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Back from Los Angeles

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

Hi, Ed here.

One of the most pleasing parts for me on the motorcycle trip was knowing some of you were riding along with me. A lot of you fellow travelers told me you were reading the narrative I posted along the way. So I figure why stop just because the bike is currently (mostly) put away for the winter. The journey continues, right?

Here are my latest entries.

Mark and Mary...

I just returned from Los Angeles where I had the sad opportunity to be part of my brother-in-law’s funeral. Andy was Sharon’s brother. He was a renowned endocrinologist who changed how diabetes care is done worldwide. I was touched by the stories of his patients. Two of the people who most inspired me were not patients, family, or friends. They were caretakers of Andy during his last couple of months. Mark and Mary (they are not related) do the hard work of caring for people who are not able to care for themselves. These two people embodied what it means to be selfless, compassionate, tough, thoughtful, kind, purposeful, you name it. They have only known Andy for these two months and yet they took off work for the day (not paid) to show their respects. They stayed for the funeral and long into the night to make sure everyone else was doing okay. 

More about Mary...

I have two specific memories of Mary that confirmed to me the most important lessons in life can show up any time. When we least expect. I hope the first one makes you smile. When I was out visiting Andy last month, I commented to Mary that there was no bread in the house. I was mostly just sharing how much I love bread. I wasn’t complaining, honest! Certainly I had it within my power to go out and buy some. It was just conversation. When Mary showed up the next morning for her 14-hour shift (yes, 14 hours), she handed me a package of onion rolls she had purchased for me. She remembered our conversation and brought me one of the best gifts ever. The second Mary story was a moment of surprising intimacy. Andy, Mary, and I were seated at his dining room table. It was probably around 8pm. Andy began talking about how he knew this was it for him. How he knew he had only months or even weeks remaining. At first it was an awkward moment. What do you say to a hard truth? To the hardest truth? I was touched by Mary’s ability to be part of that conversation. I learned about grace and strength from her. 


When I left LA, I traveled south to San Diego to meet up with Terri who was there on a work gig. On the way I stopped for lunch in Newport Beach and happened to sit at a table behind four friends (I think they were friends) out for lunch. They were older men, I’d guess retired. I decided to eavesdrop. Most of their talk was normal stuff until they dove into a political debate. It got pretty heated as one of the four was clearly in a different camp from the other three. I respected their ability to have the conversation few of us are able to have right now. The discussion began kind of quiet and thoughtful but it didn’t take long for things to get personal. I noticed the man who was most at odds with the others left before the other three. It’s possible he had an appointment to get to but I wondered if it was a sign of the difficult place we all find ourselves these days. Still, I respected that they at least sat there and dove in. Tried to listen even if they didn’t know how. 

Cheerios and joy...

Okay, here’s one about my youngest granddaughter, Maisie. Last week I had a “G” day with Maisie and her sister Shara. “G” is what Shara calls me and when I watch them for a day it is therefore a “G” day. On this particular morning I decided to introduce Maisie to Cheerios. I sprinkled a few on her tray. She was hesitant at first. They looked similar to the chick peas she’d already turned down. Then she picked up a Cheerio and tasted it. Her eyes lit up. Discovery and joy in one bite! Maisie then proved her dexterity by switching between her right and left hands to pick the tray clean of the toasted round treats. It struck me that this was a rare kind of joy. One that we lose too quickly. How often do we experience something we truly have no context for. The older we get the more we know and even joyful experiences come with expectations. Imagine if we could remain innocent about something and experience discovery the way Maisie did that morning. I’m down for that. 

Finding love…

I was in a discussion the other day with someone who had discovered love later in life. The man she was in love with was in the same boat. He was even older than she and it was just wonderful that he found someone after decades of being alone. That last part is important to this story because their happiness was tempered by the treatment she received from a few of his old friends. They made it clear to her that they did not approve of the relationship and their actions were hurtful and – if you ask me – incredibly immature. I was able to witness some of the behaviors and it made me sad and even angry. That these people couldn’t simply be happy for their friend. What’s more, I noticed the man didn’t exactly stand up for this women who he loved. Huh. I will leave it at that. 

My Request:

I'd love to hear an example of when you experienced a rare kind of joy. Thanks!

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