Didn’t know her, but liked her

Published 2:25 pm Wednesday, August 18, 2010

There are people who have what I call presence. It’s something about the way they carry themselves, an energy that says, “Here I am and I’m pleased to be me.”

When I meet one of these content-to-be-in-my-own-skin folks, the experience tends to stay with me. Maybe their energy is so strong it imprints itself in my memory bank or perhaps in their comfort with themselves, I recognize a strait I like and wish for myself.

I did not know Edwina, or as I always heard her called “Win” Murphy as more than a passing acquaintance with whom I‘d share a smile and a hello in the teller line at the bank, but she was one of those people of presence I described.

When she entered a room, (or a better verb is arrived I think because her entrance was an arrival) people knew she was there. She let you know she was there.

I’ve seen her come into the bank and take command of the place with just her presence. Folks stepped aside, tellers stood up taller and mostly everyone smiled because her energy was also happy.

I don’t think I ever saw Win Murphy when she was not totally “put together.” She carried herself with the air of a great Southern lady and age never diminished her carriage or her style. I’d see her and think, “now there is someone who understands personal style and isn’t afraid to show it.”

A few times when we met out and about, she had a comment about something I’d written and usually some witty remark that made me laugh. Sometimes the remark was a joke at her expense, but she did it with a good spirit, charm and grace.

The other day I saw an obituary for Edwina Morgan Murphy in the newspaper. As I read it, I couldn’t help smiling at the accompanying photo of her wearing her signature hat.

I laughed aloud when I read about her calling herself the unofficial mayor of Andalusia. “You were one gutsy, classy lady,” I said to the face smiling up at me from the paper.

As I said, I didn’t really know this grand woman, but I recognized her presence and I appreciated her way of being.

I think the world needs more people like her, more of us who are comfortable with being ourselves no matter what.

It’s sad to think that Andalusia’s unofficial mayor is gone, but science is proving that energy is never lost; it just changes form.

I don’t know about science, theories, theologies, or guesses about where we go when we go, but I feel sure the energy that animated Win Murphy lives on somewhere.

And I’m betting wherever that is she is stirring up things with her presence.