Friday, December 16, 2011


many of my long-time readers
 know i grew up in my little, 
white cottage here on the lane. 
what you may not know is 
my next-door neighbor, jack, 
was my best friend...

in the summers...
i talked to him while he planted his garden.
he taught me how to shoot his bb-gun.
we watched sanford and son 
on the tv he had hooked up 
in his garage.
and, we talked politics
over mason ball jars filled 
with stella's iced, sweet tea.

in the winters...
i talked to him
 while he shaped his frasier fir 
and hooked up the outdoor lights (always red).
we watched the edge of night together 
every afternoon after school.
and, we talked politics
over potter cups filled 
with stella's delicious hot chocolate.


one can only imagine 
how brokenhearted i was 
when at 14 my parents divorced 
and sold our house on the lane.
i was brokenhearted to have to move
but even more so 
to have to leave my best buddy.


little did i know, though...
it would only prove 
to be a temporary separation...
 a month before i turned 22,
john presented me my childhood home
 as a 1st anniversary gift!
he purchased my cottage on the lane
for us to fill with our family.


i was thrilled...
to be living, once again, 
in my sweet house,
to be sharing it 
with the one i loved 
with all my heart and soul,
to be living next-door 
to my jack and stella again, and
to be sharing john with them 
and them with john,

one can only imagine 
how over the moon 
i would be 
to share our baby, katherine,
with jack and stella
the following year at Christmas!


jack taught baby katherine
 to "spit tobacco".
he would spit, 
and she would mockingly 
proceed to do the same
(no tobacco, of course)... 

katherine's first word was "dack" (jack).
baby katherine would stand 
at the back french doors
and would squeal 
as she watched jack pull 
into his driveway after work, 

"dack, dack!"


in the summers, 
with baby katherine 
first in my arms 
then later
at my side, 
we played with jack's kittens.
we watched katherine grow.
and, we talked politics.

in the winters...
jack shoveled snow off our deck
(to repay john for mulching his leaves in the fall).
we talked to jack while he trimmed the tree...
then later as he unboxed his new artificial one.
we watched the young and the restless.
and, we talked politics.


 in the late fall of 2004, 
jack became ill.
he told me the doctors were running tests.
in mid december jack had surgery.
right before Christmas that year,
he returned home.


i was very busy preparing for Christmas...
shopping, baking, decorating, wrapping gifts, and cleaning...
so busy i hadn't taken the time 
to go visit jack for a few weeks.

a blessing happened, 
it began to snow.
it snowed...
and snowed...
and snowed...
(for 30 hours it snowed.)
until we were completely snowed in 
on the lane.
the normal festivities of Christmas 
were just not going to happen.
all the tri-state roads, highways, 
airports, etc...
were closed!
no one would be coming, 
and no one would be going.


i didn't have to be busy anymore:)


so, i donned my jeans, turtleneck, 
sporto boots, and coat.
i slicked my hair back into a pony-tail,
waded through the thigh-high snow, 
which separated our houses,
and made my way over 
to check on my buddy.
to my delight,
i was greeted at the door 
by jack's and stella's daughter, jeda;
she was snowed in as well.


i LOVE jeda!
(she was my choir teacher 
all through elementary and middle school.
then, when i became an adult, 
she grew to be my dear friend.)

that night while katherine and john sat 
in our den watching a Christmas story together,
i sat with jack, stella, and jeda 
reminiscing about old times, 
and enjoying all the Christmas confections 
jeda had brought her mother and daddy. 

~the blessing~

it wasn't until after jack had fallen asleep 
and stella had nodded off as well 
that i realized just how great the blessing.

jeda confided in me that jack had cancer...


to this day,
 i believe with all my heart 
that that evening i enjoyed 
with three of my dearest, life-long friends 
was nothing short of a gift from God.


jack died the following summer.


i miss summers
winters of old on the lane.

i miss jack....

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx


Tanya said...

So many wonderful memories of your time with Jack, sorry you're missing him... xx

Julie Z. said...

Oh Dani! What a beautiful tribute, and what a beautiful home of love you have! I love Jeda too and was surprised when she popped up in this story... Please tell her I said hello and that I think of her often!

Thanks so much for sharing today -- it blessed my morning! The music is wonderful, too. P.S. What "Lane" is this in Henderson?

Sally said...

Beautiful, beautiful memories, Dani. I love you. ((hugs))