Sunday, January 30, 2022

My January Birthday

 Birthday month!

Thank you all for your warm birthday greetings now a week  past. They meant so much to me! 

I treasure each  message, every friendship.

I’ve been pondering birthdays—my  own, and those of others I love—us “January kids.”

January is often called a “new beginning.” The first month of a new year, giving birth to visions of what life might become—opportunities to “do it better”— the discovery of new ways to grow and give, learn and love.

Funny thing, though. In my part of the world, January comes in the darkest time of the year—the days are short, the nights long. It’s cold. Clouds swirl, rain dumps from the heavens, rivers rise, the ocean rages. Christmas is over. Decorations came down. Adult children return to their homes, taking their children, my grandchildren with them. Time to clean up, pack away the old, prepare for the new. Back to work. 

Ironically, for me, sometimes January gives rise to those feelings within—a haunting sense of melancholy, of wistful reflection, of wondering what’s ahead while grieving the loss of what’s passed. 

So January—this new beginning. What’s new about beginning? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Isn’t any beginning “new?” Or—is it? How often do I begin again, in the same old way? How can I have a “new” beginning—try different ways of doing the “old?” How can I let the people who matter to me—and that’s each of you—know how special you are, how much you mean, how much I love you? Oh, some of you I don’t know that well—you’re mostly “facebook friends”. But we share space on this planet, we breathe in the air and exhale the joys and sorrows of our shared humanity. And some of you I know well. Some of you I’ve hurt with what I’ve said, or not said, and some of you I’ve shared amazing times with, and smile as I remember. So here we are, in January. I want to “do better, to love better, to be more kind and generous, caring and kind. 

I’ve never been afraid of saying how old I am, though this year I told someone I was 85 just to hear them say, “Oh, you look so young!” And I laughed out loud. But this year I’ve struggled with the idea I’m in the last of my 60’s. Wow! How did that happen? Yet as I reflect, I’m sobered with the realization that I’ve had the gift of reaching 69—an opportunity denied to many. I’ve seen my children grow up, watched them pursue their dreams. I’ve lived long enough to see some of them have children. I know my grandchildren and get to see them often (though not as often as I’d like!).  I’m married still and forever to Lee, the love of my life, for going on 49 years—we’re still growing up together! I have a home and health and a car and meaningful work and a nice cell phone. I have books and music and beauty all around. I live in a wonderful corner of the world in a town with people who care for each other, and worship in a faith community that seeks love and kindness. I’m humbly grateful for these privileges.

I recognize life can change in a moment, as it has for many of you. Just for today—I’ll treasure another day, another birthday.

I’m rambling—often what I do. As I’ve been reflecting on life, and birthdays specifically, I’ve thought of other January birthdays, birthdays of those I love. Thought I’d share a few snippets of some of the other "January kids” who I’m humbly grateful for, who have colored my life in vivid color and helped shape who I am.

My mom was the first January girl I knew. Born on the eighth of the month, she nurtured and loved me well. She’s been gone nearly eight years now, and not a day goes by but I don’t miss her. This year, January 8 rolled around again, according to the earth’s cycle, and again, I remembered and missed my beloved mother. That missing never goes away. I loved her!

Seven years after I arrived, she gave me a baby sister, born the last day of the month. All I’d  known was three brothers. Wonderful as they are, I’ll never forget the joy of welcoming Deanne. She, too, impacted my life in ways I could never have imagined, and continues to do so to this day. I love her!

And then there’s Marcia. Marcia Joy Hinkle—born 4 days after me, we shared not only our birthday month, but the same middle name, the same teachers, the same friends. We dreamed the dreams young children dream, and shared joys and sorrows  of growing-up years. At four years old, we became tight friends, and remain so to this day. Though we live far apart, she is never far from my heart. I love her dearly, and look forward to the times we spend together. I love her! 

And then there’s Charity. Eight years ago we were mirror twins—sort of! She turned 16 when I turned 61, our birthdays one day apart. We celebrate each other—and this year was no different. Though late in the evening of “her” day, she arrived, gift in hand, at my door. What fun! We sang happy birthday to each other and hugged and talked of  her dog Maisy and when we’ll get together again. I love her! 

