Monday, June 12 and Tuesday, June 13, 2017 – Back to Back Field Trips – CT to NY

Monday, June 12 and Tuesday, June 13, 2017 – Back to Back Field Trips – CT to NY

I had NEVER been to the CT State Capitol in Hartford, CT and I had NEVER been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art – Until June 12 and 13.

Monday morning I was on the bus to Hartford with the 4th graders by 8am…and on Tuesday morning I was on a train to NY with the 8th graders. What a great week!

The State Capitol building was GORGEOUS! It was designed by someone who renovates/builds churches and cathedrals. There was no doubt about that!! It was like a marble cathedral that was so majestic inside. For years, as I drove down the highway, I have seen that Capital dome in the distance and had never known what was inside of it!  Now I know that there are beautifully wood lined rooms where decisions are discussed and made. There are statues of all kids that captures significant moments of Connecticut’s history that everyone should see and know about. There are tributes to Connecticut’s war heroes and veterans that make you proud to be a citizen of the United States. And, there is a bronze and gold over laid  angel that stands tall with pride and a prayerful expression who will someday find her way up to the roof of our capitol building. She was simply breath-taking!  And the 4th graders loved the trip!

The MET was the second back-to-back fabulous day! Four adults and 12 8th graders…we walked from Grand Central, through Central Park, and to the MET….beautiful walk! I had never walked through that part of Central Park so even that was exciting. I have to admit, the old stuff in the museum was kind of cool, but I liked the art the best! Maybe because my Melissa is an artist, but I actually could have stayed there longer! I may have to go back there again!

So I went to two different places with two different groups of great kids on two back-to-back days! I had never done that before and it was a great way to end my first year at St. Augustine Academy!!

What a blessing this year has been in so many ways!

 

Saturday, June 10, 2017 – Cousins and Chihuly – Botanical Gardens, NY

Saturday, June 10, 2017 – Cousins and Chihuly – Botanical Gardens, NY

When my cousin, Maureen, posted an article on Facebook about the Chihuly Exhibit being at the Botanical Gardens this Spring/Summer, two things popped into my head. 1. I have never seen a Chihuly Exhibit (I did impress myself in knowing what that was!!) and 2. I have never wandered the grounds of the Botanical Gardens. It wasn’t until the plan to go on June 10th came closer did I realize the 3rd thing was….we, as a groups of related women (and one male!), had never ventured off to do something together! It was a beautiful day….although there were points in time that it could have gone bad!

Maybe that time would have been when:

  1. The guard asked Liz to not sit on the base of the Chihuly display!
  2. Joey (3 year old) was picking the flowers from the lovely flower beds in front of the Chihuly display!
  3. Joey was standing in the middle of a “park” and leaning on the sign that said, “DO NOT WALK ON GRASS”!
  4. Liz got into a heated debate about what constitutes a DISABLED WOMAN with the intellectually limited guard at the Library-based Chihuly exhibit.  I leave it up to you all…should a woman with a 3 year old and a 4 month old in a stroller be allowed to use the elevator vs. be made to juggle the kids and stroller down the 3 flights of stairs? Liz’s argument was that she would surely become disabled should she slip while bringing her family down. It took Len to intervene with Jerry. Len was clearly on Liz’s side!
  5. Joey took the toys from the strangers two-month-old baby’s stroller as the grandparent looked on in horror. The fear of germs is obviously real!
  6. we watched Aunt Pat huff and puff back to the “Family Adventure” area and we paused to let her catch her breath and contemplate the need to call for an ambulance or not!

But the day was beautiful and we strolled around with Leslie, Lisa, Liz and Me….Maureen and Susie and Susie’s son, Ryan….with Aunt Pat, Megan, Joey, and Vivian. Three generations strolling through the gardens and Chihuly displays and riding the Tram around the perimeter of the Botanical Gardens. We walked to see the waterfall, looked for the Beehives that didn’t exist, and took in the beautiful aromas of the Rose Garden. Simply beautiful.

