There’s no place like home

November 18th, 2012

The Waitts....lots of them, 1925

 

DOESN’T ANY BODY STAY IN ONE PLACE ANYMORE?”  Carole King

I live in Sioux City, Iowa.  It’s a river city of about 100,000 souls, if you count the neighbors.  It doesn’t grow too much.  I don’t think it’s supposed to.  It’s heritage is incredibly rich, both in the histories of the Native Americans who were here before, and the settlers who landed here from elsewhere.  We’re not Mayberry, we’re just a mix of new and old, growing more diverse and sometimes more progressive, and sometimes stubbornly clinging to old ways.  To me, it’s home. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Color Purple

October 16th, 2012

The color purple stands now for both domestic violence awareness and bullying and October is the month.

If the numbers we see in domestic violence were applied to terrorism or gang violence, the entire country would be up in arms,and it would be the lead story on the news every night.”– Rep. Mark Green

“Bullying is killing our kids. Being different is killing our kids and the kids who are bullying are dying inside. We have to save our kids whether they are bullied or they are bullying. They are all in pain.”  Cat Cora

Preventing violence is the most crucial work I will ever do in this lifetime.  Herman Wouk said once, “Either war is finished, or we are”.  I believe him.  We need to stop the wars we wage against each other every day, in the home, at work, and in school. Read the rest of this entry »

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Legalizing Love

September 20th, 2012

 

I love this sign.

“My friends, welcome to the other side of the rainbow.”  Washington state Sen. Ed Murray (D), Feb. 13, 2012 as marriage was legalized.

“This is an earthquake issue. This will change our state forever. Because the immediate consequence, if gay marriage goes through, is that K-12 little children will be forced to learn that homosexuality is normal, natural, and perhaps they should try it.” — Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R), March 20, 2004  (Huh?)

I don’t give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of.” Clint Eastwood

Those who say my home state of Iowa is a swing state know what they’re talking about.  Our opinions are as varied as our weather.  On the one hand, Iowa should be proud to be one of the handful of states (8 have legalized, but with legislation pending in 2 of those) that legalized same sex marriage in April of 2009.  Iowa is home to Chuck and Jason Swaggerty Morgan, two fine men I know, who are raising beautiful children, and who were one of the six couples who challenged the Iowa Supreme Court.

Conversely, Iowa is home also to the leader of what is called “The Family Leader’, a group who successfully ousted three of those brave judges, and are now threatening a fourth as of today. The three ousted judges deservedly received the John F. Kennedy “Profiles in Courage” awards  just this year.

This isn’t a political blog and it isn’t a religious blog.  I’m tackling this subject today because the right of same sex couples to marry in this country really shouldn’t be about either of those issues, it should be about the subject of this blog-love.  Period.    It may be about religion or politics for them, but there are gay rights supporters on both sides of the aisle and supporters as well as opponents within organized religions.   Could we not stop all the ‘fussing and fighting” and re frame the case, take it beyond the courts and the elections and look at it from a human standpoint?  Couldn’t this just be simply about love?

It’s not about love, not yet.  Sadly, as a nation, and as a planet, we aren’t there yet.   But I am encouraged and here are a few reasons why.

WE ARE SLOWLY, VERY SLOWLY STARTING TO GET HOW DANGEROUS DISCRIMINATION CAN BE. Social scientists, human behavior experts, and more and more policy makers are beginning to understand the process by which we can easily dehumanize others and what that can lead to.  One of the most amazing things I’ve seen in 20 years of violence prevention work is what they call “the pyramid of violence”.  The pyramid is inverted and starts with the more common acts of violence, which is words. Violence doesn’t start with the physical generally.   As my friend and colleague Kit Gruelle says, “Violence is just a punctuation mark”.  It starts with thoughts, attitudes and words.   Here’s how that works.  A group, usually in the majority, can begin to stereotype and dehumanize another group simply by disapproving words.  Even something as innocuous as “hate the sin and love the sinner” can be dangerous, as you’ve labeled someone with “sin”.  Then comes the separation and isolation of the smaller group from the larger.  They are ‘sinners” and therefore we don’t approve, we don’t understand, and we don’t love.  We begin to hate, and what we hate doesn’t deserve the same rights.  We isolate them physically, psychologically, and spiritually until this becomes “normal” and acceptable to do.  It can then escalate to acts of bullying,violence, assault, “hazing”, rape, and even murder.  That’s how batterers do it.  If the target is dehumanized, it becomes ok to separate them, ok to deny them rights, ok to attack them.  Hitler didn’t wake up one day and lock up all the Jews.  He slowly and surely over many years moved up the pyramid of violence to his final solution.  In short, as a culture, I think this has been what we’ve done to not only women and minorities but also to gays and lesbians, and mercifully, more policy makers are making the connection.  As always, the opposition must push back and they push back hard, but the connection has been made and hopefully that will lead us to more enlightened and LOVING policies, attitudes, and behaviors.

