Samuel 16:7 “…for the Lord seeth not as man seeth: for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” KJV
Today is Alyssa’s turn to guest blog again. I eagerly look forward to their blog posts as she and Justin see the world from a different perspective than most people. When I think of the disciples of old such as Paul and Timothy, I think of Alyssa and Justin. They are, while not being involved in religion of any kind, as close to what I think God wants us to be. They see past the outside of people, looking instead into their hearts. They are friends to everyone they meet. They don’t let the world’s views stand in the way of their desire to learn from life’s lessons learned by others. Whenever they leave a place, they leave it better than they found it. Their joy for life and for God’s creations is evident in their lives, their faces, and their writing/photography.
In Big Fork, MT lives a woman named Adrienne. She is a friend of Justin’s mother, and we stopped in to see her on our way.
Adrienne is a walking, breathing fictional character.
She drove out a half mile from her house to “guide us in,” and we followed her little SUV down to the shore of Flathead Lake. It’s a stunning, enormous house – too much house for a 71-year-old widow who lost her only son. But she fills the space with her energy…
Adrienne’s boy, Rob, was killed in a motorcycle accident three years ago. The first thing she said when we got out of the car was, “Don’t go losing your only son. You’ll end up looking like me!” and she let out a deep, guttural chortle – the product of a life-long, 2-packs-of-Reds-a-day habit. She pulled her tank top away from her chest and dropped in her cell phone. “I keep it in Twin Peaks,” she said with a wink, and led us into her house.
Her walls are covered with framed paintings – her own pen and watercolor creations. They are vibrant and stark, like Adrienne herself. “Oh, I’ll never paint again,” she said in a small voice when we asked.
“That makes me sad,” Justin said.
She changed the subject.
We sat on her back porch. Directly in front is a waterway with boat docks, then a small strip of land with several houses off to the left, and then the lake.
“I hate those people,” Adrienne said, pointing at the house across the waterway. “We used to have geese and ducks living on that strip of land, but those people didn’t like them. Who moves toMontana to get away from wildlife?” She shook her head. “So they put up these incredibly ugly fake wolf silhouettes to scare them off. Well, I didn’t want to see those ugly wolf silhouettes, so I complained to the homeowners association about it. Ooo, that pissed ’em off good!”
She laughed, lit another cigarette.
“Well, at one of the community meetings they got all huffy and said, ‘Someone complained about our wolf silhouettes’ and I stood right up and said, ‘Yeah, that was me. They’re ugly and I miss the ducks. Could you at least turn them sideways so I can’t see them anymore?’ Well, they didn’t turn ’em, so you know what I did?”
She smiled slyly and took a long drag off her smoke.
“I went out and bought a whole bunch of giant, ugly pink flamingos and stuck ’em in my garden. So now they have to stare at those all day! Yeah, bring your highfalutin friends down here to stare at my tacky pink flamingos!”
We burst out laughing, admiring the gumption of this septuagenarian.
“You know what else?” she asked us, still grinning. “I play Rob’s music at full volume from my boathouse, and I open the windows facing their porch so they have to listen to it all day.”
Rob wrote what I would classify as Hard Rock – Metallica, Iron Maiden, etc. – he played every single instrument on the recordings. It’s brilliant, but certainly not something I imagine the neighbors appreciate blasting through their screens.
“That’ll show ’em,” Adrienne said. “Don’t mess with this tough old broad.”
It’s hard not to feel sorry for a woman who’s lost her husband and her son, but I’m fairly certain if she knew I had even an ounce of pity for her she’d kick my butt. And therein lies the Adrienne Paradox: the woman has lost the two people she cared about most in the world, and I wouldn’t wish that sorrow on anyone. However… I hope when I am her age I can handle whatever the world throws at me with the same grace and incontrovertible sense of humor.
As we were leaving she hastily grabbed two pennies and a key ring and followed us out the door. She pressed the pennies into our hands.
“Would you throw these into the bushes over there in honor of Rob?” she asked. “I’ve had everyone who comes here do that.”
We kissed and threw the pennies.
She shimmied a small key from the ring.
“The other thing I’m doing for him,” she said, “is scattering these keys all over the world in his memory. Would you take one with you and just drop it somewhere on your travels? It doesn’t matter where… just think of him when you do it.”
We have the key tucked away in Justin’s camera bag. Somewhere beautiful or historic or maybe just on the side of the road on a sunny day we’ll let the key go.