I will freely admit that when the Covid vaccine came out, I was skeptic and not thinking that I would be one to jump in and get one. I am not one to get an influenza shot – I probably haven’t had one of those in 15 years. I’ve been healthy, so I never felt the need to get a flu shot. I was feeling the same way about the Covid vaccine until it became apparent that I have people in my life that should I wish to spend time with them, I need to make sure that I protect myself from getting something that could adversely affect them. The exact moment that this kicked in for me was seeing a post from a friends daughter – the daughter is a yoga teacher and very healthy wholistic person. Her mom, my friend, has had a heart transplant about three years ago now. The virus that she caught that killed her heart was actually a covid strain that had already been around. Anyway, when the daughter posted on Instagram that she had gotten her shot, my friend had typed in a comment of how pleased she was that they would be able to hug again. I smiled as I read that and said to myself, if getting a shot will allow me to hug my friend again, then, sign me up for the shot.
Problem was, I wasn’t in the current list of those that qualified. It’s been a long long time since I wasn’t old enough for something that had an age requirement.
Well, my age group finally made it to the inclusion list, but all of a sudden, there were no openings for an appointment to get the shot. I’d log in at 2:00 am when I’d wake up in the middle of the night and check, but nothing in my area. I’d log in at lunch and check. I found a couple, but by the time I clicked on them, they were already taken.
Yesterday, I decided that I would just keep checking to see if anything came up, and lo and behold, an appointment opened up at the pharmacy just 8 blocks from my office for today. I was even able to make the second appointment.
I was surprised at how happy I was to actually be signed up to get a shot. I think back to being in grade school and there being a day when we all stood in line at school to get the smallpox shot or was it polio, I can’t quite recall. Everyone got it, so that no one would get the disease. I’m hoping that enough people now also cut down the number of people who are apt to get the covid virus.
For me, covid feels like the bully in the neighborhood, you may fly under the radar and not be effected, but there are those we see getting pummeled and even killed. So, if I can help get the bully out of my neighborhood by getting a couple of jabs, then I’ll do it.
So far, I’ll be the only one in my household getting the shots, but that’s ok. Everyone has to do what is right for them, and this is what is right for me.
At the beginning of one recent weekend, one of our neighbors sent out a group chat to everyone in our little neighborhood reminding them that if the snow storm is as bad as some forecasters would predict, then don’t forget to fill the tub or buckets with water in case power is lost – for cooking, washing and flushing. It was a reminder to prepare in case of emergency.
Well, the storm hit a bit later than expected. Saturday had been a non-event, but Sunday started with some accumulation and bigger flakes and continues heavy all day. By Monday morning, we had well over two feet. Luckily the snow blowing that Ted and Devin had done had stayed in place and I was able to get out of the driveway. Fortunately, part way through the storm, a neighbor in the hood -with a plow, had made one pass around our little Circle Drive. There was still maybe eight inches of snow in the swath he had previously cleared, so it was a bit like four wheeling on a thin one lane path, but I was able to make it to the main road.
I tell you this to set the scene that it was like this all over, so I knew that we would have people calling out from work that day.
One of my newer gals had just started working Saturdays and had taken her work computer setup home for the weekend, so we had agreed, she could just stay and work from home on Monday so that she wouldn’t have to brave the roads. She, along with my other work from home crew should be enough to cover with the brave hearts who did make it into the office. Soon after my arrival to the office, I received a text from my weekend gal that she had lost power to her home, so she was going to load up and come in. That was 6:45 am. She doesn’t normally start till 8:00, so in my head, I figure that gives her time to dig out her car if it hasn’t already been done.
The roads are mostly plowed, but as time rolls by and she doesn’t show, I shoot off a text asking if she had changed her mind and is just staying home? I get nothing in reply. The entire day is a blur as we have just a handful of people covering for all those who couldn’t make it in or were at home without power – she hadn’t been the only one to loose electricity. I send her a message that I hope she is okay and that we will see her tomorrow . Still crickets.
Tuesday comes along and everyone else is back to work except my weekend warrior. I call several times, send texts, but still no answer or response. She is not the type to quit without a word, or to just not show up without a word, so by end of day, one of my other managers said she would swing by her address to check things out. I provide the address and show her what car is hers – thankfully google had a shot from the street view with her car in the parking space.
