Where Open Hearts Can Lead
Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I have this Aunt Lorrie. And since I don't reveal a lady's years past the tender age of ten, I will just say she could qualify for a red hat and a purple shirt. She is of that certain age where most folks are slowing down. She is of the age of Early Bird Specials and major discussions of weather and griping about the global problem of keeping all the damn kids off the lawn.

But not my Aunt Lorrie. She's busy in her red hat/purple shirt years, building houses for Habitat for Humanity. She's conquering the Grand Canyon.She's traversing the globe. She's on Facebook. She's got enough on her plate just keeping up with always being the life of the party. 

Once, she was at my house for an evening involving wine on the patio. We were having a lovely time when all of a sudden we spotted a pontoon boat on the lake. It was dark, so I couldn't really make out the passengers, but the revelry coming from that boat could not be mistaken. These were people having a whoppin' good time. My hubs proclaimed, "Hey, that's Rob! Wave him over to our dock and tell him we want a ride. I'll run inside and get a couple bottles of wine."

My hub's business partner and our next door neighbor on the lake is Rob. 

And so I thought to myself, when the hell did Rob get a pontoon boat? And why have I not noticed a giant pontoon boat in my backyard? But never one to question, especially after a few glasses of wine, I dutifully jumped up and flagged down the pontoon boat of partiers. 

When the captain of the boat saw me all a-waving and a-jumping, he headed over to our dock. When he got close enough, I realized to my horror I did not know the driver of this pontoon boat nor did I know any of the flock of partiers who were all staring at me with curious expectant looks upon their faces. 

I managed to muttter, "Uh, you're not Rob."

To which he answered, "Yeah, I am. I'm Rob."

And I was all, "But you're not my Rob. I wouldn't have flagged you down if I'd known you were just Rob. I thought you were my Rob."

Because if there's one thing I can count on in awkward situations, it's my eloquence, man. 

Just Rob must have thought I was a babbling idiot.

Which I am. Every day of my life. 

But usually I'm a babbling idiot who doesn't flag down pontoon party boats. 

And I mumbled something about my husband telling me to flag down the pontoon boat. 

And Just Rob said, "Yeah, I know your husband."

It was at that moment that my Hubs reappeared and I was all, "This is not our Rob!'

And my super communicative hubs said, "I know. This is Rob from across the lake. I met him last week. I told you that. Didn't I tell you that?'

But since I was mellowed by the wine and since Rob From Across The Lake was sitting there with his pontoon boat revving and his crowd of party pontoon people waiting to continue their pontoon party, I let the caveman communication lecture go. 

And Rob said, "Come on board!"

And wouldn't you know, without a moment of hesitation, my Aunt Lorrie nimbly jumped up on that boat and disappeared into the wash of partiers. 

I had no choice but to join her. 

And so we set off for a cruise around the lake with complete strangers. I did not see my Aunt Lorrie throughout our jaunt. I was in front of the boat with my hubs and Rob From Across The Lake, but the whooping and hollering coming from the back of the boat was never ending. It was like Studio 54 back there without the cocaine and the John Travolta dancing and Cher and the sex parties. But besides that, it was just like the famous disco.

At the end of our boat ride, Rob From Across The Lake pulled up to our dock. As we went to step off, Aunt Lorrie emerged from the back of the boat and as she did, these people who had been strangers an hour before all began to chant, 'LORRIE! LORRIE! LORRIE!"

She is something with her magic potion of charm she holds in that young heart of hers. 

I've always told her I want to be her when I grow up, if I ever do grow up. 

And I said it again as we departed the boat and her enamored fan club called out to her, but this time I added, "Tell me how you do it. Tell me your secret."

And I'll never forget what she told me. 

She said the secret is to keep your heart open in every situation, in every moment, always keep your heart open so you can experience everything that comes your way. 

It isn't always easy to do. 

But I've tried to live her advice and sometimes when I want to be cautious with my little shy self, when I don't want to answer yes to whatever life is handing me in that second, I think of my Aunt Lorrie and those words. 

And since I don't want to kill you with an epic tale of Biblical proportion, I'll stop right here. 

