Friday, October 03, 2014

When We Notice

Ever notice how you can drive the same streets and never notice a type of car and then someone talks about buying a new car and suddenly you see them everywhere you drive?

Tonight on the eve of Mason's library day at school, I picked up his book to read to him after many a round of losing at Dao.  A game he loves to play because he is so good at it.  I have yet to win a round. No worries, I don't think it would be nearly as fun if I did. So a few nights ago he and I read the beginning of said book and quite honestly I couldn't tell you much of these first chapters of the book other than the formula they all have...Jack and Annie have traveled in their tree house to Japan, in some time period, and they're on a mission. I know this well as I have read many a Magic Tree House book.  I had a lot on my mind while I read, mind wandering to other thoughts and got sleepier each page. Somehow the thought of renewing this book for the third time seemed like something I wanted to prevent, so I picked it up not nearly as sleepy and began to read thinking...what the heck is this story about?

We burrowed under the blanket and as we read, pages were turning and suddenly I was hooked. It was like the cars on the street...suddenly the unfamiliar character had purpose for me as I read he was a poet. All my current research on poetry was dancing in my brain.

One of my new, very favorite books!
We read on. The fire in the village was blazing, and everyone was rushing with buckets of water attempting to put it out and just like that I was transported to Claremont last summer playing with ideas for "Scotland's Burning" with my Education Through Music colleagues and friends. The characters recited "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to escape capture and again more connections. As we read on I was dying to see how it all played out.  My favorite part was just as I was realizing all that was meaningful to me, Mason turns and says, "I don't know why, but suddenly I just feel so happy."

It wasn't planned. It wasn't assigned. It was real.

We read on now, not because we had a certain number of pages to finish to get that book turned in on time, but because we were in.  We had to see where it was taking us. As we finished the book Mason said, "I think you should share that one with your class. It is true how the poem can help you really feel like you are right there.  Just those few words, and in your mind it is like you are right there."

So deep. All this from a book I had written off in my mind two days ago as one to "just get through". It became so much more, for him, for me, for us.

Read with a child, see where the journey takes you.  Suddenly, you might just find poetry everywhere you look.

"What is the story you want to leave behind?"

***I started this piece a month it is now...

I was just reading a dear friend's blog and she had a list of questions she heard at a retreat.  This one popped out as we have spent the afternoon celebrating the life of our neighbor, George.

"What is the story you want to leave behind?"

In the time we have lived here, our little community has grown and changed as have we.  We have come to know more of our neighbors and made more friends.  From the beginning though, George and Ginny were always there. Always willing to help us out, or loan us a tool we might need for a project.  Always a friendly chat over the fence and wave.  They've helped us celebrate holidays and have always made time to chat with Mason and Ellie.  We love sharing garden goodies with them and hearing about their adventures. They have celebrated and supported the preschool our kids attended by joining us at the auction. They've loved our dog, Onyx and spoil him with dog treats and dog sit now and then so he has furry friends to run with along the fence.

A month ago when we learned George had died it was a bit of a shock.  These past 11 years he has been someone you always see and count on for a friendly greeting. Today we attended his celebration.  As we walked from the car I caught sight of his truck and I had to catch my breath. As we entered the hall photos, mementos, and that huge Jack in the Box costume reminded me of his sense of humor and adventure.  We joined our neighbors in watching his scuba diving videos and heard stories shared by family, friends, and colleagues. Mason and Ellie wrote notes to him with his RV Dr. George pens on his personalized papers.  They wrote at different times and both wrote the same message..."I love you." Mason said, "I didn't know what else to say, so I wrote it twice." Ellie gave hers a kiss and decorated hers with hearts. As she dropped in in the bowl she said she was going to say a prayer to him when she got home. Then she picked up the framed picture of him and gave a kiss.

We smiled and told stories of the time we opened our front door to find him wearing this!
As we listened to his stories we laughed, we cried, we hugged. We spent time with our neighbors and celebrated the way he would have wanted. As we hung around long enough to put chairs away, all the kids helped, too. It reminded me of our first house party when he drove over stacks of folding chairs and tables for us to use. Always thinking of others, willing to give. As we cleaned up, someone outside honked the horn of his truck.

That familiar sound that sometimes startled you when you were outside, you knew George was home. Tonight I am thinking of all those we have said goodbye to these past few years.  They are near and dear to us and although we couldn't be at their celebrations they are forever in our hearts.

We love you George!