A Trifecta of Thank You's

Monday, July 4, 2016

Hello all, and Happy Fourth of July for those of you in the States. (And a belated Happy Canada Day for my friends north of the border.)

I realize it's been a while since I posted. I hope to do better. A lot has been happening, not all of it good. But for this post I thought I would focus on three instances when it was, and thank those responsible.

First up: Miss J.

I went for a long run/walk on Friday and became badly dehydrated when the humidity skyrocketed without warning. I made it home, barely, and collapsed onto my bed - only to wake up in agony after dozing off with a vicious leg cramp that left me barely able to put any weight on my right leg. I was resigned to spending several days off my feet... until, that is, Miss J came over Friday evening and worked her magic.

How magical? I ran *again* on Saturday, and wound up exceeding 30000 steps for the day - all thanks to J. You are the best, hon. I don't know what i would do without you. xoxoxo

(Also, thank you to Miss J for snapping the photo at the top of the post. You made a disheveled, dehydrated, sore-legged lass look... well, slightly less of all of those things. :-p)

(Also, note the freckle party taking place all over my chest and arms. Imagine the result if I hadn't slathered on sunscreen to go out on a day with heavy cloud cover. [shudder])


Second: my friend F.

We met for dinner tonight - the first meeting in person since... well, we couldn't figure out when. (F checked his messages back to spring 2015 before we agreed it was, well, too long, regardless of the exact date.)

F has known me since I was eight years old. Even more remarkably, he not only still puts up with me, but continues to share his always perceptive observations that only a lifelong friend can offer.

We discussed the family issues to which I alluded in my previous post, as well as a related matter from late last year, both of which have caused a great deal of heartache.

The intensity with which F listens is tangible. It's remarkable to witness - and even more remarkable to be the beneficiary.

I broached a seemingly unrelated matter that had been bothering me for some time, one which I had not discussed with anyone - not my therapist, not my dear friend Alice, on whom I have relied so much the past year-plus, not anyone.

This was a sensitive matter (apologies for the vagueness; I'm not comfortable sharing any more), but I had no trouble telling F about it, nor about thinking out loud as I attempted to grasp it. I knew F would listen without judgement, and would do his best to guide me to understanding.

And... he did.


Thank you, F. Just like Miss J, I don't know what I would do without you.

I'll end this now, as it's quite late and I'm very tired. I would add that I hope everyone reading this has someone like F and Miss J in their life. So often we take for granted the very people we should most treasure; please let your own equivalent of J and F know how much they mean to you, and how much you love them. You won't regret it, I assure you.


F and I ended our discussion talking about music, a passion we both share. I told F about a Boston-area triple threat named Mark Erelli, a superb singer, songwriter, and dazzling guitar player. A longtime favorite of mine, he's released nearly a dozen albums, including two bluegrass albums with Barnstar and a terrific collaboration with kindred spirit Jeffrey Foucault.

He recently released his ninth solo album, For A Song. It contains a truly remarkable song, one of the best I've heard in several years. At a recent concert I attended, he explained its genesis.

He was taking part in a songwriter's retreat, and was challenged to write a song that met the following parameters:

1. It had to be set in the Sistine Chapel.
2. It had to include three characters:

  • The chapel's custodian...
  • Michelangelo....
  • And God. 

3. Each verse had to be written in the first person by one of the characters.

(He joked that while this might seem somewhat daunting, he *was* allowed to use both hands to play his guitar, so it could have been worse. :D)

And the result of his efforts: "Look Up."

Every once in a while you hear a song that leaves you in awe of the writer's gift in making you see the world in a new way. So, the last thank you in this post goes to Mark Erelli - for reminding us all to remember to look up.


Look Up - Mark Erelli

All day long they shuffle through
Sneakers, sandals, high-heeled shoes
Scraps of paper, chewing gum
My work here is never done

They exit now in single file
I sweep the floors and scrub the tiles
As dying echoes quiet the room
And leave me leaning on my broom

Above me now the fall of man
But it all depends on where you stand
Is He letting go
Or reaching out for Adam’s hand?

Look up, look up
There are angels flying low enough to see
Look up, oh look up


Four long years I’ve bent my back
Painting every plaster crack
The hand of God and Adam’s sin
Rain down in brush drops thick and thin

I ache with shame and head for home
Through the darkened streets of Rome
Past the night girls calling out to me
And drunkards praying on their knees

Above me now the canopy
The stars in all their majesty
Remind me of the master
I will never be

Look up, look up
There are angels flying low enough to see
Look up, oh look up


High above the blessed and cursed
Like ants they scurry on the Earth
Debauchery and daily chores
Always hungry, wanting more

I sent them plague and flood and fire
Tried so hard to stay inspired
And somehow solve the mystery
Of what they ever saw in me

If I could only kneel before
The man who sweeps the chapel floor
Show him he’s as holy as the angels
Maybe more

Look up, look up
There are angels flying low enough to see
Look up, oh look up


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