Happily Ever After – A Poem

Today I thought I’d share a poem I wrote a long time ago that I needed to read again. I hope that, after you read it, you allow your younger self to come out and play today, too.

 

Happily Ever After – A Poem by Jill Ocone

 

She twirls on the playground

In her checkered green dress

And black Mary Janes

With lace-cuffed white socks,

Her pigtails stretched straight,

Then skips on the sidewalk

With her jump-rope dragging

Behind her

As she sings her way home

In the slanted sunshine.

 

She believes in pure goodness

And cares about others

And collects little trinkets

And chases the fireflies

And loves to tell stories…

Oh, how she loves to tell stories.

 

Once upon

A long time ago,

Yesterday and

Today and

Tomorrow,

She faded away.

 

Where are you,

Little girl?

 

Come out and play.

 

Bring your heart of gold

And your unblemished innocence

And your rainbow-filled dreams

And your magical fancies

And your banana seat bicycle

With the handlebar streamers

And play.

 

Come out and play

Today and

Live

Happily

Ever

After.

 

 

img_4612 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

“Happily Ever After – A Poem” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on July 27, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not endorsed or compensated in any manner by any entity; views do not represent any employer. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Making Mailboxes Happy, One Postcard at a Time

Today I’d like to tell you about Postcrossing, the postcard exchange I’ve participated in since 2013 after one of my students told me about it.

Postcrossing is fun and allows me to learn about other cultures while connecting with fellow humans across the globe and seeing new places, especially now when so many restrictions limit travel opportunities.

In the past two months, I’ve mailed postcards to people in Russia, Japan, Canada, Netherlands, Germany, and to fellow Americans.

Here are some postcards I’ve received during the Pandemic (from United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, United States). Click on each card to see where it came from and how long it traveled.

Below are my two favorite cards I’ve recently received.

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I received this one yesterday, from Germany. It traveled for 16 days. The reason it is one of my favorites is that the sender wrote her second home is Ireland. For those who know me, you’ll understand the significance of this random statement on a postcard from Ireland mailed from Germany. The universe, it’s still speaking to me!

 

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From Colorado, traveled for 5 days. The sender is ten years old and loves literature. 🙂

 

I also received a postcard yesterday from Russia that traveled for 142 days. It was mailed on St. Patrick’s Day.

I’ll never forget the first postcard I received from a fellow Postcrosser in Thailand. Over the years, I’ve received a few cards from elementary school classes who learn about geography through Postcrossing, as well as cards from families and individual people aged five to 95. Click to see all of my SENT cards and RECEIVED cards. You can also click here to see my Postcrossing profile.

So, how does it work?

Postcrossing is 100% safe to use, so please don’t let doubts about safety overwhelm your desire to connect with other humans around the world.

You first need to set up an account on Postcrossing.

After you’ve registered, you’ll need to mail your first postcard.  When you request an address, read the statement and check the little box that you’ve done so, then you will  receive a fellow Postcrosser’s address and profile along with a unique ID code that you MUST write on your card. This code enables the recipient to register the card, and for every card you send that is registered, you will receive a card in return. Beginners can have up to five postcards traveling at the same time, and as you mail more postcards, the number of cards you can have traveling simultaneously will increase. I can have 25 postcards traveling at once, but that’s a lot of money to spend on postage so I usually send two to three postcards a week. The only people who will see your mailing address are those who are randomly selected to send you a postcard once a postcard you’ve mailed has been registered (it won’t be the same person).

If a card you sent is not registered within sixty days, Postcrossing will change that card to “expired” and you can then request to mail another card. Keep in mind that it takes a while for mail to arrive either to or from other countries, especially China, Russia, and Belarus. The closest city I’ve received a card from is from Jersey City. The more postcards you send, the more regularly you’ll receive postcards in your mailbox.

What You’ll Need

Be sure you have some blank postcards. Since I live in a popular vacation spot, it’s easy to find touristy postcards at local stores. I’ve also purchased postcard sets from Amazon and other online retailers.

