Well it's almost midnight and I am sweating, sitting in front of the fan trying to cool off.
When I was a little girl, I would guess around 11 or so, I had an autograph book. I wanted that autograph book so bad! When I finally got it, I realized that I really didn't have any autographs to "get". I lived out on a farm with my parents, way out in the middle of no where. Rarely did we see anyone else, except maybe a neighbor passing by on the road.
We did have an elderly lady neighbor, named Nelle, who lived about a mile away and I would ride my bike over to see her sometimes. She was friendly and nice and she had a son who was a make up artist in Hollywood. I loved listening to her stories about her one and only child. She would show me photos that he sent her and we would watch reruns of Lassie the tv show to see where his name was on the credits. I met him once when he came home around Christmas. He brought a fruit cake and I really did not like fruit cake or want to eat any but could tell that it was important to her that I try her son's gift. I did and if I remember correctly I was polite, nibbled a bit on it and later slipped the rest of my piece into the trash.
I guess she probably enjoyed my company and I enjoyed getting away from our farm and seeing someone other than my parents.
I remember taking my autograph book to her house one afternoon and asking her to write something in it.
She laid it on the table and said she would think of something and I could come back tomorrow and get it.
So that is what I did. When I returned the next afternoon, she handed me the book and patted my hand. She said what I wrote is an important lesson for a young lady like you.
I opened the book and found the page she had written on. It said in her flowery yet shaky handwriting:
but always paddle your own canoe.
I didn't know what it really meant at the time.
I understand it now, but wish I had followed that lesson sooner in my life.
When I think back on it now, she was a very wise lady.
I am glad I knew her.
I think if I ever met a little girl who had an autograph book, I would write the same thing.