Now Ranee’—my three youngest children’s “other mother” And Lorie, her husband who graciously opened their home to our children at pivotal times in our children's lives. For those of you who know Ranee’ and Lorie Dearing, you know how lucky we are. Ranee’ brightens the world as no other. Lorie is one of the kindest people I know. When someone loves your children, you’ve received the best gift a parent could receive. I could go on and on about Ranee’,and Lorie. Summing it up best, to know Ranee’ and Lorie is to love them—and I do!

Then there’s my beloved cousin, Mike—my “other brother.” Mike’s wedged between my two oldest brothers, Jim and Tom, and his birthday comes one day after my mother’s—something she took delight in!  He lived with us for a time when I was a girl, and as the years have gone by, he’s grown ever more dear. He’s taught me much. His resilience and quest to learn and love inspire me. I love him!

On the eighteenth of January, two years ago, I received the best birthday present ever, a few days early—my #10 grandchild—and my very first and only-ever Xiomara. Born in Toronto, we donned clothing fit for a snow storm, with coats, scarves, gloves, warm stockings and boots and walked a few blocks to the hospital with her Mama and Daddy and other Grandma and Grandpa —to await her arrival. She arrived—and life has never been the same. Words don’t do her justice—she captured us all, and we’ve never been the same!  Oh oh oh, how I love her!

There are others—you know who you are. Please know love this month, and forever.

Now, saying good-bye to January. May it come again!

Thank you all for sharing my journey. I count it a humble privilege.



                                                                               OCEANSIDE BEACH--I LOVE THE BEACH! 


                                                        The birthday girls, my Mom and me a few years ago at a Christmas tea

                                                                                   My sister Deann's 60th birthday


                                              Marcia and me at Cape Lookout a few years ago

                                               Ranee' and Lorie with her our daughter, Lanessa

                                                            Charity and I celebrate again!

                                                                         January girls!

                                                                       We all celebrate!
                                                               Best birthday present ever!


Thursday, November 26, 2020

 Thanksgiving 2020

Awwww family!

It’s Thanksgiving. I’m forever thankful for each one of you—my beautiful children, and yours. It’s so strange not to gather in the same time and space with you. It’s so unnatural to be away from you. It’s not the way we planned it.

We’ll be sharing thanks, though—thanks that through it all, in God’s providence we will be together again, that hope will be realized, thanks that we have a warm place to lay our heads and plenty of food to satisfy, that we have ways to connect unknown to those from whom we came, memories of their sweet legacies, that we have music and dance, that we have forgiveness of hurts and reunion of hearts,  that we have clean water to quench our thirst and warm water to wash our bodies and dishes and clean our clothes, that we have clothing for work, for play, for sleep, for celebration, for beauty and comfort, that we have ways to get places—cars and trains and planes and our own two legs, That we have not only sustenance—but a feast before us, with dessert, too. That we have “easy” ways to keep and cook the bounty of the harvest, that we have art and beauty and song to salve the distance between, that we have health and strength for another day, that your Dad and I have children who love us, and that we have children we love more, and that we have grandchildren who delight our days and bring a million smiles, thankful and deeply  humbled that we’re “safe” in this moment from the ravages of a pandemic that’s shattered the lives of more than we can number, thankful a vaccine is coming, thankful that we have a generous God who loves us all as the “apple of his eye” and forever, no matter what, holds us in His heart.

We’re thankful for those you’ve brought into our lives. From childhood onward, you brought friends into our lives who became ours, too, who we love. You’ve made our world bigger—and smaller. You’ve brought us close to many, reminding us that we are “one.” Thank YOU. YOU are God’s promise that the world should go on. 

How I miss hugging you, feeling skin touching skin! How I miss hearing your laughter, wiping your tears, sitting together in silence, seeing you bound up the walk and throw open the door, How I miss smelling the fragrance of your hair, looking into your eyes and touching your soul as you touch mine, how I miss cooking and creating in the kitchen, feasting at the table, swapping stories, and savoring time together. I'm "homesick" for you, even as we  shelter in "at home" so we can be together again. And so much more..... 

Wow! Yes WOW! I’m teary-eyed just thinking about it. Yet I’m thankful,  so very thankful for the privilege of missing you—the privilege of holding precious memories that evoke the longing to be together again—that we have hope of Thanksgiving to come, That we are bound by love. That you love each other—the best gift you’ve ever given your Dad and me.

Now, be safe—and have FUN! 

