Like everyone else around the world, I was impressed with Kyle Maynard's climb up Mount Kilimanjaro. I was also impressed some years back with the title of his autobiography, "No Excuses." Those two words alone, without even reading the book, are inspiring.
But I have to say, with life being as busy as it is, sometimes people do have to offer excuses for not being able to do something. And sometimes those excuses are pretty darn good.
Like about 20 years ago when my friend Susan Abken, already an accomplished musician, took up harp in her mid-30s. She wanted to get some practice playing around strangers before taking on professional gigs, so she asked me if she could perform for my friends at my house. A free harp performance in my living room? What an honor!
I invited everyone I knew. That included a professional cellist, Heidi Nitchie, who along with her husband, Carl, played for the Atlanta Symphony. I didn't know Heidi very well. Our paths only crossed for a few years when our sons were in Parkview Drama and Cub Scouts together. I'd been to a couple of Scouting events in Heidi's home and I know how musicians like to support each other, so I thought I'd include her.
Unfortunately, she couldn't come. But she had a really good excuse. And I must admit, I had a lot of fun explaining her absence. Every chance I got, I said, "Heidi was invited, you know, but poor dear, she had a prior commitment. She's performing at Carnegie Hall today and there was just no way she could get out of it."
And then there was Judge Warren Davis, who, when it comes to excuses, really topped them all.
For a few years in a row, the Gwinnett Library celebrated Dr. Seuss's birthday by having local celebrities read his books in the library. I volunteered as one of the recruiters. When I reviewed my list from the previous year, I saw the judge's name and made sure to contact him since he'd been such a big hit the year before.
And do you know what he told me? He said he couldn't do it. And do you want to know what his excuse was? He said he'd be out of the country that day. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
So, sometimes it's OK to have an excuse, as long as it's a good one.
I noticed that Dr. Seuss's birthday is coming up this Saturday. The library no longer does those special readings on his birthday, but they still call upon me every now and then to recruit -- or at least recommend -- volunteers for special events.
If I ever happen to call on you, Kyle, and you say you can't make it, I won't even ask why. Because I know whatever excuse you might ever have for anything, it's going to be a good one.
Susan Larson is a writer who lives in Lilburn. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org