Sometimes the person you receive will request specific types of postcards. If I have a card that fulfills their request, I’ll send it, but usually the person on the other end is happy with whatever card they receive.

Also, make sure you have ample postage on hand. It costs $.35 to mail a postcard to an address in the United States and $1.20 to mail a postcard to an international address. International and $.35 stamps are available at any post office location, or you can order stamps online at the United States Post Office website. Since the international stamps are large, I’d recommending putting the stamp on the postcard before addressing it to avoid covering up the recipient’s address. I love seeing the stamps on cards I receive from other countries.

Sample Card I Mailed

This morning, I requested to send a card and received the recipient’s address and profile. The recipient requested tourist-type postcards if possible and asked senders to include something about their town. Below is the card I prepared, which is happily waiting on my mailbox for my postal carrier to take it, thus beginning its journey to Slovakia.

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Front of Card – Typical Jersey Shore Tourist Card as requested by recipient. Again, if I didn’t have a tourist card, I’d send something else I had on hand.

Postcrossing Diagram

Back of Card with Diagram of What I Included. When Maria receives my card in Slovakia, she’ll register it using the Postcrossing ID in the upper left-hand corner.

What are you waiting for?

Postcrossing is enjoyable and a wonderful way to bring the world closer to your home. No matter our physical location and address, we all share the experience of being human, especially during this unprecedented time. The sender of every card I’ve recently received has included something about the pandemic on their end and wishes for health and safety.

To learn more, visit Postcrossing’s website or comment below with any questions you may have and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Broaden your horizons and have fun by joining Postcrossing today!

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

“Making Mailboxes Happy, One Postcard at a Time” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on July 23, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not endorsed or compensated in any manner by Postcrossing or any other entity, and do not represent the views of any employer. The writer accepts no responsibility or liability for anyone else’s experiences using the Postcrossing website. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

 

The Blessings of “Un”-Summer

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Taken 7/13/2020 in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

I’ve officially titled the summer of 2020 the “Un”-Summer as it’s been the strangest summer of all my forty-nine years.

But I don’t mind.

Summer is my season, face masks required or not. I’ve always been a summer girl, and despite the abnormalities of this particular summer, I’m reveling in its magnificence.

The sunshine and heat, the thunder and rain, the humidity with its accompanying brassiness… it’s all good in my book.

Days are longer, hair is messier, feet are bare, and the carefree feeling of summer is like no other.

Summer just brims with absolute goodness: nectarines and pluots and watermelon and berries and ice cream from the ice cream truck, pedaling around my neighborhood or up to the beach and back with the wind blowing through my hair, searching for tiny shells or sea glass along the ocean’s wash line with sand between my toes on an empty early morning beach with a friend, sipping my morning coffee outside while the birds and the crickets and the cicadas sing-sing-sing along with each other, reading and writing outside as a cool breeze caresses my face, observing the fireflies dance with each other as the sun goes to bed for the night, watching the plants blossom from seedlings into flowers and fruits and vegetables…

I still enjoy these summer blessings in light of our current circumstances.

To be honest, I think our current state of affairs has actually increased both my awareness of and appreciation for every summer moment and experience.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the freedom of going to an amusement park without a reservation and a face mask, having lunch at some of my favorite restaurants that are currently shuttered due to a lack of outside dining availability or comfort, or strolling the boardwalk in the early morning without worrying about someone passing within six feet of me.

But the overriding arch here is that IT IS SUMMER.

I will continue living in my own little bubble of summerhood where life is good and bask in the glory of each summer moment and every summer day with appreciation for every summer blessing.

One of my accomplishments during this unprecedented “un”-summer is a complete revision/overhaul to my novel, Chapter One-A Novel, and this time, it’s the real deal. Over the past two months, I painstakingly dissected the manuscript and examined every word and sentence to improve its flow, voice, and story. That is why I’ve been absent from posting here; I focused wholeheartedly on the revision and did not want to become distracted by writing anything else. My hard work paid off, and I am wholeheartedly proud of and believe in the manuscript I produced. Chapter One-A Novel is now worthy of representation and publication. Here’s my one-sentence pitch:

Kelly Lynch, the twenty-something protagonist of Chapter One-A Novel, navigates the seas of friendship and the storms of loss as she travels from the Jersey Shore to Dublin, Ireland on a journey of self-discovery.

