Pool Days

Welcome to the adult pool. A few of us long-time lap swimmers have become the self-appointed standing committee, the arbiters of pool ethics and acceptable behavior. We want to make sure everyone is familiar with the rules and offer a few insights on the best way to enjoy the pool.

First of all, you need to be old to swim here. The sign says, “over 18” and most of us are way past that. We’re happy to no longer be sitting vigil at the big family pool, making sure a child’s head is above the water or dragging screaming toddlers out to use the bathroom. But admission to the rarefied atmosphere of the adult pool comes with its own set of responsibilities.

The chairs stored on the wooden racks belong to members, and we do not look kindly on weekend guests who help themselves to one of our chairs, thinking they’re provided by the pool management. And while we’re speaking of chairs, the pool is like church where woe be to the person who unknowingly sits in the wrong pew. Lap swimmers are very territorial about their space at the one end of the pool. Cocktail party swimmers, those who come to the pool to socialize, (Don’t get me wrong, we love you, too.) usually gather along the sides or in the patio area at the far end. You need to decide if you’re a Swimmer or a Socializer and set up your chair accordingly. Umbrellas are in high demand and it is highly frowned upon to move an umbrella, or, as apparently happened recently, take one home with you.

Now, a word about the lanes. Several years ago, a sign-up system had to be instituted  due to (seriously) fights and arguments breaking out about people hogging the lap lanes. (Yes, this is an adult pool.) Some individuals would paddle for hours in a lane or there would be a secret relay system where as soon as one person finished, they would allow one of their friends to slide into the lane regardless of how long others were waiting. It was ugly.

We now have four lanes, two of which may be reserved for a half-hour of swimming alone and two which are “open” but you may have to share with another swimmer. For the most part, the violence has subsided. However, it is not appropriate to give a swimmer the stink-eye because you’re waiting for a lane and you refuse to share the open lanes or insist on always using the lane beside the wall. And if you’re wearing a visor and sunglasses and trying not to get your perfectly-coiffed hair wet—umm, sorry, but you don’t belong in a lap lane. Lap lanes are for swimming back and forth, not standing at one end to chat or practice water aerobics.

A few years ago, a sort of lagoon area was built at one entrance to the pool, with inflatable palm trees and Adirondack chairs in ankle-deep water. Recently a lap swimmer made the mistake of sitting in one of these chairs while waiting for a lane to open and was immediately told that chair was “reserved.” No one appeared to be making a beeline for that chair for at least the next hour, but regardless, lesson learned. The Adirondack chair folks also do not appreciate other swimmers using that entrance to access the pool and interrupting their conversations.

Insider tip—one of the best times to come to the adult pool is when it first opens in the morning (although the chlorine is strong) or in the late afternoon and early evening. You don’t have to walk a mile across the steaming parking lot, the French-fryers have been dialed down so you’re not breathing in greasy air as you swim and it’s not as hot and crowded. And you may see something in the off-hours that makes up for all the craziness.

Last week, one of my fellow lap-swimmers (affectionately known as “the mayor,” always willing to fish out the errant frog or mouse who strays into the pool) brought his elderly mother out for an evening swim. I hadn’t seen her in years and I remember her as a strong swimmer, cutting through the water in her striped seer-sucker bathing suit. She is now frail and bent over and clung fiercely to my friend’s arm as she shuffled along the pool deck. I thought perhaps they would just sit at the edge while she dangled her feet in the water to cool off.

But, no. He and another one of the lap swimmers got a giant innertube and gently, gently walked his mother down the steps into the water, (the Adirondack chairs were mercifully vacant)  and eased her withered body onto the float. Up and down the lanes they went. His mother laid her head against the plastic ring and closed her eyes while her son and the other swimmer pulled her through the water. For a half hour. Her feet, which barely moved on dry land, were kicking the whole time. Muscle memory, I suppose. But it was beautiful to watch and although this woman seldom speaks anymore, you could tell being in the water brought her comfort. For a brief time, she was back in her seersucker suit, swimming laps.

Welcome to the adult pool.

