Between Brett and me, there is no contest for who would win “Most Talkative.” Let’s just say that opposites attract because a man of few words married someone who suffers from that horrible condition where whenever there’s an awkward silence, sentences–and usually the most awkward random ones that don’t even structurally make sense–pour out of my mouth without any control. Sidenote: I once bumped into a guy crush in the hospital stairwell where I worked at the time and went to say “Hi Shawn, how are you?” but, swear to God, it came out, “Are Shawn, you how hi?” Needless to say, the So Many Words award would go to me, not that it’s something to be proud of.
So surprisingly it was Brett who, a month ago at the end of our date at a local Italian restaurant, insisted on waiting to leave until the couple sitting next to us had finished their conversation so he could ask the woman how she liked her scallops. Brett had given them a 5-star recommendation earlier in the evening when she noticed we had ordered them and asked if they were good.
“What did you think of the scallops?” Brett finally asked. Five minutes later, we were deep in conversation–one that lasted another half hour and ended with an exchange of phone numbers. I had assumed the couple was married but discovered they were brother and sister, snowbirds who live most of the year in New Jersey but flee the cold this time of year to the same city where they each have a home and meet up throughout the week because–as Isabel, the sister, explained–“We’re very close.”
He’s a writer, a fisherman and has a son Brett’s exact age named–you guessed it–Brett.
She’s a spiritual guide, a belly dancing teacher (she celebrated her 85th birthday belly dancing with her granddaughters), a voracious reader and a mother who lost both her husband and a daughter the same year eight years ago.
We had dinner with them again last night, and when talking about that year, Isabel’s brother looked over at her and said, “Isabel’s my hero. The way she dealt with that year and her life since–”
Isabel smiled and very calmly answered, “Gratitude. I can’t change what happened, but I can focus on my gratitude. I’m so grateful I had them in my life. And I’m thankful for everything I have in my life now.”
We told stories all night last night. They asked how we met, where Brett likes to fish, what I think of the publishing industry today and the most insightful questions about our children, safety in schools, books, business and poetry. They told stories that made us listen to every word, and I filed inspiration into so many categories of my brain.
“We call each other every morning to read a poem,” Isabel said.
“It could be anything,” her brother explained, “Keats, Langston Hughes, Hemingway–did you know Hemingway wrote lots of poems?”
“Every morning?” I asked.
“Oh yes,” Isabel answered. “We take turns. But we always start our day with a phone call and a poem.”
Isabel called me “Sweetie” and touched my hand lovingly whenever she leaned over to ask me a question. I am bewitched by her wisdom, vibrancy and love of life.
“You know everyone always plans for the first two thirds of life, but not many people talk about what they want to be doing with their lives in the last third,” Isabel said, “And I’m not talking about financial things because you hear about that. I’m talking about how you really want to be spending your life.”
I want to spend it like Isabel. Reading poetry, teaching spiritual classes, meeting up with new friends for dinner, celebrating life with belly-dancing parties and gratitude…for all of it.
Isabel looked across the table at Brett at one point and smiled. “There’s one thing I want to ask. I know what Kelle thought of you when you first met because she told me how loving you were with your boys, and of course devilishly handsome. But tell me what you thought of her on that first encounter.”
And now comes the best part of this whole story. My man of few words pondered the question seriously as I waited for his thoughtful answer. Isabel and her brother, their eyes twinkling, waited for his thoughtful answer with me.
Brett gathered his thoughts, smiled and said….wait for it…
“I thought she was nice.”
You heard it right: She. Was. Nice. Stay tuned for our line of cross-stitched pillows, framed prints and t-shirts with those poignant words to come.
And that, my friends, is a perfect example of how opposites attract.
Also, if you’d like some newsletter love in your box every now and then, I finally started one. You’ll get a little love letter, some things I don’t share on the blog, an organized round-up of favorite posts and extra things like illustrated printables, my new favorite thing to create.
For a printable guide to The Shakedown, the 30-minute mad dash cleaning spree before company arrives, download “Company’s Coming.”
And for some spring inspiration, download the Spring Bucket List. Tape it to your refrigerator and check off favorites with me (might I suggest starting this weekend with that cocktail with the Peep garnish).