thanks to people’s generosity, max’s friend has a round trip ticket for the holidays
top left (Christmas 2017, max’s beautiful sister Caroline holding Mojo the wiener dog and to the right – max)
bottom right (max’s 2017 high school graduation snap)
time, is his friend
an entire life
to flourish and decide and dream
he was born
with an old soul
warm and caring
those eyes of his
speak in softness
two more years
then he will fly
all that resides in him
all that is good
all that is still mystery
he’s thinking pediatrician
a tender spot for babies
cares about children
while looking in the mirror
trying to see the man
he will one day become
Max portrait painted about twelve years ago
15-years-old in detail photo above (at his sister’s 2016 high school graduation)
As a kid, I found any morning walk to my bus stop after a heavy rain daunting. Neither me or my earthworm friends were very happy. I couldn’t bear to watch the endless sea of pinkish-brown bodies wriggling on the wet blacktop. Whenever this upsetting scene accosted my eyes, my inner-tomboy morphed into a worm-plucking machine. Running in a serpentine pattern, I’d grab as many worms as my little hands could carry. Then onto the nearest lawn went the hapless earthworms. I’d continue saving worms until the bus arrived. Once seated, I’d wipe my dirty hands on my navy-blue knee socks so the nuns couldn’t think I’d been digging for the devil.
I don’t save earthworms much these days. I’d like to think that over the last forty years their little earthworm brains have evolved and they’re better equipped at saving themselves. I’ve since taken up offering roadside assistance to bewildered dogs. To prepare myself for this challenge, a nylon leash is stowed in my car and I watch The Dog Whisperer, whenever I can. To date I’m happy to report-I’ve reunited several lost pooches with their owners (though one little dog with oddly big teeth scared the crap out of me).
Bringing me to the reptile saving. A few years back there was an incident which compels me to save turtles for the rest of my life. I learned a terrible, horrible and valuable lesson. Every spring where I live many turtles venture out onto the road. While driving the tank, if I happen to spy a slow-moving shell I pull over and return the turtle to safety.
On this particular spring day several years ago, I’d been rushing to collect the big son (who was much smaller at the time) from elementary school. We had to find a birthday gift then get to a party. On the way to his school, a large snapping turtle – the kind that live 150 years – was making his way across the road. He was better than halfway and the road was not heavily trafficked. A fleeting thought entered my mind, “Pull the car over and make sure the turtle gets across.” Followed by the next fleeting thought, “No time. Everyone will see that giant turtle. It’s impossible not too. He’ll be fine.” I continued on my journey feeling nary a twinge of guilt. I picked up the big son and we proceeded to Target.
On the return ride, my jaw dropped open, my mouth hung agape. I was in disbelief. The huge, ancient, beautiful turtle didn’t make it across the road. I was broken-hearted but the guilt was far worse. I vowed from that day forward, much to the giant husband’s chagrin, to save every single turtle or reptile, no matter the time, place or situation.
I will admit that picking up and carrying that giant snapping turtle last year was not very smart, but the darn thing wasn’t moving fast enough and I had to help him cross the road.
Since I began building my little keystroke cabin in this charming corner of blogworld, I’ve met more than a few enlightening, whimsical and talented neighbors. To date, I’ve published 32 posts all written in a light, spontaneous style. I choose this approach for a very simple reason-life is not always light and spontaneous, in fact, it can be quite the opposite for many.
Yesterday I subbed in our local Middle School and there was an early morning assembly. My job was to escort the class to the auditorium then remain with them during the entire program. The assembly’s speaker was John Halligan, a man who’s dedicated his life to sharing a “powerful healing message of forgiveness and unconditional love.” On October 7, 2003, John Halligan’s thirteen-year-old son took his own life. There are many layers to Ryan Halligan’s story-a story of bullying, undiagnosed depression and missteps on all sides, along the way. During the ninety-minute assembly, John Halligan peeled away these layers one-by-one.
Ryan’s beautiful spirit, smiling and sometimes laughing floated by on a large screen behind his father as his sad story unfolded.
Listening to Ryan’s brave father speak on stage, at times choking up on words and images of his son, sent a powerful message. In his brief lifetime, Ryan wished for nothing more than unconditional love.The very thing that would have saved him. The very thing his father and mother gave and continue to give. In this world of excess and jargon, unconditional love remains free and honest. One of John Halligan’s closing remarks, “…if I’ve gotten through to just one student today, just one, this was worth it. Kids know you are loved, know you are loved, you are loved unconditionally…”
John Halligan ended Ryan’s Story with words he himself received from his high school art teacher, “…every inkblot can be turned into a butterfly…”
If you’d like to learn the details of Ryan’s Story: http://www.ryanpatrickhalligan.org/