January 7, 2009
By Camille Kinsey, Culver, IN

I remember the first time I met Judy S. I had just come back from my grandparent’s Easter celebration early because I bit my sister. (As it happens my justification for biting my older sibling was completely reasonable, she got more candy than I did.) I came ripping in the front door, ignoring who opened it for me, and proceeded to grab the plastic grass in my Easter egg basket with my chubby chocolate coated hands and throw it everywhere. When I was moderately satisfied with myself, I pouted my lips and turned to observe the damage I caused.
In my peripheral vision I saw a thin lipped woman and realized that she must have been the person who let me in. Not bothering to talk to her, I stalked towards my room. “Excuse me, Miss Kinsey, but aren’t you forgetting something?” I slowly turned around, fully taking in the woman who was ruining my perfect temper tantrum. Despite being only 5’ 4”, she appeared as a giant to my six year old self. Dressed in medical scrubs complete with brightly colored cats, she was obviously Southern, with a grim stature. After completing my evaluation of her and seeing that I didn’t leave anything valuable behind, I gave her a short “No” and turned to go on my merry way. However, as I was two inches away from grasping my room’s doorknob, I heard a little cough behind me.
Before I could finish clutching my brass door handle, I had a trash bag in my hand and she had a satisfied smirk on her face. Taking advantage of my stunned silence she sweetly told me in her syrupy twang that “before I took my nap I should really clean up the entrance hall.” I for one was completely confident that I didn’t want to clean anything or ‘nap’ in any sort of way, however as my defiant eyes lifted to meet hers they quickly dimed in intensity.
Judy S, a housewife from Memphis, Tennessee, did something nobody had ever done to me before. She said no. She didn’t even have to say the words as they were clearly written all over her. Sure I knew what ‘no’ meant, but I just never envisioned how it would relate to my life. To me, ‘no’ was simply the first response I got from my mother before she wearily gave in and let me do whatever I wanted. My survival instincts kicked in and I picked up every strand of that polished synthetic grass without an eye roll or a snide comment.
For the beginnings of Judy’s and my relationship, she was just a colossal pain in my behind. However, when it really came down to it, I respected her and myself so much more after that fateful Easter day. I started to get excited about the checks on my 2nd grade conduct sheet, I made my bed as best as I could before I left for school, and I definitely made sure from then on that I always said ma’am and sir to my elders. I learned how to work hard for something that I want and how to keep on my toes and be inventive for the obstacles ahead. Who would have known that the biggest service anyone has ever given me was saying no.

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