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Getting to know your neighbor

Editor’s Note: Getting to Know  Your Neighbor is a regular feature spotlighting residents in Franklin County and how they look at certain things.

Name: Paula Lindsey
Hometown: Russellville,
Place of employment: I play piano at the First Baptist Church and teach piano lessons at Russellville Elementary School.

Q: What is the best thing about your job?
A: There are two wonderful things about my jobs: I get to use my gift of music each day, even on Mondays, and I work with young children who always tell you the truth. Some people hate going to work, but I am one of the lucky ones. I love what I do!

Q: If you weren’t in your current profession, what would be your ideal job and why?
A: The only thing that might be better than the job I have would be playing the organ for the World Series of Baseball.  Now THAT would be awesome. I think I could change the course of the ballgame!

Q: If you could change places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
A: When I think about changing places with someone for a day, I realize that most people would choose a celebrity or maybe someone famous, but I am a simple girl. I would love the opportunity to change places with my sweet mother. I would like to have, in my possession, wisdom about the days ahead and what to expect as I grow older. I think she might tell me to relish today and dream big no matter what age I am. That’s something we all should strive to do.

Q: If you could sit down to dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
A: I would choose my niece, Bridgette, who was taken from us when she was only 12 years old.  I’d like to hear her describe Heaven through a child’s eyes. Would she even be able to reveal the beauty, the wonder of it all? I can imagine the colorful adjectives and bright, wide eyes as she tells me about it. It’s something to ponder.

Q: What’s the best present you’ve ever received?
A: The best gift that I ever received, without a doubt, is my husband, Randy.  He is the person I run to with raw emotion. From sheer happiness to pure pain and grief, he has seen them all in me. He knows me so well. He once told me that he could tell my very mood by the song I was playing at the piano. God gave me a gift in him that I am not worthy of, but oh so thankful for.

Q: What is your favorite childhood memory?
A: I have many childhood memories but the one that jumps out at me at this moment is the day that my brother, Lynn, and I were playing “baptism.” We were dunking each other in the imaginary water on the sofa. I am pretty sure that Mother had warned us to stop it more than once, but as I dunked Lynn, he went down and somehow we knocked out his tooth! I’m sorry Lynn, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Q: What do you think of as your greatest accomplishment in life?
A: My greatest accomplishment in life is most certainly the parental raising of my two sons, Will and Adam. All I ever dreamed of being was a wife and mother and God gave me the opportunity to stay at home with them until they began school. Even now that they are grown, they continue to make me proud as a mother. I thank God that I get to be their mother every day, and a grandmother come October.

Q: If you only had one meal left, what would it be?
A: If I had only one meal left, I’d want to go for a big juicy steak somewhere. I know lots of people don’t eat beef, but I’m not sure I trust them!

Q: If you won a million dollars, what would be your first purchase?
A: My first purchase, after paying bills of course, would be a cabin somewhere in the woods where Randy and I could get away anytime we wanted. Not too far off though. The perfect place for a cabin would be deep in the woods about a mile away from the mall!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
A: I am considered a homebody and not much of a traveler, but I have always wanted to see the Northern Lights. They look so beautiful and colorful. I guess that’s why I love a kaleidoscope so much.

Q: If you were the President of the United States, what would be the first law that you would enact?
A: If I were President, the first law I would enact would be one that safely secures our borders. A nation that does not enforce its laws, in my opinion, is not sovereign. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t blame the people who are coming here illegally. Our own government is at fault for the problems we are facing as a nation. But I do think that securing our boarders is the first step of many that must be taken. A close second would be to help those who are already here find their path to citizenship of a country they risked everything to be a part of.

Q: If you were in local government, what things would you change in the area?
A: If I were a member of our local government I would want to put some city ordinances in place and enforce them so that our city is a beautiful place that people would want to visit. There are many people, like me, who have spent their whole lives here and want it to be a beautiful place for people to work and reside.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about Franklin County?
A: The thing I love most about Franklin County would be the wonderful friendships I have built by living here all these years.  A church family offers me a lifetime of those cherished friendships and through a band called Rewind of the Shoals I have friendships equivalent to four brothers and a sister. I could move somewhere else, but those cherished people would not be there and so it would never be the same.

Q: What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know?
A: Something that many people don’t know about me is that when I was seven, I had a terrible accident while riding my bicycle in my neighborhood. I fell on a pile of rocks and the rocks broke my skull and caused blood clots on my brain. After lying in the Russellville Hospital undiagnosed for a week, I was rushed to Birmingham for emergency brain surgery. They tell me that Dr. Terry rode with me in the ambulance that night and that it was raining cats and dogs. We now know that it was nothing short of a miracle that I survived that accident, but it was not my time to go and God had a plan for me.
Because of the nature of the surgery, my head was shaven, and for a little seven-year-old girl, that was traumatic! I can remember the day that Daddy brought my new wig to the hospital for me to wear home. It was okay, but not like having my “real” hair. I dreaded going home to face everyone. Dr. Brown told me that I could go out and play, but that I had to wear a football helmet to protect my head. I hated that helmet! It was so hot that summer and Daddy drilled holes in it so that it would be a little cooler for me, but as you can imagine, I spent most of my time indoors.
God laid it on Mother and Daddy’s heart to go and buy a piano. They hoped it would give me something to do with my time. I took to that piano like glue! I don’t remember this, but my mother tells me that on Wednesday nights at church, people would just gather around to hear my gift. I had had no lessons yet, but I could play anything I heard.  Still, I didn’t understand what I was doing.
The next year when I was in third grade, I got to start taking piano lessons at school. From the first lesson, I suddenly realized what music was and completely understood what I had been playing. It made perfect sense to me. I continued to take lessons for a few years and then just wanted to play what was on my heart. It was an escape for me then and continues to be one for me even today.
When I think of the implications of this story, it makes my eyes tear just a little. It makes me a firm believer that good things can come from bad, and that my God has a specific plan for each of His children. Sometimes we have to endure pain in order to see His blessings. I often think if I hadn’t had that terrible accident that day, would I have captured the tremendous gift that He had waiting just for me? Probably not!
And by the way, my Mother found that helmet is her attic a few years ago and gave it to me. It has a million holes in it!