(Unless otherwise noted, the Kathryn Tucker Windham blog is written by her daughter, Dilcy Windham Hilley.)
My mother was not especially patient, but she was tolerant. If you don’t know the difference between patience and tolerance, GTS or, better yet, read To Kill a Mockingbird.
Maybe it was just more trouble than it was worth to butt heads with three headstrong children. Or maybe life’s important milestones had put in perspective the things that really made no difference to her. Oh, she had her moments when tolerance gave way to pure anger. I remember a TV show in the 1960s called “That Was the Week That Was,” a satirical comedy that lampooned events and personalities in the news.
When Selma’s racial unrest came to the forefront of TV audiences, TWTWTW broad brushed the South with derogatory songs and taunts that my mother could not tolerate. I remember her standing in the hall that night and phoning the show’s executive producer, who, it is surprising, took her call. He might have wished he hadn’t because she shellacked him with his own ignorance and eloquently shamed him for pigeonholing an entire region of people.
But generally, Mother was tolerant.
When my older sister, Kitti, was in junior high school, she asked Mother if she could draw footprints up our bedroom wall, across the ceiling and back down the opposite side. With no hesitation, my mother said, “Go right ahead.” My sister outlined some tennis shoes in a walking pattern and colored them in with Magic Marker.
When she tired of that decorative touch, Kitti asked Mother if she could paint checkerboards on the closet doors in our bedroom. Mother nodded and went about more important business. (BTW, the paint job was a disaster. Masking tape does not work well for lining off red and white checkerboards. The bedroom doors looked like a crime scene.)
I can name dozens of occasions where Mother tolerated the results of the most unusual requests and unconventional behavior. I think her acceptance made us more receptive adults. And that’s a precious legacy.
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"Some people are important to intellectuals, journalists, or politicians, but Kathryn Tucker Windham is probably the only person I know in Alabama who is important to everybody."
–Wayne Flynt, Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at Auburn University.
Ben Windham & Dilcy Windham Hilley
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