I know the universe will lead me to the right opportunity to put it into the hands of readers everywhere.

I hope that your “un-summer” blesses you with joyous memories filled with too many smiles to count. It will, if you make the best of it.

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

“The Blessings of ‘Un’-Summer” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on July 19, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Poems Accepted For American Writers Review 2020…Now Available on Amazon!

I am pleased to announce that three of my poems were accepted for publication in American Writers Review 2020, which is now available on Amazon.

My poems are titled “Policy of Non-Discrimination,” “Nightfall,” and “Wayward-A Sonnet.”

American Writers Review is a multi-genre literary journal published by San Fedele Press and includes short stories, poetry, creative nonfiction, and photography.

I will also have three of my writing pieces in the forthcoming “Art in the Time of Covid-19,” also published by San Fedele Press.

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cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

“American Writers Review 2020 Now Available” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on June 21, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. 

 

A Dedication to Fellow Dreamers

“A Dedication to Fellow Dreamers” – May 24, 2020

 

This is for all of the dreamers out there…

The ones who chase the rainbows

And take a front-row seat as the birdies perform their daily concerto…

The ones who rejoice at the birth of the seedling

As its tiny green head sprouts up through the dirt…

The ones who joyfully in the rain

And let the snowflakes tickle their eyelashes.

 

This goes out to the ones who make dandelion wishes

And leave the heads-up penny on the ground for someone who needs it more…

The ones who blow iridescent bubbles into the wafting breeze

And take the long way home on a Friday afternoon…

The ones whose skin prickles as the sun peeks up from beneath the horizon

And are inspired by the day’s end masterpiece.

 

This is for all who let the wet sand flow between their toes

As the sea’s wave caresses their feet…

The ones who accept a little hand into theirs

As they walk alongside the future…

The ones who continue their search for the light

In spite of overwhelming darkness…

The ones who believe in love

And faith

And hope

And joy.

 

This goes out to

You.

 

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cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

 

“A Dedication to Fellow Dreamers” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on May 24, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Coronacation Chronicles – May 17, 2020

“The Land of Confusion”

img_3626We’ve officially been at this now for over two months. Signs of normalcy are returning not only as a result of governmental executive orders, but also because of personal defiance.

The collective’s mantra: We’re frustrated. We’re tired. And we’ve had enough.

I see both sides to this very peculiar coin: Everyone needs to be safe without becoming either sick or a carrier/infector, but everyone also needs to go about their daily lives.

I’m torn as to what side to take, as are many others who are also grappling with the contradictions of our way of life right now….what is closed, what is open, what should be open, new ways to gather in celebration of life’s special moments versus traditional ways, and so on…

Listen to my heart, or listen to my wants and needs? Postpone and wait? Cancel and move on? Or just do it anyway and ask for forgiveness later from not only authorities but from the people we unknowingly infect and the families we forever change?

Should we fear a second, and a third, and who knows how many more subsequent waves, or is that prediction from the scientific experts a bunch of hullabaloo? Should we be concerned about the possibility of higher antibody counts causing more serious complications when we become re-infected, which throws the idea of immunity out the window, or throw caution to the wind and ignore the data? What about the theory that the virus has already mutated into countless varying forms here in the United States, each with different effects and varying degrees of gravity?

Or should we go about business as usual and pretend this was all a bad dream, or that the virus doesn’t exist because “it’s such a nice day and I just want to be with people and go to the beach again?”

Unfortunately, this is not a dream. This is real.

The economy has tanked. People are out of work, and will be for a while or forever, depending on the severity of the virus’ ripple effects. Lives have been ruined, not by choice, but by circumstance.

Most importantly, people have died.

