It’s Not the Sticks Around Us…

Dear Reader:

Guess whose birthday it is today? Why President Lincoln’s of course. I don’t do math for a profession but if my calculator is right…our Mr. Lincoln is 209 years old….being born February 12, 1809.

Last week I stopped by Tractor and Supply…they had their roses out and sure enough there were some Mister Lincolns among the potential purchases. I thought about it over the weekend and must return to get one. Today would be fitting. ( I mean really…what American history teacher with a garden…would dare be caught without one. Quite unpatriotic!)

I do have neighbors who have Mr. Lincolns...and besides being such a deep beautiful, visual red…they also smell luscious! (Two “senses in one.”)

The CBS Sunday Morning Show had a cute segment on a log cabin in Hodgenville, Kentucky that has claimed, for quite awhile, to be the actual cabin where Lincoln was born (209 years ago) on Knob Hill.

*Rumors, though, persisted that it was not the actual cabin…so some tree specialists were brought in to count the rings and figure out the age of the wooden planks in the cabin. 1861. Lincoln was President by then so it could not be the original cabin he was born in. (Today the label says the cottage is symbolic of the one Lincoln was born in.)

*”Honest” Abe would appreciate the truth….trees never lie about their age…just people.

At first the townspeople feared when this news leaked out it might cut down on  tourism that keeps the little town running. After all, just about everything in Hodgenville, KY is named for Lincoln…a national park memorial, a museum, a general store, a car dealership, and jamboree…to name a few.

But no fear. Cars still pull off the interstate to visit the birthplace of our 16th President. Like the National Park Ranger wisely commented..“People don’t stop to pay tribute to President Lincoln for the age of the wood that surrounded him at birth…it is the man and his story they want to hear and see.”

So much truth in that statement….people don’t care if we are from the “sticks” or come from straw, wood, or brick homes. It is the story we live for others, during out lifetime, that makes people want to pause, stop, and remember us.

So how do we  go about making changes in this world that will have ourselves remembered? Bob and Fran German ( 101 Ways to Be Young At Any Age) tell a story that they believe originally came from an unknown monk centuries ago (now modernized)…which answers that very question.

When I was a young person I wanted to change the world. This was impossible, so I tried to change my country. That didn’t work out so I decided to change my home state. No luck. Next, I attempted to change my community. Nada. So, as I aged I thought it wise to just change my family. Failed. 

So now, as an old person, I realize that I can only change myself. Oh, how I wish I understood this long ago as I could have made a positive impact on my family. Then my family and I could have made a difference in our community. Together our community could have made great changes in our state, and then our state could go on to impact our country and then…I could have said that I changed the world.”

So until tomorrow…”The next time you want to change something or someone, look in the mirror first.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Since this is Valentines Week…and it is starting out pretty dreary (weather-wise)…I decided to splurge and get some bright spring-looking flowers to fill  my vases…it is like adding sunshine to my “Happy Room.”

The neighborhood walks just get more beautiful every day…

…and what Valentines arrangement doesn’t need chocolates?




About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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