I am a people watcher. I enjoy silently observing people and listening to what they say, and how they say it. It tells me a lot.

Not one to step up and be the first to express my thoughts or feelings on any topic, I admit that I cringed a tad when it was suggested that I should attend an Aristotle's Hobnob gathering.


I knew this meant I would need to be prepared to express my thoughts in front of total strangers.

But, I threw my name in the hat and was told to show up at the next gathering.

I had just written about this new society and its founder told me that night that his phone had rung off the hook after my article was printed.

Evidently, contrary to otherwise beliefs, folks currently moving to this area in droves from all over the country are actually interested in not having to hold back or bite their tongues when questioned about their beliefs.

During introductions, I found I was the oldest of the nine in the group, and the one who has lived in this area the longest.

Our facilitator, Rob Wood, had a list of questions for each one in our diverse group, and as expected, not one of the questions was normally cocktail party approved. To the contrary, these questions are topics usually avoided at social gatherings. Questions such as: Should transgenders be allowed to serve in the military? Should prayer in school be brought back? Do you feel that spanking should still be an acceptable form of child discipline? Should America have gun control? Should Roy Moore be asked to step aside?

All titillating questions. And, all in the group stepped up to the plate, with a couple of them firmly expressing their beliefs on all topics — except reticent me — until we got to Roy Moore.

Let's just say that I decided a long time ago that my opinion on some topics are not worth fighting over — but some are.

My group mates didn't mind when I became heated about that one, and that was a relief. In fact, they welcomed my passionate input, which was refreshing.

I left the gathering, as I think we all did, with a fresh appreciation of the art of being able to express to total strangers what we believe on a variety of subjects, and why. And, we all left as friends.

What a genius idea, Rob Wood.


Deborah Wheeler is a staff writer for The Walton Sun. She has made South Walton her home for more than 18 years. Her Personally Yours column appears as often as the spirit moves. She may be reached at 315-4432 or email dwheeler@waltonsun.com. Follow her on Twitter @WaltonSunDeb.