 

Taking it to the Streets

Sometimes you need to get out of town to get a fresh perspective. I had the opportunity to do that recently as a first-time attendee at a conference sponsored by Chorus America, an organization committed to supporting and promoting community choirs across North America. I’ve done my share of music educator conferences and a few writing conferences, but this was different. I expected to hear great performing ensembles and get lots of information about how to better support the chorale that I currently sing with. What I didn’t expect was to be astounded at how the choral art is changing lives (and in some cases, probably saving lives) with a mission that has gone far beyond bringing people together in the pursuit of vocal excellence.

Choirs are now going through all kinds of technical gymnastics to stream concerts so that elderly residents gathered in the community room of a senior living facility can experience performances they may be physically unable to attend. So that family members anywhere in the world can watch a child or grandchild sing or conduct or hear his or her composition performed in real time. So that members of a choir can receive an email that says, “I am a choral singer currently serving in the armed forces and being able to see and hear my choir’s Christmas concert was the greatest gift I could have ever received.”

In many urban areas, choirs are literally taking it to the streets. I was privileged to hear truly superb performances of youth choirs whose members were recruited from city neighborhoods infested with poverty, gangs, and crime. One was a gospel choir who sang with energy and conviction and then came out into the audience at the end of the performance to share their message of love with each one of us. This stodgy old Episcopalian was moved to tears and that doesn’t happen very often.

A select ensemble from the Chicago Children’s Choir, an organization which includes nearly 5,000 children from all over the city performed works ranging from Franz Biebl’s “Ave Maria” to stark and painful texts about lynching in the south to songs about striving for racial equality in South Africa. They told their story in plain truth and sublime beauty. Two long-time members spoke eloquently about how the choir has impacted their lives and that the opportunity to make music with people from all walks of life has made them better human beings. One of the singers quoted in the program said, “We respect each other’s differences and are drawn to each other’s uniqueness.” What a powerful affirmation for the world we live in now.

I heard a brilliant researcher talk about the incredible, scientifically documented evidence that music enhances brain development in all stages of human life. No hocus-pocus, no spin, just the simple truth that music makes us smarter and healthier, and she showed us the data to back it up.

I heard someone who arrived here as a child speaking only Vietnamese and whose family could not afford nice clothes and a decent haircut, describe how an early morning choir rehearsal was the only thing that kept him coming to school. That he found a home in the choir room, where a music teacher welcomed him and changed his life.

I sat at tables and listened as representatives from choirs across the country talked about how they’re trying to expand their reach. Whether that means providing a vocal ensemble for those in their 80’s and beyond or funding more scholarships for a youth choir or figuring out the best way to address concert attire for those in the LGBT community, choir people are all in. They’re swinging at every pitch, not just paying lip service, but doing something. Trying in some small way in their own community, through their own organization, to heal a broken world.

Although I spent my professional life teaching instrumental music, my heart is in the choir. Most of us who do this are not paid. We do it because we love to sing beautiful music with other people, and if we’ve had the opportunity to work with fabulous conductors, as I have, all the better. I met many of the people I am closest to, including my husband, through singing in a choir. My life has been enriched from the relationships I have found there, and I suspect that’s true for a lot of us.

After what I have seen and heard in the last few days, I have never been prouder to be a singer. To know that I’m part of something bigger than just getting the notes and rhythm right. That the product of grueling rehearsals and aching backs from standing on risers for hours, can touch someone, change an attitude, soothe a hurting soul. That thousands of us around the world are truly taking our healing message of music far beyond the concert hall and into the streets.

           

Examining Our Prejudice

I sat in a meeting recently where a consultant told us to “examine our own prejudices,” before interviewing candidates for a job opening. That how each of us personally feels about an individual’s age, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity could affect our perception of his or her ability to do the job. No matter how vehemently we deny it or how politically correct we see ourselves, we all harbor prejudice of some kind. It’s part of the human condition. The tough part is knowing when prejudice is whispering in our ear, trying to exert undue influence in our decision-making.

I grew up in a middle-class, blue-collar small town. There were certain black classmates I could invite to my birthday parties and others I could not, because they lived on Front Street and didn’t always dress well or smell good.  My grandmother was educated in the south in the early 1900’s. If there was almost-spoiled food in the refrigerator or clothing that was no longer wearable she would say, “Give it to Marian.” Marian was a kindly black woman who served for years as my grandparents’ housekeeper.  No one questioned giving something to her that we wouldn’t eat or wear ourselves. The unspoken implication was that Marian was poor and would be happy to accept our cast-offs.