There was not a better way that I could have imagined spending my weekend. I walked along those trails and pavements with cousins who I love, but don’t see often enough. I was with my father’s sister and her daughter and two granddaughters. I was with my two sisters and our dear friend and we were all having a shared experience of seeing  the work of a world reknowned glass blower/sculptor/artist whose creations were part glass and part environment. Absolutely gorgeous!!  I was amazed that we were able to all come together from Washington, DC area, the Catskills of NY, Pelham, NY and Norwalk, CT…….to enjoy a little piece of heaven in The Bronx!!

To top off the day….we took Maureen and Susie to Walter’s Hot Dog Stand! It was another first for them, and an absolute pleasure for us!

What a great weekend!

 

SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017 – HI-GLO RETRO

Sunday, June 4, 2017 – Hi-Glo Retro

I did something new, intentionally, last Sunday. We intentionally did it to support a wonderful young filmmaker from Norwalk, ALEX MORSANUTTO. We also did it to be intentionally selfish!

Back in 2015, Alex had used our home for scenes in his movie, Hi-GLo Retro! It is a 14 minute movie about  an anxiety ridden teenager dealing with his insecurities around going to a high school dance. The film was being shown at the Greenwich International Film Festival. Vinnie, Stephanie and Melissa and I all went to see it, enjoy it, and take a bit of pride and excitement about seeing our dining room and bathroom scenes. But, we also went also to support Alex, our local filmmaker, and see his finished product!

As I sat there with my daughters and watching Alex sitting right in front of us, I was struck with how proud I am of so many young people from Norwalk. I have my 4 kids, and 11 nieces and nephews, and through family and friend connections, I have so many other young adults in my life who are hovering around the  ages of 19 – 32. Each one of them, although they  have had their own challenges, have risen above the temptations of life and are pursuing their own big dreams. I have been blessed to witness them on their journeys to success.

As a career choice, I took a very safe path in education and it has served me well, However, if I were to relive my path, perhaps I would have been an author or an entrepreneur of some type. But, as I observe this next generation, very few have taken the “safe route”. Their choices have been very different from mine and now they inspire me!

I have a Beachbody coach, an artist, a musician, and a news photographer/editor. By extension, I have restaurant employees, a child care provider, a mechanic, a family business employee, an upholsterer, a plumber, a guidance counselor, and technology experts. I don’t know which interaction, what words or experiences occurred that set each of these individuals on to their own paths, but I find it fascinating to watch them set goals, define who they are, hit a few bumps and redefine their goals again. Each in his/her own right, has become a resilient person with big dreams and they are not afraid to reach out and take steps in a new direction.

So, as we sat there enjoying a laugh with the main character knowing fully that the man sitting in front of us created him, directed him in our home, and then chose which scenes would have the biggest impact on his audience, my heart swelled. We cheered for this insecure teenager as the final make-out scene drew to the conclusion. We wanted him to “win” and he did. This character became our instant hero!

It wasn’t lost on me that Alex, our young filmmaker, may have been supported and loved and cheered on, himself, by some of the same teachers, coaches, friends or neighbors who supported and loved my own kids as they were all growing up in Norwalk!

I am learning that when you live intentionally, you go to film festivals, you watch your familiar home in a new scene with strangers sitting in your chairs, and you can’t ignore that you sense that deep pride and love for so many young people. We may have been at that film festival to cheer on someone else’s child, but I ultimately left fully aware that the children I know and love well have the same potential to succeed on their own life’s journey, as Alex, our filmmaker does.

I pray that each one of them , including Alex, always dreams big for themselves!

Great job, Alex!! We are all cheering you on!

WE LOVED Hi-GLO RETRO!!

May 27, 2017 – Beavers, Ticks, and LOST CHILDREN….OH, MY!

May 27, 2017 – Beavers, Ticks, and LOST CHILDREN….OH, MY!

It started out so simple. Vinnie and I were going to 4pm Mass and Mark and Barbara and the girls were going to Home Depot. We left, went to Mass, and prayed for everyone!

