In fact, today, I sent out a brief (very brief), 223-word, 2 paragraph “caption.”
Details tell the truest story.
Seriously. I went to the store for milk.
I drove Granny’s beat-up powder-blue Buick to the corner market for milk to go with the Happy 99th Year birthday cake we ordered – in the shape of her car, including rust! The baker just had to have a photo!
Ok, well, anyway…
As usual. It’s all about how you look at it.
And how many layers you have to scrape through to find simplicity.
And the fact that you don’t know the strata sequence.
Or how many vision changes it took to finally finish.
I’d sighed earlier at the half-read “Box of Butterflies,” by Roma Downey. Rather than re-shelve, I re-homed it to my priority chair-side reading table.
Because, 1. it was only/already half-read and 2. it would be a light enjoyable distraction because 3. I was giving up on the missing missive.
To feed my belly, there was a quick reheat of lemony chicken and roasted zucchini with garlic. To feed my soul, I dragged a zero-gravity folding recliner, my lunch and the book outside. For while I was pleasantly afternoon porch-sitting in the shade of my massive oak, enjoying the lovely light breeze.
Readings, prayers and stories blended, touched me, encouraging an emotional urge to sad-cry. Though, not something I do much, I also don’t reserve them as a resource. No, my tears map; mostly chartered for overwhelming frustration or anger.
When I do give into melancholy, I self-console it’s not entirely squandered time; there is scientific data on the toxin expelling benefit of tears.
To be sure, my dead-end searching contributed, but the reason was indeed sadness.
Yep. I wasted a solid thirty seconds pity-partying, which is a bit of significance. If you’re inclined, go ahead and time thirty seconds. It’s a lot longer than you think.
I sniffled, wiped my eyes and closed them just for a moment being miserable and thinking about Jeff. And, then, everyone gone.
I blotted to remove the refractory glare of still welled tears, Un-smudging my glasses, I began again (because I can’t not finish a chapter, or a song for that matter.)
Soft-stop blink-leaking, something glinted peripherally. I expected to see Blu and his shiny gold collar tag at the screen. When I am out and he is in, HBlu’ll check where I’m at, what I’m up to and yell at me to let me know he’s monitoring. I say hello, tell him I’m fine and he lumbers back to his most recent favorite indoor spot.
I was surprised it wasn’t Sir Harley. It was a flitty thing.
It took another swipe-rub and a second sweep to determine it was a butterfly – in orange.
The flutter-by stayed around a bit. Dipping, rising, dancing for fifteen seconds or so, until the gusty stream took it wherever it was going next.
We had an awesome visit, laughing and listening to Jeff stories; g-rated versions, revised for the one, single-digit aged member of his audience. Covering youth into adulthood, he regaled us, and our impressionable-aged nephew, with hilarious MIS and other misadventures.
Falling asleep in the bathroom for hours, being so unruly his brother and buddies stuffed him into a race tire. How his Mustang got totaled without his help, sitting on the front lawn with a for sale sign, in park.
Jeff recounted having fun jamming his buddies (all the same size and stature) into a tiny Fiesta. Driving to Ohio, for bowling and drinking and a breakfast they called, “a heart attack on a plate.”
He’d said that he’d consume a pound of bacon, a loaf of toast, and a half-dozen eggs. I’m not sure that part wasn’t a bit of an exaggeration. Although, I don’t have any doubt it was a necessarily-big, semi-sobering meal before the return drive home.
“Don’t do that.” Jeff said when he told this particular story. “Don’t drink and drive. We’re lucky we’re all still alive.”
All of these stories, I knew well. I enjoyed them, because he was enjoying himself. It was so much fun to watch others hear them for the first time.
Jeff would end each hilarious story, endearingly, with a serious advisement. “I tell you this,” he’d said to our nephew, numerous times. “I tell you this, so you know what not to do!”
Reminiscence is therapeutic. Sometimes. Sometimes, not. I found myself sadly wishing that everyone could have had a last “leave them laughing” day with Jeff like this one.
Paused, sweet revelation allows me to gift you this tear-drying truth:
This Jeff day was like any other – truly, like every other. Filled with stories and laughter; wisdom and care.
No matter who you are, no matter when that last day was, every single person who ever knew Jeff had a last Jeff day – exactly like this one.