HELLO GOD


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Hello God,

I don’t know if your remember me, it’s been awhile since we spoke. I know how busy you are, but I wanted to tell you about my friend Joan, who just moved in up there. She was one of the best people I have known down here, so I assume she has already settled in. I hope you saved a really nice place for her.

Some acquaintances through the years actually thought we were sisters since we were together so much. If that was so, she was the pretty one. I remember the first time we met. Her boyfriend brought her over to meet Dr. Advice and me. Of course he wasn’t Dr. Advice yet, and she ended up marrying her boyfriend. She was from Texas, with an infectious Texas accent, and we realized we would be best friends forever, which was a good thing because the boys had been best friends since the age of five, and it would have been awkward if we didn’t like each other.

Her mother Rosie from Texas, named her for her favorite movie star, Joan Crawford, which she pronounced “Joanne”, but like a lot of us, she was called by several names: Joan, Joanne, Josie, but she was always “Joanie” to me.

As you know, she had a lot of problems the past few years, so I hope that has all been solved by now. She was a mean competitor on the tennis court, and we hiked over a lot of terrain together. We went on many trips along with our dear husbands. She lost hers some time ago as you know, so if there is a way to connect them again it would be really nice. I know she missed all that. Speaking of being a competitor, I hope there are some bridge groups up there, because she spent a lot of time winning card games. She also kept me up all night once playing Monopoly, long after the boys lost and went to bed, and she finally won that game too at 6 a.m.

She didn’t win the health game though, but she surely tried. I never saw anyone so brave, and determined. As such, she was a great inspiration to those of us who need inspiration. When she lost her hearing, I asked her if we needed to learn sign language, and she said no, they wanted her to learn to read lips. She became a pro at that too. She took up boxing to try to help her balance. I keep a picture of her with her pink boxing gloves.

I suppose by now you have looked into her case and can see what a great mother she was to her children and grandchildren. She kept track of them all so well it made me feel like a real slacker. People who didn’t know her well said she was sweet. I need to tell you she was a lot more than that. She was smart, funny, and a good business woman as well as sweet. She loved meeting people, and really made an effort to meet new people wherever she lived.

It’s been hard to communicate with her the past couple of years, but sometimes just sitting and holding hands was enough. I will miss that.

Anyway, God, I just wanted to make sure you met Joanie, and took good care of her. A lot of people down here miss her.

TOTAL NOISE CULTURE


There are people to whom silence is odious. The radio and/or TV must be on or they become uncomfortable. The art of conversation is not lost on them; for to them silence is not golden. If TV should fail them, they talk.

A man friend of ours is devoted to classic jazz, which he cranks up to the decibal of a B-17 bomber. He is also an antique clock collector, and each of his many beautiful clocks chimes the hour, the half-hour, and some even announce the quarter hour.

But we are so overburdened with data, rhetoric and spin that it is difficult to absorb, much less try to make sense of. We are entertaining ourselves to death.

A friend living alone and with a slight hearing loss, was fitted for a hearing aid, thinking it would give her twenty-five year old hearing once more. Not so. She thought it would be a little “pre-old-age” touch to prepare for for the inevitable. Now she is aware of the slightest creaking of her house in the dark of midnight, the rhythmic pulse of the refrigerator, with it’s periodic glassy crash of the ice-maker disturbs her sleep. The rustle of the leaves in her garden sound like a freight train rumbling through the yard. You begin to hear sounds you heard before but weren’t aware you were hearing, and they aren’t always pleasant.

We are failing in our efforts to pin down this increasingly incomprehensible reality. The ubiquitous cell phone ring tones, the lyrics to contemporary pop music, the sounds of today’s everyday life of course skipped our ancestors, and have left us envious of the “quiet life” people speak of.

We can recapture that delicious “aloneness” when hiking in the wilderness, running a well-known trail, or fishing a solitary stream, or walking beside a quiet sea at sunset. During the War, to get a little peace and get away from the pounding of the engines, my husband used to sit at the fantail of his ship and listen to the sound of the screw while watching the phosphorescent wake pealing out behind.

Peace and tranquility are what we sometimes need for our own well-being.