We returned to the lake house at 4:50pm and Mark was at the car. Trunk and driver’s door open. I asked if he was back already. I was a bit confused. He told me, “NO, the girls are lost in the woods and he had to go get Barb and the dogs, and then go get the girls. He wasn’t too worried because he knew the GPS had located them. He just had to drive about 4 miles away to pick them up “on the North end of the lake”.

With no real worries, Vinnie and I poured a drink and went to sit on the porch. At 5:45pm when they weren’t back yet, I called Barb.
“Do you have the girls?”  – – – “No”

“Are you ok?” – – – – “NO”

When we mentioned calling the police to each other, her voice got shaky. She told me….”We know where they are, we just can’t get to them.”

I asked her if she wanted us to come help and her immediate answer was “YES!”

So we did. We left the drinks on the table, jumped in the car and headed to Greystone Rd. We found Barb and headed into the woods. Mark was already around the dam and heading towards the girls. Vinnie, Barb and I went into the woods and called “Sarah”. The girls answered from straight ahead, Mark answered from the left and Barb headed off to the right.

Vinnie flicked a tick off my left breast as it crawled across my shirt!

This was a first!! Two lost girls who we could hear…we just couldn’t get to them. The swamp land between us all seemed impossible to cross.

Vinnie and I stayed put and we called out every couple of minutes so that we could all find each other. In 45 more minutes, we were all united. It was 6:30 and the girls were with Mark. It took another 30 minutes or so to meet up with them…down near a defunct dam, where we saw our first beaver pushing a log into the swamp that Mark and Barbara had just trudged through! But…we had the girls and everyone was safe!

At about 7:30pm we were back home. Liz was on the porch taking good care of the full drinks we had left there in a hurry and a second beaver (the first I had ever seen in our lake!) flipped over and swam away from our dock!

Standing on the porch, we all itched and sighed a big sigh of relief! We were all safe and home and carried with us…. ticks!!

Mark went in the shower first, Barb went in with him to do a TICK CHECK! A total of about 12 ticks!

Vinnie went into the other shower. I followed him in to do a TICK CHECK…..we had NONE!

The girls went in to shower and picked at least 8 off of each other!

It was disgusting! We had seen at least 2 beavers each, over 20 ticks total, and two FOUND CHILDREN!! Oh my….what a first that was!!

Losing the girls who took a walk in the woods was unintentional. Collecting ticks along the way was unintentional. BUT  we intentionally searched and used our skills to find those girls  and we intentionally announced random “TICK CHECKS” for the rest of the night.

We were so relieved that it ended without the police being called and HOPEFULLY without Lyme’s Disease! AND we were extra relieved to see a few beavers along the way and able to sip our cocktails the rest of the night with a few laughs and a great story to tell!

 

May 19, 2017 – FRENCH FRIES FOR ALL!

May 19, 2017 – FRENCH FRIES FOR ALL!

World Hunger is a major problem. World-wide, 21,000 people die each DAY from hunger!! Many of them are children. Americans waste an average of 15% of the food they buy each year. That equals $165 BILLION  per year in America alone! We buy 7 bananas at Stop and Shop and at the end of the week, we throw out 3 brown, soft, lumpy, oozing blobs from our fruit bowl. OR, if we are feeling inspired, we put them in the freezer with the intention of making a “nice banana bread someday”…and we don’t. We throw the frozen, brown blob in the Ziploc bag in the freezer, right into the garbage 3 months later. Often, we bring the leftovers from that delicious meal we ate at Dry Dock, only to throw it away, container and all, 4 days later. We are a wasteful society when it comes to food. I bet we can all think of examples when we have tossed food. In a matter of seconds, food on a plate goes from “dinner” to “garbage” with one scoop down the disposal in the sink!

And there are rules that work against us. You can’t donate leftover food if it has already been opened. So, the whole 6 foot sandwich with only one slice taken from it, has to go in the garbage. OR, the salad from Stew Leonard’s that was mistakenly opened and closed right back up is also known as garbage. No one can eat it at a shelter or any place else, even though two minutes earlier all of your friends at the party could have eaten it, but they didn’t. They were already full!

