SHARON RANDALL COLUMN FOR TUES., NOV. 1, 2011

If you’d asked me 20 years ago what I’d be doing today, I might have said cruising the Caribbean or greeting at Walmart or getting my knees replaced.
I would not have said, “working on my web site.”
Twenty years ago, when I left my job as a reporter to write a column for syndication, the world was a different place from the one we’ve come to know.
Back then, I wrote on a clunky laptop and emailed my work to Scripps Howard’s news service to be distributed to papers around the country _ pretty much the same as I do now.
But managing a website _ an electronic world where I post thoughts and observations and invite comments from readers?
I never saw that coming. Besides, I have enough trouble keeping up with the real world, staying in touch with family and friends and remembering to brush my teeth. My world is big enough. Why would I want to expand it?

Not that I don’t like hearing from readers. I do. In fact, that is possibly the part of the job that I love best, the thing that’s kept me at it all these years.
Well, that and a pay check.
I never wanted to write a personal column. An editor made me do it. I blame him.
He told me I could write about Little League games and kids’ birthday parties and hiding the TV remote from my husband.
He never mentioned writing about cancer. Or watching my husband fight for his life. Or waking up one day, a widow with grown children in a big empty house, to realize, like it or not, it was time to begin again.
I didn’t plan to write about any of that. But that’s what came my way _ life in all its fullness, all its pain and glory. I took it as it came, wrote it as I lived it.
And soon I began hearing from readers who said they were praying for my husband and their children were praying for my children and the life I was writing about was not just my own; it was their life, too.
Hearing from readers has taught me several things: Never to be cynical; never stoop to self-pity; and never forget that people are good and we are all more alike than we are different.
It has allowed me to be part of a far-reaching community and share a kinship with people I’ve never met _ though I do get to meet them on occasion.
Whenever I’m invited to speak in areas that have long carried my column, people ask about my children and my family. They want to hear the story of how my former editor is now my husband and what life is like in Las Vegas of all places. Instead of handshakes, I get hugs. It’s like a big family reunion, except nobody asks to borrow money or tells me I’ve gained weight.
I like readers a lot. That’s why I’m working on my website (sharonrandall.com) to make it more “reader friendly.” Actually, my daughter-in-law is doing all the work. She insisted on doing it. She gave me my first grandchild. I do what she wants.
When she asked for my ideas, I said I’d like it to be more “homey” _ less like a website and more like a kitchen table, a place where we can sit down over coffee, you and I, and talk about whatever comes to mind. (Sorry, you’ll have to bring your own coffee. We haven’t figured out how to do e-coffee yet, but we’re working on it.)
Now I have this new website where I’m supposed to check in regularly, post interesting thoughts and observations (or at least a few recipes) and reply to comments posted by readers.
My world just got a lot bigger.
It brings to mind my mother’s words when I said I was going to California: “Have you lost what little brains you had left?”
It also begs a larger question: What in the world will we be doing 20 years from now?

Comments

  1. Jim Kelsay says:

    Twenty years from now I’d like to be telling my stories to the great grandchildren who haven’t heard them yet.

    My mother used to tell me “You’d forget your head if it wasn’t screwed on.” She was right.

    • Sharon Randall says:

      Jim, my mother used to say the same thing to me. She was right, too. Twenty years from now, I hope you are telling your stories to your grandchildren!

  2. Kathy Russell says:

    Where is the “Love” button for your column today?!! I didn’t just like it; I LOVED it…. I really laughed at the morning breakfast table. I count on you to start off my Sunday right, and you never fail.

    • Kathy Russell says:

      One more thing…. the comment you made about your Mom, makes me think of something my late Mom used to always say when she didn’t agree with something you did, “I thought you had more brains than that”. Really… how do you even try to respond to that? You don’t, and she would win… :):):)

      • Sharon Randall says:

        Thanks, Kathy! I bet our mothers would’ve loved commiserating together about us! Best to you and your family!

  3. Ann Kepler says:

    I have read your columns for years. I have cut many of them out. I’ve laughed with you and cried with you. Reading your writings after you lost your husband helped me when I lost my husbands of fifty-one years two years ago. In today’s column you tell about your new website..so I thought now is my opportunity to tell you what an inspiration your articles are.
    This will be the first year Thanksgiving and Christmas won’t be at our home…I hate that..I don’t like change but at 75 I am resolved to make the best of things…that’s what my husband would want me to do.

    Thank you for letting your readers into your world. It has been a blessing. God Bless!

    Ann

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