Saturday, April 19, 2014
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LOOKING UP • JOE BAISDEN | Borrowing some words from a granddaughter

When I began writing this column in the fall of 1987, I chose to call it “Looking Up!”  With that decision came a self-imposed obligation to write material that is up beat, inspirational, positive, and bringing a bit of hope to readers.  Doubtless, I fall short of that goal from time to time, but it is not intentional.
Janelle and I have a habit of getting up early.  As we were getting our day started recently, Janelle handed her iPad to me and said, “You need to read this.” 
What she gave me was a column from The Optimist, the newspaper of Abilene Christian University written by our granddaughter Melany Cox, a senior journalism major.  Most of the semester, she admitted to writing what she called “preachy” articles about campus life.  The material she posted on October 3 was different.  It was titled “The house on Coconut Road.”  What follows is a large part of that article:
“I spent a week of summer vacation at the beach with my family.  My parents, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and I loaded our cars and caravanned to Surfside Beach, a tiny town nestled on the Texas coast.  We stayed in a rented beach house named the ‘Boat House,’ a blue dwelling situated on Coconut Road off the Blue Water Highway.  For most people, a trip to the beach doesn’t seem that unusual.  However, this was the 17th year my family spent our annual week on the coast.


“Most of my favorite memories growing up involved spending time with my family.  My grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles all lived close enough that I could see them throughout the year, not just on holidays.
“I didn’t just have one Thanksgiving and one Christmas per year.  I had three.  One at home and two with each set of grandparents.  Everyone made it a priority to be there.  In addition to a beach trip with my mom’s side of the family, we went on ski trips in Colorado every other year with my dad’s side.
“Beginning in kindergarten, my papa took me to every high school pep rally until I was in seventh grade.  Afterwards he would take me to Sonic and let me order whatever I wanted.  My cousins and I spent our time playing outside, climbing trees, inventing new games, watching Disney movies and trying to beat the “Oregon Trail” computer game in one sitting.
“There were picnics, cook-outs, Sunday lunches, 4th of July parades, family photo sessions, worship song sing-alongs, road trips, game nights and hours spent sharing stories. My parents emphasized the importance of spending time together.  When I was still in high school I sometimes resented this.  But as soon as I came to college I realized just how special my family is and how much they mean to me.  Now every moment I get to spend with them seems even more special. . . . So I will take advantage of every opportunity I have to stay in the blue house on Coconut Road.”
Melany grew up in Belton.  She attended Lakewood Elementary and graduated from Belton High School.  She served one summer as a volunteer for The Belton Journal.  The following summer she worked for the Harker Heights paper and returned last summer as an intern with the Journal. 
Her grandparents and parents appreciate the encouragement David Tuma, publisher of both papers, has given Melany.  And we offer a big “Thank you” to her hometown of Belton for the nurture and love we all find here. 
It takes a village to raise a family!
 “God places the solitary in families.” – Psalm 68:6