Saturday, May 17, 2014

Forty More Days: Twelve Years and Two Bags of Groceries

I love Saturdays. I love sleeping in; I love making a cup of coffee last for about four hours. I also love making plans and then re-arranging them because I slept in till noon.

This weekend was supposed to be a dreary day of rain and clouds. I selfishly asked the Lord for sunshine. I wanted beams of light and happiness as I reminisce over a weekend 12 years past that wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

I sat sipping my vanilla soy latte, making my grocery list and planning my menu. I read a little, wrote a little, and chatted with my bestie.

With the sunshine still beaming down on all of Shoreline, I headed out with my re-usable grocery bags and waited at the bus stop for my ride.

As I stood there, I started singing one of my Dad’s favorite songs, “The Unclouded Day.” I sang it loud and strong as I remembered the many things about him I loved and now miss.

In typical Elizabeth fashion, I bought veggies. A lot of veggies. So many veggies that my bags were bursting. This is not an unusual occurrence, however, I didn’t plan the bag situation so well. So they were extremely heavy.

I got off at my stop and started the short walk home. But man, were these bags heavy and my shoulders were really starting to hurt. Every 50 yards or so, I would set the bags down, give my shoulders a rest; and then carry on.

Walking past an empty lot, I saw a guy in a truck, talking on his cellphone, and my first thought was “Please don’t offer me a ride.”

What happens? He pulls along side me and offers me a ride.

And of course, I immediately start in with “no thank you”, because that is what you do when a stranger offers you a ride.

But he follows the offer with “I am a police officer”, and he shows me his card. And before everyone goes into a full-blown panic, it was legit. As the child of a former officer, these guys are the nicest around, super helpful, and if you were going to take a ride from anyone, it should be them.

With my shoulders screaming at me, I decided to accept the ride for the blessing it was. He told me he just joined the force with Lynnwood PD. I shared my dad was one of SPD’s finest for 15 years. He asked if my dad liked it. I said he loved it. When I said my dad was a narcotic’s detective, he said, “That’s so cool! I want to be in Narcotics!”

We pulled up to my place and he unloaded my groceries. I thanked him, shook his hand and walked away.

I walked up my to my door, bent over and started to cry. Twelve years ago (tomorrow), I sat in a hospital room, surrounded by police officers as my dad passed away from complications due to Hepatitis C.

Twelve years ago I stood on a beach and begged God to heal my dad, while I heard Him almost audibly sang ‘no’.

Today, I stood on my patio and wept. Wept because, I not only saw Jesus in the kindness of a stranger, but I saw my dad in the irony of whom my Good Samaritan wound up being.

There is a scripture that says God protects and cares for the fatherless. I don’t know how long the shelf life is for that, but I do know that today I felt like a treasured daughter whose Father(s) were looking out for her.

 I miss his laugh every single day. I miss being able to share my crazy stories with him. I miss watching baseball with him, and making music with him.

I often wonder what he would think of me now. If he would be proud of me. If we would have loads of fun and highly dysfunctional shenanigans. I’d like to think that he would.

“Dad, if I could stand in front of you for just five minutes, I would hold on, and never let go. I would weep as I told you I loved you, and that everyday something happens I want to share. But most of all, I would tell you that no girl could be prouder of her dad than me. I had an inspiration human being for a dad, and a teacher that no classroom could ever produce. Thank you for teaching me about love, about family and most importantly about live and Jesus. (I also would like to thank you for a sense of humor, an unhealthy obsession with Wonder Woman and a deep appreciation for coffee)”

As you always said, “You are the apple of my eye, cutie pie – Love, Elizabeth”

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Love Project 2014: Bernard Franklin

Last Friday, I met Deborah, and she works for the VA. Today, I saw her on the E Line at 3rd and Columbia. We chatted, well, actually she talked and I just said, “Oh! That’s nice” every few minutes.

Sitting next to her was a gentleman who kept randomly interjecting comments that didn’t make any sense. She got off at Pike Street, but he stayed. And he decided that I was to be the beneficiary of his commentary.

Now, throughout my bus riding adventures, I "thought" I had been doing a good job of listening to the Holy Spirit in regards to The Love Project and the people who come across my path. And then this happened... and I doubted it all.

From 3rd and Pike to 160th Ave and Aurora, he talked. Bernard Franklin talked. And talked and talked. Because apparently I have a face that says, “Please talk to me. I am a really good listener and want to know everything about you.”

He first told me he was going to go home, take a shower, get dressed in his nice shoes (insert name brand I cannot remember) and then head back downtown Seattle to eat at The Crab Pot and walk around the waterfront.

He then proceeded to tell me he had just finished renovating a basement apartment and it had taken three weeks. Oh, and did I mention that this was the first weekend he had to himself in three months? And that he hung four sheets of drywall on the ceiling by himself?

He asked me where I worked. I told him, and he shared with me that he and his brothers volunteered at the Mission. He shared they served meals and that his brother who owns a BBQ food truck took BBQ to the Mission. Which led to the fact that his other brother worked at the Salvation Army. AND, that he is one of 18 children…. Good heavens.

There were several references to his singleness and that it was hard. But that was mixed in with his prior residency in Tukwila, living in the Tri-Cities and the passing of his daughter.

As he continued to tell me about his business (car detailing and construction renovation), he gave me one of his business cards. Whatever, that was fine. Networking is great and everything. Then began to delve into even MORE stories about his two employees who left him asleep in his office overnight. I heard about his contracts with Boeing, Swedish Hospital, and Group Health.

Did I mention that he also details monster trucks? Cause he apparently does that as well.
Up until this point, I have not asked him a single question. All the information has been voluntary.

Then it gets weird. He tells me I should call him sometime and he can take me out to dinner.

Um, what? I am almost positive this guy is 65+. Is he just really lonely and wants to eat with anyone, or is he trying to hit on a 26-year-old young woman? I am slightly confused, but trying to give the benefit of the doubt.

It is at this point he starts rambling again. I learn he wants to open a car detailing shop in Shoreline, but it would be soo much work and he doesn’t know if he wants to do that.

He told me about his baby. A ‘66 Mercedes Benz. He never drives it if it is dirty. He washed it in the snow, and if a bird poops on his car? He will pull over, get a rag out of the trunk and clean it off before he continues driving. Because why? He hates dirty cars.

As we are pulling up to the stop at 155th, I realize I am almost home, and I am thrilled. Lord Jesus, I know I should feel more loving, but this guy is talking my ear off. Just as I was putting myself into a full-blown guilt trip for wanting him to hush, Bernard Franklin did me a favor and removed every ounce of guilt from my mind.

Mr. Bernard “I Am Old Enough To Be Your Grandfather” Franklin tells me again to call him. Says he will take me out to dinner because eating alone isn’t fun. Um, I love eating alone. I get seconds, thirds and fourths.

“I’m serious, I’ll take you out to dinner and then maybe I will send you flowers. But I won't send a card because I want to keep you guessing, heh heh heh.”

My stop is usually 165th. I got off at 160th. And walked.