My parents often referred to a highly successful local businessman as being “light in the loafers” because he was gay, a statement usually accompanied by raised eyebrows and knowing looks. My family members were not terrible people, and I don’t think they saw themselves as prejudiced. Their behavior reflected the social norms of the day in a conservative small town.  I look back on that era now with horror and amazement.  

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My life has been blessed and enriched by people I’ve met along the way who are different from me. I can point to the individuals and situations that have vastly changed my perspective over the years and I am so grateful for those God-given opportunities.  But I still have work to do. I freely admit prejudice against those who choose not to be educated, who close their minds, who refuse to give something new a chance. Who judge based on appearance or lifestyle. Who bully those they perceive as inferior to them. Who indirectly condone the murder of school children because they’re afraid someone will take away their hunting rifle. Who blame others for choices they themselves have made. Who blaspheme Christianity by using it as a defense for acts of political or ethnic hatred.

Sadly, we live in a time where those 1960’s attitudes are once again not only prevalent but encouraged by some. The sentiments that used to be whispered in the board room or the roadside bar are now not only plastered on our car bumpers but promoted all over social media, where the poison spreads even faster than it did in the last century. The unspoken message is “It’s ok to be cruel and trample others as long as you come out ahead.” Abhorrent rhetoric from the leader of our country has re-ignited racism and prejudice in unprecedented and truly frightening ways.

So, where does that leave the rest of us who are trying to do the right thing, to live as God intended? Does blatant and publicly acceptable racism force us to take a harder look at our own attitude? Yes, we’re shocked and appalled when police are called to remove black women from a local golf course for no apparent reason. But is there a tiny part of us that is angry and frustrated and under the right circumstances, may be forced to confront some racism and prejudice of our own? Is what we say on the surface reflective of what we’d do in a given situation or are we just giving lip service to maintain our appearance of political correctness?

 Examining our own prejudice is a tall and painful order. I’m working on it before those interviews start.

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Zombie on the River

 

Chiques Hill, a high out-cropping of rock near my hometown in southcentral Pennsylvania, provides a breath-taking view of the Susquehanna river. To the north, like a vision of Oz, lie the giant cooling towers of Three Mile Island nuclear power plant. Thin white plumes of steam spiral out of the towers for Unit One, the only reactor still in use.  From up here, it all looks so placid, like a futuristic settlement on a far planet.

I remember seeing the massive turbines roll through town on flatbed trucks, headed for the new power plant being constructed on a sandbar on the Susquehanna known as Three Mile Island. We just landed a man on the moon, and now this clean, modern energy produced without smoke or pollution, would be generated twenty miles north of us.

Ten years later, on a day in late March, we heard about a minor incident occurring in unit two of the nuclear reactor. I was out shopping for wedding shoes with my mother. We listened to the reports on the car radio and then went to our favorite restaurant for lunch as planned. My mother was fighting breast cancer, so I was just happy to spend a normal day with her.

Outside there was no evidence of anything amiss.  No mushroom cloud or strange light in the sky. It was a typical end of March week in the mid-Atlantic, still more winter than spring. There was no assault on the senses that made you think something terrible had happened or was about to happen. We joked about holding our breath and glowing in the dark.

News reports told us that a pressure valve in unit two failed to close, and contaminated water drained into adjoining buildings, causing the core to dangerously overheat. Emergency cooling pumps were activated but human operators in the control room misinterpreted the readings and mistakenly shut down the pumps and the reactor. Residual heat from the fission process was still being released which caused the core to overheat to just 1000 degrees short of a meltdown.

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Most of us had no concept of what any of this meant. Men in short sleeve dress shirts and narrow ties reassured us from our television screens that all was well. Governor Thornburgh, calm and professorial in his horn-rimmed glasses, initially suggested a precautionary evacuation of nearby towns but was quickly silenced by the corporate owners of the plant.

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The core had come within an hour of a complete meltdown and over half the core was destroyed, but it had not broken its protective shell. No radiation was escaping. Sighs of relief. Crisis averted. No need to evacuate or scurry into those buildings with the ubiquitous yellow “Fallout Shelter” signs leftover from the Cold War days.