My whole life I have battled food. I have paid HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS, of dollars to Weight Watchers (YES, I am a lifetime member). I have bought every “caffeine pill” in the aisles of CVS, and I have gone to hypnosis for weight loss. Food and I have a LOVE, LOVE, HATE relationship. It calls to me and teases me and I pay to have it not stay with me! I know all the lines….”NOTHING TASTE AS GOOD AS THIN FEELS” or “ONCE ON THE LIPS and FOREVER ON THE HIPS”….or “BLT’s are BITES, LICKS and TASTES”.  I have nibbled a bite from my sons’ plates and eaten the leftover crusts from my daughters’ pizza! I, personally, have paid so much money to buy food, throw away food, and then try to get rid of the pounds I gained from the food. I can’t even imagine a grand total! 

So…on May 19th, on a trip to Citifield for a Mets vs. Angels game, I had a FIRST!!  I was standing behind the seated section by the bar. There they were; an order of french fries with a corner of the container filled with ketchup! It hit me! I have never eaten leftovers from a stranger’s plate. Someone had walked away, leaving the french fries there…all alone. If an employee of Citifield had walked by to clear the tables right before me, those salty and still-warm french fries would have been referred to as “garbage”. In one second and one split decision and I was eating them. Ed joined me and Brian nearly gagged when I dipped a second one in the ketchup!  And, although I felt like I was guilty of stealing someone’s fries, which I kind of was doing, the reality was that someone had abandoned those poor french fries! I have to admit, they were delicious!

So now, on my list of firsts, I can add that I have personally done my share to conquer the “wasted food epidemic” in America!   

Let’s go Mets!!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 – Dan, Dan, The Optimum Man!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 – Dan, Dan, The Optimum Man!

When I started this journey, one of my items on my lists of “things I have never done” was to crash a party! Last night, I did not do the crashing, but instead we were the receivers of a party crasher!

We call our book club “Reading Between the Wines” and last night we met at Pam’s house. We were in a deep and exciting conversation about the book “Thirteen Reasons Why”. The topic of the book and Netflix movie is a challenging one. One that has pros and cons, highs and lows, emotions you can connect to and actions you can’t imagine. Every one of us around the living room table was fully engaged in the conversation. We were exploring our various points of view and talking about all the “what if’s” in life that might lead someone to end their life and what statements or actions may save a person from that decision on any given day. It was a great conversation!

When mid-conversation there was a knock on the door, none of us missed a beat. Staying exactly where we all were, a few of us just yelled, “Come on in!”. Imagine our surprise when in came a man! He was not a stripper, as someone suggested. He was not a husband or son or brother to any of us! He, in fact, came in with his cap, lanyard with his ID badge stating his name as “DAN”, and a clipboard! His face was priceless when he realized he was now inside a living room with 11 women completely engaged in a conversation about a book he never heard of! He had inadvertently crashed our party!!

Dan, Dan, the Optimum Man was just there, going door to door, to sell us a new cable package. He had information he wanted to share with us so that we could become new members of the Optimum Family. He explained that there were no great deals for any of us who were already loyal customers.  And it was Liz, a forever kind friend, who did take his little flier and said that she might look into it!

We all had a great laugh and I asked Dan if I could have his picture for my blog! We, as a book club, had never had a stranger walk into our party, then end up staying to give us a little sales pitch! I told him about “my blog of firsts” and that he would forever be a story in our “Reading Between the Wines” journal. At that point, Dan wanted the website address so he could read my blog once I wrote it.

So, Dan, Dan, the Optimum Man, I hope you read this and I want to thank you for joining our party and being such a good sport about it! Perhaps you will tell this story with a smile. I know we will all remember it with one!

 

Sunday, April 30, 2017 – Beautycounter MASKS for all!

Sunday, April 30, 2017 – Beautycounter MASKS for all!

I have never been a girlie girl. I don’t wear make up, I hate to shop, and I have a $15.95 “boy style” haircut from Supercuts! I am actually even too lazy for a 20 minute dye job…so my hair is going white for now! So when my friend, Allyson, asked me to host a Beautycounter Product Party, I knew I had to say YES to another first in my life!

