A lifetime ago, when I was at college, I was given an amazing blessing. Her name is Jackie.
Jackie and I were plunked into an apartment together at random like two drops of rain that fall into the same puddle. Or flower pot, maybe. No, definitely a puddle, one of those oily puddles that makes beautiful marbled rainbows that float on the surface. Jackie got me, and I got her. She could make me laugh on days when it was the last thing I wanted to do. She was humble and faithful and magical.
Jackie barked on occasion when someone suddenly knocked on the door. She made up marvelous words that I still use today, like "boi-yoingy" (the feeling when you hit a little rubbery bit of ground beef in your food). She would end random sentances with the word "probably". I loved it when she made up dances. There were dances like the "The Mail Came Early and There Is A Letter For Me!" dance, the "It's Snowing and My Socks Are Soggy" dance, or the "It's Thursday, So There!" dance. She would transform into a prima ballerina in a bounce house, and with unabashed freedom would dance about. I quickly learned life was much happier when I joined her, and I somehow magically knew all of the steps.
Jackie gave me a book all those years ago. It was a children's book called Chicka-Chicka Boom-Boom, and in it she wrote a message to my children, who didn't even exist yet. Each time I read them the book, I start by reading her inscription:
"This is a great book, and when you are done reading it give your mom some kisses, and a hug, sing her a lullabye and put her down for a nice nap! Don't forget she is really the very beautiful fairy princess and needs to be treated with gentle love, of course! From the rather bedraggled Fairy Princess of the Kingdom Slightly to the East, Jackie (Daughter of Terry Lou Punkfrog, Fairy Princess Gorkle!)
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Have you cleaned your own room?"
Over the miles we have sent books with messages in them for each other and our children. If a book makes me laugh out loud in a store, I have been known to buy two, one for me, and one for Princess Jackie.
It is in honor of Jackie and her kiddos that I am creating "Jackie's Story Corner" where once a week or so I will read a story to her children, and maybe to yours too, if you don't mind! I have always intended to record tapes of some of my favorite books for Jackie's girls. Well, since "tapes" went out with legwarmers and Aqua Net, I am resigned to this here new fangled tek-nall-oh-jee.
I am starting with a dear little book called Sleepy People by M.B. Goffstein. If you would like to purchase it, go take out a small bank loan or promise your firstborn to a troll and you may get a very tattered copy. Mine came when, after a maddening day of reshelving, a public librarian got crazy drunk with all of her peeps in the children's section and accidentally put it in the discard pile. I always knew the Dewey decimal system would work to my advantage someday.
Does God take threats from queasy five year-olds as long as they do it in quiet places?