MARIA, MARIA, MARIA

I can think of no better way to begin a new year than to be contacted by a friend from many years ago. Arriving home today there was an e-mail awaiting me from a professional affiliation letting me know that a friend of mine named Maria was looking for me. Soon I was listening to a warm familiar voice on my voice mail and a few minutes after that a warm familiar voice on the telephone. There is a cliche kicking about that goes something like it’s like we never missed a beat, and so it was in talking with Maria. We had not talked in more than 20 years.

I have known Maria since she was about 16 years old. She is now 47 and lives in Florida with her 12-year-old daughter. We were both working in market research when we met and while I did not ask her today, I’m quite sure we are both glad that chapter in our employment lives is behind us. While market research no doubt has its place in the social scheme of things, I don’t think either of us fit its construct with any degree of comfort.

Until today, I could have easily gone my entire life without visiting Florida. Not so any more. I plan on visiting Maria and look forward to meeting her daughter.

From the moment I met her it was clear that Maria has a heart rich with kindness. Moreover, it was clear that she was and is exceptionally bright. She sent me a recent picture and at age 47 is even more beautiful than when I knew her those many years ago. I suppose some would say it is unusual for someone to be more attractive at 47 than they were when they were in their teens and early twenties, but then this brings me to another thing that was clear about Maria from the moment I met her. She is somewhat of a nonconformist with a rebellious streak, albeit a peaceful one.

There is a part of Maria too that knows how to reach in and touch the heart if someone she cares about, no matter how much time has gone by. She did it to me today when she sent me an e-mail with poem deeply familiar to my very soul.

It reads:

In all times
And in all lives
There are moments
Filled with the sincerest love and intimacy
You and I have shared such moments
And I thank you
And love you
For those times.

It’s title is “In All Times”. It is the poem I wrote for my father just days after he died on August 16, 1969. I was 15.

It is good to hear from Maria, it is good to know she is alive and well. I am looking forward to visiting Florida, and hugging the woman who has held fast to a part of me and my father all these years.

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