Gentle On My Mind

I’ve known Adrienne Wall for more than eight years. We met when she enrolled in a seminar that my wife, Christina, and I, facilitated at a retreat center near Huntsville, Alabama. Adrienne didn’t know exactly what she wanted but she was real clear about what she didn’t want. To her credit, she wanted to change her life and she was willing to do the work to make that happen.

I believe that “most” people on the planet would like to change their life. Many even give the idea of a changed life a lot of lip service. The number willing to do the work is small. Adrienne Wall is one of that small group of individuals. Within weeks of attending the workshop she relocated from Tallahassee, Florida to Huntsville, Alabama and she began the process of creating the life that she wanted, in spite of the fact that she had no idea of what that would like.

A year or so later we told her that we were going into the children’s portrait business. She said, “I can do that.” To make a five year old story a bit shorter, she did do that, and in the process she became one of the best, if not the best, photographer of children, in our part of the world. You can see her work at Adrienne Wall Photography – when you browse her pictures you’ll know that I haven’t exaggerated.

Children love her and remember her long after she has taken their photo. Sometimes I go back to a day care with their photos and they are disappointed that it’s me arriving and not Adrienne. Seldom am I at a center where at least one child doesn’t run up and shout, “BOO!” at the top of their voice. Adrienne taught them that with the instruction, “I bet you can’t say ‘Boo’ and scare me. She has a collection of things she tells them to get them to laugh: like “Your daddy wears panty hose,” or “Stinky cheese,” and a dozen other things that they love. She tickles them with a feather and blows bubbles for them, but mostly, she gives them an unexpected shot of love and joy.

Last week when I checked into the Quality Inn, at Batesville, Mississippi, I mentioned to the new manager, Simo Sayagh, my partner, Adrienne Wall, had stayed at the motel the week before. He remembered her well, searched his mind, smiled slightly, and said, “Oh yes. She is so gentle.”

If asked, before my conversation with Simo, for a word to describe Adrienne I don’t know what that word would have been. Now I know that “gentle” is perfect. The dictionary defines gentle as: Kind and careful in the way you behave or do things, so that you do not hurt or damage anyone or anything. Now, if I were asked for a one word description of Adrienne Wall, I wouldn’t be able to think of any word expect gentle.

Adrienne is a delightful friend, a tireless partner, and sparkling light. She is also a huge Elvis Presley fan so I think it’s most appropriate to share Elvis and his version of Glen Campbell’s song, Gentle On My Mind.

Adrienne at Graceland

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One Response to Gentle On My Mind

  1. This is just about the best thing anyone has ever said about me! I am delighted. And for Simo to come up with that one word, and then to read the definition, is truly enlightening because I wasn’t conscious of it, yet it’s exactly how I feel from within. And to now be aware of it feels indescribable! Maybe there isn’t any better feeling than to know yourself. Also, most of the other one-word names I’ve been called haven’t been nearly so complimentary. That is an especially nice touch with the Elvis video. What a hunk. I’m listening to it right now.

    I love the post. “Thanks” just doesn’t seem to quite cover it.

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