The World Through My Shoes is my look at living this incredible gift God has given us. As a busy wife, mother and daughter I relish the alone time I receive on my early morning runs. It is in the stillness of those predawn mornings where I often am inspired. Thank you for taking the time to read my words.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

They Call Her Jackie

"Excuse me, do you happen to have a pencil?  I forgot one and I would love to do this crossword."  She asked while leaning over the seat between us.

"I have a pen, will that work?"  I reach into my purse and hand it to her.

"Thank you very much," she said, "although I am not certain I trust my answers to be written in pen."  Her smile magnifying the laugh lines on her face.  Her white hair flowed naturally around her face.

She turns to her puzzle while I push my purse back into my carry on bag.  I sit back in my seat and relax.  My friends are in seats close by, but not close enough to hold a conversation.  We had run the California International Marathon the previous day and were on a 90 minute return flight to Seattle before catching our short flight home to Bellingham.  My body is tired and I am grateful this difficult marathon year is now behind me.

My sudoku puzzle book stares at me.  I pick it up and do a few puzzles before closing it again.

"I never could get the hang of those things." she says to me. 
She waves her crossword puzzle in the air, "Give me one of these any day."

Turning to her I smile and say, "My grandmother did a crossword puzzle every day.  She always told me it kept her mind sharp."

"Well I don't know if my mind is so sharp, but I always did them to help pass the time.  I was a private investigator."

She had my full attention.  "Really?  I have always wanted to be a private investigator!"

"Why don't you?" she inquires, her eyes quizzical.

"The requirements of my state aren't too conducive to a mother.   Well, not this mother anyway.  The only place that offers an internship is 90 minutes from my home.  I can't afford 3 hours travel time each day.  My family is too important."

"You have your priorities in order."

"My kids are home for only a short time, it won't be long before they are on their own and I'll have plenty of free time."

She waves a wrinkled hand in front of her as if shoo-ing something away, "I am no Bible Thumper but I do not think it is an accident I am sitting next to you today."

I smile at her.  "Neither do I.  I wonder what God is trying to tell me?"

We spend the flight talking of her career, how she got started, cases she's worked on and for whom she has worked.    I tell her how I work my investigative skills into my job and the backgrounds of people I have discovered.  We laugh wildly at the craziest of our stories.  My friend Karen, sitting a row behind me, is jealous over the laughter she hears.

She reaches out to shake my hand, "My name is Lynn Hall*, but my friends call me Jackie.  Lynn Hall is my investigator name."  A devilish grin sneaks across her face.

"My name is Cheri Fiorucci.  My friends call me Cheri."  We laugh at the lack of creativity.

"I'm on my way to visit my son for a couple months.  While I'm there my old boss wants me to come back to work.  Can you believe that?  I told him I'm retired, but he doesn't listen."

"You should go back to work," I encourage,  "Do it and go out and have some fun on the job for me."

"I never did have to work.  My husband was a rancher and took very good care of me.  He was the light of my life," she pauses. "His heart was real bad.  He died in 2010."

I offer her my condolences. 

She continues, "It's been a difficult couple of years.  My son died shortly after Walt.  And you know what?"  Emotion cracks her voice. "It took me 3 months before I could wake up and not cry in my bed."   Her pain softly rolls down her cheek.  Tears fill my eyes.

"No Momma should ever have to bury her son," I whisper; my voice has been swallowed by empathy.

Offering silent words in prayer for her, I now know God has placed me next to her for a reason.

Quietly I sit and listen to her.  She offers no explanation of her son's death, nor do I ask.  Her pain still raw, as I imagine it will always be.  My mind wanders to my two boys as she tells me of her journey through grief.  My words feel so inadequate;  I ask God to make them the comfort she needs.

Jackie looks me in the eye.  "A good friend checked in on me every day.  I never would have made it through had it not been for her." 

I think of my friends; the ones I know if grief that strong would happen to strike me, you would find them curled up next to me crying their own tears.  There can be found great blessings amidst such deep pain.

The Captain is landing the plane, Jackie and I are still talking.  The plane taxis down the runway; Seattle is outside my window.

"Jackie, it has been an immeasurable pleasure to meet you today.  Have a wonderful time staying with your son and his family.  And go catch some bad guys for me will you?"

Her smile returns, "The pleasure was all mine.  Go chase that dream.  You've got a knack for it."  While rolling her carry-on behind her, she walks away.

My friends are standing near me; friends who would curl up next to me and cry.  "Who was that?" they ask.

"Her name is Lynn Hall, but her friends call her Jackie, " I pause and smile, "She told me to call her Jackie."

*In respect to her profession names have been changed.

No comments:

Post a Comment