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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Friday, January 18, 2013


I probably should not have been surprised at what my 13-year-old daughter painted on the outside of the door to her room.

She did the painting with permission because she is a very talented artist. (Okay, I know, all parents say that about their artistically inclined children. But, hey, she really is good. I mean it.)

And it should not have surprised me because she, along with most female members of my family, past and present, is very strong-willed and independent.

After all, she has Aunt Ebb's blood in her, a woman who could have survived alone in a wilderness if she had to. Heck, she would have enjoyed the challenge.

Her mother, my grandmother (Molly Wimmer), was also a woman of determination and self-sufficiency.

My sister, Dawn, is like that as well and I could name many more.

So the lineage is solid, on both sides of my daughter's family.

Even her name is different. Although it is Marianne, I gave her the nickname of Sugarbug when she was an infant because she was as sweet as sugar and cute as a bug.

Well, Sugarbug has been shortened to Bug over the years. I thought when she was older, especially after turning a teenager, she would drop the nickname.

But she didn't, and prefers it. Many simply refer to her as "The Bug," since she is not just a bug, she is the top bug.

In fact, I'm not sure there has been any person in the family who has been so determined to be the top bug, the alpha dog, the "She Who Must Be Obeyed."

And I don't think I've ever known anyone who hates to lose at anything as much as she does.

She was on the swim team when she was younger and cried every time she lost, even if it was a heat match. Her brother, Spurgeon, on the other hand, came in last every time, mainly because he would always stop swimming and wave at us in the middle of the race.

Yeah, he's my "Dude," my "Big Lebowski."

I have no idea why the two are so different, but almost every parent I know who has more than one child says the same thing: They were raised the same, in the same house, but as different as night and day. And that usually goes for every child, even if there is a dozen.

Well, without diversity of interests, skills and personalities, mankind would not have survived. So our maker does have a plan. I hope.

But back to the door.

She had drawn a rather sparse tree down the left side of the door, tall and slender with one protruding limb jutting from the middle to the right.

It reminded me of an African Thorn tree, without the blooms.

I suppose that, too, was fitting.

She had very artistically painted words beside the tree, starting at the top and then winding downward and out on the limb.

This is what she painted:

"A tiger doesn't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep."

Now, psychologically, at 13 years old, IĀ understand the independence and "I am smarter than my parents (and about anyone else for that matter)" attitude. I was 13 once, although at this point, it seems like a lifetime ago. Well, I guess it was.

But it did startle me a bit with the mercenary, take-no-prisoners implication of what she wrote.

And it reminded me of a recent conversation we had about a last-minute change of plans she had at Christmas, which meant she would not go to West Virginia with me to see her sister and both brothers.

I pressed her for an explanation, initially adamant that the plans would not change.

She presented several reasons, all of which I questioned, and basically said that I really needed to back off, that she had legitimate reasons and I would just have to take her word for it.

After I balked and demanded a sound reason for her not going, she sent this text message:

"He who trusts the least is least to be trusted."

Baaaa. Baaaa. Baaaa.

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