Right after I finished college I set out for an adventure 2000 miles from home. As adventures go – it was a good one – unique, fulfilling, and it continues to provide me with anecdotes and a personal history I’m glad I have. Most importantly, if I hadn’t taken the leap and come to Colorado, I would not have met and married my husband Doug. I’m grateful I had the courage to throw caution to the wind and follow my heart but after all of these years (oy! – 20 some odd years – am I really that old?) I miss my home. I miss my family. I miss Maine and the scent of the sea.
My Mom & Dad are two of my best friends and so when they come to Colorado for a visit – it’s a whirlwind of food, gifts, celebrations, and lots of laughter and loving. We pack a lot in to a few days and enjoy just being together. We share in cooking/eating and gardening – two things the four of us all have in common. We also share stories again and again. My Mom is now starting to say, “I think they’ve heard this one Bill.” And, many of the stories I have heard but I NEVER tire of them. I love to hear about the plaque my Dad’s employees gave him that says, “Salesman Wanted: Must Look Honest.” or the time when my parents were first married and their station wagon (affectionately named Bluebell) broke down on the Maine Turnpike and my Dad was so angry he couldn’t get it fixed he started smacking it with a broom. And, one of my absolute favorites we tell is about when my Mom coined the “Dye School of Survival” during an ice storm that had Mom, my younger brother Jason and I all chipping a 5″ thick layer of ice off the upstairs deck to try to get the roof to stop leaking. Now when we add a member to this “school” of ours it is reason for props and pride. It means you can get through anything, work hard, and survive it only to laugh at yourself and be proud of making it!
You would think these stories are only of the distant past but you’d be very very wrong on that one. They keep building. I think they build to status of share worthy for decades when the have a few key elements.
Connection – a chance meeting or shared experience.
Struggle – usually against the unpreventable and extremely frustrating that results in absurd behavior that can be poked fun at later.
or simply anything involving Bill Dye.
My Dad is a walking story magnet. Mom, Dad, and I went to buy some flowers for my containers and yard this last Thursday. It was really hot so we decided to get some lemonade. Dad ran inside and came out with the following story:
“There was a sweet, 50’s something gal behind the counter and her name tag said “June” so Dad said to her “oh, your name is June, like the poem!” Well, June looked a little bit confused by my Dad engaging her, being friendly, and because he was kind & personal (unfortunately so many times we forget to slow down and connect) My Dad seems to never forget. He talks with people around him – no one is a stranger, just a person he’s yet to meet. Anyway… June hadn’t heard of the poem so Dad said, “Haven’t you heard of the poem by James Russell Lowell?” and proceeded to recite the following few lines.
“And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays”
It made her day.
My Dad has a gift he gives to people. He makes them feel special. He makes strangers feel loved and special. And every ounce of him is genuine – and you can sense that about him.
I wrote this post right before Father’s Day and never posted it. Life can get busy, something else can take our attention but our stories last – especially if we capture them and write them down.
That day in June I won’t soon forget.
Take a chance – wax poetic to a stranger!