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Meeting and catching up with people always is special

Sometimes I feel like a gypsy. This is especially true at this time of year when I travel from city to city demonstrating how to go out and create something beautiful for the upcoming holidays.

@MA BodyRR:I also participate in several gift shows such as Market Place, Christmas Made in the South and this weekend’s Mistletoe Market in Perry. One of the things I love most about these appearances is all the people I get to meet.

I realize many of you already feel as if you know me from television, the Internet and my weekly columns. But, often times I have not had the pleasure to meet many of you. These holiday-themed venues allow me the chance to get to briefly speak with you and find out some of the ways you beautify your space.

These public events also present a great opportunity to see people from my past that I not seen in many years. It is always fun to catch up with old acquaintances and their families. Every time this “homecoming” happens in combination with meeting new people, I think of a childhood quote my mother taught me. It went like this: “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold!”

Whether gold or silver, it really doesn’t matter. To communicate with people is always special for me. That’s why I felt compelled to share with you one of my recent impromptu encounters. I was standing in my booth at a recent show when two ladies walked up to purchase one of my cookbooks. We chatted and then one lady asked me to sign a cookbook for her. I was more than happy to do so.

Upon returning the book to her, she asked me if I remembered who she was. This happens to me often. One of the things I have not mastered yet is the art of remembering people’s names. My wife has tried everything to teach me how to do this, but to no avail. From repeating their name several times to creating an image of an object in your mind to serve as a trigger, I have tried them all! Let’s just say, I am not a good student at this.

Being a very visual person, I can always remember a face. My brain just has problems connecting it with a name. If I have ever seen you before, I promise I will remember your face. However, I probably will not remember your name. Please forgive me. When you factor in how many people I meet, it is a losing battle. To be honest, I think I already had lost the battle long before I started meeting masses of people.

Standing in front of the lady, my mind began to swirl trying to remember from where I knew this pleasant woman. Decades passed by at record speed but still left me clueless. Seeing the befuddled look planted on my face, she decided to help me out.

“I was your third-grade teacher, Miss Coleman,” she said in a soothing voice. At that split second, I immediately was catapulted back to the third grade. It took me a moment to compose myself and then I smiled and gave her a hug.

“Of course, I remember you!” I exclaimed. “You were one of my favorite teachers.” She looked at me as though she was thinking, “I’ll bet you say that to all of your teachers.” But she was wrong. I most certainly did remember her.

She was the teacher who taught me how to write in cursive. I was a teacher’s pet of sorts and wanted so much to please her with perfect penmanship. I practiced and practiced making loops, crossing “t’s” and not going above the dotted line with the lower case letters. I memorized the “cursive border” that hung above our chalkboard and tried to mimic it exactly. Her teaching efforts paired with my need to have perfect cursive handwriting yielded great results. I had a beautiful handwriting.

Since then, the years of signing cookbooks, porcelain plates and prints have taken a toll on my once perfect penmanship. Telling her this, I felt the need to retrieve the cookbook I had just signed and do a new one to prove to her I could still write the way I did in third grade! I felt she was going to think less of me later when she opened her book. Do you think I still may be a people pleasing person?

My mind stayed in that third-grade classroom that afternoon long after my former teacher had gone. Part of me didn’t want to leave! I vividly remembered all sorts of things that had happened there when I was young. I smiled. You see, I can remember some things, just not names.


Ÿ Holiday programs with Mark: Friday-Sunday, Mistletoe Market, Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter, Perry. Join Mark and more than 90 other vendors in this annual holiday shopping event. Mark will present holiday wreath seminars at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Call 987-3085 for times and ticket prices.

Ÿ Check out Mark’s Web site,, for current projects, recipes and lots of other fun stuff for the upcoming holidays.

Ÿ “The Mark Ballard Show”: Watch Mark’s Thanksgiving show featuring a special guest on Cox Cable Channel 15.

Ÿ Mark’s on 24 hours a day. Current and archived videos, columns and articles are featured.

Mark Ballard’s column runs each week in The Telegraph. Send your questions to P.O. Box 4232, Macon, GA 31201; fax them to (478) 474-4930 or call (478) 757-6877.