I often see myself as unusual, not of the norm, a little too silly for some. Just plain different. Looking more closely, though, we’re all pretty similar. When I taught blind children, it was so easy to fall into the trap that they were really different from other kids. After all, they can’t see. And seeing stuff is a big part of my life. But as I got smarter and looked more carefully, those young non-see-ers wanted the same things that their classmates did – to be loved, to be included, to make a mark and thus say goodbye to invisibility.
Yesterday I experienced a parade of humanity. Here they are:
Eleanor (Jody’s aunt)
Cam (Eleanor’s son and Jody’s cousin)
Veronica (Jody’s late aunt Joan’s daughter and Jody’s cousin)
Real (Veronica’s boyfriend)
Fernando (Real’s friend)
Frank (Jody’s uncle)
Shirley (Frank’s wife and Jody’s aunt)
Carey (Frank and Shirley’s daughter and Jody’s cousin)
Pierre (Carey’s husband)
Taylor (Carey and Pierre’s daughter)
Taylor’s boyfriend (I’m sorry that I’ve forgotten your name)
Eleanor – Presented me with assorted foods and a warm smile, as well as showing me where Jody sat in the family farm’s kitchen as a 15-year-old. I loved sitting where Jody did.
Cam – Smiled when I was enjoying a flavour of Mike’s Hard Lemonade that I hadn’t tasted – pink. He loves hunting. I don’t. So what?
Veronica – She of the smiling Buddhas adorning her home. “Life’s too short to hold grudges.” As she and I were leaving Carey and Pierre’s place, she approached her Uncle Frank and said, “You’re not getting away without a hug.”
Real – Loves riding his Harley and is a member of a biker club that stands for integrity and non-violence. In the pub, I asked him to sing, and he replied, “Only if it’s a Frank Sinatra tune.” He has a beard and wears a biker jacket. I couldn’t grow a beard for the life of me and favour t-shirt and shorts. So what?
Fernando – Another biker club member who laughed with us as Veronica and I resurrected memories of Jody and her mom Joan over a steak sandwich (her) and nachos (me). He was comfortable sitting beside me.
Frank – I sold real estate with Frank in the 80’s. Well, he sold real estate – I “prospected” and dreamed of sales and listings. Last night, he talked of family, of how important his wife, children and grandchildren are to him.
Shirley – Had a mischievous little smile on her face most of the evening and actually used that very word to describe Jody as a kid.
Carey – The lady of the house who cried when she talked about Jody. As kids, they stole neighbours’ flowers and placed them under their family’s power mower so there’d be a flower shower upon start up. I saw photos of the miniature Christmas scenes that she creates all over her house during the holidays.
Pierre – Is a night supervisor on a oil rig in Kuwait for six months of the year – 28 days on and 28 days back home. Temperatures can reach 44 degrees Celsius … at night! I couldn’t do that. He can. So what?
Taylor – She laughed at a few goofy things I said. I liked her immediately. As a young adult, she seemed totally comfortable with all those older folks yapping away.
Taylor’s boyfriend – (Okay, Bruce. Let go of trying to remember his name > But a person’s name is important > I know, but you can appreciate him just as much without knowing it > All right) He joined into the conversation, especially enjoying his talk with Pierre about oilfield adventures. When I was leaving, he looked me right in the eye and said that he hoped we’d meet again. He meant it.
We’re all the same height when we’re lying down