Just for the record, I invited 92 people on a Facebook Event invitation, we almost cancelled it, then Allyson and I decided to just go ahead and do it. Allyson arrived and we decided on the dining room. Her products would share the table with the appetizers and wine glasses.

Allyson unpacked her items as we caught up on the news of our family. Ultimately, about 8 friends showed up for the party. Actually, they may have just been there for the glass of wine they were promised in the invitation!  Allyson began with the lipsticks. I had no interest. She continued with the creams and oils. The creams felt smooth on my skin and the scent of the oils was delicious!

Then came the masks. I had never done a mask! She asked if I wanted to do a Charcoal mask or a PLUMPING mask! No choice really for me….my face is plump enough already!!

Pam and Kelly joined me for the Charcoal Mask and Leslie was brave enough to do the Plumping mask. It wasn’t pretty and it felt strange as the mask began to dry. After I washed it off, boy, did my face feel great! For the rest of the afternoon, I kept touching my face to feel how smooth it was. It was so refreshing!

Over the years, I have had every kind of party at my house…Tupperware, Princess House, Candle Light, and Pampered Chef! But never has my face felt so great after my friends left! I was convinced in that moment that I would be buying the mask as one of my half priced “gift” items that I was going to be able to buy as a hostess!

At the end of the day, I had hosted and attended my first Beautycounter party and experience my first mask. My face felt smooth and Leslie…well, she looked no more “plumped” at all! She actually looked fabulous and rejuvenated!

Who would have guessed that I would have enjoyed the Charcoal Mask as much as I did?

Thank you, Allyson! And…thank you Beautycounter!

 

 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 – INDIGO GIRLS…..really?? OK!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 – INDIGO GIRLS…..really?? OK!

A couple of months ago Kali had posted on Facebook, “Anyone want to go to see the Indigo Girls”. I said OK.
I had never heard of them, except through Kali who typically goes to their concerts with her daughter and refers to them as “Amy and Emily”. But I would be the one stepping in to play the role of Adrienne on Wed. April 26th. Kali has been a groupie since college. Adrienne was sweet enough to make me a playlist so I would recognize at least a song or two. Long story short, one or two songs is all I had time to listen to prior to the concert! So I went as a non-informed audience member.

I think I was the only one who was non-informed! The place ended up being a full house filled with 50-55 year old women with the exception of the 6 guys who were there with various women, I assume. We got there early, grabbed a glass of wine, and chatted with the couple at the PETITION circulation desk. We signed one or two of the petitions and we ended up realizing our paths had crossed in a time several years ago! “Small world”, we all said and Kali and I grabbed a refill and headed to our seats in the very last row of the balcony seats at Ridgefield Playhouse.

It was a first time for me hearing that particular warm up band. Honestly, I am ok with it being the last time as well, but then the INDIGO GIRLS came on stage! They took turns singing and telling musical stories of life’s highs and lows. The stage hand switched out their guitars for each song! Kali would say….”Oh, this is a good one” and I would clap along. Or Kali would say, “WOO HOO, this is my favorite!” and I would again clap along and hum to the chorus. Kali knew all the words! At one point Kali was quietly and kindly sharing a bit of a back story to one of the songs with me, when the woman (?) next to her leaned over and asked her to be quiet!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? WHAT ARE YOU…..55???  AT A CONCERT THAT IS LOUD and supposed to be FUN!! That crazy 55-year old should have stayed home!  If you are 55 and cool enough to be at a concert, you should be cool enough to roll with the punches a bit. Clearly, a very dear friend, and loyal follower of the Indigo Girls was trying to help out this “INDIGO GIRL CONCERT VIRGIN”…..I was NOT wearing the concert T-shirt!! It was obvious that it was a first for me!

