Saturday, December 3, 2011


Not long ago I purchased a laptop desk after hearing from friends and reading in the paper that extended use of a laptop computer as the namesake suggests on one’s lap can possibly cause infertility. Being tethered to my MacBook Air for more hours in a day than I care to admit, it seemed like a smart preventative investment. Preservation of unborn children has been on my mind lately.

A crazy man stands firm in the middle of a busy four-lane thoroughfare in an industrious area near my home. Wielding dolls that look straight out of a Chucky movie, and grotesque picture signs of lifeless fetuses while dodging cars and trucks that almost seem to speed up as they near him, the man finds time to wave at passersby. I don’t know his name, but for at least a decade, the time I’ve lived here, he’s furiously waved his signs and dolls in an effort to get expecting moms to think twice about having an abortion. If you live in Columbia, South Carolina long enough you too will get the shock treatment.

On 60 Minutes recently Scott Pelley interviewed a homeless Florida family living in a van. What was more striking than the picture of Pelley, an upper middle class income earner to put it modestly sympathetically interviewing a poor homeless family, was the nature of the children. Calm and resolute, the children stood as reflections of their parents, the words whispered from their mouths could’ve easily come from mom or dad, like a circus maze mirror, distort the size of their parents and you’d get the children. As brother and sister stood side-by-side extolling the benefits of the simple life their parents proudly looked on like a young couple would at their son or daughter’s first soccer game.

Over craft beers with a friend last night at a local pub, by the way that’s what people do in their thirties, they drink craft beers at pubs instead of buds at dive bars, a woman caught my attention. Tall with dark hair that curled off her head ever so slightly falling in her firm-as-can-be snow white face, no smile or smirk evident, like she hadn’t grinned in her lifetime she beamed of natural beauty. You know the kind of beauty where makeup isn’t needed, and just about anything she wears looks like her go-to best outfit? That’s the kind of beauty this woman had.

As she floated across the floor she glanced at me, blatantly catching my eyes fixated on her, headed somewhere intentionally, or maybe just to stretch those long legs, she went gracefully through the cluttered beer boasters and chatty girls with their cell phones and gossip. I turned around, surely there was a clock above my head, or maybe a window beside me, something that would call her attention to where I was sitting, or was she looking at me? Minutes passed, lost in conversation I’d almost forgot about the whole thing, when she appeared a second time. She navigated the swelling crowd eyes meeting mine, body moving effortlessly. I stopped to take the scene in and as my eyes froze on her, she reciprocated, just to walk out of the bar never to be seen again.

My mom told me, some years back, that I was to have an older sister, her name was to be Jean Vee Ev, which I guess means Genevieve in French. What a beautiful name I told her, my mom smiled and nodded. Jean Vee Ev was never born, but her ghost still visits often.

Colton, the young boy profiled in the bestseller Heaven is for Real, a tale about visiting the other side, was interviewed not too long ago on TV about meeting his miscarried sister, which made me feel better about thinking of Jean Vee Ev from time to time.

I wonder if you asked a healthy happy ten year old girl how she felt about the zealotus doll waver if her mom had decided to have her after being accosted by one of the very signs the man waves so vehemently. Would she not thank him for her life? If all of this insanity led to her safe arrival, in a crazy ass way is this not the best thing that ever happened to her?

Would the homeless jobless parents give their children up if they could? It surely doesn't seem to be the case. Would they take their children back if they could, just to save them from suffering a fate most children could never imagine after hearing the humility and wisdom in their young voices on TV? It seems as if in their own way, van and all, they’re doing well enough, and are thankful enough for their children to not take anything back.

The woman in the pub, she made me think of Jean Vee Ev, dark haired and stoic like her mom, would she have been happy to live life on this earth? To endure the ups and downs of life for a chance to make a difference in another life? Unsettled and out of place in that pub, ready for things far more important than a martini to come her way, she walked out the door assured that the next day she’d get to her volunteer gig at the shelter earlier. Surely like my mother she’d be a difference maker, a world saver, wouldn’t she? Some days I can only wonder.

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