By Loretta Gillespie
The Cullman Times
Charles Schultz was one of my heroes. He took a little beagle and turned him into an icon by using common sense and dry wit. Snoopy and Charlie Brown and the gang taught us lots of life lessons, even though we might not have realized it at the time.
Here are some questions from the Charles Schulz Philosophy that I though might be interesting to answer.
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
One is Warren Buffett, but after that my only guess would be Oprah.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
Haven’t a clue…
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
Miss New York? As for the rest, I just know it wasn’t Miss Alabama….
4. Name 10 people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
Barrack Obama, Albert Einstein, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr. (Schultz didn’t ask who should have gotten it…but I would like to take this opportunity to nominate John F. Kennedy Jr. and Princess Diana). Pulitzer Prize – Rick Bragg (by the way, he’s from Alabama).
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
All I know is that Jody Foster won a lifetime achievement award and made a long speech.
6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners. LOL…Atlanta Braves?
Surely I‘ll do better on the rest...
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
Dr. Allen Jefferies, Barbara Martin, Darlo Wimberley, Bettye Gonzalez, Cleo Boyles, Leon Bentley, Lucretia Richardson, Bernice Francis
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
Joan McKay, Linda Alexander, Kathy Thrasher, Stephanie Sherrill and Jeannie Myers, but this isn’t fair, cause there are so many more….
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
My grandfather, Edward Lomax Cammack Sr., taught me that compassion is perhaps the greatest trait we can have, because it affects everything else, and he also passed down to me his love of animals.
My mother, Isabell Cammack, taught me to love with all my heart, to treat everyone equally, to follow my dreams, to have confidence in my abilities, to stand up straight, speak softly, control my temper, and maybe, one of the greatest and most long-lasting gifts she gave me was teaching me to read and to love books.
My paternal grandmother, Edna Young, taught me the capacity of the human heart to love unconditionally, and that the way to greet anyone is with a hug.
My maternal grandmother, Francis Cammack, passed along her love of growing things.
Chester Freeman taught me how one person can change the lives of so many.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
Isabell Cammack, Marguerite Cammack Putnal, Edna Young, Chester Freeman, Dot Gudger, Dominique Gillespie, Allie Appleton.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
Allie Appleton, Danny Gillespie, Danielle Gillespie, Dominique Gillespie-Springer, Tony Appleton, Tye Hutt.
According to Shultz, the people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money...or the most awards. They simply are the ones who care the most.
When I look up at both of those lists, I realize the truth in his words. I have no idea who won the World Series or the Miss America Pageant; I’ve been too busy with finding local heroes about which to write.
I probably know about the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners because I read stuff like that, or because for various reasons, they have made an impression on me — especially Mother Teresa… and because Rick Bragg is my inspiration to keep on writing.
The teachers in my life spared the time to give of themselves; they were my inspiration, my encouragers, and my role models. Their life-lessons have lasted me a lot longer than their academic ones. A prime example of those lessons is my first-grade teacher, Cleo Boyles, who taught me, among other things, the importance of taking a nap after lunch and that little ladies don’t stick out their tongues at classmates.
I suppose, though, that it has been my children who have taught me the most. Raising children is a long, arduous task, as any mother knows. It is filled with uncertainty, frustration, guilt, and occasionally the overwhelming desire to cry in the shower. However, over-shadowing those emotions are joy, fulfillment, fierce pride, and an all-encompassing love.
I can see the traits of all those other people who have influenced me in my children everyday (with the exception of patience, which we are still working on in one of them).
The fact is that we automatically assimilate the traits of those we come in contact with — sometimes in order to learn what traits we want to avoid — as well as the ones we want to emulate.
I’ve seen people whose beauty was overshadowed by jealousy and greed, people who were wealthy but never spared a dime with someone in need, people who steal, cheat and lie, and others who are just unconcerned about the plight of those around them. Those traits are as old as time. I sometimes wonder if they are placed in our paths in order to tempt us. Those temptations may be a test to see what our characters are really made of.
Most of the time, though, I have to believe that the good overshadows the bad, that the guys in the while hats will overcome evil, and that love, ultimately, conquers all.
In the end, most of the lessons we learn we discover by living. We have role models, mentors and wonderful teachers, but each of us has to make our own mark on the world, independent, but interwoven, with those who have made their marks on our hearts.
Charlie Brown was right…in the book of life, the answers aren’t in the book.