Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Jeffrey Michael!

Birding on the lane at Windfield Farm, 2008.
He's the only brother I've got and he's enough!  A fierce competitor with a photographic memory, growing up in his wake was not for the faint of heart.  Geo can tell you he had a versatile arsenal of torture techniques which, lucky for me, he practiced mostly on her.  Somehow the extra years between us gave me sufficient cushion in that arena.  Perhaps he favored me a tad for the 'free' money I slipped him when he played Monopoly and I served as banker.  You would of done the same thing; how else could I have justified helping myself to his coin jar to support my candy habit? 

A former school bus driver in Looneyville, WV, Jeffrey turned over his bus route, sold his parcel of land, and headed for the nation's capital for a spot at Georgetown University's School of Medicine.  I'm fairly certain he's a fine family practice doc.  I imagine his patients revere him; I surely did.  Actually, I still do.

He's got a parcel of land once again and has spent many of his days clearing trails, opening up the view of the Blue Ridge mountains, and building his own disc golf course.  This grandfather of four turned 64 today.  He took the day off to play with friends.  He's good at that; playing, and being a friend.  And you can bet all the money I took from him those many years ago that he's about to sit down to a fine home-cooked meal prepared by Janet, his beloved partner of 42 years.  Handcrafted with love key-lime pie will follow. What a day; what a guy!  

Happy Birthday, brother!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Worth the risk

Kris flies.
Risk.  Risk-taking; take a risk.  I know folks who find getting out of bed risky business enough; facing the day, facing our lives; it can disarm us in a heartbeat.  

There are days where I am more willing to step outside the parameters of my life.  And there are moments in those days when I simply go for it, no holds barred.  Sometimes the risk factors are crystal-clear to me; often, though, I see the extent of the risk (in its complexities) only after-the-fact.

By the numbers, now; a short story.  Two women entering Whole Foods at nearly the same time, each pushing 60 years.  A pair of bare legs, that's what I saw.  Buff, muscular, toned.  Sturdy?  Yea, that too.  Four seconds; that's what it took for me to scurry inside and find her gathering a bunch of kale.  My sixth sense said, "Go for it!"

Two points for a take-down.  Nah; I didn't take her to the ground; it was better!  I asked if she was ready for a compliment and said I hoped she would take it to heart as it was meant.  Without hesitation she spouted: "Yes, I am!"  (One point for Jenny!)

"I was coming in the door just behind you when my eyes were drawn to your legs and I got so focused on their beauty and strength, well… I walked right past this (hand basket) and then realized I had to go back and search for the little baskets…"

Now you might be saying to yourself, "Jenny.  Jenny.  When will you ever learn?"  But here's the thing: I have learned.  I've learned that people respond favorably to authentic feedback when it resonates with their heart.  They can sometimes even let go of conventions of what is 'appropriate'.  She was pretty blown away with delight about the whole encounter: what I was doing, what I said; how it was received; how she perceived the need for it today.    

An especially sweet moment was when she said, "I'll have to call my mom and tell her!"  I loved that!  Man, did I love that.  And I hope she does.  I hope she calls her mother, wherever she lives, and doesn't hold anything back.  And her mother-- surely she'll have a few fine words of endorsement too for her fifty-something daughter.  For after all, mother's know about the power of their words.  And how risky it is to use them.  Or not.



Thursday, March 13, 2014

The day before she slipped away quietly

Coffee for two, March 15-29, 2013.
Dear Mom,

It's hard to fathom that a year has gone by since we had our final farewell.  I am forever grateful for the privilege of being your daughter.  That still stands.  

How I remember our conversation on March 13, 2013 when Mindy called and passed her phone to you.  The words I spoke.  The breaths you took.  The sounds from your throat.  The way we said 'I love you' over and over in a thousand ways.  The way we looked back.  And then how we stood still in time and let it be enough.

Sending love from my heart,
Your Jenny