Part Two coming up in a few days. A moment of opening my heart and a magical tale of lives intertwining at just the right karmic second. 

Stay tuned. 

And just one more thing. 

As those who use Blogger well know, Blogger is going through some changes, hopefully for the better. 

And if you've been with me through any amount of time, you know I have a hate/hate relationship with the Blogger geeks who live inside my computer, jacking me up on a regular basis in between bong hits. 

I seriously don't know why I've never been Blogger of Note. 

Anywhoo, today I was commenting on my friend Cheeseboy's blog and I wrote a comment filled with some awesomely witty repartee. I was ultra satisfied with my fabulous comment and I hit publish and that's when I got the dreaded Blogger Error. 

Blogger Error used to be this automatic message saying the Blogger geeks had detected an error and they were humbly sorry for the inconvenience. It was never a biggie, because you just hit backspace and there your comment was and usually if you hit publish again, boom, you were in. 

Well....now Blogger has a new error message. 

That’s an error.
The server encountered a temporary error and could not complete your request.
Please try again in 30 seconds.

That’s all we know.

And maybe it's just me. 

But when I saw this message, I thought it was the ultimate big, fat middle finger. 

Their, "That's an error" might as well have, "Duh, dumbass" attached to it. And the, "That's all we know" is pretty much Blogger's theme song. That's all they ever know. They've got nothin'.

And to make it hurt even worse, my witty comment? It wasn't saved. And since with every child I lost 1/3 of my brain cells and since I have 3 children, (you do the math), I didn't remember a single word of that comment, not even where to put the the's. 

So, thanks Blogger. Glad your new look and style is all about being an even Bigger Asshole. 

And my apologies to Aunt Lorrie for writing asshole and bong hits in the same post as her story. 

Stay tuned for an Open Heart kind of adventure. 

Today's Definite Download: Another one of my favorite moments in the Nashville U2 concert. 

Bono always introduces "Where The Streets Have No Name" on this tour, by singing "Amazing Grace."

"Amazing Grace" in my humble opinion, is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. And I have a story about that song that I'll tell you one day. Remind me. It's about my wedding and my soloist and the choir director at my church and the fistfight that happened between my soloist's fiancee and the choir director over my request to play that song at my wedding. It didn't actually happen at the wedding, but still it's a nightmare of a tale. 

As usual, at the concert, folks sang along with Bono. But this time it was different. I have seen this show four times now. Twice in Chicago, once in Tampa and then of course, Nashville. And never has the song been lifted into the night air by so many voices, singing out, knowing every word of that glorious song. 

And maybe it's because it's a folk song even though it was composed by an Englishman. But it is the South's song. It belongs in the mountains and in the clapboard churches and in the honeysuckle vines. It is their music. And I loved, loved hearing it there, the thousands of voices, all in unison, "Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see." 

And then as Edge's guitar sailed into the melody of that tune, that beautiful tune I call my church song— Oh, it was a moment of goose pimples galore. 

Here's one fan's amazing video. 

I want to run 
I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside
I want to reach out and touch the flame
Where the streets have no name. 


Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

"She is of the age of Early Bird Specials..."
Joann, you're always funny, that's a given, but it's phrases like this that shout how great a writer you are. This was a wonderful piece, a gentle yet rollicking tribute to a gentle yet rollicking lady. I can hardly wait to see part two.

duffylou said...

We could all learn a lesson from Aunt Lorrie, no matter what age we are.

Just from the video I got goosebumps at Amazing Grace. I can't even imagine what it was like live in the moment.

I would like to live one day in the life of Joann, including all the craziness.

Unknown said...

Screw Blogger. You are a Blog of Note everyday in my book!

I use blogger too, but I use Intense Debate for my commenting. I've found it to be a nice way around all the Blogger commenting BS. (Knock on wood) It's worked for me and I recommend it!

MrsJenB said...

I absolutely can't wait to read part 2 of the story! I love your Aunt Lorrie and I, too, wish I could be more like that. Keeping your heart open, eh? I just wrote down her quote and stuck it to my monitor. She's clearly a genius.

PS Blogger can kiss it. Seriously. I'm not even ON Blogger anymore and it can kiss it.

