Is it just me or is everyone confused about all the days of awareness and causes on the calendar? Does it seem like every day of the month is a day of “something”? It’s really hard to keep track of them all and more are added every year.
I chose March Memories for the topic of this month’s blog because a few of the ‘awareness’ days in March captured my attention and brought back several great memories.
The first one was National Pig Day (March 1st) – I’m not sure why we have a holiday for this but, nonetheless, it meant something to me as we owned a pig named Romeo. He eventually got so big that we had to take him to a pig rescue farm. Romeo did not need to be rescued; he needed to be removed from Gladys who was feeding him like a Latina grandma – too much! He also needed to be with other pigs. We researched farms and found a great one in Gainesville, Florida called Rooterville, A Sanctuary – an all vegan rescue farm run by Elaine West.
On March 2nd, my team and I ventured out to visit Elaine and, of course, our Romeo. We visited with the 300 other pigs and a few miniature horses, cows, goats, roosters, ducks, cats, dogs, etc. that had found their way to Elaine from all across the country. We learned how this amazing place came to exist and what her plans were for the future of the sanctuary and these animals. Elaine is a saint in our book; she loves every one of these animals, knows all of their names and individual personalities. She has never taken a paycheck – Rooterville is her labor of love. My daughter Sophie came with us, as she was the one who begged me to get Romeo in the first place – I was weak because she was leaving to go to college and I thought the pig would keep her coming back to visit often. Romeo loved her so much and even after two years apart, he came running to her when he heard her voice. It was quite the reunion.
The next day that caught my attention was March 7th, International Pancake Day – and who doesn’t love pancakes? Everyone who knows me knows that I am addicted to pancakes and the “houses” that make them: International House of Pancakes and the Original Pancake House.
Growing up, my dad would get up every Sunday and make us pancakes and crispy bacon. I remember the smell permeating the house and, in that moment, all I could think about was that syrupy mess all over the plate and my fingers.
It also brings me memories of two other very special people in my life, Chris, a waitress at the IHOP in Stamford CT and Jack, my father-in-law (who has since passed).
I met Chris when I first moved to CT and my twins were babies (they are 21 now). Chris was just a breath of fresh air and always had a smile on her face. She greeted everyone with her heavy Irish accent and she made sure that she remembered what you liked and exactly how you liked it. I just loved her. I would only sit at her station, even if it meant waiting a long time on the weekends. I went there often with many different friends through the years. Always greeted the same way – full of life, and even though she was not a young lady, she never complained.
Over the years we became friends. I met her family and had them over the house for dinners. A few years ago I noticed she was out a lot. When I asked, she told me her husband was ill and she had to stop working to take care of him full time. She was a devoted wife. We kept in touch but one day in particular, she popped into my head so I called her. There was no answer, which was unusual as she was always home. Two days later she returned my call, only to tell me that the day I called her, her husband had passed and his funeral was about to take place. I felt terrible for her. After so many years, she was still very much in love with her husband and I could hear the pain and loneliness in her voice. Chris is a special woman, a special wife, mother and friend. I am lucky to know her.
Then there was Jack. Jack passed away four days shy of his 94th birthday. Despite his age, Jack and I never missed a pancake breakfast date whenever I would visit him in Florida. The Original Pancake House was our place. We had a very strict routine – we would meet at the pancake house at 9am, with anyone that wanted to join us. I always had the short stack, well done, with crispy bacon. Jack always had oatmeal with raisins, and cinnamon in a salt shaker. When he really wanted to go crazy, he would have a pancake and his sugar free syrup (on occasion, he would sneak some of my bacon). We talked about everything and everyone, never getting tired of each other’s company. My friends also loved Jack and he loved them. In addition to breakfast, we would do dinner together almost every night. Day or night, every meal was full of laughter and jokes – Jack was quite a character who lived a full life and he is greatly missed.
This brings me to another March Memory as we actually just signed the contract to sell the house we bought in Florida to be near Jack in his final years. On March 4th, we flew down to the house to pack up all of our personal things. I went to the Original Pancake House both mornings I was there and we ate at NY Prime, which was one of Jack’s favorite dinner spots. Reliving those meals turned the sadness of the trip into joyful reminiscing of the great times we had. It was the perfect ending for that chapter in our lives and the perfect goodbye to Jack, who actually died in the month of March as well.
And finally, “International Women’s Day,” and “A Day Without Women.” I’m not quite sure what this day represents, as I believe that every day is Woman’s Day. Without us, no one would be here – including us… I think I would have to celebrate and thank every woman I have ever come across in my life, for positive and negative reasons (I don’t think you can have one without the other):
- To my mother, for giving birth to me and keeping me alive.
- To “Valerie,” for kicking my a** in high school and teaching me that standing up for myself was so much greater than the fear I felt.
- To my sisters, for paving the way for me – I was able to learn what to do (and not to do) from them.
- To my teachers who actually gave a s*** and never let me give up.
- To my friends, for always being a call away when I need them.
- To my daughters, who teach me every day that life is not as simple or easy for them as it may have been for me – in my time.
- To Elaine, for loving something much more than herself.
- To Chris, who took better care of others before herself.
To me a “Day Without Women” wouldn’t smell quite as good, it would look a lot less pretty, it would make less sense, feel less soft and seem less interesting… just sayin’.