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The Admiration Project ~ 2015 Issue #3

Image from hellogiggles.com

Image from hellogiggles.com

So I had this list… a list I started compiling in December of 2013 of my “admiration project” nominees… in the beginning I had grand aspirations of being able to do one a week, well since I am tying the posts to a donation (and I still have my day job) – I cut the goal to once a month.  It was a good excuse for me to be able to “lower the bar” and actually set a goal I could achieve… so it’s once  a month, and here is the March installment (albeit 1 day late).

Back to the “list,” well it’s a good thing it was in pencil.  For those of you that know me, and more importantly know my husband and/or my parents, you have to know they are at The Top of any admiration list I could ever compile.  Spoiler alert:  Parents coming in October for their anniversary (and my birthday) – Husband coming in June or July (our anniversary or his birthday, respectively).  In my book blog, anyone who has lost, or loses a child or parent, automatically goes to the top of the list.  Thus the March post…

I’d like to say “my best friend,” but I think we all have “best friends” at different times in our lives, so to label a person as “the ONE best friend” is difficult.  The handful of people I have called “my best friend” at different times in my life were important for a reason at that time.  Less than a handful have remained what I’d still call “best friend” at this point in my life, but they were ALL important.  I am glad to say that this is one of the people who taught me what it means to be a best friend, AND, she is one of a handful of ladies I still call “my best friend.”

“My best friend” lost her dad last month.  Surviving that, which most children will have to do, is a feat I admire.  It is also a life-changing event I cannot fathom.  My dad “hung the moon,” as did hers, I am sure.  I knew him, and I’m quite positive he hung a moon over her bed every night while she was a child and looked at the moon and wished her well every night once she was an adult and gone from his home.  We live states apart now and I hope she is able to feel the warmth of my admiration, love and support through this post.

It was not likely that a friendship would have organically developed between us two.  After all she went to the RIVAL high school and could/should have been considered an enemy from the start, but somehow, through divine intervention we were assigned to the same floor in the same dorm just an elevator apart as freshman at UT Knoxville.  Somehow, we overcame the rivalry of “high school” and became friends, allies, sounding boards, strong shoulders, silly sisters, and confidants.

I have many memories I cannot share here for the safe keeping of many embarrassing “best friend secrets” that come from young, extremely naive, girls being away from home for the first time.  (There’s probably a reason our dad’s let us live in the dorm… after all, it was a 30 minute drive, at best, from home.)  But…

  • Remember when we were sitting on your bed in the dorm and President Reagan was shot?
  • Remember the “Tang” under the door?
  • Remember the mattress in the elevator?
  • Remember Spring Break in FL after I had moved to Nashville?

To this day, over 30 years later, we are still in touch.  Do we call regularly?  Shamefully no.  Do we see other at least every 3 years?  Shamefully, no.  Do we exchange Christmas, birthday, and holiday cards?  Not regularly.  Do we call or text once a month?  No.

Do we call or email when there is a crisis?  YES!  Are we looking at that same moon and sending good thoughts both ways every full moon?  YES!  Do we send an unexpected gift that means much more than a regular/obligatory token?  YES!  Are we VFL?  YES!  Are we BFF’s?  YES! YES!

My dear friend, I admire you.  You were so much more mature than me, “back in the day,” (I sure hope I’m mature by now.)  I admired you back then… I mean you had the coolest car… you taught me to clog… shoot, you even had a declared major your freshman year!!!  I admire you now.

I would like to challenge anyone who is reading this to reach out to someone you admire.  Send them a note, make a phone call, let them know they are or were an important part of your life.  Then, if you are able, please make a donation in their name to something important to them.  Share this blog with others so that the word will spread and admiration can spread far, far beyond my small universe.  Life needs to be full of more positive, loving, giving messages.

My friend, In honor of you and your father I am making a donation to:

The Dream Connection, Inc., P.O. Box 10924 Knoxville, Tennessee 37939

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The Admiration Project ~ 2015 Issue #2 ~ Coach Campbell

Mr. Campbell

Mr. Campbell

The second person I will recognize in my Admiration Project passed away in February of 2014.  (I did not realize that the anniversary of his passing would coincide so closely with my post – just another one of those coincidental moments that seem to follow me around.)  This admirable man was one of my favorite high school teachers.  He primarily taught me numerous levels of mathematics, but he also taught me the arts of patience, compromise and giving.

Mr. Campbell was my Algebra II and Geometry teacher during my sophomore year of high school.  Coach Campbell, as he was also known, coached every sport available at the time, basketball — both girls and boys, football and baseball.

Patience… I am of the opinion that to be a teacher, especially a high school teacher, one must be blessed with more than an average share of the trait.  Aside from my own father, I’ve not met many people with such an abundance of the stuff.  Mr. Campbell was the epitome of patience; he had me in 2 of the 6 classes he taught a day back in 1977-78.  He taught me patience by exhibiting his own never-ending poise, restraint, self-control and fortitude for EVERY student in the class.  He miraculously enabled each of us to learn at our own pace.  He taught us to be patient with ourselves while we were learning and how to be patient with one another as he devoted time to each “best method” of learning to the students in the class.  He was a champion of being able to engage the full room on all levels.

Compromise… He taught us all a lesson on not only how to compromise, but when.  I was ten years out of high school and twelve years past the teachings of Coach Campbell when I came upon this Far Side cartoon.  It remains one of my favorites and immediately brought the memories of this man to mind.  He had quite the dry wit.  math phoebicIt was our Geometry class that was in need of some compromise – those “proof” exercises were going to be make or break for several students in the class.  Coach Campbell made a compromise with those students… it allowed them to still be successful and pass the class, it allowed the rest of the class to have the benefit of extended learning, and it allowed him to fill everyone’s needs.  A definite master of compromise.

 Giving... There were a handful of us math aficionado’s, for lack of a better word, (like geek), who couldn’t get enough of the stuff.  Mr. Campbell recognized that, and in turn, gave of himself to us.  He gave up half of his lunch hour to hold a “private” class for less than 5 people!  I think it ended up being only two of us, but as long as anyone showed up, he gave his time and knowledge.  I’m sure he could have used that time to prepare for the afternoon classes, grade papers, work on “things” that coaches do for his team, or just simply take a break.  But he didn’t, he gave as long as anyone was there to receive.

Mr. Campbell was a man who made a difference in this girl’s life.  He was an amazing example of many things, but selflessness is what comes to mind.  I am disappointed in myself for never telling him how much I admired him, but I hope that he somehow knew, since I kept showing up for “lunch-time math.”

He continued to give after his teaching career ended, and in his honor I am making a donation to Blount County Community Action Agency’s Meals on Wheels.

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