We All Need An 'In Color' Conversation, While We Still Can

We All Need An 'In Color' Conversation, While We Still Can

The best way to keep memories is to pass them down.

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I love country music, especially a little older country music that tells a true story. One of my favorite songs from any genre is "In Color" by Jamey Johnson. It's one of the most relatable songs for anyone from any background. As you listen to it you feel the descriptions and the emotions Johnson is trying to get across.

Jamey Johnson - In Color YouTube

The song starts out with a grandkid asking about a picture and if it's his granddad. A simple question that can start a vast conversation and pass down memories of old times. This specific picture causes the grandfather to start speaking on the tough times in the 1930s and life on a cotton farm. For me, I can feel the same way that Johnson felt hearing the memories his grandfather passed down to him because my grandfather has told me the same memories about growing up in the south in the 1930s on a large piece of farmland.

The second verse goes into the grandfather showing a picture of him and his tail gunner Johnny McGee. He gives the information that McGee is a teacher from New Orleans and he had his back throughout the war. Though my granddad has never gone into anything that happened overseas in Korea, he will tell you stories for days about Camp Roberts in California. There's even a large picture of Camp Roberts hanging in his house. It's understandable he won't talk about what happened overseas because some Veterans will just tuck it away and it's how they handle it; however, hearing the tales about his basic training, his time on a boat headed overseas, and seeing pictures in his uniform still mean a lot to me.

My favorite story he talks about is how he was used to running the fields on a farm just outside Phenix City and was used to running in the heat, but the guys from up north(especially Chicago and New York) would drop like flies from the dry California heat.

The third and final verse describes a picture from their wedding. According to the granddad, it was a hot June that year before telling how red the rose was and how blue her eyes were. For most anyone, you will hear about your grandparents' wedding day and possibly see some pictures. My granddad to this day still talks about how blonde my grandmother was back then. It just helps bring my emotions more into the song.

The one thing Johnson does say in the song that most people feel when hearing these stories or looking at black and white pictures is "A pictures worth a thousand words, but you can't see what those shades of gray keep covered, you should have seen it in color." There's a lot of stories I've heard from either my parents or grandparents and wished I could have been there.

The music video for the song is so simple as well yet one of the best music videos I have ever seen. It starts in Black and white with Jamey Johnson sitting on a stool playing an acoustic guitar surrounded by hundreds of black and white pictures. It just brings the entire vibe of the song together. After the second chorus, the video starts to change from black and white to colorized and you see the pictures in their true colors.

The first time I had a true "In Color" conversation my step-granddad on my mom's side who was the only granddad I had known for that side of the family was declining in health. I was 9 or 10 and an in-home nurse had been talking to him about all his life experiences and told me to go in and talk to my Paw Paw about them. I learned about his father died when he was 14 by getting kicked by a mule and about his many years of service in the National Guard. At that time I never realized how major that was but as I look back those are the moments I cherish and I will pass down those memories as well as the numerous times he'd run your feet over with his electric scooter.

In eighth grade, I did a project on my dad's father and pulled out a box of old black and white pictures. These pictures ranged from him as a boy, his great grandfather, his first car, him in his service uniform, on up to him in suits on his business trips for the Columbus mills. I was older then and around the time I cherished learning more about his life and wish I knew where that box was just to have a look again.

A couple years ago around my 21st birthday, I had an "In Color" conversation with my mother about my dad looking through pictures while drinking Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill wine. It had almost been two years since my father's death and though I'd had plenty of conversations about his high school days on the football field playing for ol' Dickie Brown to stealing Mr. Gays Batmobile to getting three licks pretty often. I'd even heard these stories from different friends of his from high school and hearing different sides makes you feel more and more like you were there. As we sat there looking at pictures my mom told my wife Sarina who hadn't heard many of the stories and I knew and old stories about her life and my dad's life till 4 in the morning.

In conclusion, pictures can be passed down from generation to generation but unless you go through and talk about them then you won't pass down the story happening in the pictures. It is especially important just to sit down with a grandparent, a parent, an aunt or uncle, or an elder from your church or community to learn wisdom and about their life. I've had times I'll see an older couple or just an elder sitting alone at a restaurant and will pay for their meal(even if you can tell they have the money it's just a respect thing) or just talk to them. It can usually make their day and make them happy to share about their life with you if they don't have anyone else to. So let's keep the memories alive!

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To My Boyfriend's Mom

He loves you more than you could ever imagine...
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Without you, there would not be a him, so first things first, thank you.

1. Thank you for teaching him to love a woman the right way, to put God first, and YOU before me always, the respect he shows you is so attractive, and you deserve it.

He talks about you like you hung the moon, I don't doubt for a second that he will be an amazing father one day, I owe all of that to you.

2. Thank you for giving me a chance, learning to love me when you knew your son was doing the same.

I can't speak for my own first impressions, but hopefully mine was not THAT bad...when we both slapped him on the arms for his rude remark at the same time, I knew our relationship was already blossoming.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

3. Thank you for every meal you have ever purchased me.

And chocolate, and candy...you know just as well as your son does that food is the way to my heart. Especially Taco Bell and cheesecake ;)

4. Thank you for your advice, suggestions, and opinions...and asking for mine

Whether it's telling me to slap him for being a smart a$$, or you're asking me about color swabs for your kitchen makeover, you come to me as if I am your own, and I am so honored to give you my own input.

5. Thank you for including me

You never fail to leave a spot for me, and I love family dinners/outings with you guys just as much as I love my own!

