By Ralphine Major

The package arrived shortly before Christmas.  Certainly, the sender had made it look special in a “Peanuts” mailer.  When I tore into it, it was special!  Three framed photos.  Instantly, my mind drifted back to the day they were made.  Several years ago I had the opportunity to audio tape a commercial for my dentist, Dr. Tim Williams, who was in private practice at the time.  I remember sitting in front of that huge microphone at the radio station.  It was so much fun, and I felt like I was in my element!  Thankfully, Irene Hodges met me there and had the presence of mind to bring her camera.

From my high school graduation speech, “The Next Step,” so many years ago through years of church leadership roles to writing this true, human-interest column, I have learned that speaking and writing are much alike.  The goal of both is to connect with the audience.

Five years ago I began this column with “The Real McCoy,” published February 7, 2011.  Dr. Kyle McCoy is the cardiologist who treated our mother when she had a heart attack.  I did not plan the story—it just came to me in the emergency room.  A few months earlier, the same thing happened with “Life is a Gift.”  The story came to me after I learned of Zane Daniel’s death.  Zane and John J. Duncan, Jr., were the attorneys I worked for during college.  As Focus readers may recall, I have written about many people, places, pets, events, and projects.  I have so many more stories promised yet to write.  This is column No. 268.  Great stories are all around us in our everyday lives.  Many of you have let me know that my columns have, in some way, been a connection for you.  Thank you for being a faithful reader of the Knoxville Focus and,  particularly, of my columns for the last five years!  God bless!