Sunday, February 14, 2010

Project Pinwheels with Love

After an evening of pinwheel assembly
thanks to my wondrous friends,
(their assembly line
process actually was more efficient
when I stayed out of it! hmmm?)

Then a late night... thinking
what I would say
to any and all who would gather
for this event
how to honor what I have
learned from her life, how to appreciate!
And how honest should I be?

Then it is Saturday morning,
the day of Paddles and Pinwheels
and I feel terrified,
terrified that I actually pulled this off
and people might show up and
I have to continue to make it happen
yikes...what if I just stay in bed instead?

So tired, so many late nights,
so many pinwheels
so much OTT!
But the sunrise makes me crank up
U2's "Its a Beautiful day"
(our first year of paddling theme song!)
The silver of blue I can see from my house
is calm and beyond perfect in
its glinting invitation and wonder!

Here we go!
Like an All Star athlete I make sure
my ritualistic paddle wear is in place
my Santa Barbara purple Survivor bandanna
(from Jen's 2008 promised Rig Run)
always worn on left arm as solidarity
for her and Kuba!
Celebrate the Temporary shirt on,
complete with glittered added heart!
(Carolyn's contribution to the OTT!)
The Maori necklace for protection
on the water
(a SB gift from Jen!)
Wild Wear Pinwheel Bobble Bands
and the right underwear?...wait
No, nix that, just paddle pants!

At the beach...
such warm greetings from smiling friends
old and new, helping in any way they can,
so many people showing up including a
team from Tempe AZ,
we actually run out of OC-6 seats
There are pinwheels everywhere
on hats, kayaks, four on each Outrigger canoe,
it is a stunning sight!

Okay, don't cry...
And there is my other beautiful, strong,
cancer fighting friend, Kuba, just back
from the Mayo in Phoenix...
okay, don't cry some more
got to get through this...
speech or not?...not sure I want Kuba
to hear what I have to say
too close to home...
but I attempt it!
Standing on the wall
knees shaking uncontrollablly
voice wavering,
its a surprise I don't fall off
or cry...I say

I am so humbled and appreciative of your

participation in this event, one so near and dear to my heart!

One inspired by the life and loss of

my best friend and teammate Jennifer Andrews!

She became a champion athlete late in life

and no one was more surprised than she!

Joining up with five others to be like the Jamaican bobsled team, doing

an unlikely sport at an unlikely age in an unlikely place.

She was a mother, grandmother, artist funny, spunky,

sparkly and sassy! A vibrant passing light!

She loved this sport more than anything except maybe Holidays!

Easter and Pinwheels a particular favorite.

After long trips to chemo we would encourage her

with gardens of pinwheels!

I talked to Jen daily, sometimes four and five times

and never dreamed she wouldn't beat it

and that I would be without her friendship!

So no one was more stunned than I, when she didn’t!

It unraveled me and I didn’t want to live, and one night in April,

I almost didn’t and while I got in a lot of trouble that night,

it also saved my life!

Some where along the way I decided I needed to live, and REALLY live,

to be wild and passionate about everything in her honor

cause Jen didn’t have that choice and hers is a story, I am commited to tell!

Cancer sucks! But if we learn to live better because of has a purpose!

And those who have crossed over and fought the great fight, have given us

the invaluable gift of thier lives and a lesson to always

celebrate the temporary.

Life is a ride, and as often as possible we must find moments that require a shouted out... WHEE...holding on and seeing where this

amazing ride might take us!

Cause its all we really have...

So lets paddle and have a blast! Thank you!

Minutes later, I am in the boat

sitting seat one...headed into

the channel

trying to get my brain around a

seven mile race I haven't even

thought about

due to pinwheels on the brain

so not ready...yikes!

not warmed up, forgot water

pinwheels bobbles, still, on my head,

can I even paddle with

these on?

Takes a bit not to knock them

off during the changes

but decide I love the spinning sound

and their shadow

on the canoes surface!

Should consider wearing them

for every race!

I feel her everywhere and smile a lot

despite the fatigue and

lack of drinking water!!

We fight it out with Tempe for third place!

but can't beat them.

No is a beautiful day

so many happy people on the water

and on shore!

Coming into the finish line with the

other boats bobbing and waiting

for us, we ride up over the front

of the winner's canoe

and nearly flip over...

"okay, Jen is that you?

messing with me...cause YOU know

how much I hate a huli?

Always, the funny girl...

Hope you know

this one was for you,

my friend...

know that you are missed

and oh, so celebrated,

loving you in the wind, Jen!"

Now about next year....

more pinwheels

custom made ones, t shirts and lots

of Pinwheel Bobble Bands and what about...

those gingerbread cookies and ....

Pam Piper Rain

For more pics of Paddles and Pinwheels

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