Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

October 12, 2008


The feeling of excitement is something we must not lose


          I hope I am dead six months before I lose the capacity to feel excitement. The joy of becoming emotionally aroused about something good is one of the great privileges of life.

          October always reminds me of my mother’s excitement about the opening of the state fair in Montgomery. She put hundreds of entries in the fair during her lifetime and won a ton of ribbons. People who never met her knew Caroline Albritton because of her prize-winning jams and jellies. Her grandson Tim continues to honor her memory by entering his own wood carvings and walking sticks.

          Mom taught her family to get excited about birthdays. She knew from memory the birthdays of a hundred relatives and friends who always received a timely birthday card from her. Even when she could no longer walk, Mom could get excited about helping others celebrate life.

          Mom could make a birthday party exciting without spending a lot of money. Her birthday cakes were unique. She wrapped a dime and a nickel in wax paper and baked it in the cake. What fun it was to discover one of the coins in your piece of cake!

          Thanksgiving at home was always exciting. It was the only time of the year when we could count on ambrosia for dessert and toasted pecans with the noon meal. My brother loved potato pie while my favorite was pumpkin pie. There was always plenty of both waiting for us on the old wood-burning stove.

          By the time I was 12 or so Mom and Dad began taking us to the beach in Panama City for a week every summer. Dad was never as excited about going to the beach as the rest of us; he had a lifelong thing about sleeping in his own bed at night. Not long ago my siblings and I drove down to Panama City just to re-visit the old house where we usually stayed. Many of the stately Oak trees are still there. We had fun remembering.

          What would a child’s life be without excitement? I still remember how exciting it was to get off the school bus and race inside to listen to the Lone Ranger every afternoon. I recall the joy of that Christmas morning when I found Santa’s gift of the B-B gun I had longed for. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that the population of sparrows in the backyard was soon diminished.

          Many folks my age can remember the excitement of going into town on Saturdays. There were no televisions at home then but Saturday meant going to the Fain Theater to see movies starring Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers. There might also be a brief episode in the life of Superman and a News Reel report about how our troops were winning World War II. Two hours of that, along with a Coke and some popcorn, was exhilarating to a country boy. And it all cost less than a buck.

          The Fain Theater was also the scene of one of the most exciting moments in my life. It was there that I finally got up the courage to put my arm around my girlfriend. I had envied the older boys who did so, but I was fearful that my girlfriend might slap my hand and pull away from me.

          Then one Saturday, while Gene Autrey or Roy Rogers was chasing bank robbers, I found the nerve to risk it. Ever so gently I put my arm around her and let my fingers drop softly on her shoulder. Then, miracle of all miracles, she moved a half inch closer to me. Suddenly I was in heaven. I was accepted. I was her man.

          That afternoon I had no idea that this same sweet girl would say yes when I asked her to marry me several years later. But I still remember the joyous excitement I felt when she said yes to the daring embrace of a clumsy country boy.

          Though I am an old man now, that girl still excites me. When she rubs my brow, or runs her fingers through my gray hair, I am alive. Thank God for excitement. + + +