Courage. That’s the Ticket

Less of a Ha-ha Blog. More of an A-ha Moment


I keep reading articles stressing the importance of resilience as we age and believe me, I’m not knocking its value. But two weeks ago, I was reminded about the need for another trait — courage.

Recently I faced a personal challenge. I needed to attend a journalism conference. It provided an opportunity to pitch my Matzo Chronicles column to newspapers across the country. A great opportunity, yes, but a moment of truth for suddenly timid me.

In Need of Courage

I don’t exactly know what got into me, but I was so nervous about going that I almost didn’t. I set up a whole series of self-imposed roadblocks to support my desire not to attend.

Roadblock 1

First and foremost, I fear flying. Yes, world traveler me is a mega-scaredy cat. It strikes terror in me and so, I require strong motivation — usually in the form of someone waving multiple Broadway show tickets in front of me — to get me to board a plane. So, the idea of going to a not-for-fun work event was a tough sell.

Roadblock 2

Usually gregarious me hates self-promotion. The thought of three days of sauntering up to strangers and touting my column was unpleasant in the extreme. Why couldn’t I just send emails to all those publishers and editors? Oh, wait! I had and, given the flood of messages they’re bombarded with, few had responded. If I was going to succeed in promoting The Matzo Chronicles, I had to make face-to-face pitches.

Roadblock 3

Not only was I going to promote my column, but somehow, I had agreed to moderate a panel on religious-racial relations. Now, you well may ask, am I an expert on religion? No! You also may ask if I am an expert on race relations. Again, the answer is: no.

So, I the awkward non-expert was leading a panel of distinguished speakers on a fraught, in-the-spotlight important topic. Sounds like a formula for disaster. Still, good reporter and former over-achiever student that I was, I prepped like there was no tomorrow.

Of course, there always is a “tomorrow” and it had arrived. It was time to go.

Handsome Hubby literally had to walk me into the airport, escort me to the security line, and “nudge” me forward. All this at the joyful hour of 6 a.m.! Finally, I boarded the plane to NOLA, New Orleans, LA. — the land of alligator meat and enough humidity to make you want to curl up and die!

Courage Defined

When I wasn’t white-knuckle stressing over air turbulence on the airplane, I ironically contemplated the concept of courage and looked up quotes on the idea to fortify myself. Here are two I found helpful to my specific conference woes situation:

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
Brené Brown, American professor, and best-selling author

“Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”
John Wayne

Yee-ha! And so, time passed. The plane landed and I arrived in New Orleans.

Courage Put to the Test

The conference began. I put on my big girl pants (and Spanx), a determined smile and armed with my newly found courage plus enough business cards to paper the conference center, I marched around singing the praises of The Matzo Chronicles. Happily, even though I am a terrible singer, I must have struck the right cord with a couple of the publishers and editors in the room. One has already agreed to pick up the column and several others are considering it. So, that’s exciting.

And as for the panel I moderated, it too went well. No “foot in mouth” moments!

Courage Defined

So, clearly, from a business standpoint, the trip was a success. Yet, I believe the bigger success — and the point of this blog —is that I conquered my fears. I got on that plane and went to the conference.

Sitting at home, writing day in and day out, requires a certain discipline and I’m proud of that discipline. Still, it is a solitary habit and in cultivating it, I think I have grown “soft” on my outward-facing skills. Yet, thanks to HH’s multiple pre-trip “you can do it” pep talks and also, my late father’s long-ago lesson of “Galatzes’ never quit” (said to me when he was dying in a hospital bed when I was feeling defeated about something) I faced my fears, got up onto the saddle and was seen.

So, let’s add courage to the list of traits we almost-oldsters should hang onto as we march forward in life. That — and, also, unfortunately, Spanx!

💐 💐 💐


This story is dedicated to my beloved friend Judy, one of the most courageous and resilient people I know.

It is also in memory of my parents, Julius and Dorothy Galatz, and my brothers, Neil Gilbert Galatz and Malcolm Galatz, all amazingly strong individuals who taught me a lot about bravery and grace during difficult times.

And, of course, everything I write is dedicated to HH because, well, he is everything good in my life … except, of course, the snoring and working too hard parts!

5 replies
  1. Ellen Van Winkle
    Ellen Van Winkle says:

    Congratulations on all of your successes, including finding the courage to follow through with challenges.


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