Life’s best lessons aren’t found in a book or even along the highways and byways, which might find them transcribed upon a 120-foot roll of teletype paper. They do however live forever in our hearts etched with laughter and tears never intending to make the impact they end up making.
On the way to OZ, Dorothy discovered intelligence, love and courage in the most unique way, while she sparkled along a road of presumable yellow sunshine. In a real life, people cross into our path in much the same way, however, what they share with us is not unveiled behind a curtain by a little man, who may or may not be a wizard. It is up to us to see the magical value just as Dorothy did when she needed it the most.
In my life it has always been the unexpected. My four year-old grandson recently alerted us in a very mature voice after a trip to the bathroom, he had used the “San Tizer,” (and also, that he didn’t touch his wiener a TMI moment). We laughed at his pronunciation that made it sound like the name of somebody who could be a rap performer or extreme terrorist. Along with so many other phrases, moments and actions that accompany childhood, there is a time they stay with us, when children try fit in and be a part of the adult group. By innocently offering what seems to be acceptable, they illuminate what any of us ever want – to fit in. So when it comes from innocence, it makes us realize the obvious more – that it never really changes with age.
Past toddler stage my youngest loved to come to work with me. My job with an AFC football team took me away from my girls more than I liked with long hours and travel. She became obsessed after hearing about the “Three Amigo’s,” who at the time were onfield sensations. She had no way of comprehending the meaning, the players or what they did, but somehow after that every flamingo she saw was a “3 Amigo.” It became linked to my job. It also became a bond between us, and when I was at work we kept that bond and I didn’t feel as if I was missing more than I was experiencing in her life. Years later, she found packed away a favorite “3 Amigo” and was brought to tears when her daughter took it as a favorite toy. The Carter family could almost be heard when that circle proved to be unbroken.
Youth aside, it was my father who could coin a phrase that unknowingly became a family favorite, like when I made him a webpage and he told people he was on a satellite. His experience with newfangled credit cards was the best however, giving him the blue and yellow logo of a “Vista Card.” Dad was born in 1908 and a man of value, honor, principle and cash only basis. It was a challenge to always make ends meet after he retired and in his 70’s, so he carried an all purpose Visa card. It was on odd occasions when he would show up with something unnecessary or unexplainable, and I was told it was on his “Vista card.” I laugh and those sincere gestures of love he brought to my door from canned grapefruit, Christmas trees to kewpie dolls. A true vista is a mental view of a succession of remembered or anticipated events, and without knowing that, dad nailed it as solid and albeit as crooked as one of his homemade shelves. His “Vista Card” of freedom brought more memory and anticipation than it ever bought.
Houdini promised his wife he would find a way to reach out to her after his death. His promise, like that of countless others leaving this life was what we all want, to know we are not alone we are a part of something. We keep these hopes, old memories and treasured feelings close to our hearts and hold them with warm hands when our dreams are cold. Cary Grant knew that winter was cold for those without warm memories and did something about it before Debra Kerr could react. There is an affair to remember in all of our lives, and it doesn’t need to be romantic or sexual, just a simple “to be remembered.”
I know I am the sum total of my life experience and enriched by some of the best laughter, tears and compassion anyone could ever ask to have, and my winters are always warm because of it. When I leave this life, it will be knowing I was someone’s 3 Amigo, their misspelled “breast friend,” and a hero without trying who knew about San Tizer on a vista, that had no boundaries.
I have been blessed.