This is the 100th little blog thingy I’ve written since I started this journey last July. It’s not that I’m counting. The folks at Word Press keep stats. They sent me a little note.
“Congrats on your 100th blog.”
I thought that seems crazy, but I’m not going to go back and count. I’ll take their word for it.
But it’s been driving me a little nutty cause I’m thinking that my 100th blog should be special, something fitting, something like a tribute to all you brave souls who have been faithful enough to read this stuff.
So, yeah, 100 seems like a big deal to me. I know it’s not near the same accomplishment as the guys for write every day for a living. They’d laugh at my little congratulatory note.
“Why, I wrote a hundred columns in my first hundred days on the job at the Daily News. A hundred of your little stories ain’t nothing.”
Well, I don’t care. I’m not a real writer, anyway. 100 is pretty much a milestone for me. I never gave much thought to how long I’d try to do this, or to what end I would keep it up. What started out as an attempt to get a few old family stories written down for my kids and their kids and for posterity’s sake has turned into me rambling on and on about everything from licking cake batter to watching Max go nuts in a rain storm. Besides, 100 is such a nice number. I’m thinking 200 could be next.
It got me to thinking about what else have I ever done a hundred times in my life. I mean things besides the normal stuff. Like getting outta bed. I’ve done that thousands of times. That doesn’t count. But I’m talking about unordinary stuff. Like going to the beach on vacation. I’ll betcha I haven’t been to the beach 100 times. It seems like I’ve been to the beach a lot, but I don’t think I’ve ever been twice in one year, and some years I haven’t been at all. I’m way less than 100 years old. So, no, I have not been to the beach 100 times.
I only ever saw the Atlanta Falcons in person ONE time in my life. My Dad took me to the old Atlanta/Fulton County stadium. Pretty sure it was about 1966. That stadium was home to every major event in Atlanta back then. The Beatles tour came to Atlanta in 1965. Hank Aaron hit number 715 there. They could run motocross on Saturday and play baseball on Sunday. Home to the Braves and the Falcons before everybody decided they needed their own bazillion dollar home field.
We stopped at the Krystal and picked up a sack of little square burgers and fries for the game. I’m guessing the concession rules back then were pretty lax. We had tickets in the nose-bleed section at the top of the upper most deck. But I didn’t care. My football hero, Tommy Nobis, was middle linebacker and the guy I pretended to be when we played in the front yard between the two Oak trees. I’d get shoved into the ground, the smell of grass right there in your face.
So, there are not many cool things I’ve done 100 times. But this is one of them. And according to the stat sheet, those 100 blogs represent about 94,642 words. Which is even crazier than the number 100. When I started out, I was determined to keep each story to about 500 words. And in typical fashion, the longer I stayed with it the longer winded I got. I’m up to about a 1,050 word average now. Sorry about that.
I wish my high school English teacher could see this. All those C-‘s I got. I used to hate words, or at least hate trying to put them together in sentences on paper. My spelling was turrible, and my use of grammar wasn’t no good neither. I’ve had a couple people write me about my grammar or use of words. Apparently, even though I’m writing more, I still don’t know how to write properly.
Still, this milestone kinda snuck up on me and made me smile. In part, I have you to thank for pushing me this far down the road. I am truly grateful that you read when you can; that you share some of these stories with others; that once in a while you find some connection to your own life and memories.
A little comment. A little I remember that. A little laugh out loud or a small tear that rolls down the cheek.
I don’t know who all of you are. But I know you remember Mama’s cooking. You remember growing up in church. You know what it’s like to go through school with nearly the same bunch of kids for twelve of the most important years of your life. You understand small towns. You love the South, or you love the stuff that makes wherever you grew up special. You’ve sat in a diner some place with red and white checkered tablecloths and had some of the best food on the planet.
I think that what makes this writing thing fun for me is that I don’t own these stories exclusively. We all kinda own them together. I always have one of you in mind when I sit down to write. Sometimes it’s like you and me are sitting in chairs out in the back yard talking about stuff. Maybe there’s a campfire and the smoke is chasing us with the wind no matter where we sit.
It could be that I see in my mind a small group of kids sitting on a front porch under cover of night in Hampton, GA. What started out as a birthday party turned into a game of spin the bottle. You know who you are. And I think I should write a story about that. About growing up with fears and expectations. About taking a chance on a spinning Co-Cola bottle, hoping it might randomly point to the right girl.
I don’t have any special rights to these kinds of memories. They belong to us all.
So, I’ll keep it up. I’ll tell a few more stories, at least. You never know when you start something where it’s gonna end up. But that’s the adventure of living, right. You take a road even though you have no idea where it goes. You spin a bottle with no control over who it lands on. You write something down and send it out there wondering if anyone will ever read it or care at all what you have to say. The best surprises are the ones you don’t see coming.
I don’t know if I have another 100 stories in me or not. But I imagine I’ll give it a try. Thank you. Thank you for joining me on this journey. Thank you for being a part of the story.