This I Believe

William - Odessa, Texas
Entered on January 29, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

I write a column called “William Tells” in the Odessa (TX) American, a daily newspaper. I have written the column since 1962, and it has appeared in the 11 newspapers I’ve been associated with, as publisher, editor, writer, photographer and “printer’s devil.” Here is my column on This I Believe:

William Tells published Sunday, Jan. 7, 2007 …

It’s time to say:

‘This I Believe’

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE? Poor William is listening to an audiobook called “This I Believe” that consists of essays from both the famous and the “common” people of the United States.

This comes from a National Public Radio project started in 1951 by radio pioneer Edward R. Murrow. His objective was to “engage Americans and encourage them to communicate openly about the beliefs and values that guide them through life,” according to thisibelieve.org, on the Internet.

It adds that in 2005, the series was revived “in an effort to encourage people to develop respect for beliefs different from their own.” Anyone who would like to submit an essay for possible use by the This I Believe project may do so; if accepted it “may be archived for public use, or reproduced in audio form, published in print or online, or in any other way” and if selected for broadcasting, will be paid $200.

If any profits are generated, according to a contract those 18 and older must agree to, they “will be used to fund the radio series, the essay archive, and other means of engaging people around America, and eventually the world, in this important (not-for-profit) project.”

This is interesting to PW and is something he had not heard of before purchasing the audiobook. And, while he is not interested in trying for the $200, PW thinks stating some of what he believes would be a good way to start 2007. So, here it is:

Poor William believes in …

— Jesus Christ. “Faith,” especially religious faith, is described as believing in something that a person cannot see. As such, it seems to PW that faith and belief in Jesus are better than believing that the material things of this world are all there is or ever will be.

— Sherry Jackson Salter, a/k/a Miss Kitty. She is the light of PW’s life, even though she sometimes drives him crazy. This is normal for a husband and wife, or at least that’s what PW has been told. Regardless, when two people can ride in a vehicle for 1,200 miles on Interstate highways over two days while dodging the nuttiest drivers in the world and then turn around and do it all over again, all without strangling each other, means there is proof, perhaps, that they were “meant for each other.”

— There is something “good,” no matter how small, about every person. The problem is finding and seeing it.

— The Ten Commandments, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. These documents (and others) tell people how they really should live … and let live. What a shame that they are so routinely trashed.

— Springer spaniels, cockers, dachshunds, beagles, border collies, white American bulldogs and dogs of the Heinz 57 variety. PW has been friends with these creatures all his life. If they were human they would be better humans than most of the people on earth. They love unconditionally, unless humans train them to do otherwise. Truly, nothing feels better – or can make a person feel better — than the proverbial “warm puppy.”

— Newspapers. For almost 50 years, PW has been caught up in the most rewarding profession he can imagine. If he were allowed to live his life all over again, he still would choose the profession of print journalism. To be able to say this, without regret, is one of life’s most wonderful blessings.

— Charity. Being able to give something to the Salvation Army, United Way, Meals on Wheels, Children International, St. Jude’s, Red Cross or hundreds of other worthwhile causes that are so preferable to being forced by the government to give money that may never actually be used to help anyone who needs help is another of life’s blessings. Nothing feels better than giving something to a person who needs help, especially if it is given anonymously with no expectation of public praise.

— Golf. PW believes it easily is the most frustrating pastime ever invented. It is impossible to do it right all the time. It is full of obstacles and also full of rewards, like the dream of a hole-in-one or breaking par. Even when it can’t be done well, most golfers still want to keep trying. It is 18 holes of “life” itself, but unlike life, even when it is made a mess of there is a chance to try to do it better.

— Deadlines. PW never would get anything done if there wasn’t a schedule for him to follow. If “retirement” means never having to do anything at any time that a person does not want to do it, then PW has his doubts about it. Schedules, responsibilities, work … these are the things that have kept PW alive. Can being able to decide not to do something at any given moment really be such a good thing? Oh well, maybe that is best left for discussion at another time.

HAVE A SUPER SUNDAY and a wonderful week!