Thursday, November 25, 2010

Celebrating Kindred Spirits

Ever since my awkward pre-teen years when I first read Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, I've been a huge fan of of the book series.

Don't worry - this post isn't a 1908 book review.  We'll get to the life balance stuff.

Anne (with an "E") reminded me of both who I was and who I wanted to be.  Like Anne, I was peculiar, curious, imaginative and chatty.  My "Diana Barry" was my best friend Lisa who had similar qualities but in ways which flattered her like a perfectly fitted frock, much unlike the odd shift of characteristics which hung around me, just slightly "off."

Still, we had great fun.  I used to imagine that Anne, Diana, Lisa and I would meet in some wrinkle in time (another one of my favorite books) and play together.  Kindred spirits.

Something about Thanksgiving breeds this kind of nostalgia.  Basking in gratitude inevitably leads to thinking about the kindred sprits of our lives.

Like my dear ol' dad.

He was kindhearted and gentle by nature but never a pushover, and certainly no saint.   Once, after unsuccessfully trying to return defective software, my father went back to the store, very calmly put the box on the counter, looked the salesclerk in the eye and told him to shove it up his arse.  Then Daddy left the store with a smile, considering it a well-spent $20 for the final satisfaction.

Last Thanksgiving, dad was sitting in my kitchen eating dates with cream cheese and chuckling at my awful jokes.  He had snuck out before dawn to the 24-hour store to get some last minute ingredients I had been fretting about, saving me an extra trip on a busy day.   He filled my house with an easy presence and a great wit that made everything lighter somehow.

I find myself scanning the recalled details of that visit for any sign that he would not be with us today.  It was as unimaginable then as it is now. 

Even seven months after his death, there's still a part of me which expects him to come walking out of the guest bedroom any minute now and say, "How ya doin' little kid?"

Ironically, I had somehow blocked out the part of the story in Anne when her dear adopted father Matthew Cuthbert dies suddenly.  Until now.  I guess that makes Anne and I kindred spirits in more ways than one then.

Still, Thanksgiving is supposed to be a happy occasion. 

If I have a life balance strategy to share on this day, it's inspired by Anne as well as my dear ol' dad:

Be a kindred spirit.  When you find yourself getting stressed and focusing on all the little crazy details, remember that what's important is connecting with people

Find ways of making your shared space happier and lighter.   Be easier on yourself and everyone around you.

Happy Thanksgiving,

PS:  I love you Daddy.
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Bruce Coltin said...

Have a warm and cozy Thanksgiving, Charlene.

The Blogger Formerly Known As said...

Oh, I love Anne of Green Gables. Even now, whenever my sister or I say
something the other doesn’t like, we still automatically reply, “Take
that back, Diana Barry!”

Happy Thanksgiving to you and kindred spirits everywhere :)
The enigmatic, masked blogger

Charlene said...

Thanks Bruce - you too!

Enigmatic - that quote is so perfect... love it!

Eva Gallant said...

I miss my Dad, still, and he passed away nearly 40 years ago. I guess we can be thankful that we had good dads to miss; not everyone is that fortunate.

Sarah said...

Now you made water appear in my eyes! Happy Thanksgiving, Charlene. It's people like us (a little off) make this world interesting.

Losing Brownies said...

Happy Thanksgiving Charlene! I hope you have a wonderful day with family!

Lala's Pequenos said...

What a lovely post. I was a big fan of Anne myself. Have a wonderful day:)

Cheryl @ On the Old Path said...

I'm not sure that I have met someone who doesn't love Anne I guess there is something in her that we can all relate. We can learn a lot from the Matthew's and your Dad of this world. I hope you had a blessed THANKSGIVING.

laughwithusblog said...

Beautiful tribute to your dad. I also am an Anne fan! "It's all very well to read about sorrows and imagine yourself living through them heroically, but it's not so nice when you really come to have them, is it?"

Vivianne said...

Lovely post Charlene! Your Dad sounds like he was an AWESOMME father who is living on in you. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.

Mom Squad said...

wow. Great post! Moms and Dads, Grandpas and Grandmas, they are all precious commodities. Love em while you got 'em!

Charlene said...

Thanks for all the comments - very much appreciate the support and will be sure to stop by your places as well (if I havent already). Happy holidays everyone!

The Frat Pack + Me said...

I love Anne of Green Gables! Stopping over from "In Lovely Heels."

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Jill said...

What a beautiful post. I can only imagine how bitter sweet this holiday was for you but recalling those memories you share together proof that your father is still very much with you :)

I didn't read the books but was a huge fan of the television show on PBS when I was kid.

coolestfamilyontheblock said...

Charlene, I'm so sorry for your loss. The holidays have to be especially difficult. It's so nice to read about your happy memories with your father. My relationship with my dad is strained to say the least. I truly don't know how I'd feel if he passed away suddenly.

I've always loved Anne of Green Gables. It's been way too many years since I've read/seen it. I can't wait until my daughter is old enough for stories like AoGG!

Thanks for stopping by my blog!
Jenn (Relax & Surf Sunday)

Janine said...

What a beautiful post. I am so encouraged by your writing. I also wanted to say thank you for your words of kindness about my gran. I am now following your beautiful blog. Have a special week.

Chic Mamá said...

and this is why I love your blog and get it delivered right to my inbox. =)

Your dad sounded like such a sweet soul. These memories will forever be with you have a little piece of him in them.

Connecting with people is what helps us feel happy.

Cascia said...

That was beautiful! I think I read Anne of Green Gables when I was a kid too. I am sorry to hear about your dad. I hope you still had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Have a wonderful week!

Lisaandkyle said...

Beautifully written, Charlene. Hugs to you... What wonderful memories of you Dad. xo

Daisy said...

This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. We have more kindred spirits out there than we'll ever know, which is such a hopeful thought.

Jen said...

I completely agree. Connecting with others is so important. So sorry about your loss. The holidays always make it more difficult.
Interested about the cream cheese and dates idea. Hmm...

Rebecca said...

My oldest daughter is currently reading Anne of Green Gables to my youngest daughter. Brings back memories, to be sure!!!

Yes, thanksgiving is generally supposed to be a "joyous" celebration, but you don't always have to be "happy" to have deep joy. I remember my Aunt Nancy with joy every fall when the air turns sharp and the leaves crisp...but I always shed a few tears. Maybe the deep sorrow balances out great happiness and causes lasting joy.

Dates and cream cheese? ooOOOoo Sounds like a wonderful combination!!! ;^)

Debbie said...

I am so very sorry for the loss of your father. He sounds like a wonderful man and it is easy to see that he was loved dearly.
I hope your Thanksgiving was joyous.

LaraAnn said...

Your dad sounds like a wonderful guy. I'm sorry for your loss. I read the Anne of Green Gables books after seeing the movie on PBS - these were very enjoyable. I will have to try to take your advice and connect with people even though I'm very shy and this is difficult. Being easy on myself will be a challenge too.

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