“Be like a tree, let the dead leaves drop.” ~ Rumi
Remember I said that I had the chance to meet new friends and visit with old friends at Erin’s book release party? I also had the pleasure of watching other friends meet and start their own friendships. Take Harriette Swart and Silas House for instance. It is a beautiful thing to watch two kind, conscientious souls meet one another for the first time. Little wonder that Silas and Harriette hit off. He is the consummate gentleman, and she the most refined lady I know. I’m lucky they put up with me and I’m sure thankful for it. We three Kentucky natives enjoyed fine conversation. We could have talked endlessly. I happened to have my new lens with me, perfect for that wide-angle selfie. It gave me a picture I’ll cherish almost as much as seeing these two awesome people meet. What a gift.
“Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice.” ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin
It’s been almost a week since we convened to hug Sandy Davis’ neck. I wish we could meet every Friday for dinner, or just laughs. Jeanne Marie’s phone says all that needs saying about my Kentucky tribe. I love them all so much, and I’m so lucky to have them as friends.
“In a world full of people who couldn’t care less, be someone who couldn’t care more.” ~ Unknown
Queen Sandy Davis was in town from Boston and I was lucky enough to catch her for dinner. In fact, a bunch of us had the pleasure of dining with Sandy this evening, and I feel safe in saying ‘a good time was had by all.’ Her hugs are just as kind and long as they’ve ever been; her smile lights up the room, and her spirit brings us all together in a way few others can. My life got better the day I met Sandy Davis. I’m very fortunate to call her friend. In fact, every one of these people enrich me every day. I couldn’t love them more.
“The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and you reap a habit.
Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
~ James Allen
I had a guest register available at the reception. I didn’t realize I’d forgotten it until I went to bed Friday night. I attended All Saints Day service this morning and picked it up afterward. Sixty people attended Friday’s reception. Sixty people took time out of their lives to come see my work. Some I’d never met before Friday. Some sneaked in and out without my seeing them though they were kind enough to leave their signature. Some drove nearly two hours to be there. Some took off work. Some were recovering from major surgery. Some couldn’t stay long, and others stayed the whole time. Someone pointed out how many segments of my life were assembled in that room: family, close friends, old friends, new friends, co-workers, writers, actors, artists, musicians, librarians, bankers, software developers, railroad men, professors, social workers, therapists, pathologists, nutritionists, the list goes on. They’re not all represented in this collage, but I couldn’t think of a better way to have a group hug in the outhouse. Sixty people. I may be speechless for a week I’m so overcome with gratitude.
“We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day.
And we can fall in love in one day. Anything can happen in just one day.”
Last Sunday’s gathering had Annie Bassoni trying, like a brave soul, the seaweed concoction that came as a side with Harriette Swarts’ oysters. You can see what she thought of the taste. Kudos to her for trying though. I knew I wouldn’t like it, and after I saw her reaction, I was assured I was right. Seaweed: not my favorite.
“Consider becoming the type of energy that, no matter where you go,
you always add value to the spaces and lives of those around you.”
This was a big, nervous day for me. If you’ve been following the outhouse, then you know I’ve been working on a series of photos called Sacred Spaces. The first exhibit of the work was scheduled to hang today at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Lexington. Because God and the Universe love me, it just happened to coincide with Sandy Davis’ first return to Lexington since moving to Boston. Sandy has been a big supporter of my work and she always had my back when it comes to all the things I’m horrible with, like marketing myself. I’ve leaned on her artistic senses to put this exhibit together, so it was only right that she should be there when it went up. I trust her eye, and I trust Marlon Hurst, so I stepped aside and let them hang the show. It was a huge load off my shoulders, frankly. I get too close to the work sometimes to know what’s best. I’m indebted to them forever for helping me. And while they did the heavy lifting, Harriette Swart and Stacy Yelton talked to me at length about the work itself. Their conversations were so cathartic, so soothing, that my nerves calmed and I felt more confident about the work, and most importantly, the impact of the work. It was a truly special time that I will never forget (Sandy insisted on the Kopana style selfie, and Sandy gets what she wants!).
My day wasn’t done. No, this great day was meant to be a spectacular day! We left the exhibit and met our Happiness gal pals at National Provisions for a late brunch. This was the first time we’ve all been together since Erin had moved before Sandy, Annie, and Jeanne Marie joined us. Plus, we’ve added Harriette Swart and Marcie Christensen because they are meant to be here. We’ve all had a big year, but most of us have undergone big life changes; from moving homes to changing careers to adult responsibilities, and so on. I just can’t believe how lucky I’ve gotten to find these friends. It’s mostly thanks to Deb Chenault for putting her Happiness Project out there and letting us be part of it. Every one of these women is talented, unique, big-hearted, and smart. I’m just happy and in love with all of them. And Marlon, too, because he’s cool enough to be a gal pal… if he was a gal. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
“If your love for me requires that I hide parts of who I am, then you don’t love me. Love is never a request for silence.” ~ DeRay McKesson
Sandy Davis is going back to Boston. We – Stacy Yelton, Annie Bassoni, Deb Chenault, Harriette Swart, Marcella Christensen, and myself – met for the final time tonight. It went way too fast. I’m going to miss Sandy. We’re all going to miss her: her laughter, her warmth, her smile, her enthusiasm, her smarts, and most of all, her great big giant compassionate sweet heart. I’m not worried, though. Kentucky, Lexington in particular, is like Hotel California for many people. You can check out, but you can never leave, not really. Sandy will be back. I will cherish the memories we’ve shared, and I will light a candle to her good life until she returns. It’s not goodbye, just so long.
“Believe in your dreams people. Step out of your comfort zone. Dare. Never lose hope.
Trust God’s timing and process. It is not easy, but it is so worth it.”
~ Elke Krueger
Stacy Yelton, Deb Chenault, and I met at Sandy Davis’ house in Versailles for an afternoon of laughter and pizza. The ever delightful Harriette Swart (top), whom I rarely get to see, was also there. I’ve been sharing my purple iris with friends, so I took a bag for Harriette. I told her the story of the iris, how I got them from my old landscaping boss, Joe Calhoun, who got them from a horse farm in one of the surrounding counties. Then they went to my parents’ in Appalachia for 15 +/- years before they came back to my house in Lexington. Now, seven years later, I’m thinning and sharing. The rhizomes are estimated to be 120 years old at this point. But all I really had to say was, “I got them from Joe Calhoun,” because once again Kentucky proves to be a small place. Harriette knows Joe and his partner, Jamie, and she has for years. Plus, she adores iris. It was one of those perfect moments. Combine her enthusiasm with a really sweet southern summer afternoon of cucumber water, Bassett hounds, and BFFs, and yours truly had a pretty perfect Sunday.