Village Matters: Keeping the Gleam on Goodness

By Ann Christoph.

There on the deck of Brock and Marci Lyster’s new Lamont Langworthy house a woman stood next to the sinuous iron railings.  She recognized me, yet it took a moment and an explanation from her before I could reciprocate. Ginny Worthington, who I knew because of her devotion to the Hortense Miller Garden, had changed some in the 30 years since I had last seen her. Less robust than before, she was nevertheless lively and still interested in gardens.  She wanted to know the projects I have been working on.  We talked a short time and then, as happens at parties, someone else came over and began a new conversation with her.

I find those moments awkward. Do you interrupt to say good-bye to the person you have been talking with, or insert yourself into a dialog where you may be unwelcome? I just eased away into another part of the party.

Now this short incident comes to mind with new significance. Ginny Worthington lost her life in a tragic automobile accident this past week and those words turned out to be the last ones I would ever have with her.

We always think there will be another chance to finish a sentence, complete a project, say good-bye to a friend. Sometimes there will be no other chance. An encounter today may be my only one with someone. Has it been enlightening, enriching, supportive?

I often wonder how our president can maintain his positive attitude amidst all the conflict and criticism. Recently I heard Obama say something like this, “I have to accept the fact that every day people will be saying unkind things about me.”

Why does this have to be? Why, especially when money is involved, are so many harsh assumptions made and unkind words spoken?

Funds for people in need, helping our kids with better schools, $10 a month to preserve open space, donations to keep a community garden . . . all worthy causes. Yet assumptions are made, accusations fly, taking the positive gleam off, dampening the spirit.  Momentum is lost and sadness replaces optimism.

When that car accident or heart attack happens that ends our time here, that money will be of no importance. A kind word, an accomplishment that helps others, these leave a legacy that lives on, creating ripples of goodness.


Ann Christoph makes a living as a landscape architect.

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