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A Word in Due Season

About 11 of 12 years ago, my friend Louisa told me something no one had ever told me before and no one has told me since. She would not remember it and I would not forget it. I told her this yesterday within the context of her leaving her position as Editor-in-Chief of Oklahoma Today. She’s been with the magazine for more than 13 years and is leaving to head another venerable Oklahoma institution, the Kirkpatrick Foundation.

Louisa asked me what it was and so I put it in context and sent her the following email. The dot-dot-dots are in the place of things I have no business writing in a blog post.

So, we were sitting at your desk in the Colcord. John Jernigan was in and out of your office. You were wearing a white shirt and black capris pants. I have no clue what I was wearing or why I was there. I’m guessing it was something to do with Governor’s Arts Awards, maybe, or a story about Betty? I was in a very bad place. I was a newly-divorced single mom with a 1-year-old. I was devastated over the loss of my marriage and…was a crisis for me of unbelievable proportion. It took me years to get over it…cruel…but of course, the loss of so many dreams. Absolute white picket fence burning to the…ground. But, other bad stuff…I will tell you someday when we go to the Woody Guthrie festival and smoke cigars. Because we’re 40 and it’s cool to do that, dontcha know. I should smoke a cigar before I die.

A Word in Due Season

So, I generally felt like a worthless sack of…I was dateless, and at 135 pounds thought I was a cow…God, it was a horrible, horrible time. Of course, you knew none of this and our conversation was all business as I recall. But, this is what you said to me within the first 5 minutes of meeting:

You are darling.

And then you turned to John Jernigan and said, “Isn’t she darling?”

That was it. And, I never forgot it and I saw myself differently that day through your eyes. And, I’m certain that all darlingness has now slipped away, because thank God, I am no longer living in an aftermath.

I wasn’t going to tell you this until we were 80 and walking around the block in our shifts. =)

I spend a fair amount of time thinking about words. There is a Proverb that says pleasant words are sweet to the soul and health to the bones. Another verse says words have the power of life, but also can produce a death-dealing poison. Twelve years ago, Louisa spoke a word in due season. Like the writer of Proverbs wrote, how good it was.

Photo: Juliette and Me, Easter Sunday, 2002, in front of our old house on 57th Street. My father took this picture.

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. Andi

    What an amazing story! I have my own life changing conversation, something my husband said to me when we just started dating and it literally changed my entire life. It was in April of 2002 and I will never forget it.

  2. Territory Mom

    Beautiful post and beautiful photo of mother and daughter.

  3. Yogi♪♪♪

    It is truly amazing how just a word or two can make all the difference in the world. Great story Jen.

  4. jen

    @MOM – Thanks, Mom. I’m so glad I have those memories of you and dad being there with me as Juliette hunted eggs in the front yard. Wonderful memories of dad reaching down and helping her find an egg. He liked the blue ones the best, much like all of us. =)

  5. jen

    @BLASTSfromthePAST Thank you! Seeing a note from you makes me miss reading your poetry. I’ve had far too little time over the last year to read my favorite bloggers. It sounds so Hallmarkish but true friends are so rare. Love the part about lists and analyses. As if any of us need that! =)

    @B2DESIGN I’m holding you to that cigar!

  6. Anonymous

    I love the way you put things into prospective. Louisa is a RARE friend and she is ‘Right On’ when she called you ‘Darling.’ (You still are!)

    I enjoyed reading her posts on her travel to Turkey and will miss her at Oklahoma Today. Best of luck to her on her new venture.

    I fondly recall that Easter Day that was captured in the photo of you and Ju. A difficult time in your life — but GOD supplied your need and has BLESSED you ABUNDANTLY.

    You are as beautiful today as ever.

    Love you– Mom

  7. B2design

    I would love to smoke a cigar with you, young lady. Anytime. But I won’t call you darlin’, Darlin’. 🙂

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