Opinion: Now is Our Time for Gumption and Moxie

May 13, 2019 at 08:00 am by Wm. Robert

Do you remember Apple John and Gladys?

If you have lived in Murfreesboro for more than 2 minutes, you have probably heard countless stories about the city, from the old myth about Davis Market, or the Stones River National Battlefield, but you may not have noticed the two photos hanging in City Cafe on the right side wall. Apple John and Gladys.

I was thinking about the city and these stories popped into my mind. 

For those not familiar, Apple John was a man that used to sell apples for quite a bit more than they were worth to the well heeled lawyers and judges who had business at the courthouse, and very little time for lunch.

I've been told that he would sell them for $5 each, but that seems big fish to me. Gladys was a woman that would sit outside the courthouse and get cigarettes and money for Coca-Colas from these same well-heeled folks. And I think both of these folks are examples of the moxie within us all. 

In our time today, we talk about confidence and self-esteem, but I would imagine that for John and Gladys, they did not think about the amount of confidence they had in themselves.

Did people have confidence before we started talking about it? Of course they did, but it was just the guile and gumption that made their lives every day. 

I am sure that neither John and Gladys would care about 'likes' or 'shares.' I imagine some eye rolling and sighs. 

So, how do we awaken that within ourselves? We start by disconnecting with the opinions of others and what they think and start listening to the gumption within each of us, and hear what our own opinions are.

In today's vernacular, we would call this being mindful. And mindfulness training is one of the strongest strategies we can look to when facing situations. Whether good and especially when they are bad. Worried about a relationship? Close your eyes and listen to the wind. The answer might be there, or you will at least have a moment to catch your breath. Worried about over-eating? Close your eyes and focus on going slow and tasting every bite. That is the stuff of life.

Mindfulness is adapted from Buddha, that little round man we imagine, though he was not so round apparently. It focuses on reducing self-destructive behavior by living more in the moment. This might seem like the moment has to be big, like a party, or a new home, but it actually focuses on little things. Mindfully washing your hands for 2 minutes, or simply focusing on all your senses when doing anything. Smell, touch, hearing, taste and sight.

Life happens in between. 

When was the last time you walked around in the grass? Remember the movie Pretty Woman? Richard Gere's character takes off his shoes and walks barefoot in the grass, then he realizes he loves Julia Roberts character. Maybe not the best example, but true to form nonetheless. 

In our time of connectivity and fast paced lives, we need to each find a few moments each day where we disconnect and actually connect with ourselves and our lives, because all too soon, it will be gone. And share this with the people in your life. Be mindful together. Make this part of your everyday living.

I am sure that Gladys would love to see people walking barefoot around the courthouse. Who knows, maybe a cola will appear out of nowhere. Or you could have her gumption and just ask for what you want. Either way. Take your shoes off and walk around, or go by City Cafe and tell them hello. Don't snap a gram about it, and make your today better than your yesterday. 


A very thoughtful and well timed piece, which I enjoyed. The author seems to be of advanced age, or at least speaks from that perspective. Everyone of all ages would do well to observe that of which he speaks. I hope to hear more from him or her in the future!
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