Outside Looking In

Any book that references Dairy Queen is a book I’m going to love. And it was certainly true for The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton. 

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Oh Dally, Pony, Sodapop, Darry… your names, alone, slay me. I’ve been on the outside looking in. Plenty.

And writing really has been the catharsis to the angst that brings.

It was for Ponyboy, too.  “Stay gold,” Pony.

There were quotes upon quotes that moved me in this story of East side greasers versus West side Socs.

“Nothing sparkly can stay.”  Now, that one was a lie. As a parent, I now know that glitter can stay. Glitter ALWAYS stays.

Hinton packed a ton of wisdom into this short novel about outsiders looking in. “There isn’t any real good reason for fighting except self-defense,” is there?

But his insights into our common humanity, well… even in High School, I was desperately seeking the commonalities.

“It seemed funny to me that the sunset she saw from her patio and the one I saw from the back steps was the same one. Maybe the two different worlds we lived in weren’t so different. We saw the same sunset.”

As years become decades, I’ve realized how beautiful it can be to acknowledge that we all see the same sunset. There is comfort to be found in that, isn’t there?

Yes indeedy.

Only a handful of days remain. If you’ve missed any of the posts in my Best Books Ever series, click the button below. I am writing these as part of the Write 31 Days Challenge.

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Let Her Be More

Sometimes, I like to envision Memory and Perspective walking hand in hand.

While The Nana is away on a business trip this week, we are babysitting being companions to Ahab.

So, naturally, we cooked him his favorite dinner last night, steak and potatoes, and then headed out to Dairy Queen for a sweet treat afterwards.  We wanted his first night without The Nana to give him promise that we weren’t going to be Lazy Hang-Abouts all week long.  Ahem…

Ahab and I sat at a table, while Sweetman was waiting for our order, and watched the kids flit here, there, and everywhere.  While we did, two teenage girls walked up to the window all decked out in their teenage finest (read that, shortest and tightest dresses possible).  Their hair was teased and coiffed and I’m near to certain that they had a pound of make-up on their faces between the two of them.  They texted and lol’ed, checked out the surroundings for the few teenage boys working the counter, and generally did all of the things that teenage girls will do.

Ahab turned to me with a twinkle in his eye and asked me if I remembered those days?

What the what now?

I do not remember ever (just so we’re clear) dressing up quite that provocatively.

Or, maybe I’m just older than I want to admit to being.

Either way, I remarked that thankfully, sweetgirl was a lot like me and that I was pretty sure that she was going to be confident enough in herself to never think she needed to dress that way to attract attention. (Speaking it makes it true, dontcha know?).

I also might have mentioned that I was going to teach her that she didn’t need to “package” herself at that age, or any age, to attract the attention of men. And I might also have gone on about how I will be teaching her to care more about making her heart attractive.

Oh, the intentions I have…

And as we watched Sweetgirl flit, Ahab marveled at how precocious and outgoing she was and commented that, “Yes indeedy, (I come by it naturally, you see), she’ll do alright.”.

Isn't she beautiful, mama?

Isn’t she beautiful, mama?

I said that she came by her precociousness naturally, of course, because I was like that at her age, too.

Right?

But, what he replied with was not what I thought I knew of myself.

No. Not at all.

Ahab said, “No, you were actually kinda quiet and on the shy side.  You were much more cautious and a thinker.”

HUH?

Now, from the stories about my formative years that The Nana would tell you, I was all sorts of spitfire in the personality department.  My brother – he was the one who bounced from point A to point B.

But I?  Well, apparently I was the mastermind behind the bouncing.

I’m left chewing over that and trying to make sense of how God brought me to such a place of confidence compared to how I used to supposedly be.

And I can only conclude one thing.

By. His. Grace.

By His Grace, I am able to remember that I am more than my outfit.

I am more than my appearance.

I am more than what others think of me.

I am more than what others may say about me.

“But by God’s grace I am what I am, and his grace shown to me was not wasted.”

1 Corinthians 15:10

And oh! How I pray that Sweetgirl always holds this truth close to her heart.

Let her be more than a conqueror, through you, Jesus, too!

Yes indeedy!

What truth do you want your own daughter, or the little girls in your life, to hold close to their hearts?