Another December

Photo by Abed Ismail from Pexels

I was sitting in a church today — and while I didn’t burst into flames, I did find my thoughts weaving around some Psalms and snippets of old and new testaments. If you know me, you know I don’t believe in any religion or any one god in particular, I do find comfort in certain things. So when I saw a large black bird that I’d like to say was a raven, but was probably a black hawk, before going into the church, and later when leaving, it was, as Joey said, “a good sign.”

There is a lot of comfort in the old stories; tales from the Norse or Egyptian, Greek or Roman, Navajo or Anishinaabe all bring truths and perspective that can inform the world through various lenses. Take what you like and leave the rest is how I approach, after figuring out why I didn’t like what I decided to leave behind — because it is the truth from what we leave behind that moves us forward. That’s the true power of storytelling.

Today, however, was the third consecutive December I found myself listening to again some of the same passages. Parables from Christianity meant to comfort those of us left behind to continue the stories forward. I found more comfort in the bird hanging overhead on the wind — a sign of protection and spirituality. As a little girl I learned birds were messengers of the other worlds. It isn’t logical, but it makes as much sense as anything else.

The first time I met Jay was around 7 or so years ago at my first open mic in Ambler. He walked into the place, he was wearing a fedora-esque hat, and immediately came over and introduced himself. An obvious new face in an old crowd, I had wanted to just hangout with the friends I came with, but had already been hit on three times when he showed up. Weary from the previous hour and working on a decent beer buzz, I accepted the intro with indifference. We chatted on and off, and I realized he wasn’t there to just hit on me and we just talked about music, Michigan, writing, and probably a smattering of other things.

Over the years, he’d tell me about his father, about being a father, songs he was working on, and a particular conversation where he was upset that he’d spent time working on a particular Lindsey Buckingham finger picking for a band he was no longer going to be a part of. He had a way of imparting his knowledge, or opinion, with one singular line — and you knew that was all on that topic.

He cared about his friends. He was the one you could call at any time and would be there to help. Even when you called at 4 a.m. from the hospital after a car accident and needed a ride home. He was simply there without question and brought a sense of gratitude.

Most of all, he was the one who wanted to know if I really liked his friend Joey. When I told him I did but he’d never called me, he pulled me outside to talk to me more — it was almost like an interview — before he told me he’d make sure he called me. And the next day, Joey called me. And that was that. The last words Jay ever spoke to me was as Joey and I were leaving his house, which were always his parting words: “Take care of each other.”

Song of the day: Rain King, Counting Crows

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Normal human in an extraordinaire world. Memoir / Humor / Just Life

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Nikki Barr

Nikki Barr

Normal human in an extraordinaire world. Memoir / Humor / Just Life

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