Like Grammie Trogdon Always Said

Like Grammie Trogdon always said, “As long as you’re doing something, you won’t get dumber!”

Jim Trogdon, Middle School Science Teacher and EarthEcho LEAP Team Member

Grammie Trogdon had the best advice. I really miss her. Though she lived to be 99, my time with her was still too short. When I was at her home (which was often) there was always something planned. We looked through old photos and she shared a mostly funny story for each person in the picture. I learned so much about my family in this way. We played checkers and Scrabble…I lost to her every time. We shuffled that deck of Old Maid cards until they were bent and faded. I still have one of the potholders I had woven with her. Of course, we were totally unplugged! No tablets, no earbuds or cell phones. Our connections were made through talking to each other and enjoying “hands on” activities together before “hands on” was the thing to do. My brothers, sister, and I are richer for those experiences.

This crisis will eventually pass, but during this time let’s go back to Grammie Trogdon days and connect or reconnect with those who we are safe at home with with for a few weeks. I know a place that is free and is not closed right now…NATURE! Spring is the perfect time to take a walk, use your senses, and discover what’s coming to life. Roll up your sleeves and get some of that wonderful sunshine Vitamin D. See if you can observe a bird building a nest. Listen to their unique singing voices. Enjoy a picnic outside. Spread a blanket on the ground where you can smell the earth coming to life. Look for the insects that have emerged. Turn over a rock or log and find a salamander. Have you seen a chipmunk yet? Play a game of “I spy” outside. Be thankful for all that you have and your surroundings. Remember that kindness and empathy are your key vocabulary words during this time.

Grammie also said, “It takes light to make a shadow.” Our days will soon be brighter, but for now let’s enjoy the time together so we may look back in 10 or 20 years and say, “That was the best time of my life!” 


Jim Trogdon was a teacher Fellow on EarthEcho Expeditions: Water by Design and has written this piece in response to this uneasy time we find ourselves in surrounding COVID-19. It was a great reminder to be thankful for what we have, to appreciate nature, and that everything WILL be ok. For some ideas on how to enjoy your time together with family, visit: