“What’s new?”

Seems like an innocent enough question, but in context, it was the funniest thing I’ve ever heard!  It came from a high school friend I hadn’t seen for 45 years, and when she said it we all laughed and said, “In five words or less how’s your life?” We were in a restaurant, the noise level was high, and they were just beginning to eat, so I opted not to go into great detail, but, oh how I wanted to say …

I’ve been home for four days after spending five days in Detroit for my son’s wedding. And though the music has stopped, I seem to still be dancing – dancing through the tables of precious family members, dancing past the crowds of life-long friends, dancing on an invisible cloud of awe at what I had witnessed there. If I am really, really lucky, I can hang on to this abundant dose of happiness for the entire summer.  The cast of characters was as nuclear as it was far-reaching, and the experience was as personal as it was universal. I’m not sure how it came to be that I have been so blessed.  I looked around at this gathering of people and wanted to freeze the moment. Our children have grown into humble, genuinely good human beings.  Our friends and my kids’ friends reflect the loyalty and love you hope to cultivate throughout a lifetime. Our moments of pure joy were too numerous to count, but were links in a chain that kept growing and growing.

“What’s new?”

I wanted to say that I had just been to a Flag Day program at Holmes Elementary that morning and was still reeling from the sentiment that spilled over onto every soul there.  It was a sea of red, white and blue, of patriotic songs and of solemn tributes.  And ‘tho these were elementary students, there was an undeniable maturity in their actions and their pride. This is indeed a unique school, with a stellar staff, an insightful principal, and a student population with heart.  What a brilliant decision it was to keep Holmes open! The music was delicious, the essays were heartfelt,  and there were even a few lessons about our beautiful flag.  Firemen, veterans, and servicemen were on hand to join in the celebration. Finally, the dedication of a garden in memory of Mark Kaiser, a past principal at Holmes, was tender and so very touching.  Again I took a look around, wishing to freeze the moment.  Another link.

I wanted to say that although we’ve had our share of bumps in the road over the last year, I have faith. I have faith in us, and in all of those whose love supports and lifts us during those times, so much so that these celebrations of life and all that is good about it, are allowed to bubble to the top.  These are the things that remind me of why I smile, why the people in my life have such a profound impact upon my outlook.

I wanted to say, amazing as it may seem, I find myself constantly surrounded by good people, doing good things, making a difference in this crazy world, and filling my life with such blessings that words just don’t do them justice.  So to all of the people I have the honor of sharing moments with, be they big moments or small, they all are significant links in my chain.  I had only a short time to respond to my long-lost friend’s question, so I chose to simply say … I am happy.

In July of 2014 this essay appeared in The Buffalo News as: “Good People Fill Lives With Blessings”.