2 YEARS, OCTOBER 1, 2008
Is it just me or do Wednesdays seem to come around faster now?
I’m off again at the end of the week for Louisiana. We’ll be returning to Slidell, where there is still work to be done. Can you believe it is three years after Hurricane Katrina and there are still roofs that need repair? Homes that need drywall? People who need help and healing?
Can you believe that tomorrow will be two years since Jeff has been gone? As many of you know, I am not happy about the situation. But I am peaceful now, in ways that cannot readily be described in a few words or a million words. I know how he suffered, I know how he loved, and I know that he did not want any of us to see him weaken. He wanted us all to have the brilliant memory of his laugh, his quick and frequent smile, and the knowledge that his heart was big enough to hold everyone, and still does.
PS. You might get a newsletter next week from Louisiana, but then again…. you might not.
Guess we’ll both be surprised to see how that turns out.
PICTURE THIS AGAIN, OCTOBER 3, 2016
I found them. I found them in the last place I looked, which would have been amusing like the long-standing joke, except I wasn’t amused. I was done.
During my weeks of frantic searching, I found myself revisiting the same places. When I didn’t find what I’d been looking for in any of the obvious places, I logically made a firm list, of course.
I won’t bore you with all the details, although there were some things that bear mentioning. I rediscovered reams of specialty papers, printable stickers, printable window clings, printable fabric, printable shrink-dinks, printable business cards and a complicated foldy-card thing that I’m not even sure I would ever attempt again.
As exciting as all that was, once I’d been through my list, re-searched all the places I’d searched before and more, I set it aside and let my eyes leak a little. Not just once, either, but when there’s nothing you can do, there’s nothing you can do.
Early Saturday morning, I took myself on a 3-mile walk. I came home exhausted, weepy and probably a little low in the sugar department. Chomping a nectarine, I headed for a shower and fell apart.
The pictures had become a hangnail part of my life I just couldn’t properly trim off.
To be honest, writing this blog has been hard. I’d been avoiding truly crying for weeks; the overwhelmed, sobbing kind. But, the time had come and I gave in, voicing aloud what I’d been thinking so long.
“God, I need help.’ I choked. “I don’t want it to be ten years. I don’t want it to be any years!”
It took a bit to get myself together and decide I was being stupid. I figured I might as well seal this episode up and do what I had to do.
I needed to move some things from one location to another, so I did.
Halfway through that, there they were.
I didn’t recognize what it was at first. Randomly fanning/flipping through a few pages, I finally focused enough to figure it out.
I had been looking for a mailing envelope or one of those green marbley-looking cheap sleeves they used to give way back when you ordered actual picture prints by standing at a counter and filling out awkward envelopes.
Chronically arranged, in a sleeved booklet I had apparently decided need to be fancied up with scrapbook paper, was my lost capsule.
I wonder at the timing, wonder how I could not remember what I did.
Wondering. Just wondering.
Joyously sharing them with you now.
Thanks for helping me through this year of memories.
So, that’s how the scroll saw came to live in the computer room closet.
Jeff read the manual (sort of), but that’s as far as he got. His legs were giving out, and we had other things to concentrate on. I also made him promise not to use it for the first time when I wasn’t home. If he could break a toe while shaving his head… sawing surely needed to be supervised.
And that’s how the scroll saw ended up in the 2010, house sold, moving sale. It didn’t make it to a table until the second day, because I had imagined it would be harder to unearth from that over-stuffed closet. I marked it at $50 thinking that’d be a good starting amount. I didn’t have the box or the manual, but it was brand-new, never used and maybe someone would know what to do with it.
A little after 3 PM on the last day, a young couple came in. “Hmm,” the husband commented. “Honey? Look at this!”
“What is it?” she asked.
“A scroll saw, just like the one I rented last week for $85.00. I could buy this one and we’d never have to rent one again!”
“Oh,” she considered, then continued. “I just don’t think we can afford that right now, honey,” as she moved on to look at other items.
The fellow just stood there mesmerized.
Knowing I’d never use and not wanting to struggle it back into the closet or move it to Ann Arbor, I whispered to my gregarious friend, “He can have it for $35.00.”
Because she’s the outgoing one who has no problem dickering with yard salers or yard sale customers I gave her the appropriate lenience to do as she pleased.
From her perch near the cashbox, she announced the offer loudly, adding the key phrase, “It’s never been used!”
That’s when I heard it. The whimper.
I laughed out a bark, and leaned closer to my cohort. “That’s the exact same sound Jeff made when we bought that thing!”
He looked at his wife beseechingly and she slowly nodded her approval. As he stood there holding the saw, he told us that he and his wife were renovating their home. “Thank you so much. Thank you so much,” he kept repeating.
“Never been used,” my friend repeated as they headed-out. “Her husband passed!” she called after him, stopping them on the threshold of exiting.
I really thought that man was going to cry as he turned to stare at me. “It will get put to good use,” he answered quivering. “I promise it will get used.”
I may have lost money on that deal, but I gained another blessed insight into the non-coincidences of GOD’s careful plans.
What was that scroll saw worth? $215.00, $115, $62.50, $50.oo or $35.00?
Making Jeff happy, which made me happy, which made that family happy = sacredly priceless.
Quote for the Week:
One more thing, October 6, 2020, my friend, cohort and kindred soul, Paula, passed away.
At first I was like, “Really, Paula? Today?”
But, then, I let go a chuckle-sob, thanking her for not giving me a different date to commemorate.
If it a day had to suck, anyway, it might as well have been that one.
I never fessed up because I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t take away the meaning they’d assigned.
What I’d said was, “Five years ago today was the happiest day of my life. Today is the second happiest day of my life, because I can see how very much (emotional throat glitch) he was loved.”
From what I’ve been told, miss-hearings varied from, “how very much Jesus loved him,” to how very much Jesus loves us.”
Our United Methodist Church Pastor was one of the misunderstandees. His own throat-closing confession to an entire sanctuary of mostly unknown-to-him funeral attendees that the decision not to marry Jeff and me was the greatest regret of his ministry career, sealed my lips.
Shortly thereafter, the minister invited everyone to fellowship after the conclusion of the celebration of life for Jeffrey Korte. But, before the dismissing blessing, he also asked if there was anyone who hadn’t had a chance to speak but would like to now.
There was such a complete and awkward silence that if I hadn’t known there were people behind me, I wouldn’t have suspected anyone was there.
Then, it happened.
In a 100% Jeff moment, his picture leapt off the communion rail and tumbled over backwards. The people murmured, the tension broke, and Pastor David took it as a sign.
Paraphrasing, again, it was something that included ‘going’ and ‘eating’ like, “I think Jeff’s sayin’ it’s time to eat,” or “I guess Jeff’s ready to go eat.”
There was laughter and a blessing and then it was over. The funeral had officially ended.
I was advised to stay where I was for a few moments, because there were likely people who would not be joining us at the Masonic Hall who may want to have a word before they left.
So, I stood there, and said thank you and goodbye to some; hello and thank you to others. But, the only ones I remember were the four-in-a-row.
“It gives me great joy that you believe in our Lord and Savior.”
“Jesus was with you up there today and he will continue to be with you.”
“What a testimony to your faith! Jesus loves us -Hallelujah and Amen.”
“Your faith in Christ surpasses mine.”
Then, the witness.
Making our way to cross the church lot, the witness, my mother, spoke.
“You’re not going to become a minister, are you?”
Quote for the Week: