Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Dancin Bear

There are people in your life that just make you smile. Period. Gary Murphree was one of those people. That is why his passing yesterday makes me so intensely sad.

Affectionately known as The Dancin Bear, my friend Gary was one of the kindest, most gentle souls I have ever met. Never without a twinkle in his eye, his quiet strength and soft spoken demeanor only served to mask a cunning wit and keen sense of humor.

I have told this story many a time in the sixteen years I have known Gary. It was 1995 and we were sitting around a table with a group of friends at a restaurant during a real estate conference I had organized. The mood was jovial as we all shared our favorite stories. The discussion then moved to a central theme: "What is a dream or fantasy you've always had?" When it came to me, I said, "well, my fantasy has always been to be in a long red sequined dress, thrown across a piano singing some deep throaty torchy song in a piano bar...." Without missing a beat, Gary quickly spoke up and, in a faked tone of disbelief, said, "That's unbelieveable! MY fantasy has always been for you to be in a long red sequined dress, thrown across a piano singing some..........." He didn't even get to finish as outbursts of laughter filled the air. I reached over, smacked him on the head as he blushed profusely.

It was a story I will never forget. Nor will I forget the sweet man who was never without a kind smile, a warm hug or a nice thing to say about someone.

You will be missed Dancin Bear. I'll sing one for you soon.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Just Another Day...

Tomorrow is March 13. It's just another day. Really, it is.

But I have been in a funky mood today and, truthfully, have wanted to do nothing but curl up in the fetal position. And I have a strong suspicion that it has something to do with tomorrow being the anniversary of my Mom's death.

I have written on here before about this particular day not being harder than any other day without her. Every day is a day that I cannot ask her for a recipe, or call her on the way home from work or share with her my favorite new song. Every day is a day that I wish I had my Mom to help me sew window treatments or to put the trivial challenges of my life into perspective. It is another day that I look at my boys and wish that she would be able to know them, and love them, and sew cool stuffed animals for them like she did for so many of my friends' children. Every day is just that. Another day without her.

But, when chatting with my friend Amy the other day, we discussed how the children she adopted from Ethiopia were experiencing some behavior changes as they approached the time of their mother's death. We talked about how children who don't even know that the anniversary may be coming seem to instinctively sense it... as if some cyclical force somehow reminded them-- even subconsciously-- of their loss.

All I know is that I have indeed been in a funk today. I miss her. I miss her calling and telling me to "put the rolls in!" when they were approaching our house around dinnertime. I miss the way she would call me "Kate-a-la" when she needed me or the silly box of newspaper clippings she'd always have waiting on us when we'd go for a visit. I miss all of it.

Tomorrow is just another day. But, for some reason, my heart hurts more than usual.

Today, tomorrow, and every day...I miss you, Mom.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

If He Knew the Number To Child Services, He'd Probably Use It....

Jacob, my wide-eyed three year old, is at that stage where every stinkin thing he says or does is cute. His view of the world and how he communicates provides some sort of comedic relief every. single. day.

Today was no exception.

I was gathering my things before heading out the door to take J to school when he spotted a conference binder from an event I did in New York in September 2007. As I do with every event, I slip pictures of the kiddos in the back of my binder to appease all the kind folks that say "have any pics of the boys?!" On this particular binder there was a pic of Keith, Daniel and me taken at a family reunion earlier that year. And Jacob, you see, was born at the end of November 2007 so naturally he was not in the pic.

But this was lost on my child.

Eyeing the picture carefully, he looked up at me with those saucer-sized baby blues and said, "I see Daddddy....and Danielllll...and Mommmmmy.... but I no see Ja-jub." Quickly I responded , "I know baby. That's because you weren't born yet."

"Why?" he asked.

"Well, because you were born a few months later."


"Well, because that's when God wanted you to be born."


"Oh, come on, let's get our stuff and head to school, ok?"

That's when he dropped the bomb. He stopped in his tracks, looked up at me with the saddest, most earnest look of betrayal that these eyes have ever witnessed and said:

"Why you leave me home all by myself???"

"What baby?" I asked, wanting to make sure I understood him.

"Ja-jub no in picture. Whyyy you leave me home all by myselfffff?"

I busted out laughing and reached down, picked him up and hugged him tightly while trying to compose myself.

"Momma would never leave you home all by yourself, baby. Jacob had not been born yet. That's why you aren't in the picture. God had not made you yet. "


"Because God had a special time that he wanted us to become your Mommy and Daddy. So he made you at that time."


"Because, well....(going for the distraction route) uh, hey be sure and grab your jacket, ok???"


Lawd help me.