Friday, April 24, 2015

I grew this crystal in sixth grade. It was a subsequent attempt of failed experiments. We were assigned to make a super saturated solution of alum, place it in a jar, tie a string to a pencil, and lay the pencil across the top of the jar so the string is suspended in the solution. The key was to not move the jar. It needed to be completely still for the crystal to form.
I did everything as instructed, except keeping my little hands off the jar. Every day after school I searched the jar for my precious crystal, only to be disappointed. I tried again and again. Other kids brought their crystals to school. Jealousy raged. Mom eventually threw out the solutions and that was that.
I wanted to try it one more time. I again followed all of the instructions to a tee, except this time I added blue food coloring. I decided to take the jar downstairs to the fruit cellar and place it on a shelf.
Time went on and I forgot about the experiment. Months went by. Then one day Mom sent me down to the fruit cellar to bring up a jar of tomatoes, my eyes couldn't believe what I saw. This large blue crystal lay in the bottom of the jar. Larger than any crystal grown by my classmates.
Who would know 50 years later my grandsons would play with this same crystal? Who would know it would inspire their mother the help them grow blue crystals? Who would know she would try to grow a larger one by super, super, super saturating a solution only to create a pan caked with crystals?
When I was 12, I wasn't thinking about keeping this crystal all my life. I wasn't thinking about it as a success after failure. My only thought was is was precious to me and placed it in my jewelry box.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tell Judy I Love Her

He came to me as a voice in my ear. It was just a voice, not a dream. There was no story or context. Just a voice. Tell Judy I love her.

Fourteen months after we moved to Colorado, our next door neighbor passed away quite suddenly. He was the person I chatted with early in the morning. The one person I could say more than a passing hello to. Norm had strong opinions about things that he thought were divisive, and tore people apart.

He spent most of his days in his yard, trimming, mowing, planting. He pointed out that one of our bushes was more like a weed than anything and was crowding out a more desirable bush. It should come out. I cut it back to the ground, but never got around to digging it out. It grew back. One morning I returned from my walk to find Norm digging out the offending bush. I grabbed my shovel and started working with him. We dug and pulled and dug and pulled for a good hour before the bush surrendered to our efforts.

When he wasn't working in his yard, he was biking. For his 80th birthday, he biked 82 miles in the mountains. I was amazed by his strength.

Then he was gone. His widow, Judy, held a lovely memorial service. There were so many stories about Norm. He befriended people easily.

Why then eight months later was he in my ear? When I was fully awake, I knew I had to share this with Judy. I went next door only to find she was out of town for several days.

I waited anxiously for her return. I had a message for her.

When I finally had the chance to share the message, I told her Norm did not say to tell her he loved her. No. He said, "Tell Judy I love her."

She was touched by the message. She said she believed that some people were conduits from the other side. I told her I had had a few experiences such as this, but this my first message. We chatted more about it when she said tearfully that Norm had passed so suddenly that he hadn't told her he loved her at the end. She felt badly about it.

I replied that he must have regretted it, too.

Tell Judy I love her.