Unknown said...

Ok had to go to the video even though I have never been a huge U2 fan..the last note did me in, I was sitting here crying like a baby.. I never knew he could hit those kinds of notes.
Your Aunt Lorrie sounds a lot like my Memaw who I miss dearly. Always up for something and into everything.
Blogger was seriously ticking me off yesterday I mean HUGELY.. I was ready to scream from it..

Bossy Betty said...

I hate that error message!

Love your aunt's message though....

Part Two soon, please!!

Silver Strands said...

LOVE your eloquence!

Missy @ Wonder, Friend said...

I want to be like Aunt Lorrie!

Waiting for Part II...

Alison said...

I wish I had a Aunt Lorrie. Opening your heart? Such good advice.

Can't wait for part II!

I hate Blogger so much, I moved to Wordpress and deleted the Blogger blog. All those stupid error messages was driving me batty.

Rae said...

I hope that I can someday be an Aunt Lorrie..Lord knows I'm old enough...but I just can get past that fear of being rejected by a boat of party people, thrown overboard by a pontoon tossed on the rocks, and falling on my big fat a** after a few glasses of wine. I suppose I play it too safe...anxiously awaiting part 2!

Cari said...

Aunt Lorrie rocks! Something tells me it runs in the family and you'll be just as Lori-ous! Can't wait for part two.

Secondly...502, um hum. Thanks to Blogger today I will be spending my precious hour of free time backing up posts instead of working on my tan, or lunching or something.

Mrs. Frogster said...

how ironic that i go to leave a comment on your post and get the exact same error message. super annoying. after reading this post I have decided that who needs soap operas and People magazine?! Your life is definitely much more dramatic and way more interesting. keep having bizarre experiences so the rest of us can live vicariously through you!

Unknown said...

Looking forward to part 2!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I am hoping this goes through without an error. I really don't enjoy those messages!

Baby Sister said...

Your aunt sounds like an amazing woman we could all learn some lessons from. So excited for part 2.
And blogger? It can go jump off a cliff. I haven't had a problem commenting (yet *crosses fingers*) but I am so sick of reader problems....

Shell said...

Aunt Lorrie sounds like a very wise woman.

Blogger and I? We are breaking up.

Sarah said...

This post was so fabulous. It made me laugh and smile for such a huge range of reasons.
And I'm so glad I'm not the ONLY one who's hoping Google gets their poop in a group with Blogger and commenting. I don't want to deal with moving to WP. But I also, am tired of Blogger outright EATING stuff! rawr!

And Amazing Grace... love it when it's tied to Where the Streets Have No Name. It's AMAZING!

Judie said...

I had an Aunt Lorrie--Auntie Alice. Her husband died quite suddenly of a heart attack when he was in his early 40's and she raised two children alone. She worked two jobs--One was a unit clerk at a hospital, and the other was in the "foundations" section of a big department store. She told us she worked "in meat packing." She was always the life of the party, and gave us fancy bras and panties from that store for our birthdays and Christmas. We adored her!!

The Zadge said...

Forget about the pontoon boat, I want a lake in my backyard!

Lisa said...

OH Joann - what a wonderful post! Your Aunt Laurie sounds awesome and, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you ARE just like her! You are!

I think I'm going to be down in your neck of the woods this weekend. We have our Spanish exchange student here and I think we're going to go down for a few days of girl-fun at Ft. DeSoto and Pass A Grille.

Cheeseboy said...

Yeah, people here in SLC didn't really rise up and sing along to Amazing Grace. As a matter of fact, I was slightly disappointed in our crowd. They were lacking the euphoria of Salt Lake U2 shows of the past.

Anyway, I have no idea about that error. I have not seen it yet, thankfully. And I assume it was on my blog that you got it. I wish it was easy to change from Blogger to Wordpress, but I doubt it would be. I don't even have the energy to try.

I have an Aunt Lori too. She's not as cool as yours.

Kimberly said...

Oh I want an Aunt Lorrie. Do you rent her out for weekends?
I love her philosophy.