On March 30, we were told there was a bubble of highly flammable hydrogen gas within the reactor building created two days earlier when exposed core materials reacted with super-heated steam. The day of the incident, some of this gas exploded, releasing a small amount of radiation into the atmosphere. The sound at the time was attributed to a ventilation door closing. The experts weren’t sure if this bubble could create a further meltdown or possibly a giant explosion. Residents were ordered to stay indoors. The governor advised all pregnant women and young children who lived within a 5-mile radius to evacuate. The floodgates of panic burst open.  

My uncle, a retired physician, who had been shepherding my mother through her cancer treatment, tells her it’s time to head out, especially for someone with a weakened immune system. Schools and businesses closed. We decided to leave until whatever was coming was over, if it was ever over.

Lines formed around gas stations, banks were emptied of cash, roads were jammed with cars packed with possessions. People who never dreamed they would be refugees suddenly found themselves leaving their homes, not knowing if they’d ever return. With the looming specter of nuclear annihilation now a reality, those duck and cover drills we did at school during the Cuban missile crisis seemed utterly absurd. 

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 My parents went to the New Jersey shore to stay with my mother’s best friend from college. It was the last time they would see each other. For my mother, who found it ironic that she was being evacuated to avoid radiation exposure, this was a brief reprieve from her radiation and chemo treatments. By the first anniversary of TMI, she had been dead for a month.

I went to my fiancé’s apartment outside Philadelphia where we practiced being newlyweds while waiting for Armageddon. We were young and idiotic, so we drank cocktails and watched TV, cooked meals, and walked the dog, all the while pretending we were grown-ups, just in case we didn’t get to do it for real. We found it darkly romantic. Huddling together safe from the sinister bubble. Waiting for news.

We returned to our homes after President Jimmy Carter toured the plant in his haz-mat suit and reassured us that the danger was past. TMI became a touchstone, a reference point. “I started teaching the year TMI blew up.” “Our first child was born during TMI.” “We live just south of TMI.” To this day, I never think of those three letters as standing for “too much information.”

TMI 4

In the years following the accident, disturbing studies on cancer rates of those who lived within a close radius of the plant popped up on a regular basis, only to be quickly discredited by representatives of the company’s owners. Investigative reporters dug deep, but that data was banished into the far recesses of the state department of health. Hard copies probably now long destroyed.

 TMI is once again back in the news because it is to be permanently shut down in 2019.  Nuclear energy generation is no longer profitable and at this point, the state is not going to bail out the company. This morning an article in the local paper described the potential dangers associated with long-term storage of nuclear waste. Beyond the environmental impact, there is concern that with reduced security at closed plants, the waste itself could be more vulnerable to attack by terrorists or anyone with a deadly agenda.

 40 years after a nearly catastrophic nuclear event, the dancing atoms will at last be stilled. Insidious spores of radiation will no longer be spewed into the atmosphere. TMI will become an island wasteland, an abandoned behemoth rising out of the river, a permanent shrine to one of the greatest human screw-ups in modern history, its deadly innards sealed in lead and concrete but always with the potential to come back and destroy, given the right circumstances. TMI is our zombie on the river. It will never really die.

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To Those of You in the Back Pew…

            There have been more of you recently sitting there in the back pew or along the sparsely populated sides. You look a little nervous, a little uncomfortable. You’re young–maybe in your 30’s, maybe you have a small child or two with you. You’re not sure if this is the right place, but you’re seeking. Something. Maybe you don’t even know what that is yet. Or now that you have children, you need a place for them to learn about God. You’ve passed this lovely old church many times on your way to the farmer’s market or a restaurant and thought to yourself, “Why not give this one a try?”

            The people at the door are dressed up but they welcome you warmly. Worship is more formal than what you may be used to or perhaps you’re not used to a church at all. The service starts and ends with a sort of parade with someone carrying a big cross and kids carrying candles and a book covered in gold. There are no screens or electronic instruments, but there is beautiful organ music and a choir that sings well. The service involves a lot of standing up and sitting down and even kneeling. Everyone around you seems to know what to do, and you may feel a little lost at times. But the pastor in the colorful robe is friendly and preaches a wonderful sermon and people shake your hand and ask your name and your children’s names and invite you for coffee and cookies afterwards. You walk up to take communion and watch what everyone else does so you don’t make a fool of yourself at the rail. Many of the attendees are older but there’s a smattering of young families and a teen-aged boy in the choir and something about this place feels ok, if a little intimidating.