Ultimately, I enjoyed the folk style music they played. Two songs kind of stuck with me….THE CLOSER TO FINE which is about realizing that we look in all kinds of wrong places for the answers we seek in life. The other one was GALILEO. The lyrics in the chorus are “How long ’til my soul gets it right? Can any human being ever reach the highest light?” made me think of all the times we do the same thing over and over hoping for a different outcome. We do get chances to try something new, to change something within ourselves or within our life, and yet unless we take those chances and do something else, we end up with the same results.

Thank you to Kali who was right next to me as we both enjoyed a night out with two of her best friends, Amy and Emily. It was another “first” for me this year!

I can honestly say that I have enjoyed being in the audience of an INIGO GIRL concert!!

What a fun night!

 

Sunday, April 16, 2017 – Happy Easter…AGAIN!

Sunday, April 16, 2017 – Happy Easter …..AGAIN!

Hands down, Easter is my favorite holiday. It is a time of renewal, rebirth, reenergizing. It marks the start of Spring and the start of the school-year-home-stretch!  It has always been a stress-free holiday for me with minimal expectations. Church, food, and family…that is about it!

AND…for 15 years, Easter includes Sunrise Service at Calf Pasture Beach for me! I only missed last year because I was in South Carolina surprising Mom for her birthday!

For 15 years, Clyna and I have stood in the cold, the rain, the sleet. We have clapped, sung hymns, and nodded our heads in the rhythm of the statement, “He has risen, indeed!”. I wept when the men from Pivot Ministries began singing on Easter morning several years ago, and I continue to get weepy every time these men stand before us in witness to God’s love and a renewed spirit and faith! They truly have been “saved” by the leaders of Pivot Ministries in Norwalk! And they are proud to be “risen, in deed, with the Risen Christ”. They are a reminder to me that my hardest day is someone’s easiest day…..and we are never alone in the journey we walk!

This year’s pastor who preached made an interesting point for me. He talked about the two disciples who RAN to the tomb. He pointed out that Easter is for the Believers. We are the ones who run to the Risen Christ; we know God because we already believe. He was very sincere when he said, therefore, “Don’t drag the non-believers to Church on Easter. Easter is for the Believers! Wait till Pentecostal Sunday to drag the non-believers!”  Listening to him made me feel alright knowing none of my kids would be going to Easter Mass, except for Vincent who was filming a Sunrise Service in North Carolina for work! He and I were at Sunrise Service together, although we were standing 15 driving-hours apart!  As a Believer, I was happy to be there for Sunrise Service feeling blessed that I had been given another year on my life’s journey!!

So this year, was not a “first” in the true sense….but in fact, it was a first that Barb joined me, Clyna, Lisa, and Aunt Ann. AND…it was a first that it was almost 65 degrees at 7am at the beach! A simply gorgeous way to start off Easter!

So in this year of “firsts” for 2017 where I am aiming to live more intentionally by doing something, each week, that I have never done before, technically I can not count this Easter Sunrise Service as a “true first”; However, for me….EVERY EASTER IS A FIRST.  It is a new Springtime beginning with new goals for myself. A “reset” in my life where I evaluate what I do and who I do it for and with. It is the “restart button” that I usually start praying for somewhere between November and January when life seems a little bit heavier and the Spring is hard to see on the horizon!

As I stand facing the water at Calf Pasture Beach every Easter morning, I am reminded of the family and friends I love, those I have lost, and I know , because the His promise of eternal life, I will see  again. And, I am humbled as I am reminded of the man, who is at the center of my faith, who gave His life for me.

Happy Easter Everyone!  May you always feel Blessed….and Believe!

 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 – A VERY BELATED THANK YOU!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 – A VERY BELATED THANK YOU!

About 17 years ago, as a new assistant principal,  I asked my boss if I could go to a workshop entitled, “Powerful Communication Skills for Women”. He laughed, cracked some kind of joke, and said something along the lines of, “Yes, just don’t come back talking even more to me!”

I am forever grateful that he said Yes. It was probably the best workshop I have ever attended. Many parts of it have stuck with me for years. One part has truly always stayed in my mind.

