It’s hard to watch the tail wag the dog, even if the dog’s a cute one.
By Carole Townsend

I love children. I say that without equivocation or hesitation, and I’ve felt that way for as long as I can remember. I think children are charming, hopeful, passionate, exciting, innocent little creatures, and they are to be treasured.

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Carole Townsend

Are you full? I am. I’m full of turkey and dressing of course, but I’m also full of love, hope, and promise as well. I think it’s safe to say that our family enjoyed our best Thanksgiving ever this past week, and for that, I’m also full of gratitude. All of our children were here, and our granddaughter was here too, enjoying her first Thanksgiving ever.

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Food. Is there another word in the Southern English Dictionary that stirs as much emotion in us? I doubt it. Here in Dixie, we console our loved ones with it. We console ourselves with it. We celebrate with food. We entertain with food. We eat when we’re bored, and we eat when we’re excited. Food, and its skillful preparation, are as much an art form to us Southerners as are painting and music.

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The strangest thing just happened to me, and I’m reminded that even though this is hands-down my favorite time of year, this is also the season during which scam artists crawl out of the woodwork. Sad, I know, but we must be realists if we are to get by in this world. 

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Ah, change. I believe it’s what keeps us on our toes, keeps things interesting and sometimes, it keeps them exciting. For whatever reason, my husband and I are in a season of change these days, and I like it. Professionally and personally, this has been a year of sweeping transformation.

Not even a year ago, I could not have written those words without breaking out into a cold sweat and breathing into a paper bag. I loathed change. The mere thought of it made me physically sick. Someone, somewhere wrote a book titled, “Don’t Move My Cheese,” or something like that. That book could have been my biography. I am a half-century-old creature of habits that are almost as old. Routine and sameness make me feel comfortable and secure. Now, I understand that my routines and reluctance to change were not helping me live my life; they prevented me from living it. Call it a mid-life crisis, but I have seen the error of my ways.

Among the many changes that have taken place this year, I am thrilled to be able to say that I am now a proud contributor to the area’s beloved Gwinnett Citizen newspaper, a publication dedicated to the upside of community. Gwinnett has been home to my family and me for nearly thirty years, and we love it here. My husband and I met here. We got married here. Our church is here. It’s the only home our children have ever known. This community matters to us and for that reason, we are all-in when it comes to adding whatever we can to it.

I won’t bore you with a lot of details, but my husband has been a small business owner here for about fifteen years. I am an author, and I love what I do. I am also a columnist, and I love that part of my job, too. Our four children are all in their twenties now, grown and walking their own chosen paths. It’s very cool to see who each of them has become, and we feel very fortunate when we get to spend time with them.

We have four (yes, four) dogs, all rescues. I hope that’s not some kind of ordinance violation. If it is, make that three dogs, and one very tiny creature called a long-haired Chihuahua. She hardly counts as an entire dog. Anyway, the canine members of our family pretty much run the house, and they let us live there in exchange for food, treats, and the occasional trip to the vet.

Now that the formalities are out of the way, let’s talk turkey. I want this column to be about the things that matter to all of us: family, jobs, neighbors, community, you name it. I want it to be a source of help, humor, common sense and compassion. In my humble opinion, life is a whole lot easier when you have those four things on your side.

Well, that’s my brief introduction, and I’m sticking to it. I hope you’ll look for this column in the Gwinnett Citizen every week, and I hope you’ll comment and contribute when you see fit. Together, we just might figure a few things out. At the very least, we’ll have a few laughs. In my experience, those never hurt anyone.

Carole Townsend is a Gwinnett author and freelance writer. She writes about family, from both an outlandish and poignant perspective. Her newest book, MAGNOLIAS, SWEET TEA AND EXHAUST (July 2014, Skyhorse Publishing) takes a look at NASCAR from a Southern suburban mom’s perspective. She is currently writing her fourth book. Carole has appeared on local and national news and talk shows, including CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates. When she’s not writing, Carole travels throughout the region, speaking to various civic and literary groups, and advocating for the health and well-being of the family, particularly women and children. For more information, visit http://www.caroletownsend.com.