Becky Says...

December 2003

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December 19

Sometimes you get just exactly what you need when you hadn't quite realized how much you needed it. Today, a couple of friends showed up with word hugs just when I needed them---one in e-mail, and one on the phone. Let's just call these two non-chemical antidepressants, shall we?

I'm looking forward to this weekend's moments of rest and to some quality time with my piano. I haven't had time to just sit and play, and I realize I'm missing it. So no matter what else does or doesn't get done, I'm going to make time for that. It's a promise I'm making myself, and I'm very big on keeping promises.

December 18

Thinking this week of Chapel Hill as I knew it during my college years was prompted by Wallace Kuralt's death. Something else happened this week, though, that has fed into those memories. I happened to be out running errands, and had a brief exchange of greetings with William C. Friday, the former President of the University of North Carolina System.

Bill Friday is one of my heroes. There aren't that many people who are personal heroes to me. Bill Friday is, because he came from a small town and took advantage of educational opportunities to go down a path that allowed him to do some pretty wonderful things for this state.

And he was from my hometown. He and my father were friends long before my time, and I knew both his parents fairly well. So the fact that he was a nationally known person didn't faze me too much---he was just Bill. Still is. And that's pretty much how he acts, by the way. Nothing pretentious about him. It pleases me, incidentally, that he still remembers my late father, too---it's more than 45 years after Daddy's death.

He was the UNC head when I came to Carolina, of course. And I was witness to some of the challenging times during which he led the University. He led the system with a great deal of grace under a great deal of pressure. Probably every taxpayer in the state has an idea of how the system ought to be run. And this state has a lot of taxpayers who do not hesitate to let their opinions be known.

When I got my diploma from Carolina, I was disappointed with one little thing about it. Bill's signature was engraved on the thing. And never mind that rational Becky knew full well the man didn't have time or the hand strength to sign a bazillion diplomas every year. I just wished he had signed them.

Shortly after I went to work at Non-Profit Agency #1, I ran into Bill one day on Franklin Street. We both had a minute to chat, and I decided to ask for a favor. I asked if he would sign my diploma. It may have been one of the odder favors anyone asked of him, but he said he'd be glad to do it.

So the next time I knew we were going to be in the same place, I put my diploma in my totebag. After the meeting we were attending was over, I had a chance to hand it over and get the requested signature. It's off to the side of the engraved one. And the little girl from Dallas smiles every time she sees it.


I am participating this year in Holidailies, a group of writers who promise to try very, very hard to update daily all month. I am familiar with the work of quite a few of the writers, and am enjoying becoming familiar with others.

Text © copyright 2000-2003 Becky