How do you keep the music playing? How do you make it last?
How do you keep the song from fading… too fast? How do you lose yourself to someone?
And never lose your way….How do you not run out of new things to say?
—Michel Legrand; Alan and Marilyn Bergman
And so we returned to our homes and our families and our jobs…and we find ourselves now, days later, weeks even, wondering how we are changed. The laundry is done. We’ve reconnected with our families and friends. We’ve caught up on emails…we consult no one when we get dressed…
Patty is full-up on Kindness, and the effects on her health and her cancer markers and her scan continue to amaze. Less than a week after our return she boldly went in for another round of Jousting With Cancer…at the cellular level. Chemo. Patti and Jean went along to provide foot and scalp massages…they aren’t doctors but they play them on TV. On PV.
We text each other sometimes fifteen times a day in our group text chats that would make no sense to any one else…I can’t go many hours without telling them I missed them.
And I also haven’t gone very many hours without experiencing the same kindnesses in my own life that we’d experienced together…or without NOTICING those kindnesses I should say…I think they were always there.
Bradenton awaited us with open arms in the way that hometowns do…Hometowns don’t change. But they look different when YOU are changed…when you finally return home.
Today I went to the beach to meet two friends whom I hadn’t seen since before the Route 66 Trip. It was so nice to share what I had experienced with two wonderful listeners who really cared and really wanted to understand. We laughed over Marty Merritt, and were amazed again by the napkin notes on Southwest Airlines.
“What was the best part?” I’ve heard this over and over again since my return. And I really don’t know. “What was the best thing you saw?” It’s so easy to say, “The Grand Canyon.” Because it’s Grand, of course. But it was ALL grand.
Was it our matching shirts that drew kindness, was it the magic of these six gals drawn together by chance, or by Janey? Was it simply Patty? I think the kindness was there all along, has been there all along…but we weren’t seeing it. Or maybe I wasn’t seeing it. And now it surrounds me quite often.
It’s there. It’s not always found at Grand Vistas near a Canyon. It can be waiting in line with you for a woman’s restroom, or in a diner in the stories of your waitress, or it might be in the words to a song.
One person on the trip said, “It’s the road.”
I don’t think they meant the concrete one.
My family went to Chicago this past week which meant we needed a cab from time to time. Taking an Uber somewhere can be a great opportunity…we were picked up by a man from Pakistan. This man is from a country I know very little about…and he spoke of the lovely streets of Islamabad…a planned city, very safe he said. He was proud of the wonderful mangoes grown in his country. He shared a glimpse of his hometown, and I came to know a kind man from Pakistan.
As I drove home from the beach today with sand stuck to my legs and the lovely smell of baby powder (which only works modestly well at removing sand, by the way) Rick Springfield’s “Jesse’s Girl” on the radio made me sing out loud. And the Bee Gees too..
I ran some errands on my way…at the Bank I stepped from my car guiltily because I NEVER go into the corner bank, my bank, without a shower, without make up, and without running a comb through my hair..and here I was encrusted in sand, my hair pulled back into a tight head band and my beach cover-up tugged down low, but not low enough…racing into the bank with a smile on my lips because it’s kind of fun to step out of your comfort zone some times, and I was fresh off of belting
And that sweet city woman, she moves through the light,
controlling my mind and my soul.
When you reach out for me, yeah, and the feeling’ is bright,
then I get night fever, night fever…..
at the top of my lungs.
Moments later on my way out to my car from the bank, a gal was getting out of her car, “I love your dress!” she yelled to me. And you have to admit, that was pretty darn kind.