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The Gift of Gab

60 Weeks of Gratitude - Week 10

My kids are at the point in their lives where I remember being at my most awkward. At thirteen, I was nowhere near as poised and put together as they are. I don’t think I had as much confidence that my opinions were right as they do and I was awkward in all social situations. To meet me now, you would never suspect that I was that girl. Put me in a social situation now and I am pretty good at navigating it. I can talk to anybody (and often do). How many times have a entered a conversation with a perfect stranger in the grocery store by commenting on a funny saying on the stranger’s shirt?

When I think over the scope of my life, I can see that there was an experience that changed my social skills. I was fifteen, maybe sixteen, and my best friend, Cass, saw an ad in the local newspaper for an audition. The audition was to be held at 619 Monroe Street and the play was Nevertheless, by a local college professor, poet, and playwright, David Radavich.

Cass and I both got parts and so began my long love of theatre and being on stage. Tanya Wood directed and taught us the fine art of acting. What we learned was that we could step on stage and become anybody we needed to be. I took that into my world. It gave me the confidence to see how I could work a line to elicit a desired effect. It looked a lot like the art of manipulation, not so much of people, but of the crowd. My dad called it my gift of gab. For years I lived as that person, stepping into a room and reading the group. I was always on stage. I presented myself like an extrovert, although inside of my soul, I am most at peace in my small space with my selected people. I don’t have many opportunities to work a crowd these days, but when I go to book events, the skills I learned on the stage never fail me.

Last weekend, we took a small getaway to Warm Springs, Georgia, home of the Little White House. It’s a quaint small town whose claim to fame is that Franklin Delano Roosevelt considered it one of his homes. He actually passed away there, while still president, weeks shy of the end of World War II. Nowadays there is a museum and some FDR-related attractions. All of that was great fun, and everybody working in those facilities was enthusiastic and informative. I felt like I reached out and touched history.

Outside of the FDR-related activities are shops. Eclectic, artsy shops with decorative arts, jewelry, antiques, and baubles. The girls have taken a love of bracelets and necklaces and we always enjoy perusing shops with handmade selections. We visited with everybody. We talked to shop owners and other patrons and felt connected to a larger community. It was a good reminder that even though the vestiges of the lockdowns are still part of our lives, that minute distrust of others, that encouraged distancing, we are, mostly, back to normal. I was exhausted by the time we came home because talking to people takes energy.



I am grateful that my confidence in speaking to strangers remains intact after many years of limited use. The people of Warm Springs may have been the friendliest collective I have ever encountered. If you get a chance, I highly recommend a weekend getaway. If you go, definitely talk to the locals.

I am also grateful that our dogs were able to be with us, and I'll leave you with them.



 

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1 Comment


My friend, Angie. It has been my observation of friends, students, and family who are the chattiest are the extroverted personalities, but time tells they are often the most insecure. Likewise, I have found many introverts walk into a gathering of people comfortable and only communicate to appear social, but they may be the most self-assured in the room. In fact, many seemingly wall flowers in the room are in fact observers and far from shy and reserved. It is most often the chattiest and funniest who are masking their internal doubts.


I would also point out when you were 12-13, social media, internet, and cell phones did not compete for your attention. My pre-teen grandsons are smarter and more…

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