I had the distinct pleasure of visiting with a batty old lady the other day. As the calendar pages turn on my life, I have come to appreciate and enjoy “bats” more than I have previously. My mom is one, as are some of my friends’ moms. These are women that I have always loved, but not appreciated. I have undervalued what they bring to the conversation. They offer unique skills and perspectives that, while being a shade or two outside of the lines, are important.
On this particular day, my daughter was hanging out with her best friend at her grandma’s house. I have known this woman for nearly 30 years as she is my old buddy’s mom. She is an artist and a dancer and independent movie buff. She is into “films”, actually…not movies. She gardens and lives in a house stuffed with things she enjoys. Quilting swatches and canvas and paint brushes fill the cracks and crevasses in her home. She bakes cookies and a mean raspberry cobbler. I had some warm cobbler the other day with my daughter and friend while sitting in my buddy’s childhood home and I was happy.
Watching the little girls conversing with the wonderful bat, I was grateful. A kindness and openness and a special kind of love of life was conveyed through her story and the girls listened with rapt attention. I listened too. I have spent many years not listening and have missed some gold.
A very evolved understanding of what’s important exists in these women. They know what they like and care about and they do those things. They smile a lot and are always quick with a good hug. They are unself-conscious about their dress or expression. They are a free lot and it is nice to witness truly free beings once in a while. And I’m glad my daughter gets some exposure to this magic. I want her to be free, too.
So, on this Fourth of July, I send a heartfelt “thank you” to the bats flitting through the skies of my world. And, as I see our American flags waving proudly from the porches around my town, I remember that Betsy Ross was quite likely an old bat and I am happy that she was. The creation of a flag as beautiful and powerful as ours can only come from the hands and heart of a special woman. So, I am thankful for her and the rest of the story-telling, hug-giving, slow-driving, unruly yard having, mismatched collection of wonderful souls that touch our lives. We need them.
[EDITOR'S NOTE:"Feel Good Friday" is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who just published his first book called "A Feel Good Life" (buy it on Amazon here). Dave also extols to all neighbors: "Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!" Also, you can "friend" Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]