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Southern Roots Truths
by Kent Fletcher




I was cruising the USADEEPSOUTH.COM site this morning reading some stories, downloading my own for a possible consolidation for a publisher, somewhere, sometime.

Then I read an article by Jan Risher (Wings and Roots) who hails from Lafayette, LA, and who is originally from Mississippi, and at the end of her story she had the following posted as thoughts or rules passed along to her by her grandparents and parents to live by. After I read them, I couldn't help but acknowledge that these are the rules I live by. So now I'm going to tell MY side of the story, leaving the asterisks so you can download them, or use them in your own list.

*Tell the truth.
Lies will get you nowhere in the end. Lies are not the means to getting what you want. Granted, telling the truth may not get what you want either, but by telling the truth you won't have to capitulate.

*You're no better than anyone else.
I never, ever put myself on a pedestal. On occasion I am good at what I do, but there is always someone else out there who does it better, or eventually will do it better.

*You're just as good as everyone else.
Refer to the above statement. I am on an equal footing with everyone else in the world. I work for what I want, for what I need. Those who have made it big, made it to the "big time,Ē or even those who have not gotten there and are still struggling, are doing the same as I am. I am fighting to stay alive, to stay productive, to stay inquisitive.

*If something is wrong, do your part in making it right.
This statement can go a long, long way. I've addressed this many times before in many different scenarios, so I won't digress too much. This one is a matter of pure conscience. But two wrongs don't make a right either. Seeing something that is not right and not acting upon it is the same as doing another wrong.

*Answer the questions when they're asked.
If you wait to answer a question, the questioner may have reason to believe you have something to hide. If you don't have an answer, say so and be done with it.

*Say your prayers morning and night.
Religious or not, everyone should give thanks for what they have, for having been able to live another day, for being able to wake to a fresh morning with another 24 hours tacked onto life. This can be a touchy subject, as a whole lot of folks can construe it to mean many different things.

*Find something to do.
How does the old saying go, "Idleness is the devil's workshop"? Sitting and doing nothing is okay in some cases; however, sitting and doing nothing for time on end is destructive. Doing nothing erodes the will to accomplish, to strive.

*Give to those in need.
To give to the needy doesn't mean to shell out big bucks, or any money at all. It can mean simply listening to someone, to have the gift of gab. We are all needy in some shape, form, or fashion. It can mean simple companionship, a simple hello, a nod, a wave, an acknowledgement of another human being. Simple, huh?

*Read.
Returning to the "do something" statement above, reading is high on my list. Reading keeps me informed of worldly goings-on, reveals history I may be interested in, expands my knowledge of myself and my world. I remember taking a trip in my mind around the Greek islands while reading a National Geographic magazine many years ago. It was wonderful. I felt as if I were in the exact place being described, and I had not spent a dime. That's also how I found the information for the article I'm attempting right now.

*If you start something, finish it--that includes dance and piano lessons.
It matters not how long it takes to finish something. That's what I enjoyed when I was reading J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. The first reading only took a couple of strings of midwatches in the Pentagon. The second reading took several months. The third was even longer. I also remember when I built my first retirement box. Took me two months to build, and I still have it. This project was an exercise in mathematics and geometry. The subsequent ones were built much more quickly.

*Play before you do your homework. It's only light so long.
There is always time to pay, rarely time to play. Enjoy life as you have it. If it isn't what you want, do your homework and change it. It's your life, live it.

*Be especially gentle with the elderly.
The elderly have cut the paths for us. We are here to follow those paths, to correct the mistakes made, to right the wrongs, to make the angles into curves. Be especially gentle with them, for they were doing the best they could with the talents, the educations, the jobs, the dreams, ideas, inventions, et al, they had at the moment. Give them a kind word, tell them how much you appreciate them, really appreciate them. But don't give them any advice on how to run their lives, for they've already been there, done that. If they offer advice, listen to them and take what is paramount in your own life. Honor them, for they have given all for you to be who you are, where you are, and how you are.

My sincere thanks go to Ms. Risher for having posted these rules. This one is a "keeper" for me, something I can hang on the refrigerator, or the front door, or in the frontal lobes of my mind.

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Kent Fletcher is a retired Navy man now living in Texas. He was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, a place of sense from whence he pulls a lot of memories and resulting stories. He has been writing reminisces and short stories for several years now -- when he isn't playing/working at woodworking. You can reach Kent directly at hots64@yahoo.com.

Here are a few more of Kentís stories at USADS:
Ambulance Drivers Arenít Perfect
Kentís Chili and Beans
Hotrods and High School
The Last Locomotive North


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