Nicholas and Peggy at his wedding rehearsal supper, May 16, 2010.

“It’s Friday”  weekly column by Peggy Walker, R.D.

It’s a new day

(Editor’s Note: Panolian columnist Peggy Walker returns to her spot today after taking a brief leave following the death of her son Nicholas.)

Your thoughtfulness and concern has been overwhelming these last four weeks as have all the events in our family’s lives since September 19.    Your calls, texts, messages, cards, prayers, food, memorials, and thoughts have filled our lives when we needed them the most. 

Batesville is full of good people.  I’m so glad we moved to Batesville and raised our boys here.   You all helped to make them the young men I have been so proud of for 34 years and for that I’m forever grateful.  I’m not sure if I’ll be back every week yet or not, but I knew it was time to write this column.

Rita asked “what day is it?” when she filled in for me.  And I’ve been thinking about that.  I decided to let Nicholas answer that question, so bear with me today.

On his first day, Nicholas was alert, awake and looking around at everybody and everything going on.  A true sign of things to come.  He always wanted to know what everyone was doing and how things were going.  We often called him Nosey Nick.

 Only a few days into kindergarten Nicholas came home and announced that he was not going back.  He said he’d just wait and go to college.   And, that’s about what he did, even though he had great teachers and principals for 12 years, he actually didn’t like school until he started on a master’s degree (to our surprise) and then he loved it! 

He began to enjoy reading and found his niche at Mississippi State.  And even better he married a reading teacher.  He’d say it was a great day to love what you do and to love to read to your little boy!
If it was a family vacation day he’d sit up as far as his seat belt would stretch in the back seat behind DW.  He’d throw out questions nonstop: “how much further,” “what time will we get there,” “what are going to do when we got there,” “how long are we staying,” and “what are we doing when we get home?”  Nicholas believed every day was a good day to plan ahead, though he often wore us down with his questions.  He hardly ever missed a day asking me what I was doing and what my plans were.

If it was a Sunday, Nicholas would say it was the day to attend Sunday school and church. In fact he’d say whenever the doors were open it was the right day to go.  He’d tell you men out there that today is the day to step up and become the spiritual leader of your family.  He didn’t shy away from taking his responsibility seriously from the first day of his five-year marriage to Laura.

If it was a cold, wet day he’d say it was a good day to go duck hunting.  He’d call his much loved Uncle Benny to see if they could meet at the duck hole.

If it was a work day, he’d be there, at our house, at Zachary’s, at church, at the camp, or at a friend’s.  He, Danny and Zachary built decks, steps, storage buildings, sheds, fences.  They enjoyed a good day’s work together.  Growing up he seldom let his daddy out of his sight, so he learned to work and be handy.
If it was Election Day, Nick would tell you to go vote.  He kept up with politics and local events and valued our American freedoms.  He loved his on-line subscription to the Panolian and he often knew all the news before I did on paper day.

When the weather changed, he’d be prepared for that day with a collection of coats, jackets, and boots in his truck.  We often kidded him about his traveling wardrobe. But he always had what he needed.

On warm sunny fall days, Nick would say it was a good day to take a drive to look at the cotton in the fields, take Mack to a pumpkin patch, enjoy a fire in his chiminea with friends, or help Laura out with her school activities.  He loved being out and about and busy with his family and friends and in his community.

Nicholas believed that any day was the right day to be a good husband and to love his Laura, to be a hands-on daddy to his sweet two-year-old, Mack.   He also knew that any day was the right day to be a good neighbor, a conscientious employee, a loyal friend, and a respectful, loving son.

And, Nicholas showed us that every day is the right day to let your light shine.  We were totally overwhelmed when over 600 people came to his visitation with sweet, touching, sometimes funny stories of his life.  What a comforting day that was for us.

And, finally, I realized that each day is a new day now, different, but not so different, when one of our nephews hugged me after the funeral and said, “I’ll see you Thanksgiving, Aunt Peggy.”  My goodness, I thought, Nicholas wouldn’t want us to miss that day. He loved family traditions.  So of course we’ll have Thanksgiving and we’ll celebrate and be thankful for every day of his precious life.

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