but it's too soon to tell. She is usually bright and cheerful, but wears her heart on her sleeve and always has. She's the most easily upset by bad news, but also is quick to rebound from it. She is a “Daddy's girl.” She already has strong maternal instincts, and loves to look after younger children. She plans to be a teacher, and I have no doubt that she will be a very good one. The
worst weakness I've seen in her so far is that she gives up far too easily; if something doesn't come to her quickly, she's just as likely to walk away from it in frustration. Also, if I could just get her to clean her room...
FOSTER CHILDREN: I have no earthly idea what to expect from a foster child. Every person is different. I expect them to attend church with us and to try to do well in school, and I intend to have them under the same rules as the rest of the children (which is to say, darned few; I'm not exactly an authoritarian). I know that I can provide for their physical needs, and believe that I am easy enough to get along with that they will become comfortable with me fairly quickly. As for discipline... well, my plan is to send them to Rhonda. That'll fix them for sure!
RELIGION: I KNOW JESUS LOVES ME, BUT WHAT'S WITH ALL THE COMMITTEES?
I'm now a member of the Methodist persuasion, which is a far cry from my charismatic upbringing. I've often thought about starting a riot in Sunday service by standing up and shouting “Amen!” for the preacher, but so far I have refrained myself. Somebody would have a stroke for sure, and that wouldn't be so funny. Man, these are some uptight folks. You'd think that they were Southern Baptists or something. (A friendly jibe at my Baptist brethren. Jesus loves you, too. I think.)
I'm fairly active in our church, being the Sunday School Superintendent, teacher for the Young Adult class, member of the choir, and stuck on a couple of committees. Committees?? I've been Church of God, I was even Southern Baptist for a while, but nobody loves them some committees like Methodists do. I think they have a “Toilet Paper Committee.” If they don't, then I hope they don't read this, 'cause they'll sure create one if they get the idea, and I'm pretty sure I'd get nominated to head up that committee with my luck. Should I go with the expensive paper or the “John Wayne” paper? (John Wayne paper is rough, it's tough, and it won't take crap off of anybody.”)
Look, my bottom line is it doesn't matter what building you attend or which group you hang with. There's going to be plenty of people in every church that go to heaven. There's also gonna be plenty of people in every church who are gonna be real surprised when Lucifer tells them, “Welcome to the rest of your eternity, sucker.” Church doesn't get you to heaven, and it doesn't necessarily teach you how to be a good person. It's a lot like school: the tools are there for you if you choose to use them, but they won't do you a bit of good if you choose to let them sit there. (There are also bullies and wiseguys in church too, but that's not my point.) I'm happy with my church. They haven't thrown me out yet, and with my sense of humor, that kinda surprises me. I'll have to speak to them about their low standards. Who's going to take them seriously when they let the likes of me hang out there?
VALUES AND ETHICS: YOU WANT FRIES WITH THAT?
It may shock you to learn that I think a sense of humor is highly important. (I'll wait while you get over that choking spell there.) Humor is a very useful tool. It gets me through the day without screaming. It usually eases social situations, although take it from me; most people don't see the humor in a knock-knock joke at the funeral home. As long as the purpose is to make people feel better and not to embarrass or belittle them, I think it's almost always welcome. Humor, tolerance, honesty, and integrity are necessary to get along in this world. I believe that I can be a model of these behaviors for children who are placed with us. Well, I'm certain about the humor and the tolerance part. As for the honesty and integrity part--- did I mention yet that I'm a lawyer? I gotta work with what I got.
EMPLOYMENT HISTORY: EVEN I CAN'T MAKE THIS PART INTERESTING
It might be quicker just to tell what I haven't done in my life; if nothing else, I do work. Even though I don't think this question contemplates high school jobs, I did pump gas, volunteer at the library, and work with my Dad at the greenhouse at different times while I was in high school.
From 1984 to 1988, I was a sailor in the boiler room of an aircraft carrier. It's humid, it smells like diesel, and it gets up to 130 degrees down there. Loads of fun. It was in the Navy that I learned how to drink and curse like a sailor. I'm sure there's a connection there somewhere. On the positive side, that was my first training in first aid and in firefighting. Trust me, when you live on a floating cracker in the Atlantic, you are highly motivated to keep that cracker from burning up underneath you.
After I left the Navy in 1988, I worked at a hardware store for a few months and took some classes at a community college in Jacksonville, Florida. This was when I learned about Wife Number One's mission to continue sleeping with sailors even though I wasn't one anymore. Ka-Boom. Came back to Kosciusko at the end of 1988 on a borrowed ride, with a busted marriage and everything I owed in the back of a pickup truck. Merry Christmas.