I later receive a call from my team mate that she had been by and the car was there, the window blinds closed, and no answer at the door. She asked if she should call the non-emergency police line and ask them to check on her? I agreed that she should and to keep me posted. Better to be safe and embarrassed we had overstepped personal boundaries than sorry was our thinking. Well, it took them several hours – in which time we had already conjured up many scary scenarios, but they called back saying that they had found her at home, in a not very conscious state and she had been there for the past two days and she needed to be checked out by doctor. The paramedics were there, and could not find anything obvious as to what caused the semi-unconscious state. We where just happy that they had found her at least somewhat ok.
I received a text the following morning from our missing gal, thanking us for calling the cops and paramedics. She said she was in the hospital having all types of tests run on blood, body and brain. We realized in this semi-emergency, that we had failed to gather everyone’s emergency contact person and number when they were hired.
As with so many reminders, it comes after a near tragedy instead of the part of proper planning.
I haven’t seen the employee yet as she was not cleared for work until Friday and I had taken Thursday and Friday off for skiing.
I almost was heading up to ski alone as our NC and MO friends had all cancelled their trips and Ted said he had to work. As I prepared to head out, I decided that it might also be a good idea to put some emergency contact numbers in my jacket pocket just in case something happened to me on the slopes.
Turns out that I didn’t need it since Ted’s plans changed just before I was going to leave and he was able to join me for a beautiful powder day on the mountain.
So, this is just a reminder to check in on one another if you get concerned and get an alternate contact on those that you need a backup contact for.
Because I have issues with social media in general, I have gone through long periods of time where I just don’t even log into FB at all. That has generally suited me just fine, except for those updates that some only post on a social site to share that will be missed if one chooses to not participate in said sites.
That was made all too apparent to me when I recently logged in to post something and found a note from a long time friend who posted that her cancer which she has fought back several times, is now to the point where she no longer considers the ravages to be worth the war. With her normal grace, she has informed us all that she is ceasing further treatment and is calling in hospice.
So, Let me tell you about my friend Judy Rupnow Wick and our story together.
Not too long after I moved to Colorado back in the mid 80’s, while I was figuring out what it was I wanted to do with my life, I took a job as a waitress at a newer sports bar down by the then McNichols Arena and Mile High Stadium. She was one of the bartenders and I was one of the servers. We served many of the regulars that find an establishment and call it their own, as well as the many sports and concert enthusiasts that frequented us on their way to the local events. Like any spot that is lucrative, we made good money and so turn over in staff was minimal. We had the same staff almost from the very beginning until the place shut down. In that time, we became family. We celebrated, screamed at times, laughed a ton, hung out even when we weren’t working together, celebrated good times and cried together at the hard times. We even had an annual flag football game for a few years.
That is Ted and I on the far left and Judy in the Pink.
When I got engaged and planned the wedding to be held in the midst of a hiking trip in the Colorado mountains, Judy was the one who managed to also get the time off to come along – no small feat in a busy place with limited staff. Had she not been there, I may not have gotten married. Her calm presence after I had a heated argument the night before with my betrothed, along with the frustration of some of his friends – that had previously assured me that they had the equipment and knowledge of what to bring on a back packing trip – yet showed up with book bags as their gear, was enough to have me hiking in another direction. Her wit (making fun of the “mountain men” who would wear their book bags on their back one minute and the front the next, because they couldn’t get comfortable in them), her ability to talk it out in non-confrontational methods, and the 7 mile hike up hills, allowed for the sting of harsh words to release from me and soak into the surroundings and be purified as nature is always willing to do.
After our beloved Ironworks Bar and Grille shut down, Judy and Jim were married and moved to Minnesota not too far from North Dakota. Distance lengthened the time between our visits, but not the connection. Lucky for me, her sister was still in Denver, so I tagged into many visits just by going over to Audrey’s house. Once Judy started the dog agility, I was lucky again that every now and then, there would be a trial in Denver that she would attend. This even allowed Devin and I to be able to go and experience the drama and excitement of the trials, and see the comradery that she now had with that group. She really did land into another whole family with the agility peeps.
Judy had moved to Minnesota and also into counseling for many years. She is a natural good listener which had also made her the great bartender that she was in our working years together and of coarse, a great friend.
A couple years ago, after her first battle with cancer seemed to have been won, I was again able to meet up with her at a dog agility trial in Minneapolis as I was passing through on a very quick but wonderful trip up through Minnesota, Wisconsin and Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Judy always made time to reconnect whenever and wherever possible.