Zooming soon—and Happy Thanksgiving!   xoxo

                                                                                                                  Mom   xoxo

Sunday, November 15, 2020



A few days ago someone dear to me ("Loren"*)  posted an NPR article projecting what  “Biden’s first 100 days in office” would include, accompanied by his opinion of the article: 


Here are comments that followed:  I did not correct spelling, punctuation, or grammar. I highlighted my responses in blue. 

*Pseudonyms used  to protect privacy, except my own. 


Him to be declared incompetent so The witches can take over


Communists taking over thats what

i don’t think he will see 100 days i think his little side kick there will see to that

Shirley I agree


That is will have him declared incompetent

Sue Long
Praying for his success. Praying for him to have wisdom to help heal a divided country. If he does well, we all benefit.

Sue Long 
What is an example of Biden healing anything?

    Biden seems to make himself rich from his past dealings while being a public servant. His corruption will be swept under the rug if he actually takes office. God help us if we end up with Harris as president and that is not a stretch at all.

Thank you for your insight

Sue Long
Loren For a starter, his rhetoric is respectful and inclusive. He makes it clear he wants to be your president, too. How can you help?

with lady macbeth as VP biden's fist task should be to assign some eunuch like bernie sanders as his food taster.

I’m terrified of him. If he implements some of the things he says he will our trucking business and our farm is all but gone. Fuel shortages, carbon footprint, three times the price for fuel? We lost money during Obama. Trump lifted us up and everyone we know that has businesses. We are hiring and paying great wages... our drivers make $6-7000 a month if they want to run hard . Our 30 yr old son was able to buy his own semi. But he can’t survive lockdowns or high fuel costs. He will be done. He too unestablished. Biden is threatening to raise inheritance tax and do away with the step up plan that will cause our kids to sell the farm and the trucks to pay the taxes. But. That is if we still have them ... we’ve worked 80 hours a weeks at times running our businesses and have done well overall
But they could be gone in a matter of about 3 executive orders in the first 100 days. I don’t understand why folks want socialism and everything run by the government. I’ve cried everyday in the last week.

So please Sue tell me and relieve my husbands and my huge worry. What will Biden do for us? For us and our kids? Like I said we are terrified.


Julie  So very true!

Julie  I tried to respond and this popped up immediately:

 lol. Well I rest my case How about that Sue Long

Sue Long 
this is what my family will loose if he does away with the step up plan. Makes it a little more personal.

                      (photo removed)

    • Julie
      These are the two trucks we own now. We’ve own trucks since 84. Yes. We’re too old to go broke.

      (photo removed)

      This is our sons truck and trailer. He is a owner operator. A one man company. He cannot survive a bad economy. Like I said it makes it very personal. But unless you’re in our shoes you don’t care. We have family members that are liberal. They actually told us tough luck. But they aren’t involved with any of it. Not immediate. That is a divide I’d love to see Biden heal. Lol. I’m off my pulpit now because it does no good. They already threw down the gauntlet.  
                  (photo removed)
    • Loren

    • Loren
    • The nonsense is intense.
    • Go to the site I suggested earlier. Getting cancelled  at this point is affirming 
    • Julie
      My comment is still showing to me. You can’t see it?


      Yes. Thank you

        and I see I got no response from those that love Biden because they can’t defend him when it comes to this. They know he’s threatened to do it. AOC Schumer Pelosi Harris. Gates, Bezo b All make millions and are in bed with China.... yet they let them riot in our cities. No one has ever explained that to me. They just live in denial. Jesus threw them out of the temple. Jesus said to stick up for yourself and trust him. I’m trusting him now. I just don’t trust Biden’s handlers he’s a yes man to the above mentioned.


      Seems pretty obvious. Hating on Trump is the Biden-lovers passtime.
      They DO NOT CARE that biden is not an honorable person.

       i do not believe that Bidden will be pres. A lot happening that the media is not telling us. Fraud is being discovered.

      . Yup. But to refuse to defend and explain his policies when put up to it is their platform they can’t . We need to protect and stand strong ourselves for upcoming elections too.

      deep state puppet joe biden's economic plans spell disaster for small businesses. 

    • Julie you are so right.
      resist the fraudulent and phony biden.


