The people's voice of reason

Tears and Laughter: What does pretty look like?

Facebook is fabulous at providing us with fun ways to waste time. The latest is a link that lets you submit a picture of yourself and it shows you what you would look like on the cover of a fashion magazine. We all look pretty in the pictures they design. We also all look very much alike. It’s as if they stamped us all with the same pretty stamp.

A lot of us will probably be wearing more make-up this week after seeing their pictures, but that may not be what real beauty looks like.

I met a woman back around Christmas who was working in a cute little shop I enjoy giving money to, and we were talking the way Southern women like to talk on and on about things and I asked her, jokingly more or less, how she managed not to buy one of everything in the shop to take home with her.

She laughed and said, “I’m just disciplined.” And I guess I must have stopped cold for a second, because she further explained almost apologetically that her dad had been in the military and her uncle and older brother were police officers and she had just always been around disciplined people.

She likely won’t be on the cover of a magazine, but being self-disciplined is an attractive quality.

I was talking with another woman a couple of weeks ago. It was an unusually warm day for February and we were at the park with our kids. She got to talking about her daddy. She said he was an alcoholic most of her childhood. He was an abusive man at times, especially toward her mother, who eventually left him. And with that, over time, he got sober. He apologized and was repentant and eventually, they reconciled. There were many years filled with happy memories that made up for the turbulent beginning.

By the end of her dad’s life, he knew he was dying. He had been diagnosed with a disease that has no cure and little treatment. It was just a matter of the certainty of death weighed against the uncertainty of time.

In order to cope with what he was going through, her dad started drinking again…and looking in the face of the disease as she was, she said she could understand. He said it helped him deal with it and she accepted that. Then came the day when he could no longer physically drive himself to buy it. Her mom flat refused, but as his daughter, she said she would go buy it for him.

She would go buy it, but she would also go to great lengths to hide it. She explained what she was doing to her children, but in the store she would wrap the beer in towels until she got to the register. A register she would wait on so there wouldn’t be anyone in line behind her who might see. She would tell the cashier she didn’t need the towels, that she was only buying the beer.

We laughed looking back, as a tear slid down under her sunglasses. Sneaking around buying beer wasn’t easy…with her being the wife of a Baptist preacher in a small south Alabama town.

Pretty is a feeling. We can paint it on and wash it off. It is as changeable as moods and attitudes. Real beauty is another thing altogether, and the two should never be confused.

Amanda Walker is a blogger and contributor with, The Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, Alabama Gazette and Wilcox Progressive Era. Contact her at or at


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