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home : opinion : columnist April 12, 2021

4/4/2021 6:31:00 AM
Music to a Mother's Ear

Paulette Ballard
Guest Columnist


Knowing calories jump on my hips as I walk through a room where food is cooking, I decided I didn’t want to become “fluffier” as the days go by now that I’m retired. Therefore, I bit the bullet and decided to join a gym. (Trust me, I tried to think of any excuse good enough to get out of it because I dislike exercising as much as I dislike snakes!)

I began going to the Silver Sneaker Senior Citizen workouts at Rock Fitness. This is offered free as part of my supplemental insurance, consequently I signed up. There are anywhere from 45 to 75 of us in the classes which meet on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 10:15 till 11:00.

I didn’t know anyone in the class when I joined, but I’ve met some really enjoyable people and each week I try to get to know at least a few more of them. 

One of the ladies I met drew me to her immediately with her friendliness and brilliant smile. Her name is Cammie Hackney and she and her husband are there for almost every class.

When asked what had happened in her life that she would never forget, she gave me the following story.

“I have one son, Joshua, who will be 21 years old in a few weeks.  When he was born he had a bilateral cleft lip and palate, which means his oral cavity was completely open from his mouth to the top of his nose. At the time of his birth we were told he would never talk and if he did learn to talk, more than likely we wouldn’t be able to understand what he was saying.

At eleven months of age Joshua took his first steps and at thirteen months he said his first word which was Da Da. We were so happy because he did this without any speech therapy. Once he began talking, there was no stopping him and within 3 months he was talking in complete sentences. We felt truly blessed that God had been so good to us.

Then began the operative procedures he needed and before he reached the age of eight he had undergone fourteen reconstructive surgeries at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

My most memorable moment was the first time he sang publicly. I was completely blown away at the beautiful voice I was hearing. My heart was singing right along with him.

Joshua is now in college at High Point University and sings in the chapel choir, which is an audition only choir.  They sing at worship services and also at school functions. He has sung solos in church and had sung in the high school choir.  He is studying strategic communications, which includes marketing and public relations. I hope he knows how proud I am of him.”



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