George Worthy
George Worthy

Good morning and Happy New Year! Here is hoping that you had a Merry Christmas and that you received everything you wished for. This morning as I sat down at the desk, I just stared at the screen for a moment hoping for an epiphany to fill the paper for the last time this year. What a wonderful year it has been. Let me tell you of the email I received and why it mattered today.

Many times I am asked if I get paid for my scribbling. I’ll tell you how I answer those inquiries. I get paid every issue when I see that the Editor has allowed me to write what I am feeling as boring as it may be. This morning I received a bonus. I opened my email and read a missal that a good friend wrote to me. He may wonder why I say good friend, as we have never met. However, anyone that can make the tears flow with words that make me feel better with every letter can be assured of my friendship.

The email was full of memories that this man had of growing up. It was remarkable how many things that had happened to me had also happened to him. He had multiple tours in Vietnam, marriage and kids and the buying and selling of his motorcycle and the marriage to a young lady whose parents emigrated from another country. 

I was particularly touched that he also gave his father a pocket knife for every Christmas. That is one of the things I really wanted after my dad passed, but having two older brothers empties the boxes pretty fast, I was happy that I got the family photos. This writer has a special place in my heart and had even more to say about how our lives were similar, but those words I will keep as mine.

I would like to take this opportunity to mention the many friends and neighbors my family has met while living in Gonzales, but I am limited in how many words I can write. Just be assured that the person that takes the time to say something in writing to me or even about me is like the sun coming out after a cloudy day. Oh, perhaps there might be an occasional downer, but at least I know I am being read and every writer can only ask for that.

As a famous comedian from days gone by would say at the end of every TV show, “Just keep those cards and letters coming, my wife and I read every one.” Dean Martin was one and there was even one before him, but that was so long ago even Siri can’t find the name. 

I’m surprised I can even remember that long ago, especially since my bride swears I can’t remember her birthday or our anniversary. While that may be true in her eyes, I should tell you that I always ask her what she wants for the gift giving opportunity. Her answer is always, “Oh nothing, Honey, just keep loving me.” I tell her I remember the important things. Like when I bought my truck, my birthday, our address… oh, I could go on but you get the idea. But loving her? That is the easiest gift of all. I would do that without any prompting.

The email that I received today gives me reasons to be a bit maudlin, not sad but full of memories. Mostly the memories of those dear friends who are no longer with us, but also memories of those who have volunteered to help me with tasks I have taken along the way without certain skills to complete. When you have lived a long time as I have, you are supposed to have a lot of memories, and I do. 

Not all memories are sweet, but just one word can have a special spot in our memory banks and I can almost remember all the wonderful folks that have touched my life. From Mr. Maker, the greatest teacher the world has ever known. The one person who taught me the joy of reading, and my one regret is that I was too young and foolish to thank him when I had the chance.

Lt. Col Barry Sadler, the greatest soldier I ever met. He taught me to be a soldier and to never gamble on sports. Joe Locatelli, the one person who gave me a hand to get into produce. That one gesture opened so many doors for me and made it possible to marry the love of my life. Fr. Michael Volk, who taught me, not by books but by example, to love Jesus and to read His story.

I could go on and name so many folks that live near and have helped me when I am in need and never allowed me to pay them in money. Many times I needed something and didn’t know how to make it. I would be remiss if I did not mention the Editor of this fine publication. He, along with those who came before him, have allowed me to write. This was something I always wanted to do and didn’t know how to start. I hope he will forgive me for all the late columns that I have submitted.

I hope I have earned their friendship as they have made my life a lot better. They helped me to discover that not everyone has their hand out. They have also taught me that just reaching out my hand to help someone else is one of the greatest gifts of all.

Thank you to all my readers who continue on this journey along with me. You inspire me everyday, and whether we agree or disagree, I appreciate your input always. Most of all, I would like to dedicate this column to my bride who taught me that love is the greatest when given freely.

God Bless.

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Gonzales columnist George Worthy may be reached at [email protected].

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