One little teary burst of joy.

Dear friends,

Before I started this blog, before I moved from Oklahoma to my new life here, I poured my heart and soul into a blog and into a life rooted in my hometown. I called my town Mayberry for every reason you can imagine having to do with the good and true souls who live there.

For three years I wrote about the place and the people I love most. I retired that blog when we moved because . . . well, because how could I possibly blog about Mayberry and its people from afar?

And then, like the ninny I am, I failed to routinely back-up my beat-up laptop. Just before Christmas, my four-year-old MacBook Pro died a sudden death, taking with it many treasured photos, essays, and all the files associated with my former blog.

Some very bright college students have spent the last two weeks refurbishing my laptop and recovering many of my files. I got my laptop back last night and began sifting though the recovered files, many of them corrupted, but some of them readable.

I tripped across one of my stories, filed under a name I didn’t recognize. As I began reading, I had no memory of writing it or publishing it on my blog, but the experience it relates from two years ago came rushing back to me in a flood of happy memories. I sat in my chair and cried — tears of joy — not over a recovered file because how silly is that? I cried because that day is so very clear to me and the memory so very precious to me.

I hope you enjoy the story. I was blessed to have lived it.

With gratitude {for being reminded of a day when I found joy in everything I saw},

Joan, who has finally realized, duh, she’s just a teensy bit homesick

Gone and Away

Mr. Mom and I have been away from home for almost two weeks.  It feels like forever. We got home last night, exhausted from travel and worry and stress of all varieties, including the news that one of my colleagues died while I was gone after a long battle with Lymphoma.

This morning I arose early, anxious to put on my running shoes and soak in my beloved hometown.  I ran seven miles, striding long and strong as if every step would somehow pound Mayberry back into my homesick soul.

I ran through the center of town past a small boy in a blue windbreaker creating a grand thoroughfare in his front yard with nothing more than a tiny plastic shovel, while his watchful mother drank coffee in her pajamas on their porch.

I ran past the edge of town and through the cemetery where I thought of my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and all of my memories of them so rooted in this place.

I ran down country roads, past cow pastures so green they were the color of fake plastic grass in an Easter basket.

I ran past modest white and grey farmhouses and big red barns and tranquil ponds surrounded by undulating and endless fields so peaceful they always make me think country living must be like a dream.

I ran down deserted gravel roads where nary a soul drove by, past herds of cows who ignored me and two horses who nodded and snorted hello.

I ran past wildflowers twisting into barbed-wire fences and a thicket of purple peonies in full bloom by a small stream.

I ran by a man making slow progress mowing what had to be a 10-acre yard, kicking up cut grass so fragrant and sweet it was like 50 summer evenings concentrated into one.

I ran up a long, steep hill that led me back to town and into the edge of a dark blue-grey sky and heavy spring air that threatened the kind of Oklahoma thunderstorm that thrills me.

And about a mile from home, just as my legs started to tire a bit, I ran past a white car driven by my friend Julie’s mother, who gave me the kind of big smile and exaggerated wave an older woman gives a younger one she’s known for 40 years.

As I waved back, a swirl of cold spring air swept over me and a flurry of goosebumps arose on my arms and neck.  But it wasn’t the gust that tickled me, I figured.

It was the essence of Mayberry, seeping under my skin and into my bones and pulsing though my heart, welcoming me home.

Take me back to Tulsa.

Dear friends,

Source: Wikipedia

I’m spending 24 hours in the land of my birth.  (In the words of Leon Russell, I’m in home sweet Oklahoma). I’ve made a whirlwind trip to Tulsa to help a friend celebrate a new job.

I’m making the most of my 24 hours: first I made a stop to see one of my dearest friends. She was the Matron of Honor in my wedding and I wouldn’t think of coming to Tulsa without popping in to see A.  It was a short stop, but we had time for a long hug, a glass of wine, and an hour of conversation.

Then I spent a long dinner with a group of former colleagues celebrating the transition of a member of our group. Ten of us got to together to toast C’s new job (and new pregnancy) and tell our favorite war stories from our memorable years together as a team.

Next, I stayed up late talking to another friend, catching up on all that has happened in J’s universe since I left town.

Saturday morning, I’m having two breakfasts with more friends, one early and one late, then I’m off to lunch with another dear friend that I’ve known since 5th grade.

Are you catching a theme here? It may only be 24 hours, but I’m luxuriating in friendship with women I’ve known forever it seems. It’s a much-needed dose of hearty laughter, warm hugs, and shared memories with a cadre of women who mean the world to me.  I can’t think of a better way to kick off February.

With gratitude {for dear friends who welcomed me home with open arms},

Joan, who, no matter where she lives, will always think the Tulsa skyline is the prettiest