Adele Elliott: Lessons

June 25, 2011 9:53:00 PM

Adele Elliott - adeleelliott@bellsouth.net

 

It is said that everyone we meet was sent into our lives for a reason. Life on Earth is a series of lessons. We do not move on to the next existence until we learn them. 

 

Unfortunately, most of those messages are quite difficult to grasp. Many of us keep repeating the same mistakes. Classes are taught and retaught until we finally get it. 

 

Alas, our mothers tried so hard. Evidently, they all went to the same school of parental advice. We were all taught never to speak to strangers, always eat healthy food, and if you can''t say anything nice, just be quiet. 

 

As an adult, I speak to strangers often. I suppose it comes from my many years in tourism. No one is really a stranger. Of course, this practice has gotten me into trouble. 

 

I was once very kind to a neighbor who had moved into an apartment upstairs from a shop I owned. 

 

Within a week, he and his roommates broke into my shop and burglarized me. It was all quite terrifying. They were caught in the act. 

 

The police came to my house and beat loudly on the back door in the middle of the night. My sister and I had to go to the shop to press charges. 

 

As it turned out, they were a sort of gang who had committed a long string of burglaries. It seems strange that they decided to break into the same building in which they lived. Perhaps they were too lethargic to go very far. Who knows? 

 

Not too long ago, I gave a seemingly needy man a few dollars. I learned that he later mugged a neighbor only two doors down. 

 

This doesn''t say much for my ability to judge character. And, truthfully, I took nothing from these incidents because I still speak to strangers. 

 

I haven''t absorbed much about healthy eating either. Oh, I understand the concept. It''s the execution that is problematic. I work. I''m tired. (OK, maybe a bit lazy, too.) The Golden Triangle has hundreds of fast food restaurants. I am doing my part to keep them in business. 

 

But, that "saying something nice" thing is still beyond me. I perceive myself as some kind of comedienne. It''s so easy to go for the witchy comment, because I always get a laugh. 

 

I have a friend who never says anything mean about anyone. She has pointed out good qualities in people that I find reprehensible. I know Melody (aka "Pollyanna") is one of my teachers. Apparently, her lessons are beyond my intellect. I continue to say things that almost always get back to the person I was targeting. I''m usually sorry, but too late. 

 

Of course, in a town this size, I also know who doesn''t like me, who hates the color of my house and who thinks I am a bit peculiar. I am the victim of my own fault. 

 

Knowing that, you would think I would be less critical. But, no, I never learn. Maybe, I am a bit slow. But, then again, there is the possibility that the lessons are too advanced for my current level of development. In a way, I may be fighting the one about kindness. Perhaps I just want to keep my teacher, Melody, around a tiny bit longer. After I learn from her, she will most likely move on to another student. I''m just not ready for that.

Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.