6. Thank you for teaching your son to never give up, and that if he does it is only to better himself, or it's the only choice he has left.

He is so focused on his future, he wants the best for himself, and he is constantly reminding me that these are things that YOU taught him, you deserve to be so proud.

7. Thank you for letting him love my family, and allowing me to love yours.

He is so loyal and loving to my family, and I don't even have to ask myself why because I see him with you and yours. Thank you for letting us double up on holidays when we can, and making sure we get the most out of our time with you!

8. Thank you for being his best friend.

I think of him as mine too, but I couldn't think of a better person to also hold that title, you know him better than anyone else and you always will.

9. Thank you for teaching him how to treat a woman

He is constantly telling me "You sound like my mother." Thankfully earlier in our relationship, he told me that the woman he wants to be with, should do just that. He always tells people who try, "No, no one calls me by my full name except my mom and my girlfriend."

10. Thank you for your honesty

We all know that he and I can drive you crazy sometimes, thank you for telling us like it is, and making sure we know you still love us anyways.

SEE ALSO: 8 Tiny Lies Every Young Woman Has Told Their Best Friend

11. Thank you for teaching him to work as hard as possible in anything and everything he does.

I have never met anyone with such a desire for success, he and I are constantly discussing how we can better our futures, and I know exactly where his drive comes from.

12. Thank you for teaching him to clean up after himself

Even though sometimes, it takes him a minute to do so.

13. Thank you for teaching him how to love, and letting him love me.

I have never felt so loved by a man, probably because anyone else who came into my life was just a boy. Thank you for your unconditional love for him, he is your entire heart and that is so easy to see, I am happy to share his with you.

You and I both know that even years from now we will both occasionally probably be closing the fridge that he left open, cleaning the crumbs he dropped, demanding he take a shower after playing soccer, or reminding him 20 times about plans we made weeks ago, we both share such a great love for such an amazing man. I could never be more thankful that you brought forth into this world such a comforting, supportive, protective, steadfast, driven, handsome, and hilarious guy. Thank you for everything you do for him, for me, and for us, I love you a lot!

Cover Image Credit: casey

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Dear Mom And Dad, I Couldn't Have Done College Without You

For all the tearful phone calls, threats to drop out and moments of self-doubt, I have to thank my parents for always believing in me.

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Reaching my final year in college has made me very nostalgic and has led me to reminisce, often, on the experiences each year which brought me to where I am now. Looking back, college was no cake walk. I had many difficult experiences, I struggle academically and I went through many things that forced me to reevaluate who I was, who I wanted to become and how I was going to get there.

Through a school transfer, a change in major and every challenge I've faced in the past four years, there has been one constant: the unconditional love and support of my parents.

My parents have always taken an active interest in my student life. My mom is a grade school teacher and has always pushed my sister and me to be the best students we could be. When we were young, my parents always read to us before bed and it wasn't long before they had us reading to them instead. Because my parents had us reading early, I was reading on a third grade level in the first grade and always excelled in language arts subjects in school.

My parents have also been adamant about knowing what is going with our studies and they still are, despite both my sister and I, being in college.

They're always asking us if we have tests coming up and about what we're studying in our classes. Sometimes, the constant checking-in can feel a bit like helicopter-parenting but, knowing that my parents are taking an interest in my education and want to make sure I am successful is really what has pushed me through college.

I've doubted myself many, many times throughout my time in college.

When I transferred schools, I found that my academics were much more difficult at the College of Charleston than they had been at my previous university. I was a biology major at the time and found myself struggling with academic requirements, my course load and the difficulty level of most of the courses I was enrolled in.

This was during my sophomore year and every time I called home in tears because I was overwhelmed, stressed and wanting to drop out - a frequent occurrence during this time - my parents were always there with words of encouragement and advice for success.

It was my parents who suggested I consider changing my major, which I did the next year, and this changed my whole outlook on my ability to succeed in college.

Now, as a psychology major, I am enrolled in courses that interest me and, thus, challenge me to a level that I can succeed at. I never would have considered changing my major had my parents not suggested it. I thought I knew what my future career would be and I thought I needed to follow the specific plan I had in order to get there. One of the most important lessons I have learned in college, however, is that the whole point of college is to find your path and most people start in one place but, many of them end up in a very different place than they began in.

College is this whole, wild, unpredictable, exciting experience of change and self-discovery.

It is definitely not easy and the journey to finding your path is not all sunshine and rainbows. The things you experience, the people you meet and the things you learn, both academically and socially, will help you learn what you want, what you need and to develop a plan to get you there. Hopefully, you have parents who are as supportive, encouraging and caring as mine are.

Through the hardships, times of self-doubt and the many changes you will go through, you can lean on your parents for guidance, advice and for a soothing voice to help you stay sane.

I never would have made it to where I am now without my parents, both in college and in my life as a whole. Today, I am graduating with a degree in psychology, intentions to go to graduate school, to get my doctorate, to conduct research and, in the long-term, to become a professor teaching students the subject that I am so passionate about.

I no longer doubt my intelligence nor do I doubt that I am capable of achieving my goals and, for this, I have my parents to thank.

Mom and Dad, I do not say it nearly enough but, I couldn't have gotten to where I am without you. The lessons you've taught me and your undying, unconditional love, encouragement and support have made me the woman I am today. I hope I have made you proud and that I continue to do so as I continue to grow into the person I am meant to be. Thank you for all you have done, still, do and will likely do in the future. You're the best parents in the entire world and I love you both very much.

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