My Friend Leslie

When I was driving by the cemetery today going to Job 1, there sat the man that I have grown accustom to seeing in the mornings. I think he was there last year too. He has his car parked and he is sitting next to a gravestone in his lawn chair. Legs pointed to the road watching the cars…and I would suspect, missing someone.

I wonder who he is spending time with there. Is it his wife, his parents, his daughter, his son, his dear friend? He must miss them very much. Why does he do that? I am not judging, just speculating. I conjure all sorts of scenarios about what brings him to this spot to sit and watch the traffic.

Some mornings I feel for him. I imagine that his grief brings him there and sitting makes him feel more whole. Some mornings I want to stop to see if he is ok. Every morning I drive on and he makes me think the big thoughts about who and what and where and when and why….and what I am doing.

The next bend in the road takes me around the corner of an annex section near two local museums that has this big tree in it. When I mean big I mean wide, old, stately, lovely, fragile, strong, sweeping low, and reaching high. It is one of those trees that if you had one you would put a swing in it or a bench beneath it as it has now. Good call property owners. I do believe it is public property, so good on us public.

To sit on that bench means to probably figure out where to park and how much bug spray will you need if there isn’t a stiff breeze. I haven’t sat there yet, although it is on a bucket list of beautiful places that must be savored in a life. I guess I could savor it every day, but then I am waiting.

I am waiting for September. I am waiting for my friend Leslie to meet me there and have a long chat. She is a luminous person. If you ever met her you would be taken with her inner light. She is serious. She is funny. She is a friend. We could talk all day. We have made a September Big Tree Plan.

We don’t see each other and yet only live 15 miles apart. Isn’t that like it is with so many friends? It is the absolute truth that if I would need something she would be there and if she needed something I would be there. We keep up on Facebook and dance around our extroverted introverted selves.

And…today is her birthday. I hope that all the candles on the cake never go out. I know for sure that if she wasn’t in the world anymore, loads of people would be mourning her like that old guy at the cemetery was missing someone, but more so thinking how lucky they were to know her. She has heard me give opinions that I am sure she questioned, yet just let me blather on about, which I now replay in my head and go, “What was I thinking?”  We used to talk about all things people, our kids and what we were doing and how annoying some things are. I am often ridiculous and she doesn’t seem to mind.

I think that that old guy in that lawn chair with his chair parked up against that tombstone is trying to tell me to get to it. Get to the tree. Get to see your friends that you seldom see and love dearly. Make that date to meet up. Send that note. Get to the tree. Get to the tree wherever you need to go to see the people that make you light up. September is coming.

Happy Birthday, Leslie.