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Archive for October, 2012

As a writer, today is a goldmine for composing words to describe an enduring love and the romance of this moment. As a friend to both Nita and Terry, today is the fruition of decades of fishing and wishing for a glad moment in time…one that revives the faith in happy endings, in romance, and in the simple premise that while life is often a chore, a bore, a routine without much in the way of the “things worth writing home about”.  And there is that collection of amazing things we achieve in the midst of unremarkable times. But that life can also be amazing on a daily basis while we toil with the mundane…If life is lived with the right partner…with your best friend. Today we are privileged to live   vicariously and share in the collateral wave of joy that has overtaken my two friends and will carry them for the duration.

Terry and I have been friends since the middle 70s…and though I left Rainier in 1977, the friendship has endured and matured and actually gotten better over the decades. We ran one season of track together…Lord, he was fast. The view I always had was of him getting farther away and smaller during that lap of the track. But at the end of the day, he never gloated over his gift, and we were equals except for a short time after the starting gun. Today, there is but the glad memory of our having been running buddies so long ago…

In 1975, Terry stormed into a stormy Tillamook for a little game of football on a Friday evening in the fall…as he recalls; the muddiest and worst weather he ever played in…and he left there with a victory…and the attention of some of her citizens. A few days later, at another muddy, rain and windswept field in Rainier, I walked the sidelines with Terry who was in street clothes this time while we took in a JV football contest. And the scenery on the far sideline that was the opposition’s cheerleaders was more than tantalizing. It is now more than obvious that a little blue eyed freezing and shivering, yet still smiling and captivating in all her tiny glory caught Terry’s eye on that happily fateful night. It appears we all became friends in an instant, but I had no idea that while her and I spent the next few years as pen pals (remember pens and postage stamps), that in the midst of the rain and fall coastal fury, she and my friend Terry were to build a small fire that survived as warm coals and embers for over thirty years. And though they were to eventually drift away from one another, and I was to also lose track of her too…true friends never are forgotten.

I still have the notes she sent first from Wilson River Highway in Tillamook, then from a college in Bend.

Life goes on; all three of us grew up, raised our kids and did what old friends do. We wondered how the lives of our friends had turned out. A few years ago I found Nita in Bend…and after a couple years of being e-mail pen pals again, I found myself in Bend for the first time, to witness another Rainer football game there on neutral ground…And it was on that cold and cloudless night that she and Terry were to again meet after three decades…Ironic to have our again shivering Tillamook cheerleader in our midst, but this time sitting on the Rainier sideline between the two us, cheering on a different generation of combatants there…I hardly need tell what happened next…another Rainier victory, and two pink cheeked souls were smitten once again…Gotta love this happening for my good friends…

I gotta be honest. I’ve never known Terry to be this happy on a daily basis…even while dealing with the rigors of life, there has been a prevailing glad overture around him…and the music of his life has taken on a lovely tone. Nita is the salt of the earth…a mother, a great sister and daughter, but mostly a fantastic friend. Years ago I was speaking to my brother in law about my life, my numerous friends, my social circle and network of people. He spoke simply and eloquently…”I don’t need a lot of people in my life. I have what I need without all that. When I got married, I didn’t just marry your sister…I married my best friend. She’s all I need.” Here’s to words well spoken, and here’s to my lifelong friends today having married their best friend….I love you guys…MLL

 

 

 

 

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I just spent five days nearer to the coast than is my desert home. Late October in the trees. Autumn was making a debut there. The fall colors weren’t quite ready for the complete show…as they will be that opening night. But the dress rehearsal I was privy to be treated with, was spectacular even in its limited fashion. I am to return there in a month and although I will miss the first night’s show and a few seats will be empty, I’m sure the production will be spectacular, colorful, fragrant, and a great segue to the next act; Winter.

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Weekend of October 27, 2012
I traveled back to my youth this weekend…to the Oregon coast, Oregon Highway 30 and US 101.
I drove past the first running track (at Neahkahnie High School in Rockaway Beach Oregon) I attempted to compete on. I’m not sure I even finished that lap. I also passed by a few others…I ran the (then) 440 yard dash. It taught me of life…as it was also called a “gut race”. That first track looks much smaller now than it did then. I have no doubt I could no longer run them at any speed, but if I choose to walk, I could circle them for hours…Life teaches you that…slow but steady. Take your time, be on the ready. The key is being present at the end…and being effective as you journey.

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For their first dance…

Some good friends of mine are being married this weekend, but I will be on the Oregon coast at another wedding that day. I offered to write a short piece to send them off to their dance as a married couple. Bob is an amazing drummer, hence the theme of music and drums in my piece…One of his children will read this after their vows and before they dance…MLL

Across the room…I saw you there. There was music, a curiosity, perhaps a desire, and mystery in the air.

Across the room there was a smile, a potential friend, a possibility…but across the room felt like a mile.

Across town, I thought about you, of where we were…of our future romance. And I felt the music, felt your pulse and your soul from way across town.

And I grew to love you while hearing the sound of (not so) distant drums…

I know now what I didn’t when I was younger…and that things will be right…because I feel a certainty and the welcome presence of romantic hunger. You feel like home.

A lot of life is spent without the music inside the heart. With just moments at a time when the song fills you…I think now there is always a song present, with just moments of silence. That is the way the soundtrack of life should be…moments of quiet to reflect, but mostly the sounds of (not so) distant drums…a rhythm, a melody, and sweet harmony.

There was music during our first meeting, and our first date. Perhaps we are the music now. Perhaps you are the song within me…

Now; my hand is yours, your hand is mine. Across the room a dance floor awaits the two of us. There’s a song that’s waiting to be played…one that will soon be our song.

