How “Soon” is Soon?

Dear Reader:

Don’t most of us remember, as a child, asking how much longer a trip would take, that extremely annoying question to parents on long trips…in the form of “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer do we have to sit in this old car before we get there?“…and the adult response was always the same…that elusive word that drives us all crazy, honestly, at any age… “Soon!” 

That tiny word with so many time possibilities…none of which ever gives us the concrete answer we seek.

One summer when I was probably around six or seven and just starting to learn letters and words…I asked Grandmother to show me the letters in ” S O O N and then point out where they were written on the hall clock, in the parlor, so I could watch the “hands” of time click there.

After all…every time I asked Grandmother when something was going to happen or when we could do something we were waiting on…the response always came back “soon” and she would point to the hall clock…so I naturally assumed “Soon” was a time everyone could see clearly on the face of a clock.  🙂

Grandmother wisely told me that they were magical letters that only she could see…so that was the end of that “curious” question.

My desire for this knowledge was stemmed in pure gluttony.

You see grandmother came up with this great idea when we spent time in the summer at the farm. If we grandchildren did what we were told, our chores, every afternoon (while Grandmother took a much deserved nap) we would each get a few coins put in our hands.

Then my brothers and I could take our coins and run down the dirt road to Uncle Herschel’s country store to get a pack of peanuts to drop in our individual chosen beverage ..Dr. Pepper, Nehi Orange or Grape drink…or just a plain coke. (My beverage of choice!)

It was our daily reward for helping out around the farm when we spent time there…the highlight of the day!

But before it could happen…our own Wizard of Oz…(grandmother) had to magically turn “Soon” into “Now.” She, apparently, was the only one who knew when the clock had reached the final “soon.” (Very smart grandmother!)

And how about now? Don’t we all wish a myriad of possibilities in response to the word “soon?”

As children, the majority of the time, we always wanted things to happen sooner rather than later…(except for school starting) things like weekends, movies, games, parties, vacations, sleep-overs, etc.

But as we grow older...”soon” begin to takes on more and more “inverted” meanings that leave us wishing for more “later” responses to our questions.

Right now positive “soon’s”  fall under categories like “Soon we hope to all get vaccinated from this terrible coronavirus and send it speeding out of our lives” or “We pray the soon-to-be inauguration takes place peacefully and in dignity while our country starts to heal.”

Yet…doesn’t “later” start to play into our lives more as we get older? We realize that many good news scenarios, especially dealing with health issues…starts with “Later” now…as in treatments can wait until “later” since one’s vitals are stable right now.

“Soon” a change in our living conditions might need to be addressed…but not now…not until “later.”

As we age…the old adage “Better sooner than later” doesn’t always apply… we leave medical offices elated that some health crisis has abated enough to be given a “later” status for more procedures or surgeries… instead of a “right now” or very “soon” status.

***The Get-Well “Soon”card today (title picture) makes us pause and re-think this seemingly benevolent greeting…In reality, however…Don’t we really wish that the card recipient gets “better now rather than “sooner?” 🙂

So until tomorrow…

During these turbulent times in our lives…Let’s  hope and pray that “soon” the coronavirus will be a distant memory and “soon” our country and its citizens will have drawn closer to the goals in life we all share…wanting the best for our growing families and their individual American dreams… reaching fulfillment?

Honey sent me this beautiful picture of her views on Pinnacle Mountain, looking out over the lovely snow scenes…then she texted me back later in the morning and said it was already snowing again…the video was breath-taking.

I told Honey I had to live vicariously through her and Mike with snow scenes…I adore watching it snow…the rarity of it, in the low country, only makes her photo even more special to me right now.

*I went to the store Sunday, got all the fixings for my home made soup (actually mom’s…call it Lucille’s soup)…put it on low on the burner and went to work on the blog post in my bedroom “office”…only to finish and walk back into a burnt smoking soup pot kitchen.

I was saddened…that soup was going to last me all week…I plopped down after opening all the windows and fans to get the smoke out…(actually have a faulty burner…since the arrow was still on “low”) and started glancing at  texts that had come in while I was writing the post…there was one from Susan telling me she had left  some Taco soup on the white bench on the porch.

Susan, it was delicious!!!!!!!! Perfect timing! A “God Wink”!


*Remember the “snowman” birdfeeder I got for Christmas…By now his head and chest are gone leaving only the last round “stomach” piece of him.

But the “snowman” sure has fed a lot of hungry birds with our chilly rainy days…it is giving its all…the ultimate sacrifice for others. 🙂





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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4 Responses to How “Soon” is Soon?

  1. Becky,
    In my family, soon really meant never. It took a while to realize that, but once I did, I knew not to keep asking. I tried not doing that to my children, but we seem to become the adults around us without even trying. Wonderful post.


  2. Rachel Edwards says:

    That was a God’s wink having someone drop off taco soup for you. I would have been upset too. Suzy was so touched by your sweet message to her…meant so very much. Love you.


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