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Published:January 4th, 2006 06:46 EST


By Terry Sumerlin (Mentor/Columnist)

I’m fast approaching the age when everything falls out, spreads out or wears out.  Having already gone through the falling-out stage, I’m determined to delay the other two.  To this end, I’ve started dieting religiously.  I’ve quit eating in church.  I’ve also gotten serious about workouts.   No longer do I simply fill the tub, take a bath, pull the plug and fight the current.

Now, it’s four days a week of 45-minute, low impact, pendulum, ski-type motion on -- THE GAZELLE. When you see the smiling buff, blond, pony-tailed guy on the infomercial, and hear the excitement in his voice, you think this piece of exercise equipment epitomizes fun.  I’ve not exactly found that to be the case.  What I have found is that watching TV while on the contraption makes the time go faster.

Recently, while working out I was watching the Oprah show.  She was interviewing Reese Witherspoon.  She is, as you probably know, starring in the blockbuster movie, “Walk the Line.”

As they discussed her role as June Carter Cash, I couldn’t help recalling those days when I drove around San Antonio in my ’64 Corvair Monza, while hearing “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash” on a 4-track tape player.  The more I heard of the interview the more determined I was that we see the movie.  We did see it, and absolutely loved it!

I also love a story from her personal life that Reese Witherspoon told Oprah.  It was regarding how she came to be a reader of William Faulkner’s writings.  She said she was fortunate to have had a wonderful teacher that instilled in her an appreciation of such writers.

Witherspoon then told of a time not too long ago when this same school teacher sent her a letter telling her what a great role model she is for young women, and how proud she is of her. 

The highly talented, highly successful actress (who is up for an academy award) said, with tears in her eyes, something I’ll never forget:  “I carried that letter around in my purse, and cried for three days.”  

BARBER-OSOPHY:  NEVER think people, regardless of their station in life, do not greatly appreciate notes, cards, letters, e-mails, or gifts of appreciation.       

Copyright 2005, Sumerlin Enterprises.

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