-“THE TRAIN HAS LEFT THE STATION”.  My own community had to be pulled kicking and screaming into the 21st century, as it took them years to simply add the term”sexual orientation” to our human rights laws.  But it happened.  In 2004, there were no states that had legalized same sex marriage.  In eight years, we’ve added 8 states, and several more have legislation pending.  It’s not enough, and again, the push back is swift and sometimes violent, but it’s beginning.  We’ve made measurable change. My friend and colleague, anti violence activist Jackson Katz told me years ago that “that train has already left the station”.  It’s moving, slowly, but it’s moving.

THE ATTITUDES ARE CHANGING.  In 1996, only 25% of Americans approved of full marriage equality.  Today, from 51-53% support it.  That’s a big leap in 15 years.

THERE ARE MOVEMENTS THAT WENT BEFORE THAT GIVE HOPE.   Let’s face it, as daunting as the “push back” can be, and in these days, it’s daunting, there is a movement, and that’s always the start.  If I’d been born in 1896, not 1956, I would have had to wait to vote.  My own great grandmother, who I knew, couldn’t vote until she was 44 years old.  As crazy as that sounds, this was within the 20th century.  My friend who lives in San Diego, and is white, could not have married her husband, who isn’t, 50 years ago.  My husband is Jewish.  He was born in 1952 in New York.  Had he and I been born 30 years before, in Germany, where some of his relatives came from, our marriage  would have been illegal.   Look at old film clips of groups of whites taunting  African American school children.  This was in my lifetime.  When I watch those, I feel shame and horror.  I absolutely believe, that even 25 years from now, we will look back on this time with deep regret that many of us failed to respect those who live their lives as they were born to do.  Ranting loudly against another’s rights may work for a while, but history will tell this story and things will look different from that perspective.  Let’s be proud of supporting human rights and open ourselves to change.  This isn’t a revolution, it’s an evolution, or so I hope.

THE ANTI BULLYING MOVEMENT WILL HELP.  One of the most frustrating things for me over the years, as an anti violence activist and philanthropist, is the completely insane opposition to anti bullying legislation for our children from those who feel that they push a “gay agenda”. HUH?  Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who tried to pass anti bullying legislation while he was Governor of Iowa, met constant opposition simply due to the “gay agenda” nonsense.  I always wanted to say to these people, “so it’s ok to bully gay kids”?  Are you kidding.  They weren’t.  Some of these same adults who are horrified by school bullying overall, see nothing about dehumanizing gay children and adults, and wonder why hate groups exist, and gay kids are killing themselves.   It’s insane.  But there is hope.  By simply humanizing the children so brutally  tormented in his documentary “Bully”, Lee Hirsch helped change the conversation and perhaps led us to a tipping point as a nation.  But, we have to make the connection that by making gay marriage and gay rights abhorrent, we feed into a collective bullying that no longer should be acceptable.  If we want our children treated well, let’s set an example…with love.

-OUR KIDS WILL STRAIGHTEN THIS OUT.  By the numbers, again, I have hope.  The same survey that named 51-53% of Americans now supported marriage equality, told us that fully 69% of those under 30 supported it.  I’ve been taught by those who know about such things, that when social norm change approaches 80% of a population, you are there.  Our kids will get us there, and teach us a lesson in life, in harmony, in human rights, and yes, even in love.

