Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 50

By | January 21, 2024

[January 21, 2024]  Standing there with my brother Philip, we were mesmerized by the lights, the music, the crowd, and the energy of the Morehouse Parish Cotton Festival – near Bastrop, Louisiana.  Like a county fair anywhere else, the cotton festival brought out everyone from miles around for curiosity, amazement, and almost professional entertainment.  I was amazed.  I’d never seen anything like it.  There were exciting rides brightly lit up that would cost you a quarter to ride, cotton candy for a nickel, games of skill and strength, a human freak show with a bearded lady, odd food like a fried hotdog on a stick and soft drinks that cost too much, a few scantily-dressed young adult women, and clowns roaming the fairgrounds doing tricks with balloons.  Booths lined the main drag through the area where a person could easily spend all their money.

I was in the Third Grade and learning about money, and both Philip and I had earned a few pennies returning discarded Coke bottles for their deposit.  And we were given a quarter each by our Dad to spend wisely.  Of course, we couldn’t resist the temptations and spent our quarters at the first booth we came to, trying to knock over three bottles with a baseball.  We lost.  Philip cried.  And we were out of money.  Dad had warned us before arriving not to spend our money all at once.  Then we were stuck walking around with our parents, how embarrassing we thought.

Our family stopped at another booth while my Dad unsuccessfully threw darts at balloons on a wall.  The game seemed easy, but breaking a balloon with a dart was nearly impossible.  We never did win a prize.  Suddenly, I realized that I was standing there alone.  Where had my family gone?  They were with me one minute, gone the next.  I was in a panic.  Trying to locate them in a large crowd was scary, and I panicked.  I wandered around with tears in my eyes, looking for them for what seemed like an eternity but most likely only ten minutes and found my family standing beside a vendor’s booth eating cotton candy.

My brother’s face was covered in a sticky pink substance.  I wanted some candy too, but Dad said no, I’d spent my money.  I was learning that the world is not always fair, a frustratingly painful truth that would prove difficult to accept.  In a way, I was better off.  Philip also had some tiny flying bugs stuck on the pink candy and his face.  He didn’t like that much.  I thought it was funny and called him “bug face.”  Mom snuck me a nickel, so right before we left, I bought my own cotton candy, accidentally dropping it before I could get a bite.  Darn.

One thing I liked about this fair was that I was beginning to learn that there was a world outside our small town.  And that world was full of exciting new things and people, unlike me, some were also dangerous.  Our church preacher had warned my parents about getting ripped off by pickpockets – they were notorious at this fair – but that never happened to us.  Then our family, all five of us, crammed into a Ferris Wheel gondola for a short ride up incredibly high in the air.  There was a lot of screaming as the gondola rocked freely back and forth, seemingly ready to dump us out.  I was scared, but I could see “forever.”  The sights from the top were an exquisite view of the fairgrounds and nearby town.  But I was never so happy to get my feet back on firm earth.  My Mom didn’t say so, but I believe she was thinking the same thing.

On the drive home later that same day, an old man driving a junky-looking car failed to yield and ran into us only a minute from our house.  Dad was driving his white-over-red 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air without seatbelts.  I loved that car; it was beautiful and built like a tank.  All of us kids were in the backseat and were thrown around a bit, but no injuries.  Dad was smoking a cigarette that popped out and burnt a hole in his trousers.  Mom bopped her forehead on the metal dash and got a little bump.  Dad was driving slowly, so the damage was minor.  I never knew what became of the old man.

This trip to the Cotton Festival would be a full day, and we were exhausted.  The fair would go on for a few more weeks, but Mom would not go, so we all stayed home; good decision with three young kids in tow.  We were back at the cotton festival the following year, but this time, we had experience.  That was the time I found a lost four-year-old boy.  I stayed with the little tyke, holding his hand until we found them.  He wanted to go home with my family.  Awkward!  I was growing up, expanding my views and getting to know that the world didn’t owe me anything but that I owed the world everything.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

35 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 50

  1. docwatson

    Another wonderfully and loving letter to your granddaughter, well done.

  2. Jay J. Johnson

    Sir, I’m new to your blog (1 week) and love your letters. Please Please Please keep writing them and posting. 🧐 love im them all. ❤️ wonderful! 😀

    1. Eddie Gilliam

      Welcome to the blog. My friend Gen Douglas Satterfield blog is awesome. His letters to his granddaughter are to me his keynote wording. Feel free to make comments.

  3. Camila Sanchez

    New reader here. I’m from Oregon (yeah, I know) and the snow and cold is freezing us. So, with respect to those who read this website for a long time, I’m asking is this the kind of articles normally written? I see various other subjects. Oh, I did really love the letter.

    1. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

      Welcome aboard Camila Sanchez. These letters are not typically what I write about. Search for “character” in the search bar to reveal my most common theme that you can be a better person if you develop your character properly.

