I have lived in Southeast Ohio for nearly twenty five years now… and I have grown in, around and up in this beautiful little corner of the country. I could live here for a hundred years and to some I would still be that funny guitar player from somewhere else with a first name that ends in a vowel. This is my home and in an amazing way, thanks to Vanessa’s interactions in the community, we are a part of the fabric of life here. We have made friends… and those friends have made us friends. In my life, for whatever reason, most of the people I know are younger than I… but not all. My friend Martha Laufman passed away while I was on this last trip. We knew she was sick, and we knew she was not going to get well, but every time we saw her in town she was smiling and full of life.
Vanessa and I went to the Dairy Barn in Athens tonight to her memorial… and it was amazing. There were so many people… she was indeed loved. The conversation with many of the folks tonight was… as seems so common these days, to be about our health or indeed, the fragility of our existence. Each day is such a blessing… I treasure each moment.
This anonymous poem was next to the book we signed when we entered the barn.
When I die, If you need me,
Put your arms around anyone
And give them what you need to give me
I want to leave you something
Something better than words or sounds.
Look for me in the people I’ve known and loved.
And if you cannot give me away
At least let me live in your eyes
And not on your mind.
Love doesn’t die, people do.
So when all that’s left of me is love,
Give me away.
None of us are islands and the bell tolls for us all. May the blessings of a life well lived surround us in its soft embrace!