Let me repeat that: PEOPLE HAVE DIED.

Can I live with the fact I may unintentionally pass on the virus to a loved one, or a friend, or a colleague, or a student, and that person becomes a statistic simply because I threw caution to the wind and ventured out for an ice cream cone, which I’ll be honest, I’m craving like crazy right now?

Is that ice cream cone, or going to the beach or the boardwalk, or hugging my niece and nephew kiddos, or watching my students graduate in person, or anything else for that matter worth the potential price of a fellow human’s life? Is saying “the hell with social distancing and face masks” worth that price?

I can’t speak for you, but I can speak for ME:

No.

It most certainly is NOT.

Someday I’ll enjoy that ice cream cone. Someday I’ll be able to return safely to the beach and the boardwalk. Someday I’ll be able to hug my nieces and nephews again without fear of getting them or anyone else sick. Someday, I’ll be able to celebrate the accomplishments of my students in person and once again teach in my actual classroom. Someday I’ll get to once again go to a concert or to Yankee Stadium for a game. Someday I’ll be able to retire my face mask.

But that day is not today, and it’s not tomorrow, either.

No war was ever won with self-serving dissention among the majority of collective victors. Even the doubters put their differences aside as they marched onward towards victory as one.

Cabin fever sucks big time.

Losing a loved one sucks even more.

Losing our own life sucks the most.

I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if my actions led to the death of one of my brothers and sisters in humanity, even someone I didn’t know and never met but casually passed as I ventured out into bizarro-world in my conquest for a cone.

Life is the most precious gift entrusted to us all, and my heart cannot be responsible for trading your most precious gift for anything.

I’ll endure and march onward wearing my facemask in formation at least six feet away from my fellow soldiers with you in my heart.

Someday, we’ll be the victors, together.

And, damn, those ice cream cones will be the best cones we’ve ever tasted.

 

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

“Coronacation Chronicles – May 17, 2020” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on May 17, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coronacation Chronicles – May 10, 2020

“Tanager Blues”

I’m starting to think that our timeline somehow became skewed to follow Biff Tannen’s alternate 1985, and that’s what directly led to the bizarro life we’re living today. Damn that Marty McFly and his terrible Grey’s Sports Almanac get-rich-quick scheme!

I battled a bit this week with staying positive in my search for silver linings. For starters, the week began with the announcement that schools will remain closed for the rest of the year. I knew it was coming, we all knew it was coming, but to actually hear the official announcement was like a punch in the gut. I won’t see my seniors ever again in my classroom, and I won’t see the others until…..who knows, September, hopefully? Heartbreaking, just heartbreaking as an educator. I chose to become an educator because of my innate desire to help students become the best versions of themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the seriousness of our bizarro-world, but it’s nearly impossible to inspire students from behind a screen. My heart hurts because I never got to properly say goodbye to any of them, especially my seniors.

Maybe it’s a side-effect of that announcement, but the increased screen time from both teaching remotely and the hours of preparation that’s required to effectively educate from a computer negatively affected my ability to produce flowing sentences with meaningful words this past week. I want to write something that inspires and provides readers like you with a sense of hope, yet this week, I stared the blank screen or the blank page like Alley Oop without producing anything worthy of posting, including this sorry excuse for a post. I even neglected the two books I’ve been researching and drafting since February.

My increased screen time has also caused me to further isolate myself. After staring at a screen for nine-hours-and-counting on any given day, I am so screened-out that I simply cannot accept after-work-hours virtual Zoom or Google Meet or FaceTime invites for voluntary online get-togethers from family, friends, and fellow writers. Instead of experiencing camaraderie and a sense of belonging, virtual meetings, workshops, and interactions actually cause me to experience anxiety. If you’ve sent me an invite, I certainly appreciate being included, but please understand why I might not show up in one of the Brady Bunch boxes on your end. It’s not you, it’s me, and hopefully someday, I’ll become more at ease with sharing my virtual self.

Despite the creative void, a positive moment from the past week was spotting a male

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Terrible photo I took of the Scarlet Tanager.

