You don't want to be in my head right now, so let me share a few thoughts I try to keep running through it to keep me from thinking about what's really flying around in there! This one makes me smile -- a year ago today, we were in Paris!
Actually, a year ago today we were in Montmartre, with Peter Olson of Peter's Paris.
It was one of the most delightful days of our journey. Montmartre is a captivating place, steeped in history, the lore of its famous inhabitants and boasting a fabulous view of Paris.
Peter was a wonderful guide, taking us throughout this historic area, reminding us to look up and telling us stories about the area's famous and less famous residents.
What made it extra fun for both of us was that I knew I would enjoy Peter because I'd been reading his blog for a long while, but I was extra pleased that Rick and Peter hit it off, sharing a love of music, among other things.
Our lunch included champagne and was simply divine. A wonderful memory for this gloomy day here. (Oh, yes -- it rained there. But that was different. We were in Paris!)
April brings up some melancholy thoughts for me, because two people who were a big part of my life died in April. My mom died 36 years ago on April 21.
You'd think by now it would just be another day, and it becomes more normal over time. But still, her loss -- the idea that she isn't around now when I need her most, that she didn't get to know and love the things I know and love most -- sometimes takes me to a dark place.
I don't stay there as long as I used to, but it's still there.
April also marks another year since my good friend Patricia died. Patricia was a role model, confidante, one on that quest of life during the same time I was -- when our worlds were changing, we were finally growing up, women with decisions to make. Both of us mourned the loss of our mothers and we helped one another through tough times.
I love this picture of Patricia -- head high, smiling, and you can tell -- she was going to find her spot in the world and live it to the best of her ability. She remains a role model to this day. She was one of the bravest woman I've ever known, like my mom. I think of her often.
Another April moment happened during the recent Spartan Sports Journalism Classic, when I had the opportunity to finally meet former MSU basketball and NBA player Greg Kelser, who was part of the event panels.
Back in the late 1970s, MSU's basketball was at the top of its game (there was this kid named Earvin on the team -- we'd later know him as Magic). I was in grad school at the time and usually once a week my dad and I would go to the student Union for dinner. It was basically a cafeteria and apart from the brownies the food wasn't too hot, but dad loved it. He was at the time in his life where his health was beginning to fail but he was still pretty good, getting around. It was a few years after mom died and I'm not sure which of us most looked forward to those dinners.
The basketball team often came in after practice for dinner and of course you couldn't miss this group of tall guys. Often we were there before they arrived. But one time, we were in the food area at the same time. I don't know if Dad bumped into Greg Kelser or if it was the other way around, or if they just exchanged a moment. But greetings were spoken and dad was over the moon. From that moment on, Special K became our favorite player. To us, these kids were stars. We forgot they were just kids.
Well, I got to tell Greg Kelser that silly story. And he was such a nice guy. It really made my day.
So many years have passed and in that time I've had the opportunity to meet dozens of really famous people (mostly PBS types), sometimes sharing lunch or drinks with them, mostly in meet-and-greet lines or receptions. And they are very real -- they goof up, they make mistakes, they have families, there are things they are proud of and things they'd rather forget. They are real.
In my own little town, people come up to me all the time because they've seen me on TV. I'm used to it now, but it still always surprises me a little. But then I remember another Dad incident years ago at a local restaurant when he and I were having lunch. Our news anchor, Jane Aldrich, was eating there. Jane and I knew each other professionally, so it didn't surprise me when she stopped by and said hello. But Dad had never met her. And Jane was a star. Maybe bigger than Greg Kelser. (That's Jane with her husband Kip.)
That made his day, too -- and every time we watched the news together, I heard about it.
Jane and I have become genuine (not just work) friends in the years that followed. And one thing I know for sure -- she is as "real people" as real people get.
Which actually makes my day.