July 16: Jeremiah pointed to the darkening sky, where a perfect half moon glowed, like a jewel on velvet. A jet streaked toward the moon then veered away, as though developing a differing intention. It left a gentle arcing contrail to mark its salute: a small silver necklace on the same piece of velvet.
July 17: Last week, a juvenile buck passed within three feet of my window, its soft-tipped antlers mossy with brown fuzz. Today, he passed by again and looked right at me, to be sure I knew that smooth and pointed change is coming.
July 18: Good luck sauntered down our town’s Main Street today, in the form of slow traffic and stop lights. Consequently, I could admire the baskets of flowers cascading from the town’s lampposts, a bit of beauty I’d typically note but not savor. My luck doubled at the red light, when I watched a woman drag a plastic water tank on a small wagon, hose in hand. I leaned toward the window. “The flowers are so lovely,” I said. She smiled and raised her hose in salute.
July 19: I walked past the woodsy playground down to the entrance of our town’s preschool. A cluster of teachers waited at the sidewalk to greet the students. A small girl in a flowered dress and miniature backpack released her father’s hand to join a teacher, who gently gathered in the child’s hand as they walked together up the hill.
July 20: On Saturday, intending motherly comfort, I patted the back of a young lady curled on the ballpark floor in front of me. We had nothing to fear, but others’ fear was scary, and so we hid from sight. The young lady reached for my hand and clasped it in her own. We held hands for a few more huddled minutes and then sat back up on the ballpark seats. She was still frightened, and like any good mother, I started a conversation. I learned that she was interning at the clerk’s office of a local county courthouse. I learned that she was interested in a career in law, maybe even with the Federal government. I learned where she lived and where she went to school, and I never learned her name. On Monday, I drove to the courthouse with nothing but hope — hope that a smile and a compelling story would allow my breadcrumbs to become a loaf. After four conversations with four helpful courthouse clerks (and about 2,000 steps), I found a clerk who said, yes, I think she works here — and agreed to leave my note on her desk. Today, I received an excited text from my new ballpark friend. We’ll have coffee on Sunday and perhaps laugh about the scariness that brought us together.
July 21: People saluted my kindness; they saluted my goodness; they saluted my love. They even said nice things about this wee blog (thank you, Alex and Francesca!) and my Mom (love you too, Mary Kay). But I ask you: when people who have known me for fewer than two years launch a virtual Retirement Gala with speakers, photos, a sweet Top Ten List, a charming song, flowers and cake, a plaque and a gift, all directed by an engaging master of ceremonies — when I see all that, I ask you: isn’t that the kindness, the goodness and the love?
July 22: Instagram post from Red Truck Bakery: “How to make an entrance. @carolann_siciliano is retiring from the EPA and her co-workers sent her our triple-chocolate cake for their online Zoom farewell party. The cake’s arrival was unfortunately delated by UPS, and so unbeknownst to them I showed up with a replacement at her front door (an hour from the bakery) as quickly as I could – at the exact moment the party started. Her husband rushed me into the room as the Zoom attendees were bemoaning the missing cake. Squeals abounded.”
From One More Page: “Two of our favorite people – Carol Ann and Brian from @redtruckbakery! What an incredibly thoughtful gesture to make the celebration complete.”
From me: “Dear Brian – In a day of goodness and love, your surprise visit drizzled us all with joy and delight. And, wow, what a cake! You proved once again that kindness (in this case, epic!) enriches the entire universe. Thank you for choosing love and infusing it into all you do.”
p.s. And the Instagram comments were lovely too. (Jeremiah to me: “Mom! You’re famous!”)
Bonus: Thanks (I’m sure) to my fellow bloggers Thistles and Kiwis (from New Zealand) and Touring My Backyard (from Singapore), Fashioned For Joy has visitors from all over the world. I’m still amazed enough by the internet to consider that magical. And so, I greet and thank you, my friends from France, Ecuador, Australia, South Africa, Singapore, New Zealand, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Trinidad & Tobago, Germany, India, Brazil, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Canada — all who have visited me over the past two months. Just naming your countries fills me with joy!
And from the dear United States of America, I salute and thank you: in just three days, 66 visitors recorded 165 “views.” (And thank you too, Italy!). I love that you all are part of my world.
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