Friends are Flowers in the Garden of Life

Thursday, July 17, 2014

While it appears from following my blog that I am constantly on the go searching for fun and interesting places to share.....some days I need only look out my window to find beauty.  Specifically, I need only look across the street at my neighbor's pristine yard that is brimming with life, color and serenity.  How lucky I am to have such a view!  I'm also fortunate that I get to meander through her yard capturing it in photos.


My neighbor, Judy, is not just a gal who lives across the street.  Judy has been a dear friend for 19 years, since we first moved into our development.  But before that, Judy taught both of our daughters third grade.  We knew then that Judy was special.  I remember sitting through my oldest daughter's first open house, listening to the curriculum and plans for the academic year feeling a sense of wonderment.  My husband was so impressed, he asked if he could 'sit-in' as a third grade student.  Judy made third grade challenging and rewarding and encouraged each and every student to find and "be" their best.  So it's no surprise that when I came to know this award-winning teacher as a neighbor and friend, her sense of excellence, determination and perfection extended far beyond her classroom and students.  I could tell you how she rakes and handpicks thousands of acorns from her lawn, or how she weeds and trims and mows until her yard looks like something from House & Garden, but as anyone who knows her would want to tell you, it is not the perfectionist Judy, but the compassionate Judy that we all love.


Throughout our history as neighbors, we've had a wonderful give and take arrangement.....even if the scale is somewhat imbalanced.  I've definitely received more than I've given. We've gotten each others' mail, taken out trash, typical neighborly favors.  When we had our dog, Judy was always ready and willing to walk Bailey if we were gone for the day and nowadays she braves our attack cat when we are away.  I have a sense of peace knowing I can always count on Judy - for wisdom, advice, neighborhood news, but the thing I'll never forget is her support during a near tragedy in our family.


As most of you know, our son-in-law had a very serious, life-threatening rollerblading accident just six months after he married our daughter.  It was touch and go for a while as Eric had a serious brain injury, fractured skull, and ruptured eardrum.  The week Eric was in Albany Med I would spend the days there with Laura while John worked.  Each night when we'd return home from a long and emotional day, there waiting for us on the stove would be a hot meal that Judy had prepared and left for us.  If you've ever been through such a stressful and trying time, you understand what a huge gift and blessing it was to come home to a hot, healthy meal.  That's the kind of person Judy is.......not just towards us, but for anyone who is lucky enough to be part of her life.


On my daughter's wedding day while trying to steam her veil, I accidentally burned some holes in it.  It was Judy who raced over with her sewing appliques in hand and helped me sew appliques over my disaster - 10 minutes before Laura had to leave for her hair appointment.  If it seems like Judy is always there for me - she is!

Judy raised four sons - all wonderful and accomplished men.  She married the love of her life and made a wonderful life with her best friend and sweetheart until he passed away almost three years ago.  Even after losing her soulmate, Judy eventually drew from her bottomless reserve and rose from her grief to continue to enjoy the life we aspire to model.  Although retired from elementary teaching, Judy is a Clinical Adjunct, Associate Professor at Union College, attends the gym daily where she's the Kettle Bell Queen, and arranges monthly educational speakers for the Silver Sneakers group.  The list goes on, but I'm sure by now she's already feeling embarrassed to be the subject of this post.

I can't tell you everything I've come to appreciate and respect about Judy, but I can tell you this.  I am blessed to be able to have Judy in my life and lucky to know I can count on her in immeasurable ways.  I am blessed that she is willing to share her wisdom, her time and her heart with me and when you look at these specimens from her yard - look at them knowing that all the beauty that you see pales in comparison to the beauty that lives in the heart of this amazing lady.  Judy....we love you and we strive to be half what you have accomplished!




Memorial Garden in memory of Larry






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5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Friends are Flowers in the Garden of Life”

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for recognizing what a special person my sister is - what a beautiful testimonial!

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    2. You are most welcome. As her sister you know she's all of this and so much more!

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    3. Thank you for recognizing what a special person my sister is - what a beautiful testimonial!

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    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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