When I was a little girl, I thought that I had a pretty clear idea of who I was, and I thought I knew everything. I was Augusta Ann “Gigi” Goodloe, the daughter of Johnny and Dora and the sister of Bumpy, Bootsie, Sunny Girl, Dodo, Ricky, Rudy, Kim, Wally Gator, Arkie, and Mimi Nett. And that was it. That was who I was, and I thought that that was all I had to be.
As I grew into adulthood, I, of course, learned that I could and had to be so much more than just a daughter and a sister. Being a daughter and a sister, of course, prepared me for life. When I became a mother, I learned so much more about myself, especially about my capacity to love and my ability to function on very little sleep.
In learning about myself, I’ve learned that the beautiful thing about life is that it is always challenging you to become more than who you think you are. Life, very rarely, will allow you to observe from the sidelines. In order to get the most out of life, you’ve got to get in the game and be a participant. You can’t always sit the song out; sometimes you’ve got to get up and dance.
At this stage in my life, I am still learning new things about myself, and I am happy to learn new things and new ways of doing things. Each morning, I wake up eager and curious to see what the day will bring.
For example, on Saturday, we had a harvest festival at the Carver School. The day started out a little shaky because we had trouble lighting the stove, so it threw us a little (or a lot) behind schedule. Normally, I would have panicked and cancelled the whole event, and I thought very hard about doing that, but this time, I knew that we had planned and worked so hard to get to that day that there was nothing that could stop us from seeing it through. So I put on my thinking cap and figured out how to get the job done, and because I had a great group of supportive people around me, we did not let one little setback ruin the whole shebang. I am happy to report that we ended up having a successful barbeque.
Later that night, at the dance deejayed by Joseph Trevino (DJ Musicman), I sat back and watched as people danced. I had told myself that I probably wasn’t going to dance because I was tired, but when I heard the music start up, I reminded myself that life is dance, so there I was on the dance floor, shaking my tail feather. Sometimes you just have to dance! And I had two great little dancing partners for a couple songs, and watching these two little boys laugh and dance and play really made the whole day seem worth it.
As the long day slowly came to a close, I couldn’t help but think about how it had started and how I had started. When I was a little girl, I thought I knew everything. Luckily, life has taught me that that is not true. And earlier in the day, I thought that one setback was going to indicate how the rest of the day’s events would go, but I am happy that I was wrong, and I am happy that there is always something new to learn.
Note: This blog appeared as an article in the 11/03/16 edition of the Kinney County Post.
On Saturday, October 15, the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association (SISCA) held a cemetery cleanup day. We began at a little after nine in the morning. We honestly could not have asked for better weather. It was a cool, beautiful morning, and it stayed that way the whole time we were out there.
To be honest, that morning, I had overslept, so I was running a few minutes late. When I arrived, there were already three people there, and they were hard at work. Clarence Ward, the cemetery cleanup coordinator, was navigating a riding lawnmower. John Daniels was using a weed eater to trim around the graves, and James Pledger was using a push lawnmower to cut where the riding lawnmower couldn’t fit.
SISCA secretary Corina Torralba and her two sons had driven in from San Antonio, and they helped in numerous ways. They bought a weed eater and a lawnmower and immediately went to work, while SISCA vice-president Affie Brown and I picked up debris.
After all of the work that had been done, food was a welcomed sight. At the right moment, Diane Flowers and her brother Clarence arrived with refreshments in the form of sandwiches. Affie Brown also provided sandwiches, and Corina provided water.
We were out there for about four hours, and we accomplished a lot. After we had finished for the day, I took a moment to look around and see the work that had been done. It felt amazing to be a part of the process of keeping our ancestors’ resting place in good condition. Everyone commented on how peaceful it felt to be out there, right at that moment, after having accomplished what we’d set out to do. Like most of the people who were volunteering, I have several relatives buried at the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery. It is also an honor to be able to clean up their final resting places, and I know it is extremely important to honor them by maintaining the cemetery. And this is what the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association was formed to do — to maintain and preserve the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery.
I love the idea of setting a goal and accomplishing it. What I love even more is setting collective goals and accomplishing them with people who are all striving for the same conclusion. On Saturday, everyone who came out to the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery came to improve and beautify this sacred space that we all hold dear. Everyone came and did their part.
We plan on making this a monthly event. It will coincide with our monthly meetings. The next cleanup day is scheduled for Saturday, November 12. Following the cleanup, we will have our meeting. At this next meeting, we will celebrate Thanksgiving. More details will follow soon.
I would like to thank Clarence Ward, John Daniels, James Pledger, Corina Torralba and her sons Lee and Bryan, Affie Brown, Diane Flowers, and Clarence Flowers for all of their hard work.
Note: This blog was published as an article in the 10/20/2016 edition of the Kinney County Post.
Each year, as we prepare for Seminole Days, life can get pretty hectic. There are a lot of phone calls, e-mails, and letters being sent, lots of traveling back and forth to make copies, buying trophies, and trying to make sure enough food is bought that will feed everyone. Add to this life and the inevitability of Murphy’s Law. Of course, if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. This year, amid all of this, I decided to do something that I, sometimes, forget to do – breathe.
It might seem simple, but it is something that can easily be forgotten when a tense or stressful situation arises. This year I truly learned that, even though I may not be able to control other people’s actions, I can control the way I respond to them. And I decided to handle everything that was thrown my way with wisdom and grace. But before I did any of that, I had to clear my head and breathe.
When I breathe and refocus, I am able to see the reason why the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association is so important to me and our many members and friends. I am able to see why we work so hard to preserve the legacy of those who came before us and why we are making sure that the ones that come after us are as passionate about our history as we are. I am able to see that it doesn’t help to sweat the small stuff; instead, I just inhale and exhale a few times and take in the peace that comes with this exercise.
As First Lady Michelle Obama so eloquently said, “When they go low, we go high.” This is the best response for anything in life. Always take the high road. Always remember that the one shouting the loudest isn’t necessarily winning the argument. If you can’t think of anything else to do, do the first thing that you ever did – breathe.
I hope that no matter what you may be facing that you will remember this simple but powerful act. Being able to calm yourself and being able to assess a situation before reacting or, even worse, overreacting is so important.
Seminole Days 2016 has come and gone, but this year was a learning experience. I learned a lot about myself in the planning of this event, and I feel that I became a bit stronger and am now ready to focus on the goals that I’d like to accomplish as president. I believe that I have found a secret weapon that will allow me to combat anything that threatens my path, and that is the simple act of breathing.
Note: This blog was published as an article in the 10/06/2016 edition of the Kinney County Post.