 

 

 

 

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The List

September 2nd, 2012

Does it work to wish on a star?

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you…”  Disney’s Pinocchio 1940

The beloved song above is rated seventh among the American Film Institute’s top 100 songs of all time.  It’s been covered by everyone from Julie Andrews to Gene Simmons (yes, Gene Simmons).   It’s a beautiful tune, but I think it’s the lyrics that appeal to us.  Who doesn’t want a badly needed wish to come true simply by…wishing it?   This isn’t a new concept, but popular culture has caught on to the ancient wisdom that suggests that what we think and say matters, and as the new age crew would say, “We are co-creators with the universe”.  Remember the multi- million selling book and DVD “The Secret” that came out in 2007?  The timing was right, and the message was powerful.

However, and this is a great big however here, there are a few things to consider when wishing for anything, including love, and I think, especially love.  It’s not as simple as, “if I just hold the thought and wish hard enough, it will show up in 30 days at my front door”.  You have to work with it.  Positive thoughts and intentions must be combined with some powerful inner work, attitudes, and behaviors.  An example here.  Most likely if we quit our jobs, settle down on the couch with a big box of Twinkies and the remote, the million dollars we’re hoping for might elude us.  So, think positively, of course, but do the work it takes to move your wish along and make yourself ready.

I’ve put together my own list that you might want to consider before embarking on manifesting a new love.  See if these make sense to you…

1) It CAN work. Any wish must begin with at least some faith and hope that thoughts do help move things along, so I’ll share a few tidbits from real stories that I’ve gathered, including my own improbable list and how it worked. Story one- In 2009, I ended a long term relationship, and after some time, I decided to try out this “manifesting” thing.  I actually made a list, including qualities I wanted in mate, and some I didn’t want.  I was ready, I felt I’d done the work on myself and I was in a good place, but a bit of a scary place, as I was a 52 year old woman in a small city, and I didn’t think my new love would be close by.  I joked that I’d have to import someone from another place, and that’s exactly how it ended up.  I made my list at the end of June, and put it on my kitchen window sill.  I think there were 21 things on the list and he was 20 of them.  In August, we connected and he’s now my husband, imported and delivered from New York, via Austin, Texas. For our back story, see my post called “The Poem”.  http://cindywaitt.com/the-poem-2/

Story two-A young woman from South Dakota, in her thirties, a friend and colleague.  In February of 2007, the two of us were walking on a beach in La Jolla, talking about love and relationships.  She was ready for a man who would treat her better than she’d been treated in the past, and I told her that I’d heard that making a list might help, or at least organize her thoughts around what she wanted and needed.  She made it verbally right there….tall, dark hair, dark eyes, responsible, likes children and be willing to love hers, caring, hard working, and finally, someone who would treat her like a princess.  He showed up one month later, and they are still together and yes, he was the list.

Story three-A 50 something woman from Omaha said two things to me at different times that actually happened.  One was that she wanted to fall in love once before she got too old, and the other was that after years of business types, she wanted an artist.  It took some years, but she did fall in love in 2009, with…an artist.

Story four-A model who lives in Los Angeles, had experienced some fairly bizarre relationships and she was about to build a website to start talking about relationships in the hopes that, as she said, “if you build it, he will come”.  He did, and their love story is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.

2) Be ready.  This is huge.  I had hoped for the right partner for years, but I didn’t like myself enough for many of those years to draw anyone close to what I needed.  I had to spend some time, just with me, and do a ton of work on just me, before I was ready to become some one’s partner.  I’m thoroughly convinced that without that work, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and he wouldn’t be where I am either.  You draw healthier people when you’re healthy yourself.

3) Be realistic.  Think about someone who would be right for you, as you are.  I was.  I suppose as a fiftysomething woman from Iowa, I could have started hoping that George Clooney would swing by Sioux City one day and magically show up at my house instead of the plumber I called, but George Clooney is a) not going to Iowa for any reason, b) not going to date me anyway, and c) wouldn’t be anything close to what would work for me.  http://cindywaitt.com/never-date-anyone-prettier-than-you-are-or-why-we-shouldnt-date-don-draper-but-why-we-would-anyway/  Not picking on George here….the girl from story four actually knows him and he’s a good guy.  He might have dated someone like her, but for her, I’m glad she connected with the man she’s with.  They are picture perfect together.