She was back here just a year or two back and we actually were getting the main crew from our Ironworks days together, but she had to leave just one day prior to when the rest could gather. My fortune, always being on the lucky side, provided that I was at least afforded lunch together before she had to take to the road back home. We all missed Judy at that visit.
I’m sad to say that my stubbornness to not give Facebook my time, also caused me to miss the updates that Judy’s cancer had returned and was worse. It was a gut punch to hear that my friend has been once again in treatments and declining in strength and reserves needed for handling the toll that the drugs and exertion takes.
Judy, I can feel the calm in your words, the grace of being ok with where you are, where you’ve been and allowing the loved ones who are with you, hold you as your soul prepares for the journey beyond. I am so very blessed to have had you in my life for so many years. I cry as I write this because it hurts my mind to contemplate you leaving our plane of existence. But all the while my eyes stream with sadness, my heart is still aglow for what we’ve had that cannot be taken away. I know that I will be on a hike, or see a dog, or hear a laugh and know that you are still with me even when your body cannot be. We all want to say that we will have lived a good life when our time comes, no matter what that age is, and I pray that this last segment on this journey reminds you of what a great life yours has been. I want to also let you know that mine has also been amazingly better because you were a part of it. Thank you. I love you now and forever.
There is a beautiful woman and her given name is Khushbu. She did not favor the name as it sounded harsh and ugly to her. What she did not know nor understand was the magic of the name.
Here is the story of how that name came to be:
Long ago, in another lifetime, there was a flock of birds that each had a ruby feather and an indigo feather atop feathers with the translucence of pearls. Light would play upon their quills like the sun on a shimmering ocean, casting hues of ever changing colors, the brilliant ruby and indigo plumes constant accents. But while other birds had songs to sing in many choruses, these had just one call. It seemed that the rarity of their beautiful plumage was offset by the limit of only one call. That call was the sound Khushbu.
Since they only had the one call, they learned to use it for any situation. They screamed the sound loudly to signal a warning. They chortled it as a giggle when sharing amusing moments. They sang it softly as a hug when expressing love. They let it ring roundly and joyfully when gliding on a wave of wind in the warm sun. It became a call that could express any mood, deliver any message depending upon the fluctuation of the tempo, the accent, the tone in which it was presented.
This beautiful community of birds lived in only a small region that had not been inhabited by people–until the day a hunting party stumbled into their vicinity. The men had been sent by their king to find treasure to increase the king’s wealth. When the party saw this flock of birds, the likes of which they had never seen before, they set about trying to design a way to take a breeding pair back to their king. Surely, such rare beauty was worth more than the gold found in rocks so many other places!
The party began to lunge at the birds trying to snatch one from a branch. Each time, they would hear another bird squawk a loud, warning Khushbu and the bird they had nearly caught would fly away to its flockmate. The hunters, however, thought it the mating call and so tried to imitate the sound. Expecting to lure the rare birds to them, they in fact sent their prey to safety. Next, traps were tried, but still the birds eluded the party. Running low on supplies and getting close to the time they were required to report to the king, the frustrated exploration party left. Knowing the king would be furious to hear of such beautiful birds and yet not have any for himself, the group conspired never to speak of what they had seen. Instead, they agreed that to recall that secret part their trip, they would simply utter “Khushbu”.
What they did not realize was that when they began making the birds’ cry, it relayed the true emotion of the speaker. The magic of the call of the birds had been transferred to the people without them even realizing it. Hearing the varied tones and tempos of the strange sound, others in the kingdom asked the hunters what it meant. To keep their secret, the party declared it was merely the name of the fragrance from flowers they had come across. Such was the aroma, they explained, that it had a different smell to different individuals and thus the word, too, had a different sound from the different individual making it. This is how the word Khushbu became first a word and then a name that others know to mean fragrance. But the truth of its origin remains: in the speaker’s speaking of the name, the attuned listener hears the inner feelings, an emotional expression, from the sayer of Khushbu.
