Last weekend Richard and I travelled south to Melbourne, Florida. We had been invited to help celebrate the wedding of an old friend and colleague who we got to know during our time in Naples, Italy. Bob is also a Harley guy. In fact he infused Richard with the desire to get his first Harley, and he also made a three day motorcycle trip with Richard from Naples, across Italy to Bari, then on down to the “boot” of Italy and back up to Naples.
Since we have been here in Jacksonville, we have hooked up with Bob to go watch a shuttle launch from Space View Park in Titusville a couple of years ago. Rich also hooked up with him back in February of this year and they braved the bitter cold of an un-Florida like night to see a night launch actually on the NASA site down at Cape Canaveral. Unfortunately that launch was postponed and neither of them could make it back for the following night when the launch finally took place.
So it was with great pleasure that we accepted the invitation, along with about forty other people, to join Bob and Angelica in the celebration of their union. We drove down from Jacksonville on the Friday afternoon. It was a gorgeous day and I think we said “it would have been a perfect day for a ride on Harley” only about a dozen times! When we got there we quickly discovered that many of the guests were retired navy and/or Harley folks!
The wedding ceremony, which was held at 6.30pm in the lovely open courtyard of the wedding venue, was short and sweet. Angelica looked as beautiful as any bride should and our dear friend Bob was obviously very happy and, even though he said he wasn’t, he seemed quite nervous. Friends were asked to give them advice or share special thoughts with them before the minister, another friend, declared them man and wife. I told them, “don’t stop dating”.
The rest of the evening was spent socializing and enjoying a lovely dinner. The DJ was great and spun some good “old music” as well as playing guitar and singing himself. Some of us even managed to get up and boogie a little. The cake was duly cut and eaten and,shortly afterwards, we headed back to our hotel for the night.
On Saturday morning we got up slow and easy. After breakfast we packed our bags and headed out to go visit Bob and Angelica in their home. As we turned onto A1A heading south to Grant, we noticed a Bonsai nursery to one side of the road and made a decision to stop there on the way back. And so, a couple of hours later we found ourselves in the company of Mr. Feng Gu who proudly showed us his trees and explained the art of Bonsai. It was absolutely fascinating.
Well after looking at all the different types of trees, Richard said, “so pick one Babe”. Oh sweet music to my ears. I have so wanted a Bonsai tree for many years. But it wasn’t one of those desires that I had ever spoken out loud. In the bigger scheme of things owning a Bonsai was not a pressing need. It was simply a secret desire. Yet here I was, just a choice away.
Some of the trees were quite expensive but Mr. Gu was very patient and kind and showed me a small tree in a beautiful cobalt blue dish. My soul leapt but I was a little hesitant because it was bare; exquisite trunk, branch, and root growth but no leaves. Mr. Gu explained that he had just recently pinched all the leaves off, which needed to be done twice a year to encourage the tree to produce smaller leaves than normal but in proportion to the size of the tree itself.
My heart was captured and the deal was done. I had my tree, and while I was waiting for Mr. Gu to run my credit card, I noticed he had two baskets on his desk with miniature clay Japanese figurines. So I picked out a little wise man reading from an ancient scroll. He had a long blue robe of cobalt blue which perfectly matched the dish of my newly acquired Bonsai. So there he stands, among the roots of my tree which, by the way, is already full of minute new green shoots .
I love coming across words that are lush, that have deep meaning, that carry a wealth of wisdom. I also love economy of words. You know, that short phrase that says so much with so little. The following quotations are a combination of those short and meaningful sentences and some that are slightly longer. All are worth reading and remembering.
“It’s never too late to become what you might have been.” (George Eliot)
“It’s hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head.” (Sally Kempton)
“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” (African proverb)
“If I don’t have red, I use blue.” (Pablo Picasso)
“God is a verb.” (Buckminster Fuller)
“Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets.” (Paul Tournier)
“I celebrate myself, I sing myself.” (Walt Whitman)
“You can only perceive real beauty in a person as they get older.” (Anouk Aimee)
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” (Albert Camus)
“The easiest kind of relationship is with ten thousand people, the hardest is with one.” (Joan Baez)
Not quite so short but still so sweet!