At this one particular point in the workshop, the woman had us complete a self rating worksheet that gave us a number for 5 different areas in our lives: relationships, emotional, career, finances, and spirituality. After we scored it, we ended up with a number that was supposed to correlate to the “UN-DONES” in our lives.  The higher the number, the more attention in that area of life was needed. She explained to us that the purpose of the exercise was to point out the areas of our personal lives that needed “cleaning up” so that we could feel more “complete” and have the emotional energy to move forward to pursue our goals. The belief was that it is these “UN-DONES” that drain us and preoccupy us to a point where we sometimes feel “stuck” or we remain “negligent” to the parts of us that really are meant to make us whole. When this happens, we can stop living “intentionally” and just keep struggling to “get by”, until we clean up our “un-dones”.

For me, I think this part rang so true for me because I have never liked that feeling of something being “un-done” or ‘un-finished”. I am the Queen of Self Imposed Deadlines! I LOVE when I can cross things off my “TO DO LIST”.

SO, that experience 17 years ago has inspired me to complete many of the tasks I start and to prioritize my personal goals so that I can feel more complete, which completely fits into this year’s focus on living more intentionally!

So, it is not a mystery to me that I have felt vey incomplete for one thing that still remained on my personal “TO DO LIST” from two years ago.

Two years ago, on March 30th – it was MONDAY of HOLY WEEK that year – my mother-in-law, Jo, passed away with many of us there at her side. Two days prior to that, on the Saturday, the hospice nurse called someplace for assistance to have my mother-in-law brought down from upstairs to the living room so that she could be comfortable and with all of us in her final days. In a very ironic twist in life, in her final days, my mother-in-law was gently carried down the beautiful, curving, grand stairwell of my sister-in law’s front entryway and gracefully placed onto the hospital bed that had arrived earlier in the day. My mother-in-law’s final escort in this world involved 8 of the kindest men I have ever had the pleasure of watching. They rolled her into a blanketed cocoon, wrapped it around her, a slowly lifted her. One man took the lead. With only his voice talking, that man directed the others down the stairs at an even and careful pace so that she would “feel no pain”. I am sure  Jo would have had something to say to those firemen from Broad River station who were wearing their tan bulky pants, blue iconic shirts, suspenders and boots, and had parked their full blown fire engine in Nancy and Joe’s driveway. Yes, if the day had been different for her, with HOLY WEEK starting just one day later, she would have had something to say about her grand entrance into a new “promised land” being escorted by firemen instead of donkeys and palm branches!

From that moment on, and through her last breaths, and the following week while we waited for Holy Week to end, I thought about that image. My mother-in-law was buried the day after Easter, Easter Monday. I knew in my heart that I should do something to thank the firemen of the Broad River Department, but for two years I hadn’t done anything. I could have written a note, but I didn’t. I could have written to the newspaper, but I didn’t. I could have just zipped in and said thank you since I pass by there almost weekly, but here it is two years later and I hadn’t done anything to thank them.

SO it was Wednesday, April 12, 2017,  during HOLY WEEK this year, that I decided it was time to honor my mother-in-law by thanking the men who so carefully carried her to her final entrance into a family space that year. That morning, I got up, made cookies and brownies, placed them on a platter and called my sister-in-law Nancy to invite her to come with me. Forty-five minutes later we arrived at the station, just as the truck was pulling away to help someone else in need. I said a quick prayer, hoping they were not going to be carrying a woman to her final place, but if that, in fact, was where they were going, I knew they would do it with respect, dignity, deep love, and concern for everyone involved.

Nancy and I presented the tray to the two guys who weren’t on the truck; they simply answered the doorbell. They didn’t know us and were likely not there two yeas ago at Nancy’s house. Yet, I know I intentionally and purposefully completed one of those “UN-DONEs” from my personal TO DO LIST and my heart feels lighter.

I have never stopped into a public service building to say thank you, even though I have probably thought about doing it in the past. I just never did it. Wednesday,  April 12th was a first for this action and it just felt like it was the right time to say, on behalf of our family, THANK YOU TO THE BROAD RIVER FIRE DEPARTMENT, especially during HOLY WEEK.

May our firefighters always be protected and continue to live a life of service for all of us! THANK YOU!