Scarlet Tanager in my yard. I saw a flashing bright red body with sheer black wings fly from the cedar tree to the oak. The bird was about the size of a sparrow with its shocking red hue different than the coloring of a male cardinal and a shade I had never seen on a bird before. I observed its mannerisms as it hopped and flew from branch to branch high in the oak tree’s branches, and with a quick search on my phone, I confirmed it was a male Scarlet Tanager. He was one of the most beautiful little birds I’ve ever seen and a bright spot in a week full of the blahs.

Another positive this week: socially distanced visits allowed me to see all of my nieces and nephews over the past week in person. Their smiles never fail to light up my world and I long to scoop each one up in a tight bear hug. When they’ll once again be able to sit on my lap as we play a game or sit next to me as I tell them a story, I don’t know, but I wish it was today. Again, I understand the virus and all of its serious intricacies, but having to sing Happy Birthday to four out of five of them over the phone since the shutdown without being able to hand each a special gift in person was the absolute pits.

The times, they’re getting to me today, for sure.

Please don’t misinterpret what I’ve shared as complaints. Rather, my intention is to share with you the reality of what I’m living and feeling right now without shame and without embarrassment. It’s real, it’s unedited, and it’s authentic. As the saying goes, it is what it is, and it’s all part of the human experience to experience the good with the bad. Life has its highs and its lows, and last week was a subpar week at best.

Here’s looking forward with a renewed attitude to a new week, and if the doldrums continue, there will be another new week coming along, shortly.

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

“Coronacation Chronicles – May 10, 2020” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on May 10, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Coronacation Chronicles – May 3, 2020

A few days ago, we experienced Florida weather here at the Jersey Shore. In a matter of mere minutes, we had showers, sun, downpour while sunny, wind, sun, hail, thunder, rain, then sun again.

Florida weather.

At one point, as pea-sized hail pellets bounced off the deck, I kept a concerned watch for locusts and aliens mixed in with the hailstones, as either wouldn’t have surprised me right about now.

The weather was absolutely perfect for chasing rainbows between the deluges.

I’ve always been an avid rainbow chaser, but I tend to miss more than I catch either because of my vantage, my location, or my timing.

Anyway, as the last bit of rain moved east about a quarter to six in the evening, the declining sun in the west broke through the clouds and created an angle of sunshine that was prime for painting rainbows in the sky.

I threw on my boots and ventured to our front yard, which faces west. The street flooded because it was high tide and the storm drains couldn’t handle any more water. I took some pictures of reflections of trees and houses in the water, nothing spectacular, just images to remember the moment. I splashed through the puddles then walked around to the back yard, where I roamed while keeping a keen eye on the sky to the east which had faded to a lighter shade of gray.

A blue jay watched me wander from high atop a pine tree and a cardinal crooned his cheer-cheer-cheer song from the blooming dogwood. I stopped pacing to appreciate the perfect water droplets that perfectly dangled from the end of each pine needle. A catbird appeared out of nowhere for the first time this season having returned from wherever he wintered. He sang to me a beautiful melody which he promptly followed with his loud meow-like call.

I thanked the catbird for his performance as I looked to the sky again, and there it was…

snapseed

This crappy photo I took is an insult to the rainbow’s brilliance, but I wanted you to have a visual, no matter how lame.

the brightest rainbow I’ve seen in a very long time glowing in the sky, its right side fainter than its brilliant left with its highest arch fading in and out of view. A paler rainbow with its colors reversed mirrored it for almost its entire length.

 

I whipped out my phone and quickly snapped a few photographs of its brilliance, knowing from past experience that rainbows can vanish quicker that they appeared.

This one, though…this one hung out for a while, unusually long as far as rainbows go. I put my phone in my pocket and just stood there gazing at its majesty. The vivid colors, I cannot recall ever seeing a rainbow so bright and radiant.

