Tag Archives: Fido

Fido Tomatoes

Life * Death * Life * Death * Life * Death * Life

Fido Remembered

Recently I experienced Ann Randolph’s performance of her most hilarious and inspiring one-woman play, LOVELAND. Afterwards, she invited the audience to stay and write. Ann is also a most dynamic teacher and encourager. She travels the country leading writing workshops. Improvisational acting and various movement activities are used to get everyone’s creative juices flowing. Another teaching technique of Ann’s is to give the participants a “prompt” which they are then to write about for 12 minutes. If you can’t think of what to write at any point during the 12 minutes, you’re to write “What to say, what to say, what to say” until something comes. The idea is to not edit yourself but rather to allow ideas to flow freely.

On this particular evening, after her most outstanding performance of LOVELAND (yup, hated it! Not. : ), she led a short meditation for those who chose to stay (around 15 to 20 people), asking us to think about a time of grief. I closed my eyes and focused on her guidance; nothing came, nothing came, nothing came.

Then she said, “Go.” And suddenly I knew what I was going to write about.

The prompt? A moment in time when we felt grief. And here’s what came (with some slight after-the-fact editing):

What I remember most about this moment is the grass under my feet, toes, and legs. It was damp and a bit sticky just having recently mowed. As I thought of him standing by my side, watching me, I wept.

Then I remembered him opening a coconut, leaving a trail of husks in his wake until he sat down chewing and slurping, coconut water running down his spotted tongue. I simply watched and laughed, enjoying his excitement, his pleasure at opening that coconut and watching me watch him — savoring the moment, the grass, the breeze, the smell. The smell of coconut all over his face running down his noes to his toes.

I remember. I remember. I remember.

And then I realized how I’d been waiting. How I’d been holding my breath waiting for him to turn. To change. To rise up and become a boy. My boy. My little boy. But it never happened. It never happened. And yet I loved him. Adored him. Cherished him as we sat together and watched the sunset. I placed his body on his bed and carried him to the rock wall just steps away from the van. Careful. Careful. Easy. Not to drop him. Not to slip. But to gently set him down so together we could watch the sun set — a fire-ball on the horizon laced with the gentle lap, lap, lap of the waves.

Sigh.

What to say? What to say?

This time with him as he was dying was a gift, and yet I didn’t realize then that he was also giving me a second gift. Cracking my heart wide open, so I could begin to see life for what it really was. Is. The gift it IS to be alive, to breath. The gift that it is now and forevermore. For life doesn’t end with death but simply transforms into another.

So, Fido, to you I give thanks. And always, I give my love, my appreciation that you chose me to be your *caretaker into death. To be there with you, for you, so that we could each cherish the moment as we sat together in silence and watched the tomatoes grow until their plump red bodies were juicy enough to bite into. Fido Tomatoes, I called them. Magical tomatoes born in grief and yet comforting all the same as the juice dripped down my chin, and the taste brought me back to that mid-summer day sitting together in the sun, dirt on my fingers, seeds in my hands, and you watching with complete focus, as these magical seeds spoke of hope and life continued.

Fido Tomatoes on the Vine

Fido Tomatoes on the Vine

*Fido’s Papa, Tony, was also his caretaker, but when writing this, I was thinking of the time Fido and I spent alone.

Troll Sj Kauai

Thank You

There are so many ways to say thank you.

So many things to be thankful for.

When I lay on my bed (and this could be anywhere in the world), one of my favorite things to do is give thanks.

I may pass in and out of “wakefulness,” dozing now and then, and still, what I return to is Thank You.

Thank you to my parents for allowing me to be born through them. Thank you to my sisters for being such good friends and watching over me. Thank you to my husband for the joy of sharing my life with him. Thank you to Fido, our firstborn, for allowing us to experience a playful, ball throwing life. A life which also included a death, his death. That experience I recognize now as a tap on the door of my heart. A waking up to all that matters. Life itself. And death which is such a part of life too. And his kid sister, Rocket Girl, who he led us to when he visited me once while in dream-state.

Thank you.

Life. The greatest gift of all.

Life. All that really matters.

And thank you to You, my friends on this planet. For I recognize in each one of you a Divinity, a Perfectness. For you are a child of creation. For you are Life itself.

And with that gift of life, which we each here are experiencing comes the responsibility (I think) of appreciation. Appreciation of simply being alive. Breathing. Being. Living.

And now, as I return to my day, I once again give thanks.

* * *

I just felt that there are those who may read this and think, “Who is this willy-nilly silly gal who gives thanks for everything? How corny she is!”

To them I say, “Yes, I love corn. Because from corn we get so many wonderful things!”

Cobs once served a purpose we thankfully no longer need. : )

And I’m not talking about the making of mattresses.

And corn just tastes sooo good!

Yes, I love corn.

Yes, I love silly.

Yes, I love life.

And I have this f e e l i n g, YOU do too. : )

Hugs to you all,

-Sj out

p.s. And thanks D’Anne and John for the  i n c r e d i b l y  fluffy and delish pastries!!!

In Honor and Memory of our little Fido . . . born September 26, 1995

Along the Mekong River in Luang Prabang, Laos.

Afternoon bike rides while at FLO . . .

At the beginning of my 8-week stay at FLO, I devoted all of my time to lesson planning, preparation, marking of the letters/stories they’d written, etc.
But towards the end of my stay, I managed to find a few afternoons when I felt “caught up” and could take off for a half or full hour bike ride. (Granted, there were a few afternoons when I’d thought of taking a ride, but the monsoon rains had a different idea of how to spend the afternoon.)
The students were very willing to share their bikes, “Take mine; it’s really fast!” one called out.
Luckily, I just happened to learn the secret password for getting past the security guards without much fuss on the very day I took my first solo jaunt into the surrounding countryside. Exercise. “I’m going out for exercise,” I’d say. And they’d nod their heads granting permission to leave the FLO grounds (The security has been set up to protect the children, but honestly, at times it felt a bit like a prison. Okay, what would I know about how a prison feels? You’re right; I wouldn’t. And I was free to leave so it wasn’t really . . . point made.)
The following are some pictures I took on my few late afternoon journeys biking outside FLO.
Enjoy. : )
 . . . I’ve been trying to upload photos periodically over the past few days . . . but to no avail.
They’ll come when the time is right, and the internet connection is faster.
Meanwhile, I’ve been loving Luang Prabang. Had the most amazing elephant experience the other day . . . and, I’m digging getting to speak in German and French with the tourists and locals.
Today, the 26th of September, marks our little Fido’s birthday.
While riding in the long, slow boat up the Mekong River to some caves, I realized the date. I took a photo of my “Fido” ring with the carving of his paw print with the Mekong in back. 
For now, just imagine it. 
Later, I’ll post it.
Regardless, this glob entry is dedicated to the much loved Fido LeHoven.
Love to you all,
-sj

Rudy is remembered . . .

Dedicated to Rudy Williams.
Fido and Rudy were best friends. This is Fido’s first Thanksgiving, 1995.