Posted by: Marie | August 16, 2012

(691) Family connections – Part 3 of 3

Post #691
[Private journal entry written on Saturday, September 10, 2011 – continued from previous post]

By the time we returned from the tour of the area, Nell had lunch prepared. She had prepared an awesome spinach/apple/walnut salad with fresh ingredients . . . she said it is one of their favorite meals and she thought my visit warranted a special meal! I swear it was one of the best-tasting salads I’ve every eaten.

As I spent this time in their home, I became aware of how much time and energy they give to the pleasure of living . . . every meal they prepare, every interaction with a human or an animal, every splash of beauty that shows up in their yard, every opportunity to care for their home and their family . . . each of those experiences is appreciated and treasured and enjoyed with a sense of ceremony. It is such a contrast to the fast-paced world most of us experience.

On the Hike by Martin Chen

Anyway . . . after lunch, I told them I needed to be heading back to my town. Nell and Caleb cleaned up the dishes while I went into the bedroom to pack. Nell had given me her son’s music CD so I could copy it to my computer. I got that started so it could copy while I was packing.

They came in and sat with me as I finished my packing. We talked about how long it had been since we had seen each other last . . . it had been in 2008. Caleb pointed out that we really don’t know each other . . . we have never had a chance to get to know each other . . . the only time we’ve had together has been at family events with dozens of people in attendance. We’ve never sat down and really gotten to know each other . . . until now.

We swapped childhood stories and attempted to accurately recall our shared family history. And, I told them that part of the reason I came to visit them is to see if I could have a brother/sister-ish relationship with Caleb . . . and, a sister relationship with Nell . . . and because I believed I would be seen and heard . . . and that I would feel emotionally safe . . . at their house.

They said they felt honored and they hoped the experience turned out to be as I hoped. I assured them it had. Nell pointed out that family is family . . . that we are family and a relationship between cousins can be as powerful as one between siblings. They invited me to come back to visit anytime . . . I just need to call ahead to make sure their schedule is open.

Then, the conversation moved to my teaching . . . I told them I have a unique style of teaching and that I use sticky notes to teach people how to read music. Nell said that she has always wanted to learn to play the piano . . . both their daughters took lessons . . . but Nell had never learned. I told her I could teach her how to read music in 5-10 minutes.

The piano happened to be in my bedroom, just a few feet from the bed. So, we sat down at the piano and I gave her a lesson! She was amazed at how simple it is to read music . . . she was so excited and promised she would practice! She said she hoped she could have another lesson some day soon!

With that, I said I really needed to get on the road . . . and I loaded up my car. Nell sent a couple bags of homemade muffins and rolls with me. And, Caleb mentioned that he needed to go to his cabinet shop a couple of towns over . . . he invited me to follow him to his shop so I could tour it, then I could jump onto the main freeway from there. His shop was on my route, so I enthusiastically agreed. And so, we headed out, with me following him.

As we drove through one little town, he pointed out the former location of his shop . . . a 100-year-old building on Main Street . . . he told me, before we left his house, that they had outgrown that building . . . and, they accidentally set it on fire the last week they were occupying it . . . a dryer had been left on and it got too hot . . . but, the building survived and became usable after a little bit of repair.

After a good 20 minutes of driving, we finally arrived at the current location of his shop. I had no idea his shop would be so big . . . wow!

My dad was a master carpenter, so I had grown up in a cabinet shop. As we toured his business, he showed me all the different departments . . . so much of the process was computerized and automated . . . a whole different world from the manual craftsmanship utilized by my dad. Caleb’s shop is a very impressive operation!

He said times were rather tough because of the economy, but that they had enough business to pay the bills. He believed the economy would improve someday and then he would be well positioned to grow his business at that time.

After the tour of his shop, I thanked him one last time for their hospitality, climbed into my car and headed over to the freeway. My trip home was uneventful and I made good time. I got home around suppertime.

Now that I’m back in my living space, I’m reflecting on how healing the trip has been for me. I find myself feeling a bit infatuated with Caleb . . . but in a healthy way, I think . . . I think I’m feeling connected and honored . . . I’m feeling warm fuzzies inside. And, that’s a good thing.


  1. So glad it was a healing time for you.

    • Thank you, Evan!

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