            Let me tell you something. I was one of you once. I sat here alone in a side pew for the first time 25 years ago when I was at a low point in my life. Although I knew the service, I didn’t know a single soul until a lady named Zoe swept by and invited me to join the choir. My life hasn’t been the same since. These are My People. This is a good place to be.  A place to heal, to learn, to become a more whole person. To find a way to better serve God and those around you. Whatever you need, you can find it here. Let this church be as one of our members recently put it, your “Oasis of beauty in a dark and troubling world.”

            We are the artisanal denomination, the farm-to-table church. We believe that there is still value in some of the old ways. That gracious and reverent worship using beautiful language and beautiful music is ok. That for one hour a week, we can set aside our constant need for screen time and self-gratification and be still and know that He/She is God. And if my observations are correct, there seems to be an increasing hunger, especially among those of you who are young, for calm, meaningful and yes, liturgical worship. The comfort of a quiet, candlelit sanctuary and the rhythm of familiar prayers temporarily erase all the shouting in the world. There is powerful sustenance in the weekly meal of bread and wine. There is peace and hope and as our wonderful leader has recently been broadcasting from the rooftops, there is love here. For all.

            So, to those of you in the back pew who are tiptoeing hesitantly into the waters of worship, keep coming back. I know, all this rigmarole in a church service takes some getting used to (ask my husband) and we may be a tad formal compared to the big suburban churches but give us some time. There is a Zoe, an angel, here for every one of you. Who will help you find what you are seeking. This is a good place to be.  

             

Ordinary Music

 As concert season winds down, the power of music still amazes me, even after all these years. I don’t just mean what happens in wonderful performances like I experienced in the last few days, but what happens when music pokes its nose into our daily lives, and subtly works its magic outside of the concert halls. When it pounds the pavement right along with us. When it takes us away from the madness, even for a brief period of time.

 I see its power working in a troubled student at the school where I teach. Her grandmother and I are both struggling mightily to get this young lady to lessons and rehearsals. She’s teetering dangerously close to the precipice of serious trouble and right now, needs to hold on to her violin for dear life. When I asked her one day if she still wanted to play, she looked shocked and said, “You know I do.” She finally showed up for a lesson last week, despite the siren call of friends she should not be hanging out with and for now, that’s enough.

I’ve watched another student who used to be very insecure blossom into a fine young cellist this year. She’s still at basic level but is playing with more confidence and has become the de-facto mother hen of our little cello section. She scurries around marking fingerings and bowings in the other kids’ parts, (without any prompting from me) or yells at them for missing a rest. I just sit back and enjoy.  

 A woman who recently took over as the drum major in my husband’s drum and bugle corps is so excited to be in front of a performing ensemble again that it’s all she can talk about. She was a dynamic middle school band director who left the profession to stay home with her young children and now she’s once again studying scores and practicing conducting patterns. She has rediscovered the passion of her life, and her energy and enthusiasm have revitalized this group of drummers and horn players who range in age from 15 to 82. And for some of these folks, “the corps” is what gets them out of bed in the morning.

Lancers DCA 2012 formal

 My husband’s Aunt, a lovely lady in her 80’s not only still plays the piano but takes lessons and practices. She is widowed, and her adult children do not live nearby but her piano is there to keep her company and give her daily goals and challenges. She proudly told us that some Beethoven and Mozart pieces she had been working on for a long time are finally coming together, and she occasionally plays for other residents in the retirement community where she lives. For her, music provides a future at a time in her life when some days, the future may look bleak.

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Enjoyed lunch recently at an outdoor venue where a trio of older gentlemen were entertaining the crowd with some blues and classic rock. Their bass player was a local professional photographer who had recently taken up the instrument and this was one of his first performances. They’re never going to give the e street band a run for their money, but they were having a blast, especially the rookie bass player.

For me, making music is something I can still do reasonably well, unlike getting up from sitting on the floor or watching TV without my glasses. I’m singing with the finest choral ensemble I have ever been a part of and am re-discovering what it means to practice and even memorize a few pieces. Unlike the other person who shares my home who can instantly sing the harmony part to any tune he hears, I must work hard to memorize alto lines. I felt good this past weekend when I could sing our memorized pieces with confidence (except for the one that required off-beat clapping, but then I just didn’t clap much.)

