Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Remembering Gerry

I just got back from Washington where I attended the "In Memory" day celebration at the VietNam Memorial Wall. I went because Daddy was one of the new inductees to the In Memory Honor Roll and he was being honored there that day. There were all kinds of people there to honor their loved ones, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, wives, husbands and children, even friends and fellow soldiers. Some of the loved ones were recently lost while others, like my Dad had been gone for decades. It did not seem to matter though, everyone still felt their loss.
My friend June knows a thing or two about that. She is learning to live with a new normal that is life without her husband and best friend Gerry. She tells me that part of what makes it hard is that life seems to have filled up the space where Gerry used to be and its like people have forgotten him. But I want her to know that I have not forgotten him. In fact he is on my mind a lot. I remember the things about him that I loved. He had the best smile. It lit up his whole face and then spread through the room like a golden glow. He also had a knack for telling the most inappropriate medical stories with the clinical detachment you would expect of the good doctor that he was, but most of us not being in the medical field could hardly believe what we were hearing. He hardly seemed to notice the stunned looks on our faces. Steve and I would laugh and laugh because it was almost guaranteed that a day spent with Gerry would mean another medical marvel for us add to our growing collection of Gerry stories. I remember that he was a chow hound and would eat anything that did not move! And I remember that Gerry was as wise and gentle and accepting a soul as I have ever met. He was nonjudgemental and willing to look at something from every and all perspectives and give value and respect to ideas and beliefs that were not his own.
June does not have to worry that Gerry will be forgotten because I know he is remembered by more people than she can imagine. His work in the emergency rooms of all the hospitals that relied on him brought him into peoples lives at times when they needed not only his skill as a physician, but his grace as a human being the most. I know he touched their lives in ways that he probably did not even know but in ways they will never forget. All those people may not be shouting Gerry's name from the roof tops, but they carry him in their hearts and they will remember him just like we do because a man like Gerry is simply unforgettable.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

a little South Carolina Aloha

The State flower of SouthCarolina is the Jessamine. Its easy to see why too. The vines cover most everything in the wild places of the state. They go un noticed most of the time, but in the early spring they start to catch your eye. Little yellow buds appear and in a matter of days the vines are bursting with yellow trumpet shaped flowers that smell somewhat like pez candy muddled with cheap perfume; a little sweet but not in an unpleasant way. Our backyard wilderness is covered in jessamine vines and when I looked out over them this spring I could not help it, I had to have a go at stringing a lei. So I went out in the weeds and collected the blossoms. Even though I must have picked over 100 flowers I hardly left a dent in this years crop. It turned out rather nice if I do say so myself. The only thing is that while it seems the most natural thing in the world to wear a lei in Hawaii, its is a little strange and uncomfortable to wear one in South Carolina. So I wore it for an hour or so, and then gave it to my neighbor Barbara who probably thought I had lost my mind. Still It was fun for a while, and if I have another bumper crop of jessamine next year I may do it all over again, we'll see...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cherry Blossom Festival

Many years ago I was given stacks and stacks of old National Geographic magazines. What a treasure trove it was! Every night for my bedtime reading I would pick a new magazine to peruse. One magazine featured the Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC. It was from around the 1950's and the pictures had that Kodachrome cartoony colorized feel. I was enchanted,
....A desire to see the cherry blossoms for myself was planted then and I have quietly kept it all these years. It was one of those things that was not a burning all consuming desire, but one of the sorts that sits quietly in the back of your mind as one of those "wouldn't it be nice..." kind of desires. As luck would have it, we were in DC for a friends retirement ceremony. Steve was on TDY for it as a participant and I tagged along and got to stroll around the tidal basin and view the Cherry blossoms with my own two eyes and well, it was nice! and perfectly timed too! At least as far as the blossoms were concerned. They were in full bloom just days before they were to start losing petals. Timing was less spectacular for me. I knew I was under the weather, but had no idea I was on the threshold of a full blown case of the flu. Looking back now at the pictures Steve took of me that day I can see it in my face. I should have been home in bed. Oh well, that's where I am now and glad to be too. At first I felt bad for being out and about in a busy urban environment harboring the flu... I kept to myself and wore gloves most of the time, so hopefully there will not be a spike in flu stats that is attributable to me. But on reflection and considering the crap the folks in Washington are currently putting us through, I kinda of like the idea putting them through a little crap myself...I'm just saying...