Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My friend, Kinipela





Because it was this time of year
I will tell this story here...
an anniversary thank you
to the woman I met on a Thanksgiving night
five years ago...

Around my neck, I wear two pendants
one is a paddle and one reads
Kinipela,
(the other side of that, "sixasone")
they are my most prized possessions
and I am seldom seen without them!

On a beautiful patio belonging
to my favorite people,
we are gathered with collected food,
to talk and drink...
and give thanks
it's a long table of sixteen,
overlooking the darkened
and illuminated lake,
most of us, are artists and a few neighbors,
and some others I don't know...
it's a time of transisiton for me
having lost access to my partner
and kids,
I am just glad to be somewhere...
anywhere with smart, witty, clever people.

Coming at me in long strides
is a woman over dressed for the occassion
(not to mention Havasu)
she's tall and blonde gorgeous,
in all black,
with a thick "foo foo" waist slinging
kind of belt,
fur something around her shoulders,
more "foo foo" hanging from her ears...
and around her neck...
(okay, lets face it, she was "foo foo" everything)
stunning, really,
but I admit, I judged
and thought, "Who is this bimbo?"
Little, did I know then,
this bimbo?
was destined to be my dearest friend!

Jennifer sat across from me
with her husband, it was their anniversary!
And was the sweetest, most engaging
creature I had ever met!
I was instantly crazy about her!

We had just started paddling and were newly
excited about the sport,
she expressed an interest,
promising to come the next day
I doubted it..."SHE, wasn't the type"
Judging again!

Yet, there she was on the beach
and every morning after that,
for the next three years.

Then there were four others
and we became "Sixasone"
falling in love with one another
and the sport,
we won medals and were inseparable,
Jennifer, the wonder glue
we came together for her,
as an assignment, a predetermined destiny...
an agreement
because she was going to NEED us...
because... she had cancer...!

In that short time,
she gave me, US,
the friendship of a lifetime
our happy golden retriever type
she was my confidante and inspiration,
so unbelievably brave...
I would have walked to the ends
of the planet for her and back...

The last time I saw her
it was a "sixasone moment"
all together, last January
helping her take down the
Christmas decorations
in her house, she was weak...
it had an ominous sentiment of
finality to it...
but I was in denial,
had to be...we all were!

That day we felt like "us" again,
funny, together playful
Sixasone, she said...
"until I look in the mirror and remember"
she concluded!

The bracelets that we wore with
our theme song of U2s, "Its a beautiful day"
inscribed on it, didn't feel right to her
with her frail wrists
so we traded, mine for hers, hers for mine,
and I had to choke back the emotion..
it was significant,

and it was...
I never saw her again.

Now I also wear her paddle
and her name in Hawaiian
...Kinipela.
What I wouldn't give to be able to call
her as I always did...
and hear her say "hi, my friend!

Happy friendship anniversary, Jen!
I miss you more everyday!

Pam Piper Rain


2 comments:

Laura.Theimer said...

Ironic, and not, that I come to your site to check in after leaving a gardening site that has beautiful memorial stones and benches - the verses touch me - so poignant on this peaceful snow covered Sunday morn in Flagstaff... we are ones who mark anniversaries of all kinds and fashion memorials in words, in action, in cloth, in stone... I have a silver charm given me some 33 years ago - CCS - Crazy Capricorn Society - Hubbard has lived a life I cannot imagine, has fought battles that would have left me buckled on my knees - she lives with one full lung and a partial second today - we turn 60 in January - I wear the Madonna charm that was my sisters - have worn it now every day since she passed away in June of 1997 - I am her sons godmother as well as his aunt and this small charm reminds me of that vow I made and have held sacred also for over 30 years - there is the quilt panel I made for John and dedicated into the NAMES Project in Colorado Springs in 1996 and within the first few months after moving to Flagstaff in 1999, I was blessed to see it as part of the whole - it was almost harder to fold it up and give it away the second time than it was the first -a piece of cloth filled with so much love - and the names of so many more now gone... the memorial prayer bench erected for my sister that now cradles two bronze plaques - mom has joined this resting place at the Abbey of St. Wallburga... partners gone, loved ones transitioned - still life calls to us - invites us out again.

Thank you, Pam, for your inspiration and your dedication to your journey. I have sent your two cards "Why" and "It's Time" to my brother-in-law and his companion in the last few months to ease more loses they have endured - they tell me how your words touch them. Ed has always been a champion of my writing and now he, too, is becoming a fan of yours.

In gratitude

Creager Studios said...

Sweet Memories Pam...of a sweet girl... enough to last you two lifetimes ...in the end...memories and small treasures are all that really matter in our lives...I love the simplicity of it all ...Jennifer rests forever in your heart Pam... and what you had is the true meaning of friendship..
Much Love
Jodi