4) Try not to step one anyone else’s toes in your process.  Life is messy, and love is messier, so it is possible you might still have unfinished business.  In a perfect world, your “list” would be blessedly and totally single, but messy life can bring us someone with complications.  I call that “An inconvenient love”.  Hope for someone not encumbered, it’s better.

5)Your list should include not only what you want, but what you don’t want.  A couple of months ago, I wrote, “Dating is a process of elimination”.  So, write down what no longer works for you.   I covered the big “this isn’t working for me anymore”, but a full list might have included, for me, things like “no active alcoholics who after a successful business career ended up living under a bridge”, or “No Englishmen who like rugby better than me and have a pesky estranged Italian wife who keeps coming back”.  Unhealthy ME kept drawing very, very unhealthy HE’s.  And these were some of the better ones.  Eliminate. http://cindywaitt.com/dating-is-a-process-of-elimination/

6) Put on your big girl pants.   The list I made in my 50’s was vastly different than a list I would have made 25 years ago.  I got out of the shallow waters and went deep.  It’s okay to want someone attractive or successful, but be careful what you wish for. If  your list starts looking like “tall, dark,handsome, cool car, rich, great body…”, you may get it, but that may be all you get.  It’s not going to work if you marry someone just because he looked a little bit like Warren Beatty, like I did in the 80’s.  Yes, he looked like Warren at the time, but I left out some key things I wanted, like “being a grown up”.  There’s a great episode of “Thirtysomething” where the character Ellen and her mother, who is divorcing her father, talk about what to hope for in a spouse.  Mother says “There are two types of men, Ellen.  One type is handsome, charming, drives a beautiful car, dresses well, is a great dancer, and the other type is more quiet, not as charming, who, at a party, looks like he might rather be home reading a good book.  The second is the type you want to marry.”  Ellen says, “How do you know this, Mama?”.  Mother replies, “I married a great dancer”.

7)Making it all about money will end up being…all about money.  There is nothing wrong with mega rich people, I know a couple of them and love them like brothers. In fact, in my case, they are my brothers.  It’s a tough economy, and who hasn’t thought about living on a gorgeous estate and being able to buy whatever you want, whenever you want.  Manifesting success for yourself is great, but don’t let it dominate your list.  My sister and I have the interesting privilege to go from our normal lives, normal homes and normal cars to occasionally inhabiting the world of billionaires.  It’s a stunning change for us when we do that a few times a year.  But, as lovely as their homes and lives are sometimes, I’ve stayed on estates…the kind where the number of bathrooms are in the double digits.  I’ve asked myself if I was a lot happier living there than my own little ranch house.  The answer was, “this is fun, but I can be just as happy in my 1,300 square feet”.  So, remember, if you make your wish list all about money, you might find yourself someday in your 12,000 square foot estate writing another list.

8)Remember, that the list is just yours, and therefore unique, as are you.

Happy Wishing, and tell me your own stories...

 

 

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Soul Mates

August 3rd, 2012

 I HAVE been here before,
              But when or how I cannot tell:
          I know the grass beyond the door,
              The sweet keen smell,
    The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.

          You have been mine before,—
              How long ago I may not know:
          But just when at that swallow’s soar
              Your neck turned so,
    Some veil did fall,—I knew it all of yore.

          Has this been thus before?
              And shall not thus time’s eddying flight
          Still with our lives our love restore
              In death’s despite,
    And day and night yield one delight once more?   Daniel Gabriel Rossetti 1854

We hear much about “soul mates”.  But, what are they?  Literature and film would have it that the soul mate is one person, the only “love of your life”, your true other half.

Some are skeptical about all this.  Naomi Cohn, author of “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Play List” says,  “There is no such thing as a soulmate…and who would want there to be? I don’t want half of a shared soul. I want my own damn soul.”  Well, it’s a point of view.  But…as we aren’t alone here on this pretty planet, some of us like company….the right company.  So, exactly what are soul mates,  do they exist, and if they do, are we with them right now? Chances are, yes, you are.

