It#039;s good to have folks to look up to

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 3, 2006

I’ve been pretty fortunate to have some good mentors in my life. My mom was one; she taught me good manners, and the fact you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. She’s also pretty good at the whole hugging thing, which has no doubt added a bright spot to a lot of people’s day.

My dad, a man who had experienced some sad times, left with me the knowledge you always need a little laughter in life. His lessons show in my distinctly mischievous side.

My high school art teacher, Priscilla Davis, taught me there are times you need to step away from a project for a while, then come back to it with a fresh eye. That works not just with a drawing or painting; it works for writing and a whole lot of other situations in life.

My great-aunt, Willie Mae Gardner, was my school bus driver for many years. How she managed to stay so patient and good-tempered chauffeuring a busload of lively kids day in and day out, I will never know. When she got on to one of us for misbehavior, it was definitely well deserved.

She knew how to keep her cool, a lesson my sometimes hot-tempered self much needed.

Aunt Willie Mae was also one of the cheerleaders of my childhood and youth, always giving me a kind word and encouraging hug when she saw me.

Being on time was not one of her gifts; I remember all those times she rushed into church for the Sunday School assembly, slightly breathless, slipping into the pew right in front of me.

&uot;How’s my little girl?&uot; she would always turn around and say softly with a grin and a twinkle in her pretty blue eyes.

A regular dose of a little warmth and kindness go a long way, I’m telling you.

I look to ladies like Vivian Killingsworth and Bennie Payne, active senior citizens, cancer survivors and women of wit and wisdom, as examples of the kind of senior I would one day like to be – what joie de vivre!

All the wonderful gals who are part of the Miss GG Scholarship Board inspire me with their energy and can-do attitude; ditto for all those (and many are the same talented folks) who come together as one of the state’s best small-town arts councils in existence.

Oh, there are a lot more folks than I can fit into a column, so many people who have made a positive difference in my life.

You know who you are, and thanks. I owe you more than I can say.

I will try to pass it on.

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter for The Greenville Advocate. She can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 132 or via email at