Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Janelle and Julia

This is Julia. She quite literally may be the most fascinating individual I have ever met.

She arrived at my work place today with our recently retired CEO. An old friend from out of town, she is staying with him and his wife for a few days.

This sprightly 86-year old doesn’t act a day over twenty-five – such a zest for life! I only spent one hour with her and was ready to call it a day when she left. But her energy is contagious - dangerously so! Her spirit lights up the room and her voice can easily conquer a stadium. As she put it, “I am Greek. I had four brothers and sisters growing up. We all loved to talk and I had to talk over them!”

Julia is something else, a true spit-fire if ever there was a perfect definition of the term. I kid you not, this woman talked, nonstop, the entire time she was here. I was drawn in – she is electrifying! She told story after story, often trailing off on one to start into a new one. She talked about being a gourmet cook and the countless people she’s had over for dinner. She mentioned, several times, about her husband’s father who started the Bank, She gave us younger girls marital advice – “learn to say, ‘yes, dear,’ when in an argument -- even if you are being a smart ass!” She spoke lovingly of her husband, Jack, who was a Navy Pilot. Sadly, he died 9 years ago from pancreatic cancer and left her all alone…

Though, ironically, she is not alone – I have a feeling that no matter where she goes, she is always surrounded by new friends, a captivated audience. Just in the hour she was here, the number of people gathered in the lobby nearly tripled!

At the end of our brief visit, Julia reached into her Vera Bradley bag and pulled out a stack of calling cards with an artist’s rendering of her seven-bedroom house on the front and her name, address, and phone number on the inside. She proclaimed, “And I want ALL of you to come and visit me – all together! I can cook you some of my gourmet meals and we’ll have a great time.”

I sincerely hope that some day I might run into Julia again... Who knows – maybe we’ll all pile into a van and make the three-hour trip to her house some day… I’m sure it would be one of the best (and loudest) vacations ever.

Cheers to Julia – you’ve shown me what it means to live!
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