Eulogy for a Neighbor

My husband David and I just went to a memorial service for our friend Jon, who died suddenly just over a week ago. Jon was not a close friend, but someone we have gotten to know over the years through our kids' school and extracurricular activities, and because he frequented the same morning coffee spot that we do. I liked him a lot--he was funny and devoted to his kids and always greeted me warmly and asked about my kids. Whenever I would run into Jon, he was happy to see me. He made my day brighter. That's no small thing, in my opinion. 

During the service, many of Jon's close friends and family spoke movingly, at length, about his life and their love for him and his for them. Then the pastor asked if anyone else had anything to add about Jon and what he meant to them. One of Jon's neighbors got up, cleared his throat, and spoke into the mic. Afterward, David and I talked about what he said, and agreed that it was our favorite of the eulogies offered. It made me think about the ways in which we all have an effect on the people we interact with on a daily and weekly basis, and not just those who are our family and closest friends.  I wrote a poem based on this neighbor's short, sweet eulogy to Jon. 

I didn’t know him

as well as or as long as

the rest of you did


we both loved our dogs


when he would walk his dog 

past my driveway

my dog would go crazy


I would grab the leash

and come out to meet him

and the four of us would walk together.

He was easy to talk to and interested in my life.

He brought a lightness to my day. 

I will miss him.

One Perfect Hour

After the morning's work
and before taking my son to a doctor's appointment
was one perfect hour
in which I rushed to the beach
hurry, hurry
parked on Thalia Street
and ran across Pacific Coast Highway
water-logged longboard under my arm.
I pulled on my wetsuit
quick, quick
pausing to take note
of a new hole under the left arm, darnit
and paddled out.
The water was still January-chilly
but the warm sun made up for it
and I caught wave after glassy little wave
and watched the pelicans dive
and said
thank you, thank you
when I saw
a pod of dolphins swim by.

There's Always Something...

The bougainvillea
is looking good. So what's with
the New Zealand flax?

Have you ever noticed that maintaining a house or a yard (or a kid, for that matter) is a never-ending project akin to painting the Golden Gate Bridge? Leaky roof, sun-damaged floors, backed up drains, unhappy plants (or in the case of the kid: stomach flu, lingering cold, weird Honduras-induced skin condition)--you fix one thing and then some other problem pops up. Occasionally I have to remind myself that there will always be something, and that's just the way it is...and it's ok.