Brenda Burner: aunt.
When I was little, I was eavesdropping on a conversation my aunt Brenda was having with my mom. Brenda explained how she thought graying women were beautiful and how she couldn’t wait to have long gray hair. I had not thought about beauty in that way until that moment. Brenda has a few gray hairs (usually wrapped up in one giant roller) and she gets more beautiful each year. I’m happy that my nosiness intersected with one of her (many) chat sessions with my mother. Brenda was later my Lamaze coach and continues to be a strong female role model for me.
Jay Herr: friend.
Jay lived across the street from me in college. One evening we were on our way to a Pearl Jam concert with a bunch of friends. We made a restroom pit stop and when we returned to the interstate we were in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I complained “Aw man! If we didn’t make that stop, we could have missed this accident.” Jay replied, “…or we could’ve been in it…” This one line has made me more aware of my complaints, even to this day.
L’Tanya Sims: friend.
I met LT when IHOP first opened and we both waited tables there. What I admire most about L’Tanya, other than her enormous heart, is her ability to lay down roots and create a sense of community around her…where ever she may be. Give her a box and it becomes a home where all are welcome. Give her a big city and she will find a nook and become mayor of that nook. Give her a naive college girl (that would be me) and she will look out for her and see that she makes it out alive.
Just for you, LT: Mens Rea!
Teddy Helsley: father.
When I took this photo it was the third time I’ve met this man. Each time I leave him, I leave with a better understanding of myself. He contributed to half of my DNA and before I even ask, his stories explain the parts of me that have been mysterious up to that point. It’s sometimes as if he reads my mind. He has a kind, calm soul and I look forward to making more memories with him and his family.
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