Suddenly, I became aware of the song playing from the radio in my husband’s workshop as I took in the rainbow’s splendor…

…Ooh child…Things are gonna get easier

Ooh child…Things’ll get brighter

Some day, yeah…We’ll put it together and we’ll get it undone

Some day…When your head is much lighter

Some day, yeah…We’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun

Some day…When the world is much brighter

Ooh child…Things are gonna get easier

Ooh child…Things’ll get brighter… 

“Ooh Child,” lyrics by Stan Vincent, performed by Five Stairsteps

Surreal perfection.

Absolute bliss.

Genuine hope.

Indescribable peace.

I existed in harmony with nature and its coincidentally spontaneous soundtrack, and in that moment, all was right in my world.

What I’ve written here doesn’t do justice to my experience, the full encounter and its all-encompassing effect unable to be replicated with words even by the finest Hollywood writer.

All I can do is offer you this message:

And the rainbow continues to shine…

 

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

“Coronacation Chronicles – May 3, 2020” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on May 3, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

 

Coronacation Chronicles – April 26, 2020

An osprey crapped on me yesterday.

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One of the culprits…this is the image referenced in the post. Photo taken 4/25/2020.

Yes, you read that correctly.

There’s no doubt that we are ALL suffering from a major infliction of cabin fever, and yesterday presented itself as one of the nicer days we’ve enjoyed in a while. A true harbinger of warmer days to come. The day’s recipe of impeccable sunshine combined with a pinch of minimal wind and a dash of feathery clouds coerced me to taste the day’s buffet by spending some time outside (while following obvious social distancing rules, in case I have to clarify this with a common-sense disclaimer for those in the back).

I cleaned up the yard a bit then went for a bicycle ride with my husband. At one point, three ospreys majestically soared directly over me in the bright blue vastness with their high-pitched call echoing down from their heights.

I grabbed my phone from my back jeans pocket and aimed it upwards in their general direction to take a picture, but the sun’s angle made it difficult to see. I blindly pressed the shutter button, hoping I captured the swirling birds in my viewfinder.

As I returned my phone to my pocket, I heard a quick pattering of what I thought were large rain drops hitting the pavement.

A crystal blue, mostly cloudless sky… scattered rain drops… that made little sense.

Then… plop.

On the ring finger of my right hand, there it was… a wet, white splatter smaller to those that now stained the blacktop around me and my bicycle’s fender.

Gross.

And awesome.

As always, I tried to assign meaning to being spontaneously baptized by an osprey. Should I be flattered, or irritated? Was I lucky, or unfortunate? Was the osprey’s release meant for me, or was I in the way as I most often find myself?

That’s one of the running titles for my future memoir, if I ever get around to writing it: I’m always in the way.

It’s uncanny… no matter what I do, I find myself in the way of someone or something more often than not. Even when I move to get OUT of the way, I end up being more of a hinderance or a target than I would have been if I had just stayed put. It happens at home, in the classroom, in the hallways, at public events, in train stations, in the aisles of the local grocery store, and even when I am by myself.

For example, when I was in middle school, I stood on the sidelines of the local soccer complex waiting for my younger brother’s soccer game to begin. Two teams on the field with players older than me battled it out during the final minutes of their game. One of the players kicked the soccer ball very high and in my direction. I moved about ten or so steps to my left to get out of the way, and the ball whaled me right on top of my head. If I had stayed where I stood a few sections prior to impact, I would have been fine, but the ball got me because I tried to get out of the way. Another time, as I cleaned my closet, I nudged a box on the top shelf with a yardstick to propel it down and I stepped backwards out of its path. Or so I thought. Wouldn’t you know the box landed square on top of my head anyway, just like the soccer ball had? Thankfully, neither incident produced a concussion as far as I know, although the double head impact could explain a lot…

Anyway, always being in the way is, and forever has been, one of my many idiosyncrasies. Wearing a perpetual target can be awkward and downright frustrating. When I move to get out of the way but end up becoming more of an obstruction, especially in public, I flush and feel like a graceless goon.

However, this idiosyncrasy, like all the others, is part of who I am.