The concept of soul mates is discussed historically and in some religions. Plato talked about them, the Hindu religion refers to them, the word in Yiddish “bashert” means destiny, Theosophy digs into it, and since the 60’s it’s landed soundly as part of our culture, and not always correctly, according to some things I’ve read.   The mainstream idea is that, if we are lucky, we will meet and mate with that “one” soul, and settle into “happily after after” world.  It’s one definition.  But, from what I’ve gathered over the years, I’ve surmised that there are different types of soul mates.

Here are just three….

1) SOUL MATES ARE THOSE WE TEACH OR LEARN FROM...SIBLING, LOVER, PARENT, CHILD, FRIEND.

As were these two, I also think….

Here’s a description of  how this came about in Eastern tradition from the Maharani Rutan,  “According to the ancient scripture of the Gita it was a dialog between God, Krishna. and Rama . God gave Krishna a Divine vision to save mankind and learn peace and love, and Rama was his brother.  This is why Krishna is known as a God of Love because he brings love to many. During the epic dialogs, Krishna and Rama used to argue philosophically a lot so God said to Krishna be on earth and be your brothers soul mate.  And when Krishna asked what is a soul mate.  God said, “Soul mate will be someone that is placed on earth to learn and teach from.”

The broad definition coming from this tradition is that a soul mate can be anyone with which we have a close bond, and who help us recognize important lessons about life, love, and about OUR SELVES.  Some are meant to be life long bonds, some come together to experience something that will move their soul forward.  We see people drifting apart, and we see this as a “failed relationship”.  Not always so!   Have you ever had a relationship that didn’t work, was painful, and had to end?  When the smoke clears, and it usually does clear, and if we’re self aware, we’ll ask ourselves what lessons that person had for us.  Margaret Mead famously said, “I’ve had three successful marriages”.  Each was there for her at a specific time and place, and when she needed that lesson.   I’ve always thought our families of origin, as well as romantic partners, were great teachers for us.  They’re our first relationships, our first experience of love, and they are usually life long.  Family conflict, while painful as hell, is a great teacher.  How we deal with that is up to us, but in the end, they offer us a path to learn, let go, and most importantly teach us to take the lesson, move on, let go, and forgive!

2) SOUL MATES CAN BE MISSION MATES

Yoko might have been John’s other half, but Paul was there for the mission.

Are you in a business partnership right now?  Particularly close to a co-worker or project partner?  Do the two (or three) of you feed off each other’s energy and help you move an idea forward? Do you instinctively know what part you bring to the team, and even though there are bumps and grinds and conflicts along the way, does the finished product feel right?  When it does feel right, it feels like a world changer, and sometimes it IS.  Lennon/McCartney?

I’ll talk about my philanthropic work a bit.  I have been fortunate to have run into some amazing mission mates.  One was a woman who brought a cutting edge idea to us about engaging men in preventing relationship violence.  She’s moved on now, but I have no doubt in my mind that she was brought to us for just that  reason. Two of  the documentaries we’ve supported were led by mission mates of mine.  There is a closeness that exceeds the normal colleague bond.  We know it’s a mission, and that’s what brought us together, and each of us brings something to the table.

Mission soul mates can be very different people, and that can make the process tough.  Sometimes, the pair goes their own way, but what they started, be it a business, a project, a work of art, goes on. If the two involved know their own strengths and their own limitations and respect what the other brings, it’s magic.  My brother Ted and I are two vastly different people.  But, I’m absolutely convinced that we are mission soul mates.   In San Francisco, a few months back, I saw a tape of Joe Biden talking about violence prevention and he mentioned “Ted and Cindy”, almost as a team.  We may not see each other for months at a time, but we’re a team, and a team that was meant to be since we showed up in the same family in Iowa 50-0dd years ago.

Now for the real goody bag….

3)SOUL MATES AS TWIN SOULS

Over 20 years is a long time in Hollywood

According to interviews with both of these two, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick just knew that they were meant to be together.  They could be what is now called “twin souls”.  According to Sufi teachings, twin souls are like two Roman rings interlocking with each other, impossible to pull apart.  If you are a believer in many lifetimes, it is said that the two might experience many lifetimes, together and apart, until they arrive at a true twin soul bonding.

