LITTLE GIRL ENTERED MY LIFE
I TIED HER TO A STRING
AND FOLLOWED THROUGH HER CHILDHOOD
TRYING NOT TO MISS A THING
AS SHE AND I NOW REACH A TIME
WHEN TIES BEGIN TO SEVER
WE LEARN THE STRING REMOVED…
REVEALS A LOVE THAT BINDS FOREVER….©
~J Del Torto [Widget_Twitter id=”1″]
It was one of those mornings I’d never forget.
Simple and unexpected~ Sitting there at a round table were four old men, a seven-year-old girl, a lovely grandmother and myself. This table was made up of a definite “THINK DIFFERENT CROWD”. One man, Jim- the poet sat quietly, listening to the other three men banter on, laughing boisterously about random life experiences. The conversation started out as a sweet recounting of some memorable moments in each of these old guys’ lives: children, family, work, travel…
Another of the ‘old men’ spoke proudly of his grown daughter, a Spanish teacher–recently retired after 30 years of service– describing the unique ways she continues to help students.
Then, Golden Oldie #3- I’ll call him here (to go along with his own humor about his age, experience & wisdom) spoke up with equal pride in his son who had married a woman from another culture.
My father was the fourth ‘old guy’ at the table. He knew this was a special day, having his gang together with his wife, daughter & granddaughter. He wanted these 2 particular friends to share more details about their grown adult kids with us– knowing we might appreciate the “culture” in their stories. We loved hearing about the Spanish teacher and how her desire to teach didn’t end when she retired.
We all continued to listen, as the Golden Oldie talked with equal pride of his son and how he’d started a new life with his family in Mexico. Ella chimed in about how we had also moved to Mexico. He’d been to visit his son and the family there on many occasions.
I listened intently with my daughter at my side, simultaneously eating and coloring the final touches on her latest invention.
“I’ve picked up a bit of Spanish here and there.” He said. “But my son’s kids didn’t even speak English for the first few years–all because they lived DOWN THERE!” [‘Normal for dual language learners,’ I thought, as the man continued.] “There are some major differences in the culture, that’s for sure!” continued Golden Oldie.
Quickly conversation turned to…of all things ~TOILETS~ & bathrooms in Mexico and many other countries, in fact. I know! Out of nowhere!
This man was well traveled, successful (according to America’s societal standards) and well-educated. He WAS NOT AFRAID TO SPEAK HIS MIND about anything and everything! He had a way about him that drew us in, he knew himself and was clearly “comfortable in his own skin.” It was refreshing despite the super strange banter and how it evolved to talk of bathrooms the world over!
Despite myself, despite the distasteful nature of the dialogue and even the food in front of us–I began laughing, & pretty hard at the weirdness of the whole thing.
I realized that he had put all conventions aside to be present in the moment and just be REAL! He wasn’t going to waste his time being anything else!
My mom, the lovely grandmother at the table~ has never been one for ‘distastefulness’ of any kind. So, even more shocking was the fact that she herself was laughing out loud. She’s the type, I’ve always joked: you say a bad word and her petticoats get ruffled and the parasol goes up. We are SO different in this way (whoops, I gave myself away! Yes, underneath my moral convictions, come some contradictions…)
So, whilst laughing, she kept saying, “Oh, I’m surprised Jennie’s still sitting here with her daughter hearing this- she is so particular about refraining from this sort of talk.”
As our friend went on of experiences he’d had in bathrooms the world over, I couldn’t help but smile as I asked myself- if he just saw the world as a giant toilet! I hadn’t yet sensed an appreciation for the other cultures or places he’d visited- but who was I to say what else he felt inside.
This banter was about letting loose and freeing your mind in unconventional talk & circumstance.
The laughter continued over literal toilet-talk, so bizarre but if you had been there- you would have been laughing too ~a paradox~ the entire situation…
The poet at our small “Think Different” table– well he remained stoic and kept his gaze on the whole conundrum, observing each of us. I wondered what he was thinking.
At the conclusion of our gathering, we’d learned more about unique bathroom trivia around the world than anyone might care to know. But I had experienced yet another “Beautiful Mess of Contradictions” in life…
HOW WHEN YOU ARE TRULY YOU– AND “GET YOUR OWN SHADOW OUT OF THE WAY,” Awesomeness…& UNEXPECTED THINGS CAN HAPPEN!
Since the conversation began with the 1st two old guys sharing about their grown kids… the poet finally wanted to share as well. In the end, he got his “momento en el sol” too…and what he said brought the whole conversation back to a more serious note, but we all left with a sense of what really matters.
The poem you read at the start of this crazy story—that’s his! He’s a writer, an author and recounts his words by heart with a depth of voice and spirit that shows you this tremendous light -his gift! The poem brought tears to my eyes~ as I thought of the HOMESCHOOL JOURNEY with my own daughter. He “tied his love string” around us all & brought the conversation back to what mattered most…Love!
End note: My friend Jim wrote the poem on a napkin for me (since that was all we had at the table—you might’ve thought it’d be written on TP). Anyway, I carry it in my purse now, all folded up. You will get to know this true gentleman better soon, because I plan to share HIM with you! He has much more inspirational writing and art where this came from and as another wise and precious man I know says…it is like “sugar to the soul” of any artist verdadero (true)!
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A NEW GENERATION OF FEARLESS THINKERS & LEARNERS
GROW YOUR ARTISTIC GIFTS. BE UNCONVENTIONAL- Be YOU!
Jennifer C. Lopez, M.A. Ed.
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