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It seems 'cleaning out' things is somewhat of a theme for me during these Dog Days of Summer. This purge includes my computer files also. In doing that, I came across one of my Sunday columns fro 2015. It is about summer and Margaret Romero. I wanted to repost it...


I spent a summer day in Lafayette at a food safety class recently. The class was worthy but it was in a congested commercial area and I loathed the scenery. I instantly drew negative conclusive judgment and was thankful I did not live anywhere near there, happy I lived in a rural environment that allowed me to grow tomatoes, zinnias and fig trees.

That negative perspective changed, however, when I looked beneath the surface and beyond my incorrect presumption. This “adjustment” emerged during the lunch break. Out of boredom and curiosity, I escaped the corporate conundrum and drove down a side street with an enchanting name, I didn’t expect to find anything that would interest me there, however. But, everything changed beneath the street sign with the beckoning name. I discovered cozy houses with established yards and fences that tried to hide secret gardens and fig trees and greenhouses beyond the corporate menagerie. There was a woman wearing a straw hat and a floral apron watering her garden. I was overcome with my deficit and my shallow thinking and discovered what I really already knew, things are hardly ever as they appear. We have to stretch and look beyond to find the truth and real beauty.

Speaking of finding the good stuff, I had an experience with someone who occupied the first room on the right in D Hall at NISH years ago when I was in the last room on the right. I did not know her as many of you did; I would have never made one of her teams, I’ve never even called anyone “coach”, but we became accidental friends anyway. We had something in common that we discovered within a conversation we had in D Hall in 2006, we discovered that we each had the best moms in the world. Her mother had recently died and, unfortunately, I already knew about the heart that stayed so tender and the tears that came from nowhere in the middle of the day. I was able to listen with empathy to her sweet stories about her mother and understand the void. I heard her voice and I saw her cry the way we so easily do in those days soon after a loss. Anyway, so began our casual acquaintance on D Hall. She also read my Sunday column and especially liked the ones about nature. On Mondays, she would comment. Yikes. I was always nervous about her friendly critiques because she was an English teacher and I certainly misuse the English language on occasion and she certainly had no problem telling me. But on the first Monday of her remarks, she told me she enjoyed my column and especially liked my use of vivid verbs. She had even read it to her English class to serve as an example; Mondays on D hall were going to be okay…vivid verbs saved the day. Maggie and I were friends.

I thought it would be wonderful to mention her, Margaret Romero, here on this Second Front so I could say she was a beautiful person, one of those special people that, if you looked a little deeper, you found even more beauty, a person who was careful to leave only a tiny footprint on this planet, but a big hole in our hearts.

I close with a paragraph about the natural world she loved and a sprinkling of “vivid verbs” to describe it…

The jars filled with fig preserves are popping in the kitchen and the dragonflies, my tiny elusive friends of summer, are grown up now and perched on barbed wire fences and wooden clothespins; it is midsummer. Soon, the honey will be ready and the Dog Days will roll in as Sirius, the “dog star,” rises and sets with the sun.

July 2015

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