My parents have been working as missionaries in Honduras for the past 12 years now and while it’s a noble cause, it’s left me feeling a bit ‘motherless’. I mean… I have a mother but I can’t call her in the middle of the night when I think I have the flu, or expect chocolate from her on Easter. It was around the time I left college that Lynn Lasher adopted me as her 4th. I could go on and on, listing the countless things she has done for me, how she made it possible for me to release a full length album and tour with one of my favorite performers… how she put me through dance classes, how she’s taken care of me, welcomed me into her home time after time… but one (simple) thing stands out to me. While spending last 4th of July at the Lasher house, I casually mentioned how much I enjoyed sparklers as a kid. To this Lynn instructed us to pile in the car where she proceeded to drive (over an hour) outside of Houston looking for a firecracker stand.While firecrackers are becoming more and more illegal, it was no easy feat but Lynn refused to turn around until we found a stand. Later that night we laughed and carved our initials into the air with our 4th of July sparklers. It was a simple gesture but it made me feel like someone’s kid again… and that was the best feeling in the world.
My memory is of feeling that I really didn’t have much purpose to my life, and then I discovered USA Cares and began volunteering on Operation Lap Wrap. I now work part-time for the organization and I look forward to coming to work because I really believe in their mission to help Post 9/11 veterans and their families. Seeing the good that they do puts new meaning to my life. I have had many jobs, but I have never worked with or for people like the staff at USA Cares. They truly live up to their mission of giving “a hand up not a hand out”!
When I think of simple, I think of summer. I met her while balancing on the cusp between a carefree summer and a changing fall, and she left in the same fashion. Our friendship was like a summer breeze: the kind that allows kites to playfully hover over our heads, that tousles our hair to just the right degree of messiness, that touches our skin for a brief moment, but assures the lasting memories of its warmth.
I was introduced to the new girl in seventh grade history class. Like typical preteens, my friends and I gossiped and giggled and completely overlooked the unfamiliar face at the desk next to mine. But when we were assigned our first project of the school year, the new face immediately turned to me and we became partners. We got an A+ on the project, a sure sign that our ‘partnership’ wouldn’t end with a silly story about Alexander Hamilton.
Macie had moved from California to live with her dad. She used the craziest slang and told stories about herself that were much too eccentric for a twelve-year-old. Even as she would share them, I knew they were only half true, but I always let her think that I believed every word. We would spend our days singing karaoke and writing songs in my basement or riding our bikes and going on adventures in our neighborhood. Macie was simply fearless. She still is. She pushed me to let go of my insecurities and fears and reminded me how nothing really had to be that complicated. Her life wasn’t perfect, but she did what she had to do without a single complaint. With Macie, everything was simple as we snatched every bit of the fragments that remained of our childhoods.
Macie and I were practically glued at the hip for those two years before she moved back to California. I think of her often and remember the foolishness, the boldness, and the belief that we could someday touch the sky. I recall the times when obstacles were petty particles of dirt on the windows through which we could see or feel or even grab our goals. We could do anything.
To the roller blading, the school night sleepovers, the exchange of funny notes and drawings while we scurried past each other in the halls; to the stories, the escapades, the sudden ‘I AM AWESOME’ or ‘LEAH IS AWESOME’ outbursts; to the songs, the summers, and to seeing you again someday. To the simple things.
To PFC Morales, please be safe in Okinawa. I love you and I couldn’t be more proud.
In the interest of full disclosure I am tied-in to this cause and campaign and so I will not be considered for any gift card prizes. I’m simply writing because I believe in this cause and those who give so much on behalf of all of us… and because the concept…the notion that you can reach out to people and encourage them to encourage others to use this forum is something special. We DO touch each others lives everyday…sometimes for the worse, but mostly, we rise to the occasion of our “everydays” and we make lives better for people we know and love…and total strangers too.
I would need a thousand letters to give those who matter most their due. For me, family is beyond special in this regard. They are with me in my best moments, and they have picked me up from the ground and dusted me off in the worst of times. I’m talking flat on my ass moments when I thought concrete had become an extension of it. I have a few friends like that too., but I’ve spent most of my life in the entertainment industry…and I’m still in it…and sadly, the transient nature of “industry friendships” is a reality. This letter does not apply to them, but they do inspire me to continue being the best mentor and friend I can be to others…and so I guess I am oddly enough, grateful for the “transient friends too.
This letter is supposed to be about a particular recollection, or maybe a few. Okay, so I changed it up a little. The important thing is telling “the world” that people who touch your lives for the better matters to you. Tell them, show them, reciprocate. Share your letters with others by sharing this forum with others. Encourage them to donate and honor. Goodness trumps nasty and cynical and negative everytime. My simple things are my everything. I am a shell without them. I’ll bet you feel that way too.
After a long, hard year of school: science projects, practices, rehearsals, games, school plays, and finals…it was finally here - summer! Only, it wasn’t official until we had our annual summer pie fight. It was something my mom cooked up so that we could get our “payback” on her for “making” us go to school all year. When we flung open the backdoor and threw our backpacks down, we were welcomed with a row of pies on the kitchen counter…covered with whip cream. Each had a single letter on it that, in total, spelled out summer. We would throw on our bathing suits, hop in the car, and drive to my grandparents house; they had a big back yard and the most inviting blue swimming pool you could imagine. My brother, sister, and I would line up on one side of the lawn with my mom on the other side. 1…2…3… GO! We charged and whip cream flew. I remember the sounds of the high-pitched screams and the laughter. We were covered head to toe with whip cream and flecks of the freshly-cut grass. When it was all said and done, we would all canon ball into the pool and settle in for the summer. It is such a happy memory for me; and a tradition I hope to pass along to my children. I want to thank my mom for giving me a million happy memories just like this one.