How do you know when you’ve met that person?  It might be like the famous line in Jerry Maguire, ” You had me at hello.”  We’ve all had love at first sight.  But, these delicious pairings are for life.  Doubts fly out the window, and there is a deep inner knowing that tells you this is the right one.  Trials and challenges will not break you up, you come back stronger.  Infidelity is rare, as you are no longer searching.  Most important, these relationships make us feel BETTER about ourselves, not worse.  They inspire us, they can improve our productivity, and they motivate us to be better people, to each other, to ourselves, and to our world.  Sometimes, twin souls come from vastly different backgrounds, races, cultures and social class.  They may be heterosexual pairs or same sex.  No matter.  They will happen if they are meant to be.

Perhaps the most beautiful tribute I ever read, to this kind of soul mate was written by Nobel Prize winning biochemist Kary Mullis to his wife Nancy, in his dedication to his book, “Dancing Naked in the Mind Field”.

Here it is.

Jean Paul Sartre somewhere observed that each of us make our own hell out of the people around us.  Had Jean Paul known Nancy, he may have noted that at least one man, someday might get very lucky, and make his own heaven out of the people around him.  She will be his morning and his evening star, shining with the brightest and softest light in his heaven.  She will be the end of his wanderings, and their love will arouse the daffodils in the spring to follow the crocuses and proceed the irises.  Their faith in one another will be deeper than time and their eternal spirit will be seamless once again.

Or maybe he just would have said,  “If I’d had a woman like that, my books wouldn’t be about despair.”

This book is not about despair.  It’s about a little bit about a lot of things, and if not a single one of them is wet with sadness, it is not due to my lack of depth; it is due to a year of Nancy, and the prospect of never again being without her.       Kary Mullis, “Dancing Naked in the Mind Field”. 1998

Here’s to many years with our soul mates, each and every one.

 

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July 16th, 2012

 

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The Poem

June 30th, 2012

The poem that brought us together

“Some things that happened for the first time, seem to be happening again.

And so, it seems we’ve met before, and laughed before and loved before,

but who knows where or when?”

Rodgers and Hart, 1937

I didn’t see it coming, but HE did. He predicted it, without knowing that the prediction was about him. It was 10 years ago, and it came in a birthday poem he wrote for me.

One of the beautiful things about this life is that the mystical and the magical do happen. They usually happen to me when I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, or doing exactly what I was meant to do. One of those moments happened to me when the millenium was new, and no one knew what that would bring.

Karen and Eric Blumberg came into my life in 2000, when they were new to Sioux City, having arrived from their home in Austin, Texas. From what he tells me now, when his long time station in Austin, where he was a talk show host, changed their format, he found himself looking for another place to land. So, improbably perhaps, they landed here. I met Karen first, and we immediately connected. Karen was unforgettable, fiery, passionate, and intense, as well as warm and nurturing to those she loved, and she loved me, as I did her. Eric was more difficult to get to know, or at least that’s what he projected. He was tough on the air, and seemed tough in life, with a New Yorker’s bit of attitude and a formidable intellect that could intimidate He kept people at a distance, but because I’m good at lightening up tough characters, he and I developed a friendship as well. I was with my ex husband Steve at the time, and the four of us began spending a lot of time together. We were all right brained people in a left brained world and found much to like about each other, as well as finding much to learn.

Karen was a poet, and a good one. What I didn’t know was that Eric was a poet as well, but hadn’t written anything for years. When I found that out, I asked to see his work. It was stunning. I think it was May or June and I challenged him to write me a poem for my July 3rd birthday. he took the challenge, but I didn’t hold out much hope that he would deliver. But he did. One day, my phone rang and he told me he’d finished my poem. I was surprised he’d made the effort to call, as Eric’s social calls were pretty non existent. The telephone, for Eric, was a tool. It’s how he got his interviews, tracked down stories, and communicated with his listeners in that amazing radio voice he has, but away from work, I sensed, correctly, that he used it sparingly. We met and he showed it to me, typed up and put into a letter sized birthday card with otherwordly fairy creatures on the front. Being Eric, he didn’t sign it…it just said, “May your heart always be young and your dreams live forever”.

