Wednesday, January 22, 2014

...Lived to Speak Another Day

Lots of you know (and some of you don't) that I'm a middle-aged Deep Southerner in a second year of pursuing a degree in Culinary Arts Technology at Jones County Junior College.  It's a second go-round of higher education, the first attempt occurring almost three decades ago.  Remarkably and amazingly, all of the core curriculum credits from those college years transferred forward through time to land securely in this present day.  There was only one class missing:  speech.  I hemmed, hawed, begged, cited life experience for possible credit for the accursed class, and pled futuristic mental angst if made to take it. I should have saved my breath;  tonight was the first speech.

As far as speeches go it was to be short, of two to four minutes length.  Three items were to be brought, representative of who we are.  An attention-getting device, such as a favorite quote, was to begin the speech, along with naming and then explaining the different items brought.

These are mostly high school dual enrollment or first year college students.  There are only a handful of non-traditional students in the class and they're all younger with zero intimidation factor.  Most of the youngsters I know personally.  The large class was split in half so there were only 16 individuals in the later time slot, instead of the whole room full of giggling snorting texting students.  Did it matter, as far as nervousness was concerned?  Not one bit.   I don't fear death nearly as much as public speaking with a great amount of respect for both of them.

The two minute forty-nine second speech was made, a vibrato large enough to drive a Big Mac truck through developing at some point.  No notes were used, eye contact was made, words were not tripped over, pregnant pauses were non-evident, conclusion was conclusive; everything but introducing myself was remembered (and that was done at the end {and was the only 2 point deduction}).

So what'd I say?  I thought you'd never ask!  As well as can be remembered (it was kind of an out-of-body experience) here it is for you to enjoy or snicker at, permanently preserved in cyberspace.

Good afternoon!  I was going to begin with the well-known poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay that goes (suck in deep breath, quote poem with it) My candle burns at both ends, it will not last the night.  But oh, my foe, and ah, my friend, it gives a lovely light.  BUT upon reflection, I believe Freddie Mercury's apt lyric to be more suitable "Fat bottomed Girls you make the rocking world go round!"

The three items I've brought tonight are a Trinity Hymnal, official hymnal of the Presbyterian Church in America, and by extension, Leakesville Presbyterian Church; a photo of my two sons; and a clay statue by Dylan Karges, an archeological illustrator with the Cobb Institute at Mississippi State University.

The name of the hymnal is the Trinity Hymnal, readily identifying it as an object associated with the triune God that I serve.  It also has a trio of meaning attached to it.  The first is that is represents seventeen years worth of classical piano lessons and also 28 of 53 years as the pianist at Leakesville Presbyterian Church.  It secondly represents years and years of loving music, being able to identify rhythms and cadences and hear melodies surrounding me with musical texture all the time.  Thirdly, it holds, in the back of it, the positions of the Presbyterian Church in America as found in its Westminster Confession of Faith, Shorter Catechism, Apostle's and Nicene Creeds, and responsive Psalter readings.

The second item is a photograph of my sons, Michael and John Robert.  To borrow E. B. White's phrase from Charlotte's Web (as Charlotte is explaining to Wilbur what her egg sack was), they are my magnum opus, my greatest work.  I was not going to be a mother.  I'd taken the GRE and was headed to the University of Texas in Austin to pursue an advanced degree in paleontology.  I had nieces and nephews that I loved and that was enough.  Life intervened, fortunately.  I had sons and knew that raising them would be the most worthwhile endeavor ever undertaken.  Despite all my efforts at being a perfect nurturing mother of bodies, minds, and souls, they turned out to be delightful, intelligent, sometimes quite, often rowdy, caring, respectful Southern Gentlemen. I couldn't be prouder.

The last item is a funny little clay statue titled Facing Future.  It was part of a larger exhibition at one time and was a Mother's Day gift at a point in life where much introspection had been done and time was presenting itself to be moved in one direction or another.  The statue is kind of funky, individual from all the others created.  He leans forward, chin up, looking skyward, ready to step into the future.  It acted as a catalyst to do something, to go forward, to go into the future.  That's where I am.  It's one of my most treasured possessions.

In summation then, on this table there are three f's represented, but in a good way:  faith, family, and future.
My name is Mary Havard-McCoy and thank you very much!


  1. That was a great speech and I enjoyed reading every word. Tomorrow is the future and I predict yours will be wonderful....

  2. A really great speech, i'm sure your delivery was admirable, but i am fibding it hard to believe that any relative of Bill Havard's would have trouble speaking in public. I bet you were a natural.

  3. Sounds to me like you did a great job! You go girl!

  4. have really enjoyed your blog. Facebook just locked my account unless i show them i.d…….maybe bc i tried changing my name to Gid Get……idk? or i may have tried changing my birthdate to something obscure bc i didn't want my real info on there…….guess it doesn't work that way??? anyway, i guess i won't be commenting anymore. have really enjoyed my time on Facebook, but it felt like an addiction sometimes. maybe God wants me todo some other things?? anyway, i have enjoyed interacting on your page. i guess ill just come by here and look when i want to. :) my fb messed up some 1.5 years ago, but just the other day it looked like it was cleared up……..and then it hammed me with this……..anyway, congrats again to you on your continued success. :) we have to be able just to work in this life just to supply all our needs. i know God supplies everything, but we have to get out there and do stuff. :) but you have gone beyond that. I'm sure in your past jobs, you never went into it grudgingly. I'm sure you were a very good child care provider. and mother. and restaurant worker. and now you make beautiful cakes. :) and are planning for even greater things. :) i don't think ive ever succeeded that much in this life. and I've not always been very joyful…….:/ :) anyway, like i said, I've really enjoyed your page and positive life. :) remember me in your prayers if i don't talk to you again….:) ill come by here and look again……..:) robyn (Gidget), huntsville, alabama…….:) maybe ill have to try a blog again to find a place to write my thoughts………:) have a wonderful Lords Day……..:)