The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Enid Features

July 8, 2014

Don’t dwell on ‘what ifs’

Did you ever think you would be where you are today? Think about it.

When I was a kid growing up during the Great Depression, I never dreamed in a million years that I would be living in the city writing about those “good old days.” I never really gave it much thought where I would be living when I grew up, because we did not know much of life outside country living and the area right around us. Oh, we did know of the war and the news that we heard on radio, but to know of all the opportunities in this wonderful world was  outside our realm of knowledge.

Outside of college and working in another rather small town, I knew nothing about living in the city. That was so until I met Jim. His father and stepmother lived in Pawnee, where I did. In fact, they lived just right around the corner from my duplex apartment. They were wonderful neighbors and Jim’s dad would help me start my lawnmower when necessary and were at my beck and call if I had an emergency. Little did I know they had a son in Enid

One wet, cold day I was invited to their house to meet a friend of theirs. It was Jim. I stood on their front porch and rang what I thought was the door bell, when it was one of those old-time light switches. Jim looked out the window and told them, “There is a lady on your front porch turning your porch light off and on.” I was so embarrassed. Jim said right then to himself, “This person needs a keeper.” The rest is history.  

I could not imagine what path my life would have taken had I continued with my job in Pawnee as a single person. I probably would never  have branched out and completed my college education at Phillips University. I might never have written for the News & Eagle, or put together my book of memories. I might never have had the wonderful opportunities to give talks all over this state, nor participated in cooking classes or had nearly as much fun in life as I have now.  

Worst of all, I would never have had a daughter or two granddaughters. And would have missed out on all the joys of being a great-grandma.  My life was full, but not full enough, and I would have missed so very much  had I not married Jim and moved to Enid. I look back over my life and think how different things would have been had circumstances taken me in another direction. I would never have been as happy as I am now.

Jim looks back too, thinking how different his life would have been had his mother not died when he was a child. And if his father and stepmother would have allowed Jim’s banker cousin in Ohio to raise, educate and care for him like he wanted to do for Jim. The cousin had two daughters who were teachers, so Jim would have had the best education and might have become a professional person with that background, but his parents would not hear of it. Consequently, he went to as many as 11 schools in one year while his father traveled the country working in oil fields. Most of the time, Jim was left to completely care for himself anyway. How different things could have been.         

Jim looks back in amazement too, at the direction his life turned when he joined  the Marine Corps. He, like so many other young men during the Depression era, had no idea what he would do with his life. He jokingly says it would either be “reform school” or the Marines. The Marines was a wonderful choice. They taught him everything he knows about life and living.

Had his life, or mine, taken a different direction, we could be living under a bridge right now, with no joy or order in our lives. We are blessed and grateful for what we have and are.

Don’t dwell on the “what ifs,” but it doesn’t hurt to reflect back and wonder just how circumstances might have changed  the outcome of our lives. Then we must accept what we have and where we are, and realize that we probably would have arrived at the same destination; we just used a different road map.

The choices we make and the circumstances we endure have so much to do with the way we all turned out.  Miracles do happen!    

In Oklahoma, we never know how our tomato plants will yield.  Circumstances make it a good year or a bad year. Some years we plead with people to take some off our hands, or the opposite where we savor every tomato on  every vine. It looks like this may be a good tomato year.  We have two plants that came up volunteer. We always wait until the end of summer to enjoy frying the green ones, but we don’t have to.  We can harvest enough for a  “mess” of them right now, and still have lots to serve with bacon/tomato sandwiches, or just sliced later in the summer. These are great anytime:  

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