I can’t shake it. I can’t overcome it. The only choice left is to embrace it.

Perhaps that’s why the osprey chose me, to reassure me it is truly a blessing to be different and my quirks and flaws make me one-of-a-kind

Of course, the osprey could have been trying to impress his two flying partners with his on-target aim.

Or maybe, he just had to crap.

I’ll stick with the lesson.

The world needs its eccentric, graceless goons. My name is Jill, and I am blessed and proud to be one of them.

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

“Coronacation Chronicles – April 26, 2020” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on April 26, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Coronacation Chronicles – April 19, 2020

Week Six of Isolation…

The snap is starting to hit closer to home as many people I know have now lost a loved one to COVID-19.

That’s not a hoax.

That’s a fact.

I wrote in one of my posts a few weeks ago that it’s extremely hard to be an empath right now, and that remains true to my core. I thank my lucky stars that I haven’t lost anyone close to me (dare I say yet?), but I honestly cry every time I read that someone I am connected to has lost someone. It happened yesterday morning, when I learned that a fishing buddy of my husband’s lost his father; 80-year-old Jesus Sande owned two recognizable fishing vessels where I live. I never met Mr. Sande, but I cried my heart out yesterday for him and his family when I heard about his passing. Same goes for a local firefighter whom I also never met but shed many tears for as I learned that he succumbed to COVID very quickly. He was younger than me.

The good news is the growing recovery rate, as many people who have battled COVID have recovered. My heart dances with joy when I learn of survivors, especially those I know. I’m inspired by the dedication of those on the front lines and tremendously thankful for the helpers and essential workers. Even though we’re not all technically in the same boat, our boats are simultaneously trying to stay afloat in the same storm despite the different affects the storm has and will have on our individual vessels.

In my vessel of isolation over here, we’ve been watching old “Cheers” episodes on DVD. It’s a little known fact that “Cheers” has always been one of my favorite shows with its timeless one-liners and classic storylines created by writers who masterfully intertwined the literal AND the figurative in order to tell a simple yet complicated narrative episode by episode.

I vividly recall watching with friends the “Cheers” series finale titled “One for the Road” in 1993.

In the episode’s closing scene, Sam (played by Ted Danson) walks over and adjusts the Geronimo picture hanging on the back wall. That framed Geronimo photograph hung in the dressing room of Nicholas Colasanto, who played Coach. After he passed away (which ironically was on my fourteenth birthday), it was placed in the set background and remained there for the duration of the series. As both the episode and series conclude, Sam adjusted Geronimo’s photograph as a final tribute to Colasanto, then walks down the hallway to the dark pool room. It’s a fitting end to the series, since in the very first episode, Sam makes his first entrance by walking into the bar from the same hallway leading from the pool room in the back. What a visual paradox.

There are a few lines in “One for the Road” said by Dr. Frasier Crane (played by Kelsey Grammar) that slug me in my gut every single time I hear them. It’s a seemingly innocent statement, but it’s teeming with significance and is just as relevant to the lives we are currently living today as it was in 1993, if not more:

You know, no one wants to be the first to say it, but I’m not ashamed to admit what I think we’re all feeling. Time goes by so fast. People move in and out of your life. You must never miss an opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you. Well, I…I…I…

Hey….

You….

Yeah, YOU, who is reading this right now…

This is my opportunity to tell you how much you mean to me.

Maybe you are a childhood friend or just a passerby reader. Maybe you’re family or a complete stranger. Maybe I’ve known you for 49 years or 49 seconds. Maybe we grew up together, worked together, traveled together, or spent time together in a classroom or a watering hole or at a concert or a festival or a game, maybe not.

None of that matters.

What does matter is this:

Whatever footprints you’ve left alongside mine in my life journey, I am grateful for YOU.

I respect you. I honor you. I thank you.

Most of all, I love you.

I really do.

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

 

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In Memory of Jesus Sande, owner of the Maria Noelle and Muros.

 

“Coronacation Chronicles – April 19, 2020” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on April 19, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.