Monday, November 25, 2019

You Had Me At Hello

by 2016-2019 Creative Nonfiction Editor Susie H. Baxter

In the 1996 film Jerry Maguire starring Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger, she uttered a line that I and many others would never forget: "You had me at hello."

Likewise, Hugh E. Suggs, author of "From One Field to Another" in the 2019 Bacopa Literary Review contest, had me at hello:
The afternoon they took Daddy away to die at the VA, I just sat stunned beside that leased hospital bed in the Florida room we'd built together. The shape in the disheveled mattress, way too small for the void left behind.
From the last words of that introduction, I assumed I was about to read a poignant portrait of a beloved father who was missed deeply, and the story did not disappoint. Suggs continued painting a picture of his daddy with a a vivid brush as he showed how perseverance and optimism pulled his young father through hard times.
Daddy became good at looking ahead, to where he was going. That was all he could do in all those fields plodding behind that mule. That, and hold on tight. Because there was one thing for sure, there'd always be more dirt to plow and better days, somewhere ahead. Days when no one would beat him. Days without hunger in hollow places. Some that ached, others that pinched. But despite every injustice he'd suffered, every time he felt the strain of it all, he just kept believing. And he later reminded me--that you, and the rows you plow in this life, must not get bent.
That paragraph resonated with me since my own father, a farmer, endured some of the same trials as the father in this story, and mine was also adamant that his rows be arrow straight.

I was pleased to nominate "From One Field to Another" for First Prize in Creative Nonfiction and delighted that it came from Writers Alliance of Gainesville's own Hugh E Suggs.

If you have not read this piece in Bacopa Literary Review 2019 (pp. 136-140), check it out!

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