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Archive for June, 2012

Once upon a time I adopted (sorta, cough, cough) a dog.  This dog, Bandit was his name, came from across the street from the home of an uncle in failing health. He was a big dog, a mix of golden retriever, maybe lab, maybe chow.   Bandit became our dog Nick’s best friend.  They roamed the neighborhood, visiting everyone they could.  They hung out with the construction crews from the neighborhood next door.  I’m sure they received their fair share of treats.

The thing about Bandit was his fur was all matted and he looked  poorly .  After he spent some time with us, I took him to the vet.  He had heartworms, which my vet treated by starting him on heartworm medication.  He explained that the old heartworms would die off naturally and pass through his system, and then new ones would not form.  That advice turned out great, because Bandit lived a long time after.

The main thing the vet told me, after seeing poor Bandit’s matted fur, was that he needed a do-over.  Shave him down to nothing and let his hair grow back.  So I did.  And it did wonders for that dog.  His beautiful blond fur came back long and silky like a golden retriever.  Because the summers are so hot where I live, I would shave him in the summer and he would look like a lab.

Did I mention this dog had the best disposition and nature on the planet?  He yearned to obey.  He was protective when necessary – I felt safe for many years in my house in the woods, off the beaten path.  He could also discern people’s personalities, whether they were good or bad.  You know how some dogs do that?  Bandit was spot on every time.  He was just a good dog.

A do-over was the best thing that ever happened to that dog.  And to me, a life lesson learned.

Sometimes we just can’t continue where we are in life.  Sometimes it takes a do-over.  Recovering alcoholics know what I’m talking about.  And Christians who have accepted Christ as their Savior, die to self, only to live a new life?  Yeah, they know.  Marriage issues?  Need a do-over?  Could save a divorce.

Not to mention clearing clutter from a  room, getting new furniture, or doing household renovations.  Getting your surroundings in order seems to get your mind in order as well.

Has there or is there anything in your life that needs a do-over?

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Old Friends

When I was growing up, I always had a buddy.

In my childhood, my back door neighbor, Mary Lyl, was my best bud.  There was a place we could scale the fence easily.  Mary Lyl was a few years older than me, but when you’re under 10, that really doesn’t matter.  On Saturdays, we combined and set up all our Barbie doll paraphernalia on my back patio.  By the time we got everything set up, we were tired of playing!  We played on the swing set, biked around the neighborhood, and went to the “forbidden” “Big Field”.  This was a big field surrounded by woods, and had a creek running through it.  Later I have come to realize that creek is part of Columbia’s storm water system.  Oh well, what’s a little run off between friends?

When we outgrew each other, I was in my tween-teens and a girl a year younger than me moved in across the street.  Jill of the long straight hair introduced me to blue jeans.  I had never worn jeans before!  My mom was not into it.  But on to the Levi’s store we went, madly consumer-driven to purchase jeans.  As teens Jill and I had a lot of time to kill, especially in the summer.  We made many a trip to Hardee’s for specialty glasses (I wonder where those are now?) and to Woolworth’s for banana splits.  Both establishments were within walking distance.  We walked around the neighborhood, we bounced tennis balls off the carport wall, we talked about boys.  We watched soap operas.  Wow did we do a lot of soap opera watching.  There’s a soft spot in my heart for Jill and her family, but I can’t tell you today how I would get in touch with her.

Then in the hard core teenage years Linda, Nancy and I were fast friends.  We went to the same school and had the same interests, which is I guess to say, we were NOT on sports teams, or cheerleading, or popular.  Dare I day a small group of misfits?   With Nancy, I listened to music and went to the lake.  We went skating and horseback riding.  Oh those early riding days when I was invincible!  What a blessing to have had that time.  With Linda, we hung out at one house or the other, and started dating boys at the same time.  We skipped out on our Junior prom together to go with our dates to one of the boys’ lake house (sorry, mom).  We did our share of drinking and partying, smoked pot if we could find it (sorry again mom).  We graduated together and took a trip to Florida with my sister as chaperon to celebrate.  A guy peed on us in an elevator.  Linda and I got smashed at a place called Big Daddys.  Good times.

I had a good friend, Laurie, from church too.  She was the preacher’s daughter and we hung out as well as did all that youth group stuff and camp together.  I fell in love with Laurie’s cousin on a youth group ski trip, and my beloved aunt orchestrated a skit of marriage, and had him fake kiss me.  I was so boy crazy.

Then I went to college and started hanging out with the group of guys which my (new) boyfriend hung out with.  I don’t know what happened, but rarely after that did I have a girl friend.  When I began my professional life as an auditor, I had a friend at the company.  After a few years she moved to Greenville and she died after she had a baby.  That was traumatic.

Now in my adult life, I claim many acquaintances but few friends.  I don’t stay in touch very much with the one friend I would call a “good friend,” the one I have made since I moved here nineteen years ago.

Where do friendships go when they die?  I miss them.

Jill

Linda and I at the market in the Bahamas, Senior trip

Nancy and me

 

Prom double date with Linda

Pretend wedding!

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When the developers who I worked for told me there would be five thousand new homes in the vicinity of my neighborhood, I was amazed.  Ten thousand new neighbors, I thought.

I remembered the condo project near us that my husband and I had been opposed to.  I cannot remember why, just that we thought it was a bad idea.  Once the condo project happened, I thought – all these new neighbors, we did not want, here they will be, in our community.  We were hesitant at the thought of them, but realistic was all we could be when it occurred.

And now, I go to church in the new community, the community of ten thousand.  And in other places, I am in community and business organizations.  There is always someone with a connection.  They are from Columbia where I grew up, or they are my child’s teacher or principle, they are the grandmother of my child’s classmate, they are a relative of our client’s, they clean house for someone I know, or groom their dog.  The other day I bought a bicycle off Craig’s list, and the seller knew my business, so he put it together for me and delivered it.  It is always some connection.

It is a big, sloppy tapestry of community.  People are interwoven in other people’s lives.  Some connections exist and are easy to see.  Others don’t know they are connected yet.

But the thing about it is, every single person, every connection, every community member, is a story.  Each life has something to tell.  Some people have things to give others, some people take things.  You cannot see it on the surface.  When people let you in, when you weave into their part of the tapestry, that is when you can see it.  The very humanness of people.  Their needs and wants, their desires.  The ways they overflow and the ways they lack.  It is all beautiful if you let it be, if they let you come in.  The best thing is, sometimes you’re needed and can help.  A ride here or there.  A listening ear.  Prayer.  Relationship.  Community.

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