  4. Julia


  5. Army Captain

    Sir, great letters. This gives me the idea and also the motivation to write letters to my kids, so that when they grow older they can read them. And I might also write a book like you did — “Our Longest Year in Iraq” — to tell them about my time on the battlefield and my thinking at the time.

    1. Liz at Home

      Army Captian, I think that is a given. Lead by example, the military tells us and Gen. S is doing exactly that. 😊 The question is, Are you on Letter 50? No? Me neither. But I’m working on it hard and trying to catch up with Gen. S.

  6. Melissa Jackson

    Gen. Satterfield, I got a big kick out of this letter. You must have been one heck of a weird kid! I say that in a loving way.

  7. DaveV

    ” I was scared, but I could see “forever.”” – Gen. Doug Satterfield. This sentence jumped out at me because there are two things going on simultaneously and both are important. You were ‘scared’ as a little boy, and that is to be expected in your first ride on a Ferris Wheel with a rocking gondola. But also, you had the ability to still look out over the nearby town and festival grounds and “see” forever. That means that despite your fear (rightly so), you could still have the vision to see, rather than being in a panic. That is a skill most people do not have. Again, like so many have said, thanks for your letters to your granddaughter and keep them coming.
    “God made granddaughters to give our lives variety, and to keep our hearts young. God draped each morning with sunshine and sprinkled each night with song.” – Rebecca Barlow Jordan

    1. Eddie Gilliam

      You are so right. I remember my ride on the Ferris Wheel. I lost my change several times and yes had to overcome my fear of heights. The awesome view of looking out over the town at night was breath taken. I learned after losing money trying to win a large prize; the games were rid. The balloon 🎈 were blown up to no break easy. I talked to several people who worked the fair told me about it too

  8. Eduardo Sanchez

    Tus cartas a tu nieta son maravillosas. Thank you, Gen. Satterfield.

  9. Rowen Tabernackle

    Another spot on letter, Gen. Satterfield. Just a note here to say I’ve loved all your letters.

  10. The Kid

    Hardly a day goes by that I don’t look up this website to see if another letter has been published to Gen. Satterfield’s granddaughter. Thanks for making my day.

  11. Laughing Monkey

    Gen. Satterfield, you sure know how to write a letter. I hope that your granddaughter is old enough and sufficiently mature to fully understand what you are doing for her. Most kids (or young adults) don’t have the mental maturity or experience to integrate these letters into themselves in such a way to make them valuable. They just see these words as a pure story that has no association with them. That is the wrong way to take your letters. Maybe when your granddaughter has a visit with you and there is time to sit down with her, you can explain it. Until then, she might just not be mature enough to fully understand.

  12. Jerome Smith

    ‘ There was a lot of screaming as the gondola rocked freely back and forth, seemingly ready to dump us out. ‘ …. just about spit my coffee onto my iPad when I read that. Gen. Satterfield, you da man. Er, you da big boy, at that time. Well done!

  13. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    Another great — and INFORMATIVE — letter that tells us about what helped make Gen. Satterfield such a successful military leader.

  14. Lady Hawk

    ” There were exciting rides brightly lit up that would cost you a quarter to ride, cotton candy for a nickel, games of skill and strength, a human freak show with a bearded lady, odd food like a fried hotdog on a stick and soft drinks that cost too much, a few scantily-dressed young adult women, and clowns roaming the fairgrounds doing tricks with balloons. Booths lined the main drag through the area where a person could easily spend all their money.” — Gen. Doug Satterfield. This is exactly why I’m re-reading all his letters (I appreciate the tab with all letters for ease of reading). Sir, well done!!!!! I hope to also read the 100th letter.

    1. JT Patterson

      Yes, Lady Hawk, that is why I’ve read these letters more than once, too. They tell a story of growing up in small-town America, where things were very different from today (of course they were different) but also tells the tale of Gen. Satterfield as a little boy learning that there is a big world out there that he is beginning to experience and he is shocked, for good and bad, when he runs into that world.

      1. Autistic Techie

        Well said. 👀👀👀👀👀 I’m always on the lookout for more of these letters to Gen. Satterfield’s granddaughter.

  15. Winston

    VERY VERY VERY NICE. Gen. Satterfield, you’ve hit a landmark in these letters and I can clearly see now that you are progressing as a little kid to a bigger kid and learning about the world. Please keep these LETTERS TO MY GRANDDAUGHTER coming for us so we can reminisce and remember our own childhood. This means alot to me and my family. Thanks. 😊

  16. Emma Archambeau

    Another great and beautiful letter, thank you Gen. Doug Satterfield for sharing this letter to your granddaughter with us. ❤ Love to her and your entire family.

    1. Janice Williamson

      This letter, #50, is so fulfilling for me that it is hard to express. I know that Gen. Satterfield’s mom and dad would also have liked it as well.

      1. Pumpkin Spice

        Yep, letter 50. Now that is alot of writing and info that we should all read to help understand the background of Gen. Satterfield. While no one will experience that kind of upbringing today, we can still learn from it and try to marry those ideas up with our kids upbringing today. My assumption is that those experiences will make them better kids.


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