From the beginning of the day, almost from the time when the early light began to tickle my eyes to awaken, life seemed to be testing. But, that’s not really where it all began. So, let me start from the beginning.
The desert is a wonderful place to begin. And, that’s where this story begins. Perhaps the desert, the Palm Springs/Rancho Mirage community, is such a remarkable place, to me, because of Ron and Bebee Green. “Oh?” you say? What about the Rat Pack, Bob Hope, or Hoagy Carmichael? All celebrities for sure. Yet, they made their mark differently than the Greens, and I happened to meet Hoagy Carmichael at the same time, in the same place. It was exciting to meet him, to be sure, though the lasting effects for my life from that brief association were dramatically different. The Greens were, and are, like no other family I’ve ever met.
Meeting the Greens was like receiving the love offered at Christmas, combined with the warmth and comfort of a crackling fire. Their genuine, happy and caring nature caught me by surprise, as I had never experienced it prior. I remember vividly thinking to myself at our first meeting, “Nobody could really be this way!” Yet, with more time getting to know them and their whole family convinced me of their honesty. Every day for the past forty-two years just knowing them has made me want to be a better person, even though we’ve not lived in the same city or state for a long time.
I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing the Greens on a regular basis because life changes. Their kids grew up and moved away. I moved. Perhaps the recent brighter sun of spring moved me to want to reconnect with them. I’ve spent the last two months thinking of them; wondering about their well-being.
Then on a particular day this week — a particularly challenging day, where seemingly nothing was going right — a 760 area code number popped up on the screen of my phone while I was verbally “wrestling with an alligator.” So I had to let the call go to voice mail and didn’t get to listen to the message for a couple of hours. But I did listen — with my heart.
“Hi, dear. We’re just calling to check on you,” Bebee’s warm voice communicated.
I called right back; I wanted to know how she and Ron were doing. I wanted to feel the love felt at Christmas time, combined with the warmth of a crackling fire. No! I needed to feel my relationship with them on this particular day. I could hear the creeping age in Bebee’s voice. Age, often thought of only in chronological terms, creeps on each one of us no matter how long we live. It is a subtle creep that sometimes causes one to ask, “Could my life really be creeping away?”
Again I had to ask myself, just after my treasured moments with Ron and Bebee, “How could I have let myself get detached from people I hold so dear?” That was my thought on that particular day. And, my thought on this particular day is, “Who am I going to call? Who do I want to receive the love offered by Christmas, combined with the warmth of a crackling fire?” After all, age is creeping up on every one of us no matter how old we are. Will my actions on this particular day make it a day warmly remembered for those I love?
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.