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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Peggy McCracken

Squarely Pegged

By Peggy McCracken

What can challenge
in eighth decade?

c Each decade for the past 70 years has offered up a new challenge. What can I expect to highlight the next 10 years?

Looking back, I see that the highlight of my first decade was the day I learned that work is its own reward. That little exercise, engineered by my wise father, has served me well for 63 years.

I was 7 when Daddy challenged his five children to harvest 100 pounds of cotton in one day, to help his cousin Harley finish out a bale to take to the gin. I had worked in the field a day or so the previous year, picking cotton from the burrs on the fertile Blacklands northeast of Dallas. Pulling the entire boll as we did in West Texas was different, but faster.

Cotton stalks on a poor dryland farm hold few bolls, and it takes a long row to fill up a sack, even the 25-pounder I dragged behind me. I did it, though, weighing up twice in the morning and twice again in the afternoon to earn the dollar Daddy promised me.

The dollar was nice, though Iíd never had one and didnít know how to spend it. Iíve long forgotten the taste of the peanut patties, milky ways and chewing gum I bought and shared with my siblings. But I havenít forgotten the satisfaction of a job well done.

In my second decade, I learned to play basketball, a lifelong love. I also got married, graduated high school and birthed a son, in that order. The defining moment of that decade, though, was when I accepted Christ as my savior.

Decade Three found me renouncing the sinful life I had lived in spite of being a Christian. When I submitted my will to Godís, He began to change me for the better. Heís still working on me!

Part of that change involved learning to play the piano, which Leon gave me for my 30th birthday. That and the purchase of our first and only home highlight Decade Four. Oh yes, I also took a non-fiction writing course and landed a job as a reporter near the end of that decade.

Starting off Decade Five, I enrolled in college for the first time, partly to study drama at the Shakepeare Theatre on the Odessa College Campus. My first and last professional stage role was that of Mary, the mother of Jesus. I continued studying theology by correspondence, while gathering news for a variety of publications and broadcasters. Flying an airplane seemed far-fetched for a middle aged country girl, but I took up pilot training in Decade Six. My instructor said I did fine while in the air, but was dangerous on the ground. He advised me to stick to writing. I also mastered the computer in that decade, transmitting stories to the San Angelo paper electronically and learning to write my own programs.

Here I am closing out Decade Seven, still writing, still computing, but restricting my flying to commercial airlines. This decade I took on the World Wide Web, creating a website for the Enterprise and several other entities. I also became a great grandmother, the most exciting role of all.

Now what am I going to do in Decade Eight? Learning to cook would be quite a challenge, but Iím not sure I should try that. I burned stew in a slow cooker last week and charcoaled taco shells in the microwave several times.

Should I write a novel? Get an accounting degree and become a CPA? Study law and hang out my shingle? Marry a rich widower and travel the world? Become a missionary to China? Retire to the mountains of Mexico and hire a cook/housekeeper/nurse on my Social Security income?

All I know for sure is that I want to live life to the fullest until the day God calls me home. Ideas anyone?

ďThe path of life leads upward for the wise to keep him from going down to the grave.Ē Proverbs 15:24, NIV

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