I consider carefully what I post and how I respond. This has taken a little longer. When Loren's* post showed up on my feed, I attempted to respectfully reply from my perspective, knowing it would not align with most comments of those who follow his posts. I don’t generally respond to this type of post because I value my relationship with Loren. I don’t stubbornly need to be “right.” I probably should have left it alone, but since I started, I don’t want to disengage. You deserve my response. I truly try to have an open mind and open heart. It is in that spirit that I now respond.  Loren, I hope you know that I love you dearly.

Julie, your trucks are beautiful! Your homeland is gorgeous. I’m glad you've done so well. I want you to keep doing well. You’ve worked hard, and can be proud of yourself. Kudos! I don’t know all that it’s taken for you to succeed in the impressive way you have. Certainly a vision and a plan—and immense work. I’ve not walked in your shoes, but I do care. I’m glad you’ve had the opportunity to pursue your dreams and enjoy their fulfillment—an opportunity not afforded to all.

We also own our own business, and we know first-hand that these times are difficult. There hasn’t been a time that hasn’t been hard work. We, too, work extremely long hours. I understand, and yes, it's scary. I’m deeply humbled by those who have supported and encouraged us along the way. We couldn’t have done it alone. I’m sorry you're having such a difficult time. I wish the best for you and your son.

We have children, too, who know what struggle means. That doesn't pre-empt praying for Biden and wishing him success in helping unite a divided country. I know there's no heaven on earth, and that we will struggle no matter how much or how little we have.

Though I dream for material success for our children, I care more that they are kind, compassionate, honest sons and daughters who humbly and gratefully value truth, freedom, a healthy world, and the unity that love brings. I also want their children to enjoy the fruits of their labors.

Perhaps the greatest struggle for all of us during these times is how can we unite—even when we disagree? How can we be people who truly care about each other? Please forgive me when I’ve failed. I want what I say and what I do to come from a heart of understanding and compassion. This includes hearing your voice, and trying to understand your fears—and doing what I can to help. I’m not sure what that looks like sometimes, but I want to.


I hear big assumptions about what people like me supposedly know, and how people who support Biden "can't defend him." With respect, this wasn’t about defending anyone. It began with a NPR article about Biden’s first 100 days in office. 

I resonate with what he hopes to accomplish. The writer of the article first  references what he anticipates as being Biden’s  COVID-19 response: “Assemble a coronavirus task force during his presidential transition.”  I believe that’s a responsible action. 245,361+ reasons and counting.

I also expect Biden will make mistakes, like every USA president who's ever served. I doubt I’ll agree with everything he does.  But I want him to do well, just like I wanted Trump to do well. In my opinion, that’s all the more reason to pray for him.  Don’t you think helping heal a divided country is a worthy goal? My question for Loren was “How can you help?” I received no response.

You reference (without source) several names who you claim have gained their wealth through their connections with China. Whether true or not, what does that have to do with Biden’s first 100 days in office?

President Trump certainly has made his millions, often at the hand of hardworking people who went bankrupt after he didn't pay them. Well-documented cases. (Seems like Ivanka and the Trump family have also made millions from their connections with China). But that’s not what Biden’s first 100 days in office is about. And I don't want to argue.

Loren, you reference “Biden-lovers” in a way that exhibits disdain, disgust, and contempt.  You falsely claim “hating on Trump [is] being the Biden-lovers passtime (sic).” I see accusations that people such as myself are “Trump-haters.” Wrong. This hurts. I wish that we all be “people-lovers,” including loving both Biden and Trump. 

The Good Book also says something about loving our enemies. That doesn’t mean I have to love Trump’s  behavior and the division he has brought to this country. It doesn’t mean you have to embrace Biden’s policies. In my mind, a mandate to love means to speak respectfully of others as humans. That includes Democrats, Liberals, Biden, Harris, and any other ilk. It means attempting to understand my own fears and the fears and dismay of those who see it differently, and to alleviate suffering. I’m trying. 

I’ve heard Trump’s  “us vs. them” rhetoric, his well-documented lies, and seen his divisive actions—even to this day. This is not fake news. Behaviors have consequences. Biden’s do as well. Both will be held accountable. 

I often see responses to posts such as I am responding to that claim “they” (“DemoRats”, “Liberals”, "Libtards", the “radical Left”, etc) have subverted all that President Trump has attempted to do, that Trump has been prisoner to an evil, behind-the scenes secret cabal that orchestrated his demise and fooled millions of the rest of us. These are often accompanied with name calling and accusations about Biden being demented, a pedophile, and other egregious claims. In my opinion, this is fear-driven language and conspiracy thinking coming straight from Trump’s playbook. I think we as the American people are better than this. Truth matters. Where you get it matters. Who you believe matters. You get to choose. So do I. I’ll respect your right to do so, and I will challenge your perception of “truth” when I believe it needs to be challenged. 

