Sunday, December 21, 2014

BROWN: Why the fresh spring in my step?

By LINDA BROWN, Hold Me Up a Little Longer, Lord | 5/15/2013

Ah, spring. My favorite time of year.

The weather often is unpredictable, and it’s not unusual for us to go from heat to air conditioning in the same day.

Ah, spring. My favorite time of year.

The weather often is unpredictable, and it’s not unusual for us to go from heat to air conditioning in the same day.

The trees and perennials start to bud and produce an unstable environment for allergy sufferers everywhere. It’s time to start mowing the grass, which always brings on a sneezing fit, even though I remain inside, behind closed doors and windows.

And yet the smile on my face often is so big it makes my face hurt, and all because, we get our street back.

Yep, there’s a magical day in May when Ottawa University opens its classroom and dormitory doors and shoos away all those students who have called Ottawa “home” since the previous August. And, when the students go home, so do the cars they arrived in.

For nearly 14 years, we have been the victims of students parking on the narrow little street in our university neighborhood. It probably wouldn’t be an issue if parking was allowed only on one side of the street. But no, parking is permissible on both sides and, between you and me, most college kids don’t understand the first thing about the fine art of parking.

They leave gaps between cars big enough to drive a wheel barrow through. They know nothing about tire-to-curb distance, they block driveways and litter — oh my, how they litter.

I’m a friend of OU. I invested tens of thousands of dollars there on Princess Summer’s education. The Big Guy and I have cheered through football and basketball games, concerts and stage performances. We’ve played host to new students/parents orientation days and smiled through teary-eyed graduations.

But the very best part of being an OU neighbor is getting our street back in mid-May and having it all to ourselves until mid-August when the parking games begin once again.

And, speaking of mid-May, that also means graduation and the inner “mom” in me needing to offer a few words of encouragement and advice to those stepping out into the world with a freshly signed diploma in their hand. To those graduating this spring”:

• Never let a day go by that you don’t say “thank you” to someone; whether that be a friend, co-worker, God, or the drive-through server at McDonald’s.

• Call your mother.

• Don’t wait to make friends with your sister until after your mom has died.

• Shut the gate, shut the door. Both serve as protection for children and pets and help keep the flies outside.

• Open your mind; just because you have that diploma doesn’t mean you know everything yet.

• Open your heart; everyone needs a little more love.

• Don’t litter and don’t trash-talk — it doesn’t make you cool, it makes you an embarrassment.

• Take pride in taking care of yourself and don’t be in a hurry to have too much. These are what the older generation call your lean years. It will take you a lifetime to build up to what your parents have. It’s called “paying your dues”. And it’s been my experience that striving to own the biggest and most expensive house in the neighborhood only means one thing: You’ll probably never get your money back.

• If you say it or do it, own it. It’s yours; take responsibility for it.

• Don’t believe everything you hear or read on the Internet. Gossip and blogs are not reliable sources of information.

• Always remember to vote and protect your credit score. It might not seem important right now, but someday it will matter in a big way.

• Be humble and grateful, but also be confident and competent. After your smile, those are the four most important things people will remember about you.

Good luck, God bless and Godspeed. The world awaits.

Linda Brown is marketing director for The Ottawa Herald. Email her at

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