How in the world was I so blessed?

Published 7:54 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Early Saturday morning I walked downstairs to a quiet kitchen. I sipped hot coffee as I looked out the picture window above the sink. The sun started to rise and as it did the sky turned to shades of bright pinks and blues with streaks of yellow splashed onto its canvas.

Piney Woods Lake in LaGrange is beautiful even in the rain, but this morning it was as if God wanted to paint a masterpiece. The ducks were swimming in the gently rippling water as the sun continued to rise.  I wondered, “How in the world was I so blessed?”

The day before, I had picked up my friend and former LaGrange High classmate, Marie, from Atlanta to travel to our hometown to attend a small class reunion. When we come to town for such events we stay at her sister’s house.

I love to go to Nancy and Tommy’s home because it is not only beautiful, but it is a place filled with joy, family, and memories. We laugh until we cry as we tell stories about our lives both now and long ago.

Richie, Nancy’s brother in law and our buddy, walked through the door. Hugs ensued and the weekend began.   

We went to a concert Friday night featuring our famous classmate, Pat Alger. We walked in to see friends that greeted us with more hugs.

There is nothing like a bear hug from an old friend. It is wonderful seeing faces that bring back the nicest of memories that warm our souls.

Pat has written many songs that garnered him entry into the Country Music Hall of Fame. “Small Town Saturday Night” was written about LaGrange. He told stories behind each of his famous songs including “Unanswered Prayers”, “The Thunder Rolls”, plus countless others.

Saturday’s beautiful morning was erased by clouds, cool air, and rain as we continued our reunion in a cabin by the lake.

The classmates that organized our time together should be applauded or given an award, or possibly even a parade. The Terrell’s, the cabin’s owners, need a medal for bravery.

These folks are the ones whose story is of work and sacrifice to gather this class of friends.  I watched as they put the food on the tables, washed the pots in the kitchen, and laughed as they recalled something funny that happened way back when.

The stories filled the rooms as the falling rain was ignored. Nothing could ever dampen the spirit of the Class of 1965. It is our nature.

Saturday turned to Sunday too quickly for this girl. I am never ready to leave LaGrange or the folks I shared my life with as a young girl.

Marie, Richie, Nancy and I sat in the kitchen Sunday morning telling stories and talking until noon. We decided that before we returned to our own homes we would pile in the car and ride around LaGrange.

Nancy was the navigator, I was the driver, and when one would tell me to go right and the other left I just stopped the car until they decided which way to go. Then we would laugh.

We drove down every street to nearly every home that our friends and ourselves once occupied. We drove by old schools, churches and buildings that had turned into something other than what they once were.

We navigated around mills that have gone silent and old companies that have turned into vacant lots or a new business.

We drove through town where the stores names have changed, but the memories never will.

Some of our recollections made us sad, however trust me, the three that were in my car can never make you sad for very long.  They always make me happy.

Marie and I waved goodbye to the house on the beautiful lake and to the family and friends we love.

As we drove back to Atlanta, we found ourselves stalled for two hours because of an accident on I 85 north.

I had thrown my 1965 Granger yearbook in the back seat before leaving home on Friday.

“Marie, grab the Granger.  Let’s go through it as I drive one mile an hour!”

As she turned the pages, each one evoked a memory accompanied by a smile or a tear.  Each person photographed is, and always will be, a part of our collective story.

It is now Monday as I write this column sipping a hot cup of coffee in my Atlanta home.  I think of my reunion with adored old friends, the laughter we shared and the music we heard. I think of the stories told and the town I love as I look out my window and wonder: “How in the world was I so blessed?”

Lynn Walker Gendusa is a former resident and writer who currently resides in Roswell. She can be reached at