Looking at the bright side of life

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Husband-and-wife journalists Bob Miller and Callie Clark Miller share the same small house, tiny bathroom and even the same office. But not always the same opinion. The Southeast Missourian sweethearts offer their views on every-day issues, told from two different perspectives.

HE SAID: Callie and I call ourselves journalists, which is certainly up for interpretation. But a journalist is as a journalist does. And what most journalists do is focus on controversies.

Harriet Miers. Karl Rove. The war. Katrina.

And, if you've read our columns, you'll notice we too like to talk about controversies in our relationship.

But this week we'd like to talk about what's good. Just to be different. Just to be balanced. Just to see if we can.

As my son walked off the youth football field last week, the young quarterback smiled and laughed even though he had just suffered a 20-0 defeat.

He told a story about how he burped while saying "Set!" as in, "Down! BURP! Hut one!"

That was good.

My cute and talented wife had some problems with her heartbeat last week and ended up in the emergency room. Nothing was seriously wrong, but the incident will cost us hundreds if not thousands of dollars. I was, however, reminded of how much Callie meant to me.

That was good too.

Our finances have become extremely tight recently, but we managed to make it to another payday.

Whew. Very good.

Callie and I often drift back to the same topics. Our lack of time together. Our long hours at work. Problems with money. Problems with health. And too often we forget how good we've got it. We stress and we stress and stress some more.

Until one of us says something really dorky. And we laugh off our troubles. Laughter has a way of making things better. Laughter is good.

Drew got straight A's.

My younger brother made the honor roll and is playing well on his junior high basketball team.

The leaves. Warm sweaters. Bike rides.

Time. Companionship. Love.

I'm the worst at enjoying the good things in life. I should do better.

That would be great.

SHE SAID: Our own problems look minuscule in comparison with others'.

I wrote a story a couple weeks ago about a local woman who was dealing with her second bout of cancer.

Radiation therapy wasn't working, but Dawn Whitworth wouldn't give up hope because of two beautiful, blond-headed girls who called her "Mom."

Even confined to a recliner with tubes constantly hooked up to her body, there was a bright spot: an organization called the Dream Foundation was granting Dawn's wish to take her two daughters to Disney World.

They were set to leave Oct. 19, but never made it. Dawn passed away the day before.

After her husband e-mailed me this week with the news, I couldn't help thinking one of life's dirtiest tricks had been played on that family.

Dawn knew she had only about four months left to live. She was prepared, even if unwillingly to give up for the sake of her kids. And yet she couldn't have that one last happy memory.

Worse, her girls don't have that one last happy memory either.

But the capacity of others to come through tough situations with heads held high always amazes me. I saw that in the words Dwayne Whitworth wrote when he e-mailed me about Dawn's death.

"I hope a part of her will touch others and now she is with God. And with God's promise we will see her again someday."

Is there a brighter side than that?

Bob Miller is the newseditor and Callie Clark Miller is the features editor at the Southeast Missourian. Contact them at bmiller@semissourian.com or cmiller@semissourian.com.

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