January of 1989 I enrolled at Holmes Community College in Goodman, MS, and worked the 11pm to 7am shift at Gas Mart on the Interstate at Durant for several months. The company crapped on my manager, who I liked, and the entire store quit en masse. I then got the same job and same shift at a different gas station, MGM Fuelcenter in Pickens, and still attended college. I kept that job until I transferred to Ole Miss in Oxford and moved there in August, 1990.
I attended Ole Miss full time from 1990 to 1995, during which time I picked up two baccalaureates and a Masters degree. I also worked full time on the 11pm to 7am shift at different places through that period. From August 1990 to about August 1991, I worked at the only convenience store in Oxford that served hot food after the bars closed at midnight. Worst. Job. In. My. Life. I got SO sick of drunk college punks staggering in to put $100 of junk food on daddy's credit card. That remains the only job where stress caused me physical symptoms. My lower back hurt so badly that I had to roll out of bed onto the floor and pull myself up with my arms to get moving. However, I’d made a friend who worked at a local hotel, and he was up for a promotion if he could get someone to take his job as night auditor on the graveyard shift. I jumped at it.
From 1991 until I passed the bar in 2002, I worked as hotel auditor. The pay was crap, but it was the least stressful job I’ve ever had, and it was all the study time in the world. From 1995 to 1999 I wasn’t in school, but kept that job just because I liked it so well. During that time I was also a volunteer fireman for a while, and worked electronics at Wal-Mart for a year. Once I started law school in the fall of 1999, I let those jobs go, but hotel auditor was once again a perfect job for a student.
Shortly after I passed the bar in September, 2002, I was hired as associate attorney for the Barrett Law Office in Lexington, Mississippi. There I was your basic clueless newbie lawyer for a while, until I began to get the idea as to what I was supposed to be doing. I stayed there until October 2007, when changes in Mississippi law and the economy took their toll, and I got that hideous euphemism, “downsized.” It sounds like a weight loss plan instead of a job loss. After a couple of nerve-wracking months, I landed my current job with DHS in Holmes and Yazoo Counties, where I spend my days chasing down daddies who ran and try to get child support out of sluggards too slothful to work to feed themselves, let alone their children. Eh, it’s a living, and I’m on the side of the kids, so there is that. So, there it is: 25 years of doing damned near everything under the sun for money.
EXTENDED FAMILY: OH, CRAP, I GOTTA TALK ABOUT THEM???
Look, some people have black sheep in their family. I’m pretty much the white sheep in a black sheep family. I can’t even tell you the names of most of my cousins, let alone where they are. I have three or four I remain in contact with, and about that many aunts and uncles. My last grandparent died when I was three or four, and my father died in 2003. I’m still close to Mom, and close-ish to my brother. They think I’m doing a good thing becoming a foster parent, but worry about it. I see the few extended family members I stay in contact with only on holidays, and not always then. Other than Mom, they don’t have any input into Rhonda and my decision to become foster parents, and Mom kicked around the idea of becoming one herself.
COMMITMENT TO FOSTER CHILDREN AND ADOPTED CHILDREN
The fact is, I’m an old hand at this adoption thing. In addition to my three children by adoption, I have several nephews, nieces, and my kid’s friends who have informally adopted us as their family. My best friend’s daughter calls me her “other Dad.” Rhonda’s side of the family is as unconventional a family as you’ll ever find. We don’t have a family tree--- we have family kudzu! It goes all over the damned place, and crosses back on itself in places. A kid is a kid. They all gotta eat and have clothes and shelter. I plan to keep doing what I’ve always done: Meet their physical needs, listen when they talk, and run like hell when they start yelling. Hey, it’s worked so far.
CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: HOW I LANDED AT DHS AND BECAME A LEGEND
I’ve already told you how I came to be at DHS with the layoff. What I didn’t tell you is the spiritual side of it. I’m here because God sent me. No, really, he did. He said, “Hey, my son loves all the little children of the world--- so YOU go out there and get them some money!” OK, I didn’t really hear the Lord’s voice say that, but this was the ONLY job available. I took that as a pretty clear sign that I was supposed to be here, at least for now. You at DHS who are reading this ought to know my job pretty well. I establish paternity for children born out of wedlock, get child support from non-custodial parents, and sue the jokers who won’t pay for contempt of court. That’s the job description, anyway.