You’re right—Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple (with tears in his eyes)—the religious elite who misused His name for their own profit. I don’t see Biden doing anything of the sort —especially in the name of religion. I do see many of Trump’s follower’s embrace religion as their mantra, for their own benefit, while displaying contempt for the vulnerable living among us—or who ARE “us.”  With respect, I don't think your analogy holds. 

Interestingly, I don’t see where Jesus said to “stick up for yourself," though He said much about truth, justice, and mercy. That’s for a different discussion. 

The Greatest Commandments say to love God and each other. That’s what I want to do, though I often fail. For that, I’m sorry. 

You’re right—let’s trust Him. Yes. And pray for each other. I wish you well. Signing off. Love to all...

Monday, November 2, 2020

 Election Eve, 2020.  Letter to a loved one.

I've known you most of my life.  I love you dearly, and long for conversations about what's most important--living the way of love.

I've read many of your posts and chosen not to respond because I value our relationship more than I value trying to prove I'm "right." I long for a relationship that allows freedom for respectful dialogue as well as diversity of thought and action.

I, too, love this country, our Constitution, the rule of law, and our people--all. I value truth, peace, and freedom. I attempt to read wisely and research carefully. I want to listen to and learn from a plethora of voices. I try to watch behaviors, evaluate consequences, think critically, and yes, I have voted.

I've come to far different conclusions than you have based on many variables, including what I've heard straight from the president's own mouth, his unedited, "straight talk". 

I've read his tweets, full of ridicule and name-calling. His actions have  often shouted even louder than his words. 

 I don't want to hate him, and I pray God will purge me of any hate I may not recognize. You often reference how the Democrats are filled with hate, as if you know the heart. You don't. 

 I feel immense pity for the man and wonder how he became the person he is. How he speaks about others and  how he treats people he pledged to serve--including Democrats--brings me to far different conclusions than you've arrived at. 

This is not "fake news". 

 For me, it's been impossible not to see.  I cannot in good conscience plug my ears and excuse his offensive rhetoric. It tangibly hurts people and inspires others to shout the same rhetoric, perpetuating cycles of division. 

I cannot close my eyes and dismiss bullying that wounds the soul of our children--and our country. 

I cannot dismiss a multitude of documented lies that at best diminishes but more often invalidates any utterance of a truth. 

It sounds from one of your recent copy and paste posts on Facebook that the conspiracies you espouse define how you see people such as me and my husband and  others who love you. 

We are not your enemy.

 The tone of posts such as yours insinuates blame, accusation, ridicule, and contempt. How does this help? Of course you're entitled to your opinions and can post what you choose. 

And yes, sources matter. 

You get to vote, as do millions of Americans. To judge others such as myself as stupid, foolish, or deluded seems counterproductive to a "united" country (descriptors you've used in recent posts). 

Whatever tomorrow brings, I pray for us to recognize the reality that many will be scared, angry, terrified, and saddened, while many others will correspondingly be elated, jubilant, relieved, ecstatic, and triumphant in "victory."

Today we don't know which group either of us will be in. Whatever the case, instead of gloating in victory or despairing in loss, my hope and prayer is that each of us humbly help heal the wounds that divide. 

You may think of us as as exceptions within a massive group of liberals. You may think of us as an isolated minority.  We're not. There are multitudes of kind, caring, thoughtful, and even Christian citizens of this country who share these convictions. 

We've been on the receiving end of your love many a time, and I know you care. You've known us as your trustworthy and truthful fans. 

I beg you to open  your mind and your heart to others who perceive a different world than what you see.

 May we be liberal in our love for all. 

We are not your enemy. 

We are your family, your friends, your loved ones

Sunday, January 28, 2018

My First Best Friend

I have little memory of life before her, my first best friend. How we met? I don’t even remember. Where? Most likely at church where our families faithfully attended. It seems like I’ve known her forever. Though our lives often diverged, sometimes for years at a time, always, we’ve come “home”. A safe refuge. A sweet place of kindred spirit, shared soul. 

