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Hats Off    |    by
Column dedicated to sharing news about community activities, service projects, and other events that are important to the life of the residents of our "mountain."

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published on 04/28/2005

Hats our Sound Waves

By staff writer

Have you ever thought about how words you say or what actions you take impact others? Did you ever say something and wish instantly that you could take it back? You can’t. Not only is it said, but it may in fact continue to be heard for eternity. “Who knows the exact time a bell stops ringing? The sound waves keep expanding outward in space like ripples from a thrown stone,” according to author Drew Leder.

I love the opening of the movie “Contact” with Jodie Foster. I’ve never seen the whole movie, but the opening is great. The camera is focused on earth as seen from outer space. Sounds we hear are those coming from televisions, radios, stereos, computers and voices – so vast that it comes across as noise. As the camera backs farther out into space, the sounds become more audible, those of television and radio and the spoken words of languages around the world. Still farther out we hear early television and radio, and even farther out just radio, until we are so far away from earth that all we hear are the few words spoken through radio waves early in history. The implication here is that those first few words, although spoken many years ago, can still be heard somewhere in outer space!

What if the same were true about our actions? A perfect example is my grandmother, born in the early 1900’s, she died when I was six months old. I have only three memories of her. One is from my mother’s perspective, which is of a strict disciplinarian, set in her ways. The other is that she became blind late in life, suffered from vertigo, and died when she slipped in the bathtub and drown. Not very pleasant memories, right? And then a stranger visited a church in Baton Rouge five years ago as the guest preacher. The title of his sermon was “Everybody Should Have a Alice Nason in Their Life.”

According to this man, my grandmother was a champion to the underdog, especially him, encouraging my dad to stand up for him when the big kids in the neighborhood picked on him as a child. And then years later when my dad came home from boot camp and was headed to Europe during World War II, this man was privileged to see my grandmother kneeling beside my dad praying for his safety. Witnessing this action changed this man’s life, according to him, and thus he became an Episcopal priest.

Our communities are small and everything that happens impacts everyone whether it’s good news or bad. A friend once said that every time he opens a copy of the Signal Mountain Mirror, he can’t help but see a picture or read a story about someone he knows. That’s what it’s all about, folks. Telling our stories. Who knows? Maybe something that is said or done today will expand outwardly and eventually impact someone tomorrow, or next year …… or even fifty years from now.