Thus, to the woman born to this name, birthed at a tumultuous time for those raising her, the name sounded harsh, frightening; for that was the prevailing emotion of those voicing it. In her early hearing was reflected, not the ugliness of the name, but rather the unpleasantness of the elders’ situation and emotion. If she takes the time now to listen to how others voice the name, she will hear the love from those that address her with an open heart, the skepticism from those who would challenge her, the fear from those who would want to control her, the joy of those who wish to share in her greatness. She will learn to distinguish when the emotion relayed in her spoken name reveals that of the speaker or that of the spoken to. She will feel within herself the joy, the sympathy, the ferocity, the freedom, the playfulness, the courage, the love–the many and mixed emotions conveyed when her name is uttered.
The name “Khushbu” is a name of great magic that belongs only to those who are keen observers, those who can feel deeply, who can decipher what – even the speaker – may not know is being relayed. There may not be a more beautiful name–or a more sensitive soul who holds the power to interpret the magic of Khushbu.
A special Thank you to Nancy for the edit provided on this story.
Life is full of Amazing moments. Some make you go WOW more than others. Some are so quick, that unless you slow your thoughts down, you just think that it was like a shooting star – you caught it out of the corner of your eye, but it was gone before you could yell it out for someone else to see. This week, I experienced many moments, but here are a few that didn’t just streak across too quickly to be caught.
My first amazing moment of the week came when at Sunday dinner. my friend pulled out a little painted wood piece that she had grown up with and had just rediscovered on her recent trip to help her mother go through items not yet sorted since her mother’s last move.
This is one of my Framily friends – the one we have dinner and a show with most Sunday evenings. The one that, when our office moved several years back. and I would lunch at the cemetery down the street – don’t knock it, cemeteries are a great place to spend a quiet hour, I found tombstones with my maiden name and her married name in plots just catty corner to one another. Literally arms reach from one another. I told her then, that we were meant to be friends through all times.
So, imagine my delight, when She took a little wood painting out of its frame and sent me under the lights to take a close look at it.
We had to ponder, was she destined to find me later in life by having walked past this paining every day as a child? Was that a product of her angels planting the subliminal seed that when she came upon the next Tomlinson item – ME -, she should keep it too? I like to think so, and I’m glad it worked.
The next whisper from the universe happened on the way into work. I vary from driving into work listening to an audio book, listening to the radio, or just in silence with the thoughts that come my way. Have you ever noticed that sometimes, the radio plays exactly what you need to hear, or that there is a message or theme that come out of your radio? Well, I do. It happens to me a lot, like my angels know one way to get me to listen, is through the times that I do play the radio. As an example, we had a call at work from one of our past team members asking if we were hiring. She had been let go as a reduction of staff six years ago, and so, we were bringing her back in for an interview. Her name is Tiko and since I had just put out four offer letters to others, I wasn’t sure about bringing her back. I was thinking about this on my silent drive in and got that whisper thought in my head to turn the radio on. The radio was on the upper end of the stations, which are the rock and roll presets. Not feeling that was where I needed to be, I started flipping to the lower presets which are more jazz, npr, 40’s big band and coffeehouse. I settled on NPR to see if it was anything that triggered a recognition and it wasn’t, so I continued the shuffle to the next station and there it was. The song that was just beginning was called “Tico Tico” by the Andrew Sisters. I smiled and said an aloud “thank you” and decided that if the interview did go well, I would make room on the team for her. I mean, I had never even seen or heard of that song, it couldn’t be coincidence.
The last amazing moment that I’ll share from my week, I would say, really belongs to my good friends family. I’ll take that back though, because once it was shared, it becomes communal.
My friend sent me a text with this photo.
She wrote: “My sister going through DIA today….this is a life size poster of my Mom! She was on the flight that carried the first polio vaccines to Denver. It was in the newspapers….”
That her sister was just then walking through the airport in Denver, and on one of the walkways where they were displaying airline photos from years past, stood a life size poster of their mom is nothing short of remarkable. She had been a stewardess when she first met their dad and her being a stewardess was crucial for their romance blossoming as they were initially in separate cities. Their Mom passed away just this past fall, so to see her in full size in front of her, must have felt amazing and full of emotions.
I immediately shot back a text of: “That is just what I needed – a Hello wave from Bonnie today. How flipping amazing is that! Thank you for sharing! My heart just got happier and a little melancholy all at once”
I could also in that moment of seeing the picture and reading the text, hear her mom’s laugh in my head. She had a really good laugh and Bonnie had great stories. And now we have another great story of her as well.
I hope you had a week of moments that caused you to pause and appreciate as well.