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Saturday, May 3, 2014

"Mamaw Katie" by Tristan Woodard

Tristan Woodard's prize-winning essay about her Mamaw Katie relates a memorable portrait of a beloved woman who spread joy. The memories Tristan shares reveal her love of her grandmother's simple gestures of humanity: her unique voice, her love of mowing the lawn, her child-like giddiness when visiting Disneyworld and when handing out candy on Halloween. Tristan's insightful words bridge any gap of generations.

The theme is poignant. Tristan remembers Mamaw Katie as a wonderful influence in her own life. She writes, "Be the joy you wish to see, and live life to the fullest because it's all you get." The striking lesson here is that happiness is contagious; it is Tristan, the descendent, who understands the charge to lead a full, contented life. As evidenced in her memories of her grandmother, Tristan treasures unembellished everyday smiles and greetings, not expensive material possessions or heroic actions.

Tristan's honest tone is apparent in her fond reflections. She is impressed with Mamaw Katie's love of greeting all of her trick-or-treaters in person and by name. It is evident that this simple act of kindness reverberated. Tristan says, "The parents would come to her as eagerly as the children because once upon a time, they were getting candy out of the same bowl." One can easily see the real "candy" was the sweet presence of Mamaw Katie.

I love Tristan's essay. She lets what I call a series of "the once," tightly controlled and vivid incidents, illustrate the character of her grandmother. As she weaves her perspective into her Generations Essay, Tristan reminds us all of a very simple obligation: we must spread the love we partake. And, how is this best accomplished? Simply by being ourselves and sharing our passionate gestures with others.

Thank you, Tristan for allowing me to print your essay on my blog. Congratulations on the award for your fine work. And, most of all, thanks for reminding a 63 year-old ex-teacher about what makes life worth living. By writing you essay, you have shown me that your generation appreciates the same thing mine does. We cherish simple gestures of love.

Tristan, I hope you always "be the joy you wish to see." You certainly brightened up my perspective with your talented pen. Keep on writing and sharing your ideas.

Tristan Woodard

Tristan, here is one of my favorite songs about memories and love. I hope you enjoy it.

"In My Life" by The Beatles

There are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you more

Click on this for the youtube video:

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