Mood: crushed out
Topic: "Southern Ladies" (5)
Joe Willie Namath in an interview for PLAYBOY was once asked for his feminine preferences. He answered "Southern girls," thereby ensuring the undying enmity of the Beach Boys and Farrah Fawcett ("See Joe Namath get creamed"). Frodo, on the other hand, has always been entranced by feminine warriors, and Rheta Grimsley Johnson is very high on his wish list.
Frodo first encountered her words in the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION when he found himself reading everything she wrote. He grew personally empathic with her tales of a young marriage on St. Simons Island that fostered through the struggles of the first years together, then collapsed as success took the partners further apart. Her return to the city too busy to hate, and her continuing presence on the newspaper built by Ralph McGill only whetted her appetite for the life she really desired. Eventually, she bought a cabin in the woods of Mississippi and started walking trails that had always been there, if only to wait for the prodigal to return. Words would follow.
Frodo remembers most a column she wrote about a young naturalist who had been stricken with terminal cancer. She captured his words and his gentle nature as he took every possible remaining moment and hiked along muddy streams and quiet forests. In such great pain that he was often unable to put one foot in front of another, he would stop long enough to admire one more flower. Frodo never knew the boy, but he cried that day, and later on when the young man's spirit carried him on to a high road.
It was a pleasant moment when Frodo noted the name of Rheta Grimsley Johnson in the Opinion Section of today's AJC. Entitled "Nobel Critics Are Far From Noble," she wrote ". . . Maybe there is at least some hope for world peace now that the United States of America has managed to elect a president with an IQ larger than his hat size who is willing to engage in open-minded discussion before rattling sabers, a man who will work with the United Nations instead of undermining it, a fellow whose eloquence and idealism could be used to work for good . . . Perhaps the Nobel Prize people were saying that this is the time and the opportunity and personality to aim for a better way in a nuclear age. And if that's not what a Peace Prize is all about, it ought to be."
Frodo has some very impressive friends in Mississippi (nearly all of whom, strangely enough, happen to be women), and many of them follow his words. He asks that if any of them should be out, mint julep in hand, taking in the final blossoms on this year's magnolia, and they happen upon the talented Ms. Grimsley Johnson, please ask her to sit a spell, and let her know that she has a fan who just happens to be a Hobbit.
In the future, Frodo will chronicle his on-going admiration for Cynthia Tucker, from the hometown of Harper Lee (and the location of the only monument ever dedicated to the boll weevil).