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There is no downside to this music thing. There simply isn’t. Yes, it requires practice and discipline and at the professional level there can be bitter competition and politics, and some of us are inevitably going to be better musicians than others. But that’s true of most things in life. Whether you’re a concert pianist or a fifth-grader blowing the first few notes on a saxophone or a senior citizen singing in the retirement home chorus, it’s all good. Music quickens our pulse when our souls are dragging and comforts us when the storm outside becomes unbearable. Music stimulates our brains and bodies and it’s something we can do forever, unlike a lot of sports which, let’s face it—sooner or later, are going to cause our knees to pack up and say, “Ok, that’s it. We’re out of here.”

So keep singing or marching in the drum corps or playing in a local bluegrass band. Start taking lessons at 40. Or 80. Get out your old trumpet and play along with your child or grandchild. Sing in your church choir. Ring a handbell. Try out for a performing ensemble. Play in a praise band.  I often told my students that you don’t have to be first chair to enjoy making music. You don’t have to be great. You don’t even have to be good. There’s nothing wrong with ordinary people making ordinary music. Sometimes sitting in the back of the second violins (what I used to affectionately call “Margaritaville”) is just fine if you’re happy and it makes you forget about life for a while.

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Random Spring Thoughts

            This post may be what we used to call in educational jargon, a “bird walk,” which occurs when your lesson plan sort of meanders all over the place. But it’s finally spring, and meandering is not only allowed but encouraged.

            I’m sitting at the dog groomer’s waiting for Vinnie and Stella to get their spring haircuts. A stone’s throw from a local ski resort, it’s beautiful here. Quiet and peaceful unless the herd of West Highland White terriers and Border Collies come charging into the fenced enclosure. Thanks to extraordinary vet care, Vinnie is still very much with us, happily chasing this year’s crop of squirrels and chipmunks. His auto-immune-destroyed-liver is miraculously functioning well, and he just turned 11, a birthday that we honestly didn’t expect him to see. Despite frequent clean-ups, creative meal preparation and stuffing a lot of pills down his throat, we treasure every day we still have him.

Vinnie at groomer

            Last week, we experienced spring at the beach. The osprey couple is back on their nest in the creek behind the house. The last two summers, there have been no fledglings, so we’re hoping for better luck this year. In town, the hotels and restaurants are waking from their winter hiatus, and there’s that pre-season sense of anticipation, of “it’s going to be better than ever this year,” the way teachers and students feels in those first few days of school.osprey pic 1

 

            Spring concerts loom. One of our Susquehanna Chorale pieces, “Only in Sleep” is a gorgeous setting of a Sara Teasdale poem about remembering our childhood friends now “only in sleep.” The piece takes me right back to the street where I grew up, and I literally see my childhood friends playing hopscotch and jump rope on warm summer evenings in the 1960’s. The first time I sang this was one of those rare occasions when the emotional impact of a piece struck me before I even thought about what I was supposed to be singing. So often, those of us who create art get so caught up in the mechanics—the right notes or brush strokes or sentence structure, that we forget the whole point–that we’re creating beauty and a better world. Not that we shouldn’t strive for excellence, but sometimes it’s ok to let our guard down a little and allow the magic of raw emotion to take over.

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            Recently I’ve been working on a piece about a dear friend who passed away some years ago from colon cancer at the tender age of 40.  Writing about this funny and irreverent and yet deeply spiritual woman has brought her alive once again for me. I can still hear her voice when I write her dialogue and I often keep this picture beside the computer, so I can see her smile when I’m working. Like “Only in Sleep,” telling her story has kindled unexpected emotion amid the struggle to get all the right words in the right places.

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            As I come down the home stretch toward another birthday, I am grateful that spring has finally emerged, and I can stop wearing socks. That Vinnie is still here with us. That the osprey are back and the hummingbird feeders are filled and ready. That it will soon be time for mint tea (and mint juleps.) Grateful for the opportunity to sing “Only In Sleep” and write about the precious time spent with a friend who left us way too soon.

         I’m grateful that nature reminds us each spring to get rid of the dead leaves, to push out the flowers and new shoots and turn our faces to the warming sun. Thanks be to God that we get opportunities for fresh starts, to open the windows to refreshing breezes of hope and optimism after long periods of winter cold and darkness.

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            Now I’m going to pour a glass of iced tea, sit on the patio and wait for the hummingbirds to arrive.

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