David Treadwell

David Treadwell

When I started this column 18 months ago, I explained that the “Just a Little Old” title came from an exchange with my granddaughter Emma in 2005. We were at a wedding and Emma, then two and a half years old, said to me, “Dee, you’re old!” I pointed to my 92-year old dad and said, “Emma, I’m not old; now he’s old.” So she said, “Well, Dee, you’re just a little old.” It’s a tad tougher today to deny the “old” label. Describing my hair as “light black” no longer flies. The calendar doesn’t lie.

Today, 13-year-old Emma is an extraordinary young woman — violinist, writer, poet, runner, hoopster, speller, you name it. And she’s a nice person to boot. (Emma is actually my “step granddaughter” so I’m allowed extra bragging rights.) Anyway, our family gathering did the “Secret Santa” thing at Christmas, and I drew Emma’s name. I had no idea what to give her because she already has it all. So I wrote a funny letter to her about my impossible dilemma and gave her an Amazon gift certificate and some spending money.

Emma sent me a delightful thank you note, complete with a drawing of the remote control helicopter she bought on Amazon (not what I would have predicted) and several heart signs. She also joked that one can, in fact, buy tattoo stuff on Amazon, but she had resisted the temptation. (I had noted in my Christmas letter that I would have bought her a tattoo but that her parents might not have approved.)

The same day I got Emma’s great note, I got a wonderfully personal thank you email from the head of a non-profit organization, which I’ve supported in various ways.

Emma’s thank you note and that email got me to thinking about the immense power of a heartfelt “Thank you!” A handwritten thank-you is best, unless you have illegible handwriting like mine; even a well crafted email can have a huge impact if it rings human and true.

All this is a long way of saying “Thank you!” to everyone who reads this column, especially to those who take the time to comment by email or in person. I like it when someone says, “I enjoy your column even though I don’t always agree with it.” I love it when someone says, “David Treadwell. Thats sounds familiar. Are you the writer for the paper? I like what you write.” I’ve tried, not always successfully, to avoid sensitive issues, but some things just need to be said. I plan in the future to do more profiles of interesting people and worthy organizations. I hope, always, to provide something worth reading and, as important, to have a point. Remember that movie “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” during which the exasperated Steve Martin character says to the hapless John Candy character, “Have a point, just have a point. It’s so much nicer for the listener!”

And that, this week, is my point. Thank you!


David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary and ideas for future “Just a Little Old” columns at [email protected]

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