“Perfection is never about the past or the future. It is always and only about now. You are perfect no matter how many mistakes you think you have made. There is nothing you have thought, felt, or done that prevents you from realizing your perfection right here and right now.” (Paul Ferrini)
“What a joy for two people – each to be a shady covering for the other. A place to rest when the sun is too hot or the wind too biting. ………Real friendship grows when we are prepared to be there equally in the bad moments and the good, when we weep with those who weep – and rejoice with those who rejoice.” (Sheila Walsh)
“The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.” (Audre Lord)
“While we may not be able to control all that happens to us, we can control what happens inside of us.” (Benjamin Franklin)
“It’s great to love, but another person’s love cannot fill the hole in your heart. Filling up your heart is your responsibility. You need to love and affirm yourself day by day, moment by moment. Without your love for yourself, no amount of love from your partner is enough.” (Paul Ferrini)
And let me finish up with a beautiful short prayer that really uplifted me in a dark moment and reminded me that my God is always there for me, even when I don’t see Him or I turn my back on Him. My husband Rich forwarded it to me from a web site called AmericanCatholic.org which provides “Minute Meditations” each day. This one came on 5 August 2010.
“Dear Lord God, echo in our hearts at the right moment when life is most unpredictable, that you are never unfaithful and will never leave is.”
Toby stopped in his tracks. There, in the middle of the path, lay a shining, gold ring. Toby reached down to pick it up and gasped. A huge diamond sparkled up at him.
“Hey Toby, wait up for me,” shouted a familiar voice behind him.
Toby spun around and forced a smile for his friend Matt. His fingers closed tightly over the ring and he quickly stuffed it down into his pocket.
“What’s wrong Toby?” asked Matt staring intently at Toby’s face.
Toby’s brain was working at warp speed. He needed time to think, time to decide what to do. He looked at the ground and kicked at a stone.
“Nothing,” he replied. “Didn’t want to get up this morning. We’d better hurry or we’ll be late for school.
Toby and Matt had been friends since starting first grade. They had stood on opposite sides of the classroom, two little strangers pulled together by one thing they had in common – bright red hair! They had been inseparable since then.
Toby wanted to tell Matt about the ring, but something stopped him. Later he sat in math class and his fingers touched the smooth metal circle in his pocket. Then they rubbed over the cut surface of the diamond. He knew the ring had to be worth a lot of money.
He knew his mother really wanted an electric sewing machine, and his father had just said the other day how much easier it would be to cut the grass with an electric mower. And Toby himself really wanted that blue and silver mountain bike in the store over on Oak Street……..
“Toby Dawson, perhaps you can tell me what the answer is,” said the teacher.
“I, er…… uhm, I’m sorry Ma’am, but I didn’t hear the question,” stammered Toby. Matt grinned and winked at him. Toby immediately felt guilty about keeping his secret from Matt.
After that Toby forced himself to keep his mind on his work. When the lunch bell rang he grabbed his lunch and raced to the door. He didn’t want to face Matt because he wasn’t sure what to tell him.
Toby went around the back of the school to eat and to think about the ring. As he sat on an empty crate and chewed his sandwich, he heard a male voice above his head.
“I don’t know what to do. The ring was in my pocket so I could take it to the jeweler’s to be cleaned. It must have fallen out, and my wife is going to be so upset. Her father left it to me when he died last year.” The voice sounded desperate.
“Hey Toby!” shouted Matt as he came round the corner. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere. What’s up?”
Toby’s heart felt as heavy as lead. What was happening to him? Here he was keeping secrets from his best friend and hiding from him too. Worse yet, he was a thief!
Toby sat bolt upright. Suddenly, he knew exactly what he needed to do. He glanced quickly at Matt who was standing there with a frown on his face. He decided to tell him everything.
“Matt, I’m sorry I’ve been acting so weird this morning. I had to sort some stuff out in my head. I thought I could do it best on my own. Now I think I’d like your help.”
Toby told Matt all about the ring, and he even confessed that he had been tempted to sell it. Then he showed his friend the ring.
“Wow!” said Matt, his eyes getting big. “You sure could buy lots of nice things with that.” Then, looking puzzled, he said, “But how would you sell it? What would happen if you got caught?”
Toby nodded. “I think I knew all along that I couldn’t keep it or sell it. I guess I needed to hear it from someone else. So, what do you think I should do?”
“Just take it to the principal and tell him you found it,” replied Matt. “Come on, I’ll go with you.”
Toby felt a load lift off his shoulders. The ring may have been a great treasure, but having a friend like Matt was worth a lot more.