Hello again from Home!
I have been on a rollercoaster since the last Coconut Chronicle. On the uphill ride – the book launched to lots of local fanfare. I basked in my 15 minutes of Nelson fame with newspaper articles, radio interviews, a live launch I was told “raised the bar for all book launches” and even a front page picture in the Nelson Star.
A far cry from some big book signing in NYC and a review in the Times, but far more meaningful, if you ask me.
As well, my good friend Joyce, AKA Martha, turned 60 – definitely cause for celebration! Prez and I couldn’t make it down for the big party but, knowing the Roneys, I’m sure it was a doozy. (Happy Birthday Martha! Hug, kiss, hug!!!)
On the downhill ride, my extremely stubborn father ended up in the hospital with serious respiratory problems. (He’s better now – thanks, Sean, for being equally stubborn!).
Also, in one week, I lost two very dear friends, Gary Myers and Harry Quarles, to cancer. Life sure has a way of keeping a girl humble.
Harry, or as we liked to call him, “HQ”, used to tease me that I should write the story of his life. In his southern drawl, he would say, “You can call it Autobiography of a Nobody”. But here’s the thing, Harry wasn’t a nobody. Not even close.
Our culture has come to glorify the celebrity. People now become famous for doing nothing more than marketing themselves as such. What do the Kardashian’s even do? To this day I have no idea. Substance has lost its value. The Harry’s and Gary’s? What do they mean anymore in a world that demands a new BIG thing every second of every day.
Well, let me tell you.
Among many other wonderful qualities, both these men actually cared about others. Harry was an unrepentant chain smoker for years and I never believed he would quit. But he did – for his wife, Ruth Ann. She came home one day and found a box of nicotine patches on the coffee table. It was Harry’s birthday present to her. He followed through. He quit. Anyone who’s ever smoked knows how hard that must have been. Anyone who loves their partner knows why he made that effort.
Gary? Quite possibly one of the sweetest human beings in the world you’d ever want to meet. But no matter how soft spoken and kind, Gary was a man who believed in social justice. In the last weeks of his life, he would still take time to put up posts on Facebook encouraging US citizens to vote for the party that he believed cared most about those in need. It may seem like a small thing, but at a time when no one would blame him for being completely selfish he made the effort to do what he felt was the right thing for his country.
Two quiet, kind men who loved their wives, their friends, and their families. Two men who would never make the front page of People magazine or become Internet phenomenons, but who enriched the lives of everyone who was fortunate enough to know them. They were my friends, I loved them both, and I miss them every day.
So, it was nice to be on the front page of the newspaper, and fun to have complete strangers congratulate me on the book. Maybe one day I’ll make it “big” or maybe I’ll just keep quietly writing stories that a handful of people enjoy. It doesn’t matter either way. What matters is what I leave behind when I’m gone, in the hearts of those who knew me.
Like the song says, “You’re nobody ‘til somebody loves you.”
In the hustle and bustle of this holiday season, stop and take a moment to think about what really matters. Take the time to let the Harry’s and Gary’s of your life know how important they are and how much you love them.
All we have are experiences. All we leave are memories. Make sure they’re good ones.
Until next time, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life.