Life’s Playlist… Hero by Mariah Carey

Day 6 of the 500 Word Challenge by Jeff Goins….. tell someone else’s story.

She watched her 11-year-old son, riddled with cancer, die a painful and grueling death.

I fist met her when a news report was featured on the local news channel in West Palm Beach, FL where I was living at the time.

Her child had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  The most brutal of all cancers, for a child to get the diagnosis was quite rare.

The news report told the story of a fund-raiser for the child that had been scheduled at his school.  Due to regulations, my friend had been informed two days before the event, that it would have to be cancelled.

The news unsettled me,  how this event had to be cancelled over stupid regulations added insult to injury for this family that had already seen far too many bad turns in their lives.

At the time, I was the Marketing Director for a local retail/entertainment center.  The story haunted me through the night and the next morning when I arrived at work, somehow I was able to locate the mom’s phone number and contacted her.

Within an hour she was in my office and we were planning the logistics to move the event to our center.

We hit it off right away, through the tragedy that she was enduring, we became friends.

The event came and went at our center, but our friendship sustained over time.  We kept in touch and she would give updates about her son’s condition.

About a year after our meeting, my friend’s son lost his battle with the disease.  He passed away in their family home.  His little body suffered and by the time he passed he was constantly in pain with his family suffering every moment with him.

During those painful months, my friend rode every roller-coaster of emotion imaginable never leaving her child’s side.  Since his passing she feels guilt, sorrow and a broken heart that will never mend.

Not long after her child’s death, my friend opened a retail store in the tiny town I served as a City Commissioner for.  The thrift and consignment store was opened as a charity to assist families of children suffering with cancer.

My friend had found a new mission, one that would honor her son and allow her to give back in ways that would help sustain other families dealing with the same issues she had endured.

From opening day through the years the store has been opened successes have been difficult to measure.  Financially, the store has never operated to its anticipated dream, located in the small run down shopping center of a neighborhood that was fraught with crime, drugs and prostitution, it was difficult to make a go of the mission my friend envisioned.

Featuring a wonderful selection of furniture, clothes, antiques and accessories, the store should have been a success, unfortunately the neighborhood blocked that possibility.

My friend always kept her head-up and worked towards her mission.  Through her constant grief, her vision to honor her son never wavered.

A couple of weeks ago my friend announced the store will be closing.  Her continued battle to make the store meet her vision would come to an end.

The store will close, but I know my friend….. her vision and commitment to families who are going through the unfathomable days she went through will not.

My friend is a warrior and she is guided daily by an angel that helps her put one foot in front of the other.  The store may be closing, but my friends broken-heart will go on, she will persevere, she has already done more than she will ever know and her journey continues, through pain she will continue to heal and help others in her child’s name.

 

Tis the Season…..

On November 5th, 1996 I moved to West Palm Beach, I packed up everything I owned in Atlanta shortly after the 1996 Summer Olympics in search of a new adventure…… I found it!

The past years have been the most remarkable of my life, I have made friends that changed me for the better.  I found a career that challenges and satisfies me in ways I never knew possible and I have grown up.

While I will always be a Georgia boy and God’s Country will always be my home, south Florida has proven to be the next best place I can dream of being, some would even call it …… Paradise.

When I moved to West Palm, one of the first things I learned was the term “season.”

Many of us think of “season” as Summer, Winter, Fall or Spring.  Some of us think of “season” as the days leading up to Christmas and others think of “season” a Football, Baseball or Basketball.

While all of those are perfectly fine examples of “season” what I learned when I moved to south Florida was there are only two seasons…….  Season and NOT Season.

Season for South Floridians was historically defined as the time between Thanksgiving and Easter each year.  During this time wealthy Yankees would invade the southern coastline to escape harsh northern winters.

As time has evolved, these “guests” have come to be affectionately called “snow birds.”  While no longer relegated to Yankee aristocrats, “snow birds” are usually retirees from around the country moving to the warmer weather for an active life during the winter months.

After moving to south Florida, my parents became snow birds and if my ideal plan comes true, one day I will do the same.

Season in south Florida, for those of us who live here, is the time when our days become increasingly busy.  The roads become increasingly congested and the cash registers ring.

One of the lessons new businesses learn here is the ability to save.  A south Florida business will easily do 75% of their sales during season, therefore the necessity to save for the leaner summer months become quickly evident.

While season is now more about retirees than aristocracy, there is still that element.

I got my first lesson involving season the first week I moved here.  I had secured a job with a catering company and the first event we were doing was at the home of a world-renowned attorney, one of the attorney’s who represented OJ Simpson in his murder trial.

My reality of this how the other half-lives hit me in the face when I walked into his home, through the staff entrance, to see wall to wall glass doors overlooking the infinity pool on the point of an exclusive island sandwiched between the Intracoastal and ocean.

That same year, I had my first visit to Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago with gold gilding and floor to ceiling ceramic tile walls.  Sightings of Rod Stewart and Rush Limbaugh and Regis Philbin and Matt Lauer and Celine Dion and and and…. were commonplace and Rolls-Royce sightings became nothing of note.

In addition to the positive effects season has on cash registers, the effects on charities from around the world is also dramatic. Cocktail parties, fashion shows, dinners and galas are held nightly for every possible cause; spotlighting the importance of season.

Season has changed in the years since I moved here, it is no longer relegated to the strict calendar dates of Thanksgiving to Easter.  With the busy social calendar stretching far outside those months, season officially began this year on November 1st with a number of “must attend” social engagements that night.

Now season is upon us, for the regular Joe like me it means an even busier workday and weekend and night work.  For the snow bird it is a time to relax and remain active, for the aristocrat it is a time to give back and for all of us it needs to be a time to RELAX, ENJOY and COEXIST!

Season is here, let’s make it a good one!

Short Notes – 10.7.13

Cry Baby

Grown Men Playling Little Boy Games

Breakfast

Ricky Botolino is a hero.

Georgia wins and loses BIG!

Words

IMG_3473[1]

West Palm Beach Waterfront – 10.7.13

Short Notes – 8.14.13

Aretha ’nuff said.

RIP – Jack Germond

Scott Patrick Wilson didn’t get to say good-bye to his mom.  John Goodman does.

Words

This is a POWERFUL article from the blog Single Dad Laughing.

ggg

West Palm Beach Skyline from Royal Palm Bridge 8,14.13

Short Notes – 7.30.13

U2

Excellent article on Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas as reported by Jonathan Strong for The Daily Caller.

Words to Live By

RIP Eileen Brennan

7.29

Pre-dawn walk.  West Palm Beach Waterfront Park, 7.29.13