Marcia. She set the stage for other dear and treasured friendships that followed, and she set the bar high. I try to think of words to describe her. Loyal. Generous. Honest. Smart. Tenacious. Brave. The list goes on. To put her in “words” simply doesn’t do justice to who she is.

Today’s her birthday. Every year, the same. Separated by only four days, we’re January girls. We share the same middle name, “Joy.” Her name suits her well. 

We began first grade and finished the next eight years together. When weekends came, our families went to church together and she and I often went to the other’s home for sleepovers. Friday night vespers and Saturday night socials and a host of other events tied our hearts together.

Being the the only girl in a mix of brothers when we met, I delighted in having a friend of my own gender. Oh, we were not “girly girls,” by the standards of some. We played hard and got our hands dirty. Though we had other friendships, we always gravitated toward each other. 

Those looking on probably would have described Marcia as bold and brash, loud and outspoken, the leader, the extrovert, while seeing me as shy and quiet, timid and reluctant, introverted, the follower. In truth, we were both perhaps all of these. We trusted each other. We had then, and still have our unique personalities and quirks. Yet we have something far more valuable. A shared heart for what we treasure most. Relationships that matter. 

One of my vivid memories is the morning my baby sister was born. We had just turned seven a few days earlier. Saturday night. Marcia came to spend the night at my home. A hurried call during the wee hours of the morning, and her Dad came and picked us up to take us to her home while my dad drove my mother to the hospital. Later that morning her mother handed me the phone, and my dad told me I had a baby sister. When her baby brother was born, I remember standing on tiptoes peeking through the outdoor viewing window into the nursery where he lay. (No brothers or sisters allowed into the hospital!). We were both little sisters and big sisters, plunked right in the midst of siblings.

Oh, so many memories! Pathfinder trips. Sharing a pup tent and giggling late into the night, savoring a treasure trove of candy she brought along. Going to Pinecrest summer camp together. Swimming in her pool, playing Marco Polo.Going with her as her dad flew his plane to PUC one Sabbath morning. Noticing boys, but not being noticed (so it seemed). 

Marcia was—and still is—a rabid Giant’s fan. When she was 9 years old, while reading Newsweek, she discovered  the name of the street where Willie Mays lived. On a trip to San Fransisco  she talked her parents into finding the street (no GPS or Google!) of one of the greatest baseball players of all time. She knocked on a random door and asked where he lived. Across the street! She and her sisters marched up to the door, rang the bell, and were greeted by a housekeeper. Marcia asked for Willie May’s autograph. The housekeeper left and promptly returned with the requested signature. Today, Marcia holds season tickets to Giant’s games, and can recite nearly every statistic of any Giant player over the last 60 years, and perhaps even earlier. 

In the fourth grade the teacher intercepted a note Marcia was passing to me, proclaiming that another student was the “teacher’s pet.” She and I were keen that all things should be done fairly, and this particular classmate seemed to have privileges not afforded to the rest of us.  Subsequently Marcia was suspended from school until she would apologize. Stubbornly, she refused, because she would not lie about being sorry for something she was not sorry for. She finally came back a week later, much to my delight.

Though our families were much the same, they were vastly different. Marcia came from a “doctor’s” family. In my younger years within my subculture, this held a certain prestige and privilege I was not accustomed to. Perhaps merely perceptions of what may not have been at all. My parents worked hard, were well-respected, and lived modestly. Marcia’s home had much that mine did not, like a swimming pool, a dishwasher, and  even a colored television (we didn’t even have a black and white). She had her own bedroom with a sink in it, as did her sisters. While it was lovely, I didn’t pine for those accoutrements, nor did she. Mine was a home where I felt cherished and loved, because I was. My parents loved Marcia, and she knew it. She credits them to this day with much that she knows of love.

When we were in fourth grade, the teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. I had no idea, but Marcia knew. She proclaimed her goal to be “a doctor.” That’s exactly what happened. When she started medical school, I became a mother. Different trajectories. When my husband Lee began dental school, she came to visit, as she was attending the same university. Though our worlds seemed far apart, they were closer than we could have known. We have spoken of that visit and its meaning to both of us through the years since.

While in medical school, Marcia experienced what it was like to be a woman in a profession then dominated by men. Her story is her own to tell. I will ever be awed by her courage and resiliency during an era when women’s voices were often dismissed.

