This is Grace. I spent the better part of a sunny morning with her in late May, and she was just tickled when I asked if I could take her picture. I arrived at her house with nothing more in mind than to deliver a book. Two hours later, I had a car full of plants, a bucket of bulbs and a those warm fuzzy feeling you get upon meeting someone special. Grace insisted that I dig whatever plants I wanted from her garden in return for the delivery. It was an order...non-negotiable. Within minutes, her husband appeared with the first of two boxes, saying, "Here, you're going to need these."
Grace is a little hummingbird of a woman, flitting from plant to plant, and talking a mile a minute. If I turned my back, or wasn't digging fast enough, she started digging plants, pulling bulbs, and making label stakes for me. All the while chattering, and laughing. What a gift that morning was!
Grace got me thinking about all the good that has come my way since I left teaching. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed nearly every minute being in the classroom, but, gosh was that a hard job. I am so very, very, very grateful each morning when the alarm does not go off at 6 A.M. That is huge. Now I have more time and energy to play around in local theatre sandboxes, and, of course, I have been able to continue work with Heart-A-Rama. I am not nearly as cranky, but not everyone would agree with that statement.
Even more important than that though, are are all people I have met since opening the store, along with all the friendships that have strengthened simply because I have more time, and am more relaxed. Under different circumstances, I wouldn't have met my new book club friends. We meet once a month, but the time between discussions seem so much longer. Valerie, Mary, Angie, Jes, Nancy, Steph, Liz, Sharon, Denise (who keeps in touch from Madison), Jacque (who chimes in from D.C.) and potential new member, Trish...what an interesting, diverse, intelligent, honest, and caring group. I am fortunate they keep me around!
Then there's Lisa, with resilience and courage beyond compare. Lisa survived a horrific car accident about eight years ago, sustaining a brain injury that left her with short term memory issues. Her doctors did not expect her to survive, but she showed them! She muscled through, and although she was never again able to use either of her two Masters degrees, Lisa found ways to apply bits of her knowledge in volunteer situations. Today, Lisa find herself facing yet another health issue that requires unimaginable strength.
This new normal is just fine with me. I applaud those who teach, and wish them summer days filled with R&R. I know the reality is most of their summer will be consumed with grad work, liscense renewal studies, prepping for fall, and perhaps squeezing in a mini-vacation with family and friends. Maybe they'll just stick around Manitowoc, and take in many of the free or nearly free events.
Check out this lovely alpaca that I met at LondonDairy Farms Alpaca Fest on Memorial Day weekend. Pretty nice huh? I entered a drawing to win one, but, alas and alack, so far I have heard nothing.
*****How's my light summer reading project going? Honestly? Not so well. No disrespect to Mary Higgins Clark fans, but, I am getting no where with There's No Place Like Home. The story is simple, and her writing style is even simpler. I am on page forty, and unless she has some mighty fine twists and turns planned, I can predict exactly what happen. After each chapter, I say, "I could have written this." To MHC's credit, I must then ask "Why haven't I?" Obviously some thing's working for her, and I will keep turning pages.
****Hope to see you out and around the Lakeshore this summer.