Friday, February 28, 2014


How could we know? There is no crystal ball to give us future insight. We love, and live, and do as we do routinely... all the time hoping for continuance.... all the while taking advantage of the years that pass.

As a family, our gatherings take place pretty frequently. There is always some special event to celebrate, and some greatly loved person to place in a spotlight. How could we know this fete would later hold a particular reminiscence? Nary a hint from the party-prop tarot cards.

Christmas, was in fact, going to take a back seat to the celebration of our Colette, my sister-in-law. Themes and planning, decorations and menus had been written in emails, laughed about in phone calls and shopped for with enthusiasm. A casbah rather than a Christmas tree this year.

We gathered, my family and our friends, as we would have soon for the holidays, instead for a fiftieth birthday. The house bedecked in a riot of color. A tent raised in our best effort to emulate a Moroccan hookah lounge. Tunes rang out. Noise bounced from indoors to a fire on the cold wintry patio. There was dancing - first in heels, and then in later hours with barefeet. A friend attempted to lift my Mom from the sofa and carry her to dance... oh, the laughs that got! Mom nearly peed her pants. Hilarity a constant with the particular dear friend that sought Mom's dance turn. Her love for him and his partner forever a part of our family's lore.

Faces of so many that we hadn't seen for a time. Smiles to engage. Kisses to be exchanged with a cousin whom we swear to see more often, yet never quite bridge our calendars. History to be rehashed and remembered with the honorary "fourth son" and his family. Much fawning of the young and beautiful in their club-style attire. Celebration of life in all forms on this night!

Gathered together and our joys shared  - then, come morning - each of us went back to our homes and routines, until the next time we bask in an other's special gloriousness. Fully confident that this next gathering will come.....  as it always has ~

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Chance Meeting

Coffee, with cream swirling, sits beside me on a petite, curvy legged French table. Words longing to be typed, and yet still hard to find are frothing forward onto this page. So very much has changed in the world, in my little corner of it, yet where does one begin? To skip forward to this day, and hope that by passing over the wintry months will mean that those days of difficulty are through - well, that isn't how it works. Is it?  One day soon, when the mood strikes, and my heart can take the dark wintry-ness, I will tell the tales ... of why I've not sat in this spot and poured my feelings all over these keys. For now, I'll go back in my mind and make this first journaling effort of months be conscientiously sweet and kind.

 I seek quiet, beauty and open space when it is time to be outdoors getting physical activity. I've mentioned here many times that I go to the hills near my home to walk. I may creep along trails beside a  stream, or parade uphill through posh neighborhood dwellings. When I get to town, it is beyond my control, there is a first stop of business and I peek inside the doors of a little re-sale shop.

Just past Christmas-time a visit was made to this shop, and a chance meeting was had - a sweet, life-altering (if only for a few minutes) moment between strangers. Quickly I eyed goods along the perimeter of the shop, while out in the center was a beautiful, young woman dressed all in black, with many garments in her arms. Speaking to the shop stewards, this lady was hoping to find opinions compatible to hers on which items she should, or should not buy. Giving a brief and personal history of what she was looking for - "I need something brightly colored and happy",  "I need a different out look", and I chimed in with... "maybe you're hoping to think out-of-the-box", Yes, indeed that was exactly what this beautiful stranger wanted. There were four women here on the floor of the store, each of us contributing our opinion. There, on the end of a garment rack was a skirt and jacket - THE ONE that our stranger wanted more than all of the insignificant, neutral colored items she was carrying. It had been spied, and while she was slightly shy about admitting it, mention was made that the item was a designer piece and thus had too high a price tag.

{not the actual jacket}

The three of us pleaded with her to go in the fitting room and try on the pieces, and each of us agreed that she would be spending her money wisely if she left the common neutral sweaters and instead got exactly what she was looking for. A fashion show was held, there in the little shop... the beautiful stranger smiled. The jacket fit her like a glove, and the vivid colors made her glow. Still, she stuck to her guns and said that at this time she could not let go of the cash this purchase would cost her.

Then, a more personal story slowly slipped from her lips, barely holding back tears, she removed the adorable knit cap from her head and shared her shining, and perfect, bald head. She was a cancer patient.  Still in the midst of treatment, yet she'd been told that very day that she was cancer free for now. She was surviving! Her reason for needing a good dose of color and something quite different from her norm.

With swiftness, as the jacket and skirt were removed in the fitting room, I spoke softly to the shop clerk and asked if her manager couldn't please reduced the price. "What a great idea", she sparkled! As I asked about the reduction, I also mentioned that if it were to be, then I would chip-in $25.00 towards the cost. Upon hearing me say this, then the clerk said she too would contribute. The third lady amongst us came forward and countered that she would like to do the same. But this woman was having hard times and said that she had a family member with cancer that she was trying to help. With sadness she opted out of helping here.


With all on-board, and our secret quietly kept, the store clerk presented our stranger with the news of the offer. If she was wanting of the suit and able to come up with the remaining amount, it would be hers, with our help.  At first, she said no, that she could not take such a gift. I replied that it was my   Christmas money, and I could do with it as I wished. A way of paying it forward. Each of us was      
teary and smiling, and joyful - each of those emotions all at once.  All of these raw, personal feelings
while standing in a resale shop with strangers, who had become instant friends.
Strange indeed! Perfect too!!        
Her name was Marie.  I envision her wearing her colorful gift and doing more than surviving... I see her living life very fully, and most definitely standing out -
                                                       OUT OF THE BOX!                                                                
{just as she had wished}