16 More Days!

Jonathon and I were out and about today when a gentleman of some seniority, or my age, called out to us, ’16 more days,’ and we shook our head vigorously to signify our mutual agreement…to what we did not readily understand… Probably because the Announcer could see the blank look in our eyes as we purposefully agreed with him, when he said that in 16 days we would witness the first day of spring. We were relieved that we had not agreed to indiscretion or insurrection. It is another lovely day in Little Egypt. The remembrance of the 9 or 10 inches of snow that we received 2 weeks ago…is growing dim. I walked 15 thousand steps yesterday. Five thousand more than my daily goal…much of them occurring while I waited for our new daybed to be delivered. Some days are just better days for walking than others.

As regarding our 2020/2021 Pandemic…we are not out of the woods yet…but we have turned a significant corner toward our new normal. There is a bit of a lightness of being that permeates the air and inspires the heart of our human family who has been afraid and secluded for so long. President Biden says that there will be enough vaccine for every adult in the United States by the end of May. Facebook shows me, and millions of other users, memories from postings that occurred in years gone by. I had a Facebook memory that was a photo of a spring blooming tree on the campus of Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale…4 years ago. The blooms were a brilliant pink and rose and it dawned on me our trees in Southern Illinois are blooming later in the year than they once did.

Jonathon found some of our many old photos and shared them with MJ and I. There was Aaron and Jonathon as little kids and me with coal black hair and a ‘Tom Selleck full Mustache!’ I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready of whatever life threw at me! At the time of the photo I was the assistant superintendent of Building Services at the University and I had a lot of responsibility and little authority….which creates an abundance of stress. I wanted a nicer and a larger home for MJ and our boys. I desired to make a difference for the School that had been so good to me.

My friend and the former University Chancellor, Dr. Jo Ann Argersinger, said that she had observed that I was constantly endeavoring to make Building Services better. She also said, in a recommendation letter for me…that. ‘Jay has created a house for all peoples.’ I was so touched by her kind words and I wondered how she understood my primary mission as a manager/administrator for the Housekeeping department. Academics speak of full immersion in their discipline…this was my practice for my entire 32 year and 2 months and 3 week career at SIUC. I wanted to be a part of the enrollment and retention solution that plagued our campus;. I loved being a kitchen cabinet member of both chancellors and president of the University. Money was never my driving motivator… Loyalty to the institution that had given me so much and speaking truth to power and having them value my input…was a great motivator for my success and satisfaction during my career.

Twenty years now you will look back on the Kodachrome of your life in 2021 and remember almost only good times. That is the manner in which we humans memories function. We forget the sour and remember the sweet. The sweet is all around you…take a taste…

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