Might I request this dance for the rest of our lives? From this Moment…we’ll feel the beat of not so distant drums. Might we join hands and have our first dance?

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My little girl looked up at me and said, “I love you daddy. Do you love me back?”

I said, “Do I love you back? I DO love you back…and you front and you sides too!”

She looked up at me with a question in her eyes and said, “What about the top and the bottom? Do you love them too?”

I thought about it for a minute and finally said, “But what happens if you stand on your head, and your top ends up on the bottom, and your bottom winds up on the top? How will I know which end is which? And how will I know how to love your downside up bottom and upside down top ?”

She looked at me with a frown, sighed a heavy sigh and told me, “It doesn’t really matter at all, which side is up and which side is down. The top and the bottom are all still me. Even if you turn them upside down or downside up. No matter which way they are pointing, they are still me to love.”

I thought really hard…and then I got all confused and had to ask, “But what about your favorite cup? If I turn the top to the bottom, and the bottom to the top, then there are just sides and a bottom, but there is no top. And then there is no inside to fill up. I just don’t understand. Then is it still really a cup? If there is no place to put milk, or water, or juice to drink up?

My girl thought for a bit and finally said, “Even if my favorite cup is just a bottom without a top…there is still a place for the drink to be…but now it is just underneath, can’t you see?

I told her, “Kinda…I kinda can see.”

My little girl just smiled…and she said to me, “You know about my feet and you know about my head. You still know what they are even if my feet point to the up and my head points to the down. EVEN if my pointing down face gets red, you can still see my nose and my eyes and the other parts of my head. All my parts are still there for you to love. And my heart is always right there where it should be, and it always belongs to you… You are still you, and I am still me. Please always remember what I just said. I’m still me no matter which way you see. ”

And I thought and I fought to remember what she had just said. And I was afraid I might have forgot…but just to be sure, I asked her this to help me remember what I was afraid I had not.

I said, “So even if the lights go off or we’re outside in the dark, and I can’t see your back or your front, or your bottom and your top? Even if I can’t see your eyes and your nose and your ears and the other parts? And if I’m not really sure if all the parts are still in the right places, are all of the things I cannot see, still your back, front, top, bottom, and face? Even if my eyes don’t see, are you still you and am I still me?”

She was quiet for a while, because she knew I had to have a minute before I could see the parts about all of this inside the thinking place in me…And then she looked up again, and asked if I could kneel down so I could see her better, and she could better see me…and she told me to “listen real good cause this is the way things are and the way things always will be…”

She put one hand on each side of my cheeks, and looked into my eyes and said to me;

“Pay close attention, cause this is the last time I’m going to mention…That even if I’m in another place where you can’t see me, it won’t really matter if you can’t see my back or my top or my face or my feet…Even if my bottom is on top, or my top is on the bottom…You’ll still be you and I’ll still be me…and you can still love what you cannot see. That is the way it always was, and always will be. So now you know that I will always love you and you can always love me.”

And then I told her, “I would always remember what she had just said, but now I was tired, so it was time for her to go to bed.”

Then my little girl looked at me with a frown, but then she winked and turned the frown down side up to be a smile and said, “I’m tired too from untangling things in your upside down head, so good night mixed up man. I love you back, and you front and you bottom and top too. Good night to all of you daddy, I’m going to bed.”

I told her, “I kinda already knew what she had just said, cause girls love their daddies, and daddies love their girls. That is the way it always was and always will be.”

My little girl is really smart. Smart as can be.

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I know a quilter. When there is a rough patch in the life of a friend, she fashions a handmade quilt with colors and patterns befitting of the soul in need of comfort and a safe place to wrap up and mend whatever ails them.

She is selfless and dedicates time best spent on sleep and other life callings, but regardless…the quilts are created, lives are made to be filled with the things conducive to peace of mind, healing, and a general feeling of being embraced and cradled with love…

A couple years ago, she prepared one such quilt for a dear friend of both of us who was fighting the good fight, and eventually received his reward at an age much too young. He did in fact sleep under this quilt until the end…

Safe harbor from life’s storms …in our school colors.

I wrote this piece to introduce him to the gift from her…

This quilt…

This quilt is a river, it is a song. Every stitch is a ripple, a line that soothes your soul. This quilt is a memory within every square…a moment in time when you need us there. The colors are smiles and laughter…midnights and dawn. This quilt is a promise, a wish, and prayer.

There ought not be a time when you feel abandoned…the proof of love from your friends is folded right there…and when you perhaps need a little more, lay it over your needs, your questions…and fears…

There is love in every stitch, a moment in time can be found in the patches…This is meant to close in the miles, draw together the years…to shelter you from the gathering clouds if a storm should be near.

This quilt is a comfort when you might need refuge from any doubt…it is a place where your friends gather and keep you close, keep you safe, and keep you warm.

This is a buffer for you come chills of winter or trials of life…like the presence of family or friend from the descending of night to the approach of morn…

This quilt is a river like the one near which you grew…This quilt is a song to keep in your heart, so you know God is on vigil watching over you. In the dead of winter, or the long days of summer…be it for warmth or a picnic on the ground…keep it near to you, to keep us near to you…and remember…This quilt is yours to keep always…as is the silence of your forest, the flow of that river…and the love of your friends…Keep it nearby…and be assured our bond is without end..     M&B

Whether you make home on a mountain or the flats by the sea, there is a patchwork of reassurance and comfort there folded and ready to bring a hug from afar, no matter where you are…

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