Marcia specialized in radiology. Upon completion of her residency, she joined the same group of radiologists where my Daddy had worked for nearly forty years. Though he was retired, he took great pride that she was working where he had spent so many years. She has told me, “He was legend there.” She’s not nearly as impressed by title and status as by what resides in one’s heart. She saw that in my parents. I’ll be forever grateful. 

When my mother began showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and Daddy’s health was failing, Marcia shared my sadness. She came to see them, and cried with me. She loved them well, and they knew it. She intervened generously to “make a way” for us to meet their immediate needs. I will always treasure her love for  them. She is truly “family” in the ways that matter most.

When we began first grade together, our mothers, both accomplished seamstresses, sewed the requisite dresses we wore to school every day, and every year they sewed new ones. All thorough our elementary school years. When we graduated from eighth grade, our mothers sewed graduation dresses for us. Co-valedictorians, we both gave speeches and spoke of lofty ambitions. 

Our ways parted for a time, as we went to different schools, forged new friendships, and walked different paths. I am sometimes sad when I think of those desert years of our friendship, of what I missed. I didn’t know her new friends, and she didn’t know mine. Six short years later, she stood in the same church where I would stand two months later. She wed her high school boyfriend, as I did mine. I watched from the church pew and witnessed this stranger, my friend, say “I do.” When I married soon after, she sent a gift, a mixing bowl. I still have it. Every time I use it, I think of her, and how our friendship has been a mix of so many ingredients, blended into a savory yet sweet Delight. It’s been baking for over 60 years, and still has years to go. 

One of the precious memories I treasure is that of Marcia meeting Lee, my beloved husband. She and Lee connected from the start. Sometimes as I listen to their animated conversations I smile inside, thinking of how lucky I am. One of the joys in my life is introducing one dear friend to another, when each gets to see how special the other is. That’s how it is with Marcia and Lee. He gets why I love Marcia, and she understands why I chose him, why I love him. She is happy for us. She delights in our children and genuinely cares about each one. They love her.

Oh, I could go on. Marcia has suffered losses I can hardly bear to think about. She’s given time and resources beyond measure to help care for those she loves.  The profound losses of those she has loved casts a shadow over her heart, a deep grief. She does all she can to hold close those dear to her heart. As mother of a son and grandmother to three, they will always know her love and loyalty. Oh that all children be so blessed!

This past October my  youngest son married the love of his life. They chose our home as wedding venue, planning an outdoor event though implications for indoor use abounded. Rain pounded and floods came. Marcia took it in stride. Having arrived a few days early, she put on her gloves and went to work. Cleaning, scrubbing, running to the grocery store, bringing lunch, helping me organize thoughts, and things, clear my head and get ready for the guests who would be coming.  Perceptive and ready at a moment’s notice to do what needed to be done. What a gift! 

I learned later that someone visiting saw her down on her hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom floor. They asked her to get something for them, thinking she was a hired cleaning lady. When I heard this story from someone who witnessed the interaction (though not from her), I thought, “how like Marcia!” I knew she, a respected, accomplished  “doctor”, would count it an honor to be numbered among those with a servant-heart, among the cleaning ladies of the world. She would be delighted to claim identity with those some view as common and ordinary, because that is how she sees herself. No grandiose ideas of her own importance or conceit in her accomplishments. A friend.  Ready to put on the gloves and clean the bathroom floor. Humbly doing the job at hand, as much as reading an x-ray or diagnosing cancer on a screen or mentoring young physicians. In the trenches, doing what needs to be done, whenever, wherever,  and however, just to make the world a nicer place.

We were little girls “yesterday”, making mayhem  and mischief, dreaming dreams., making memories for a lifetime and longing for forever.  We’re 65. I’m four days into it. She’s trailing slightly, but crossed the line today. 61 years ago we met, and I’ve never been the same. Today we’re officially “seniors” on Medicare and get discounts we can laugh about, (but still use). We’re prepped for a little mischief and mayhem and ready for adventure. Our dreams have changed, but we still dream—the dreams for our children and grandchildren to know love and joy and peace all the days of their life. We’re still making memories. Still looking forward to the next time we’re together. Still savoring every day.

 My first best friend. My forever friend. 

Happy birthday, dear Marcia! I love you.


                                                Cape Lookout hike, Marcia and me. May 11, 2017