It is a beautiful day here today, that is by South Dakota winter standards. The sun is shining very brightly. It is 7 degrees. I am acclimating I suppose because it doesn't feel that cold to me today. Our former home, Cromwell Connecticut is getting more snow today. I don't know if they have off school as Connecticut has lots of snow equipment so they are not fast to cancel things.
Today is also my granddaughter Iliana's 9th birthday. She is in Cromwell. I wish I were in Cromwell. Rarely do I get to see my grandchildren. I've never celebrated a birthday with Iliana. She is a delicate looking child with the most engaging smile. She reminds me of her mother when she was young. She is a middle child in her family with all the characteristics that make up a middle child.
I was their Nana-sitter for a couple of week a several summers ago. I loved being with them. I sometimes wonder if they will have much concept of their Nana since they never see me. So today, I am not homesick for Tennessee but homesick for Connecticut.
The other day I was thinking about Connecticut. I have a very dear and special friend in Connecticut. She quite advanced in years. She is the sister of Normal Lear the producer and probably some of the inspiration for his hit television show "All in the Family." There is so much I can say about my friend Claire. Every one should know someone like Claire. I am so blessed that I have known her.
When I was working as the Director of the Newington (CT) Senior and Disabled Center, she was a member. She decided to put on a fundraiser for the facility. In fact we did two. I had a lead role in both of them. Oh, that was so much fun! And WORK!
The theme of the first one was "Connecticut Welcomes You!" A friend of hers named Libby Richmond had written a song she wanted to be the state song. It never was but Claire also would never give up promoting the song. Good friends are like that, they never give up on you or your dreams.
The lyrics were:
Oh the state of Connecticut, the state of Connecticut
Where people greet you with a smile and everyone is so in style
Connecticut WELCOMES YOU!
I wish you could have been to those fundraisers. They were FUN! Laughter, music, and good people. The second one was like as the first -- FUN! I was the seamstress in The Gypsy Steals The Maid, an original mystery dinner theater play written by the late Kenneth Larsen.
I remember moving to Connecticut - Connecticut did welcome us. People did greet me with a smile. I was telling someone yesterday that in Connecticut if you sneeze in the grocery store, perfect strangers will say God Bless You. Here, I don't think they even say bless you to their friends. Here in the grocery store, I rarely hear an excuse me or see a smile of acknowledgement.
You don't think of Connecticut as particularly "Christian." To me the "least" Christian place I've lived had this characteristic the most. I find myself humming an odd little church handshake ditty from my childhood:
There's a welcome here, there's a welcome here, there's a Christian welcome here!
There is something about being welcomed. There is something about someone opening up a piece of their world and their life to you. This week I am seeing a very slight glimmer of life opening up to me.
Maybe it is because spring is around the corner - maybe it is because I am more open to life. I just know today with the sun shining. Even though I'd rather not be here today or tomorrow, I feel a slight bit of hope for tomorrow.
I may never feel welcome in South Dakota but I am beginning to welcome South Dakota in my life, slowly, tentatively. That is all I can do.