GEORGIA: Allison Glock said, “To be born a Southern woman is to be made aware of your distinctiveness. And with it, the rules. The expectations. These vary some, but all follow the same basic template, which is, fundamentally, no matter what the circumstance, Southern women make the effort. Which is why even the girls in the trailer parks paint their nails. And why overstressed working moms still bake three dozen homemade cookies for the school fund-raiser. And why you will never see Reese Witherspoon wearing sweatpants. Or Oprah take a nap.”
But then Allison added, “Southern women can say more with a cut of their eyes than a whole debate club’s worth of speeches.”
In my life, I have encountered many a Southern woman – as family members ,friends, teachers, bosses and neighbors. And I can honestly say, Connie and Allison both had it right.
As March is Women’s History Month, The Murphy Gazette has celebrated by sharing stories from people about women who have impacted their lives in some way.
In reflecting on this very topic, and specifically thinking of some women in the south – in particular Georgia who make a difference in the lives of the people they are around, I couldn’t not include a story about the following:
Tammy B. Yearty, Gina E. Thomas, Jennifer D. Emery, Scarlett Driggers, Diana Itson, Mary Beth Pelt, Jennifer Knight and Agnes Berryhill are as different as the day is from night, or however that saying goes.
Yet, each one of them in their own unique way has left a ‘footprint’ – not literally though Agnes and Scarlett might have been close in doing so in trying to keep me straight (smile) – in my life’s adventure.
Tammy Yearty grew up in Cochran as the daughter of a high school coach, Larry Barlow, and his wife, Dianne. For years, Mrs. Dianne worked at the college in our community. Tammy followed in her dad’s footsteps and became an educator – though she is an elementary school teacher. She is also happily married to Dusty and the proud momma of two growing boys. Tammy’s kids in her class just love Mrs. Yearty – for as one told me, ‘she makes us all feel like we matter.’
Tammy and I met when I moved to town at the age of nine. Our friendship was instant, and though, as we grew older, we did different things from each other, she has always remained loyal – making me feel like I matter.
Gina Thomas excelled academically in high school and college. For years, she also worked at the local college, and was deemed to be very resourceful and dependable. She and her husband have two children – a daughter and a son. Now, Gina is impacting lives as the community librarian, and has proven to be an asset in assisting people of all ages and walks of life in utilizing the library as a benefitial tool in their lives. For me, as a friend, no matter where life took us, Gina taught me to take a step back and look at the big picture of things, and then break it down. Her influence has always been calming.
Jennifer Knight – I don’t know anyone in Bleckley County who doesn’t know Jennifer or have a healthy respect for Jennifer and her skills as the clerk and associate judge in the Bleckley County Magistrate Court. If you want something done or need to know something, Jennifer is the ‘go-to-girl.’ Her heart is in helping others – not just in her job, but also off hours as she tends to friends with ‘favors.’ She has always taken time – no matter what
Jennifer Emery is a mom of three, a wife and an artist living in northwest Georgia. We met thanks to social media when mutual friends were going through some hard times, and a bunch of us were helping them out. Jennifer has a passion for service – be it through her church or in the community or the art world. Her creativity has been something I have admired for a long time, but her mission heart and perseverance, and honesty is something that myself and others would do well to copy. Though that would be hard – Jennifer is an original.
Diana Itson – what can one say about Diana? Spirited, honest to the core and fiercely protective of those who she loves, Diana has a tender heart for the underdogs in our world – and I don’t just mean humans either. I got to know Diana when her youngest became sick and needed surgery. I watched Diana, even though it was an overwhelming time, sit and comfort others while her daughter was in intensive surgery. I heard her talk about faith and watched her courage and trust in God envelope her when she and her husband and family were faced with the unknown. Others would have crumbled. Not Diana.
Mary Beth Pelt was built to be a helper of people – especially little people. She works with children as an assistant in classrooms in northwest Georgia, and is active in her church’s ministry for youth and worship. MBP, as I call her, takes a strong stand for God, and has no qualms in telling others how God has helped her and can help others. Her sense of humor and inner joy is so infectious, and has impacted others, including myself positively. She is a stand-up momma too – allowing her daughter and son be the individuals they are supposed to be, and does the same for her husband. She deserves an A+!
Agnes Berryhill has been in my life for at least all of the 40 years we have lived in Georgia. I am not sure exactly how or when our lives exactly intertwined, but when they did – it was a good thing for me. I had a friend, a mentor and a ‘big sister,’ if I needed her. As a businesswoman and a momma and grandma, Agnes is straight up honest – sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming to those who don’t get it. Her honesty comes from deep within her – and her heart is filled with the passion for following what God calls her to. Her faith foundation came from her beautiful momma, Mrs. Shirley, who was just a precious heart here on earth when she was with us. Agnes and her husband have a son and daughter, and they gave me my ‘first babysitting job,’ and I loved being a part of that – because I saw just how good parents they were.
Scarlett Driggers is married to Mark, and they have one daughter, and are grandparents – young grandparents. Scarlett is a counselor at one of the elementary schools in Dodge County. Not only does she work with her kids at school, Scarlett has always been involved with kids through her church and through her husband’s gym. Everyone loves ‘Ms. Scarlett’ for her generous spirit, and her bravery in tackling all that life offers. She is an encourager and her laugh – Scarlett could make the Grinch become a happy Grinch. Her example has inspired me in looking for the good in every day moments.
All of them are True Southern (Georgia) women – women of influence making their own history in good ways!
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