Of course, no job description ever really captures everything that goes along with a job, and this one isn’t any different. Let’s cover the good stuff first, shall we? I work for the state, so I get all KINDS of holidays off. I even get Confederate Memorial Day off. (snort) Hey, I don’t care if they call it “Joe Stalin Appreciation Day,” a day off is a day off. That’s cool. Also, I’m straight 8 to 5, no late nights, no weekends. This is a very nice deal for a lawyer, who is quite accustomed to working until 10pm or later weeknights, lots of Saturdays, and some Sundays. I have a good retirement plan, and don’t have any of the expenses that most attorneys have.
Then, there’s the downside. I work for the State of Mississippi, the poorest and cheapest organization in the Western Hemisphere. Hell, Peruvian mothers warn their children that if they’re bad, they will send them to Mississippi. The equipment is cheap and faulty, and the pay blows. Worst of all, they’ve given me a job that would require at least two attorneys to do properly. I am the only attorney for two counties. I have over 9,000 active cases of child support in those counties, and while most men are actually paying their support, there are never fewer than 900 cases in legal status at any one time. I represent the state as an attorney, but I am expected to counsel both mothers and fathers in our system, figure out how to get support from an unemployed guy, chase men who have no permanent addresses, heal the sick and raise the dead. OK, I made up those last two, but it feels like it sometimes. I don’t have time to write my orders from one court before I’m in then next court. My paperwork looks like a child’s scribble, not a professional’s work, and I make more mistakes than I’d have ever accepted even as a hotel auditor.
And for all that, this might be the most fulfilling job I’ve ever had. I love being on the side of the angels, and of the underdogs. I love seeking justice for people who can’t afford an attorney. I relish facing impossible odds, not because the case is hard, but because I have 120 cases on the docket to hear in 8 hours. It cannot be done--- and yet I get much done. I love that ‘thank you’ card from a lady who I got just a little more money in child support. I love my case workers telling me that I’m the best they’ve ever seen, even if I don’t believe them. I love feeling needed, and appreciated, and if I can figure out how to get by on the crappy state salary, I might have this job the rest of my days. Well, if I can keep from getting fired for telling state office what I think of them, but that’s a different issue entirely.
CONCLUSION: I GUESS THAT AIN’T MUCH OF A LIFE, BUT IT’S ALL MINE
I’d have to say my father was the most important influence on my life. I love my Mom, but I always wanted my Dad to be proud of me, and I know in many things, he was. I’m not everything he’d have wanted, to be sure, but he began to open up a little bit before he died, and he told me how proud he was that I’d become a lawyer. It is the most exalted job anyone in his family has ever had. His father was a sharecropper, and the best job he ever had was as a welder. I think he wished I liked sex a little less, knowing the trouble it’d lead to, but he told me he had never had to hang his head in shame because of me. That may not sound like high praise to your ears, but he was very reserved in his praise: that was a big “thumbs up” coming from him. I wish he could’ve lived to see me in action in court. I don’t know if he’d have been proud or astounded, but I’d have loved to see the look on his face when I cracked a joke in front of the judge.
I think I won’t go into all the hardships and problems I’ve overcome. I’ll say only that I’ve faced death five times in my life, and I am satisfied with my response in four of the five. I’m more than a little ashamed that I came within a hair-trigger of feeding myself a gunpowder sandwich; the Lord expects a little faith out of us, not despair. But the other four times I showed some courage and humor, and I am satisfied with that.
Like everyone, I hope that my children will be happy, productive people. As for the details of what jobs they take or where they live, I care little. What matters is that they be content with their lives, and that they make a difference for somebody along the way. That is, after all, what I hope for myself: that I mattered to somebody, somewhere, and that my life was not just footprints in the sand, washed away with the next high tide.
The fact is that we never know what thing we do that makes a difference. When I was in the 9th grade, a young lady transferred into our school for only about six weeks. During that time, she befriended me, but never spoke that much. Just before she left, she wrote me a note. I took much teasing from my classmates about that note! In it, she complimented me as a person and gave me words of encouragement. I cannot even remember her name now, nor would I recognize her if I met her in the street, but I have never forgotten how she made me feel. I like to think that somewhere along the way I’ve done something similar, that I showed someone some kindness or consideration that I don’t even remember because it seems inconsequential, but that they have never forgotten.
I am now on the downhill side of life. Most people think “middle age” is somewhere in their sixties, but who lives to be 120? I will be forty-three soon, and statistically, I’m over halfway home now. I have reached peace with myself, both with the mistakes I’ve made and the good I’ve tried to do within the limitations of my humanity. I am no longer that which I once was, but that isn’t all bad. That which I have, and that which I am, are sufficient for the task that has been given unto me. If I am able to change anything about myself or my life, I hope and trust that it will be for the good, to do good, for so long as I am able.
Also, I still hope to figure out that whole “sex” thing, but that is a story for another day.
Glenn A. Huggins