Here’s to a special graduate

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 26, 2004

One of the perks of writing this column each week is there are times when I get to use this space for a personal message to someone special. It’s as if I have access to a greeting card that a lot of people read, and, if you’ve checked out the cost of greeting cards lately, it does save some money.

This column is for my sister, Anna and it’s about as personal as it gets.

Anna’s graduating from Hewitt-Trussville High School on Thursday and she’s excited. There’s been lots of activities involving graduation, including a service at the church where she grew up. The service is designed to honor graduates and, as part of the event, she had to fill out a quesionnaire about her future plans. Included in the quesionnaire was a question about who her hero was.

&uot;She put you,&uot; my mother told me last week. &uot;She said not only were you her sister, but you were her friend. I told her she should put you were a soft touch for a dollar when she was broke but she left that out.&uot;

A hero? I was taken aback, mainly because it’s really the other way around. Anna has been and will always be my hero.

Anna was born almost three months premature. She weighed 1 pounds, 13 ounces and could fit in the palm of your hand. Shortly after her birth, a nurse shot a Polaroid picture of her, fearing she wouldn’t live and she wanted us to have at least one photo.

But Anna did live. It took some surgery, including heart surgery when she was just three days old, a cornea transplants, but she thrived. It was if one day we were packing her up for her first day of kindergarten and the next we were talking about where she would go to college. Through it all, Anna has become a neat person and one I admire.

She’s never met a stranger and has tons of friends. She isn’t afraid to ride roller coasters. She hopped on a plane to go to Europe on a mission trip, never thinking twice about that long flight or spending a week with strangers who were her host family. She loves to shop almost as much as I do and appreciates a cute purse even more. She drives like me (not a good thing) and wants to be a writer (a very good thing.) She is thoughtful, brave, considerate and funny.

In short, she’s not just my sister, she’s my friend.

The future is exciting for Anna. She’s headed off to college in the fall and is looking forward to sorority rush, football games and maybe even going to class. I can’t wait – Anna’s always defied the odds and I have a feeling the best is yet to come.

PS – Anna – it’s not too late. You don’t have to go to Auburn. I’m sure we can get late admission to Montevallo or Alabama. Just say the word and I’ll get on the phone.

Leada DeVaney is the publisher of the Hartselle Enquirer and the Madison County Record. She is the former managing editor of the Shelby County Reporter