Greetings from the Nichols Nest!
It has been a glorious spring in the Texas Hill Country – spectacular wildflowers and spring showers that are keeping our ponds full of water. We’re always glad to be hosts for the various migratory birds visiting our feeders, and the hummingbirds appeared within minutes of hanging the feeder on March 15. I must tell you this spring is most welcome after a very long and dark winter.
In September of last year, my beloved husband was diagnosed with cancer, and we entered a new season of our lives. We had conversations no one wants to have. He spent weeks in chemotherapy and underwent a long and complicated surgery, and then recovery from both. But there’s great news. That season is over, and Spring has truly come to us. The pathology after surgery was clean and so were his latest scans. We are humbled and grateful for God’s care, for compassionate and skilled physicians, and for the prayers of our family and friends – all sustaining both of us through this season that taught us much about God in the present tense.
During those months beginning last September through March of this year, we basically hibernated, giving our attention to keeping Bill well and not to expose him to “bugs.” Our doctors assured us it was a wise choice. Also, during that time, RETURN OF THE SONG and SILENT DAYS, HOLY NIGHT were released, and I edited a new book to be released this year—the second in the Rockwater Series. I missed the writing, and I’m in my happy place again as I begin writing the fourth book in the Rockwater Series.
Because you’re a newsletter subscriber, you get first peek at the cover to FREEDOM OF THE SONG. It will be released in November and will pick up with where RETURN OF THE SONG ended. You’ll get reacquainted with those characters and learn so much more about Bella and the budding relationship between Caroline and Roderick. This is book two with two more to follow in 2020.
On a different note, Bill and I just returned from our first trip in several months. We were glad to see our family in Georgia and walk under those tall pines and sit on the sun porch, sipping sweet tea. It fed our souls. One of the highlights of that trip was reconnecting with my high school Latin teacher after fifty years. It was a serendipitous flash on Facebook that I found her last year. I sent her a friend request hoping she would remember me. She did. After all, she did a year of independent study with me, and she and my English teacher hatched a plan that my senior term paper would be “A Comparison of Dante’s INFERNO with Aeneas’s Descent into Hell in THE AENEID.” My year of independent Latin study included translating the first six books of THE AENEID. Together those teachers started me on my journey of research and writing.
This social media friendship renewed the real friendship, and I was thrilled to see her again and to introduce her to Bill. After listening to our conversation, he told her, “Now I understand why Phyllis can answer all those mythology questions on Jeopardy.” I’m happy to say she’s coming to Texas so that we can continue our storytelling. Hopefully by then, I can call her Mary Lois, but in a way, she’ll always be Ms. Mayfield to me. Call a teacher. Renew a friendship from long ago. Write a note to someone you haven’t seen in a while. It will bless your heart.
Do you remember Sophia on the sitcom “Golden Girls”? She was often quotable, and I can hear her saying, “Now, picture this.” So, stay with me. Picture this.
As we ended our recent trip, we boarded our evening flight back to San Antonio. Bill was a bit more than tired. We found our seats and buckled in. I grabbed a Maeve Binchy novel from my bag, and he reached for his headphones. Twenty minutes into the flight, my seat began to shake a bit, and I could sense Bill’s movement. I turned to look at him. This man’s eyes were closed, but he was smiling. His arms were flailing like he was the drummer in a rock bank, and his feet and legs were moving to the rhythm of something I couldn’t hear. Now this man is gifted, but not necessarily with rhythm. So, this was truly out of the ordinary. You’ve heard the song, “Dancing in the Street.” Well, he was dancing in his seat – Seat 12C on Delta Flight 1653. Those around us were watching him too, probably thinking that he was a bit odd, but perhaps slightly jealous they weren’t so free and happy. I watched until I feared for the flight attendant’s safety dodging his elbows as he was jiving and jamming to something nobody else could hear. He was quite the spectacle. Oh, how I wished I had grabbed my phone to capture that moment.
I finally tapped him on the shoulder. He looked surprised and removed his headphones and told me he was listening to Larnelle Harris singing “O Happy Day.” That would make anybody dance in the street or in an airplane seat. It was a beautiful moment for me to see Bill so vibrant and lost in the music after a long, cold winter.
I hope wherever you find yourself today that you’ll lose yourself in something that brings you joy, and jiving and jamming to happy music, maybe music that only you can hear. Remember as Roderick said to Caroline, “Music . . . when words aren’t enough.”