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Leila S. Case: Put the good times on hold for now

Laissez les bons temps rouler.
Yes, that’s what I said Tuesday — let the good times roll and they did. Rolled up and laid away until the Thursday before Easter Sunday. Lent — all 40 days of it — is here.
The man-who-reads-over my shoulder and I shared the last of his birthday cake and ate the final stack of pancakes at Calvary Episcopal’s Shrove Tuesday pancake supper but all that’s been put aside for now.
Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day collided this year — so how do you handle that? Gingerly.
As I prepared for the season of Lent, I reflected on past experience that it was almost impossible for me to give up sweets or an occasional glass of wine. Therefore, I looked at who I am and decided to focus on where I was being led.
One path I determined is to make time for a regular program of exercise at the gym. Sidewalk walking is too risky. The treadmill is safer.
Speaking of the gym, the man on the treadmill next to mine at Southwest Georgia Fitness Center struck up a conversation earlier this week. Timothy Perry is his name. He was completing a steady hour’s walk on the machine and seemed to want to chat. Fine I thought. Walking on a tread mill is boring. It helps to pass the time when someone strikes up a conversation.
Perry doesn’t look like he did this time last year. But how do you know, you wonder, since I’d not met him before? He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket to show me how overweight he looked before he committed to a steady program of exercise.
“I weighed 389 in that picture,” Perry said, pointing to the image on his phone. “Today, I weigh 279 pounds,” he said wiping sweat from his brow. I learned how to add and subtract in second grade, so by my calculation Perry has lost 110 pounds in a year’s time. Good for him.
“I had diabetes and high blood pressure,” he confessed. “But I don’t anymore.”
I smiled and congratulated him and though I’m not a medic, just a long-time caregiver to my children as well as their children, I told him to keep it up.
“Oh, yes ‘mam,” replied Perry. “My doctor told me before I began to exercise and eat right I would die sooner than later.”
Through the chance meeting with a stranger I realized he practiced one of meanings of the Lenten season. A year ago, Perry looked into who he was, where he had been and focused on the future. It changed his life.
Another classic case is the story Ruth Sanders of Americus recounted to DAR members about how her father, the late Herbert Moon, came to terms with the horrors he experienced in World War II.
Meanwhile, congratulations to Carol and Jimmy Norton who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last weekend.
And smile and say hello to Wes and Mary Catherine Gaston and daughters, Lily, 3, and Emma, one, who have recently moved here. Wes is joining his father, James Gaston, in farming.
Long-time friends Jan Harrell, former Americus resident Lynn Ansley of Gainesville, Lisa Whitaker and Christy Ward enjoyed the Kid Rock concert at the Infinite Arena in Duluth last Friday, where they also saw Faith Pinnell and Marylynne Joiner. The former group stayed in Atlanta’s Buckhead area for the remainder of the weekend where they enjoyed dining, shopping and, of course, chatting.
Joy Mills of Leslie was recently honored for her birthday at a dinner party at the Windsor Hotel’s Rosemary & Thyme that Joy says was a huge surprise. Hosts were Joy’s children: Kelly Mathis Tanner and friend Dennis Taylor of Americus, Brian Mathis of Atlanta, Quinn Mathis of North Carolina, Barry and Bettina Mathis of Atlanta, Jennifer Mathis Swain of Palm Harbor, Florida, and Liz Mills Samuy of Dothan, Alabama. Also attending were six of Joy’s 17 grandchildren and her cousin Tom Holman.
Celebrating Valentine’s with dinner at Rosemary & Thyme were Jim and Penny Bolin, Dianne and Tom Harrison, Randy and Nancy Jones, Sparky and Alleen Reeves and Stick and Elise Miller.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.