Still a bit surprised by this mystical card and its message, I got to the poem. The title was simply, “To Cindy”. It began:  Silence covered the landscape, a misty shroud of unfulfilled expectations. Is he talking about me?, I thought. It went on to describe a woman who is aging, is trapped in a tower of her own making, and hopes to find love before what looks she has go completely to rack and ruin…“My beauty needs recognition as the forest cold closes in”. Yes, indeed, he’s talking about me. How does he know all this, we aren’t that close, really…but it seems, he did, and on some level that didn’t come from conscious knowledge, but a deeper, more intuitive place. He sensed that I wasn’t as happy as I seemed and he put it into these beautiful words.

It went on…”Suddenly, the horse drawn hope…” there was a graying man heading towards the tower…some hope, I think, someone coming, damn, this is getting good. It was as if he was projecting his wish for me, and saying “I get it, I know where you are, but here’s what I hope for you as your friend. Don’t give up.” His “prediction” wasn’t conscious at all, it was simply his wish. He was someone who recognized my quiet pain, and wanted to write a better future for me into existence. Little did he know that he called it and called it right.

Years went by, and in 2003, after 5 years with the radio station, he was summarily fired for expressing his anti war views on the air. That seemed to happen to a lot of journalists in those days. He and Karen eventually returned to Austin, and she and I stayed in touch. She called one day, in early 2006, and in a heart stopping moment, told me she was seriously ill. She was gone by April. I felt so lucky to have gone down to see her, to close the chapter and to bless a great friendship. I kept in touch, as she had asked, with her daughters, but Eric kind of faded out of all our lives. I would think of him now and then, and hoped he was all right. I attempted a connection once, but heard nothing back. He was being Eric, the part of him I didn’t like, and as I came to find out, he didn’t like either.

In 2009, after a break up with Steve, I was cleaning out my home office and I ran across an old piece Eric had written about my late father a week or two after he died. In Eric’s way, he’d seen things in my father that I had seen, and expressed them perfectly, as he usually does most things. It reminded me of the poem he’d written, the one about my future, and I looked all over the house to see if I still had it. Being suddenly single, I wondered, at this late stage, would his poem come to life….was there someone around the corner that I didn’t see yet? I finally found it in the strangest place. It had been in a end table drawer, on the bottom of a pile of papers I’d saved, for at least seven years. A day or so later, a friend of mine told me she was going to Austin for a wedding, and I thought she might want to look up Karen’s family. When reminders of the past pile up, or I run across something a number of times, it usually means something to me. I followed the signs.

I found him, still in Austin, now working in the mental health field happily for 5 years, living with the oldest daughter. We talked for a long time, longer than I’d imagined. I had a lot to say, as I usually do, and he was still a great interviewer. He still got me, even though I hadn’t totally figured him out. Somewhat impulsively, I invited him to visit, and even more impulsively, he booked a ticket the next day. He stayed for 5 days, came back, stayed for 10, and came back in 2009 and stayed forever. And… there you have it.

We were old enough, and smart enough, to know very quickly that it was right. We talked about the poem, which he said was simply his wish for me back then, not knowing that the aging ”horse drawn hope” was himself.

One night, shortly before we were married in 2011, I told Eric about a sign I’d been having for years, that I had decided was my good luck sign, and particularly the sign that a great love was someday coming. The sign was… a pink car, not something you see too often. It came out of a near accident in London, where a man in a pink cab shouted out to me to “take care”. I told him that a few weeks before he came to visit, I’d seen a pink car and thought….hmmm. He thought that was interesting but asked if I hadn’t seen another pink car the day he arrived here on his first visit, the first time we’d seen each other in 3 years. I told him I hadn’t. He said, “Yes, you did, I was wearing it”. He went to the closet and pulled out an old jacket he’d had forever, and the one he wore the day he got here. It was a black denim jacket, well worn, and I’d seen him wear it. I’d never noticed the back of it, which said, “The Geezinslaw Brothers” ( a band he’d played with), “Shiny nineties world tour.”

And under that, was a car. It was pink. He always was more observant than I am.

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