Mom vs. the boys said...

great story about your Aunt, some people just have that certain something ya know? I want to be one of those people. Sadly, I am not. lol
so we did it, we saw U2! watched the clip you posted too, do they wear the same clothes to every show?

Cheryl said...

Love Aunt Lorrie, and I love her advice - perfection and truth. Thanks for sharing!

Meg at the Members Lounge said...

Joann, you must have heard the siren call of Wordpress by now? I have lost more witty repartee on commenting on Blogger blogs than I care to think about.

And PS. Aunt Lorries rocks!

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

Well, if you didn't go to the back of the boat... how do you know there wasn't cocaine and the John Travolta dancing and Cher and the sex parties, huh?
p.s. Aunt Lorrie sounds freaking amazing.

myinnerchick.com said...

~~Aunt Lorrie is a great role model for all of us gals :) xx

Just A Normal Mom said...

I think I just fell in love with Aunt Lorrie - I'd like to be like her some day. Actually starting today.

As for Bono and that video... sigh, I'm melting.

Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal said...

Aunt Lorrie does sound like a wonderful lady. I think you have a lot of her spirit already. I would like to know your secret! Looking forward to Part 2!

Julie said...

I so very much want to be the lady of a certain age who can (and does) hop onto a pontoon boat of strangers...

I want to cruise the lake in a Studio 54 atmosphere; I want to be the party. And when I leave the boat (hell, when I leave this earth) I want people to be chanting:

Julie Julie Julie.

Not because I need to be adored by others.

But because that would be proof positive that I really loved myself.

Enough to trust me. Enough to believe I am worthy of spontaneity and fun and other peoples' interest.

Yes. I hope to be that woman.

So thank you for sharing. Another nudge in that direction is always welcome.

Big love to you and your aunt.
And I can't wait for part II.


Rebecca Grace said...

Your Aunt Lorrie would TOTALLY have gotten along with my Grammy McMullen. She was about 80 years old at my little sister's wedding in St. Lucia, and there she was, dancing barefoot with the island men on the party boat and having a ball.

And another thing, about the red hats and purple outfits that don't become you, etc. That poem is about being a nonconformist, going with your own heart -- I think that when flocks of ladies get together to wear purple shirts and red hats together in a premeditated way, it completely inverts the meaning of the poem. Therefore, when I am an old lady, just to spite the rest of them, I'm going to wear a red hat with a coconut-savage-bra (think Gilligan's island) and a purple thong. And maybe even some orthopoedic platform heels to go with this rocking ensemble. You'll see my husband across the room, hiding under a table, pretending he doesn't know me... ;-)

twelvedaysold said...

Did I never comment on this blog? Something must have happened.

Your aunt sounds pretty amazing. I love the philosphy she has.

Oh wait I remember, I think I clicked to the youtube link and didn't come back. I LOVED how they started the song with Amazing Grace. It worked so well!

Mrs. Tuna said...

F*cking blogger, it always seems to crash on a long holiday weekends but I'm to cheap to do anything but free.

karen said...

Love your Aunt Lorrie - she is like my grandma was. And I've always wanted to live my life with as much joie de vive as my grandma.
Love your blog - it made me laugh out loud, and touched my heart all at the same time. Which makes it practically perfect.

Sandra said...

I'm currently in the midst of switching over to Wordpress. That Blogger crash sent me in such fits of withdrawal, I almost took up smoking!

W.C.Camp said...

I like Aunt Loriee's philosophy and I hate losing comments to cyberspace. BTW - U2 is playing St. Louis this weekend - thought of you too!!! (get it?) W.C.C.

Swing Bridge said...

I love your Aunt's message - what a great post! I got here from Pie land & will be looking forward to Part II!

Suniverse said...

I HATE Blogger, but am too terrified/lazy to move to a new site.

I need to be more Aunt Lorrie and open myself up. She sounds awesome, bong hits notwithstanding.

Actually, I really do like her idea of opening myself up. In theory. Something to work on.

Julia Ladewski said...

what great advice! that's awesome that she's like that. usually older women are so, well, old!! what a great lady to look up to!

Dawn in D.C. said...

Your Aunt Lorrie sounds like a doll! A very wise doll who can totally rock a party.

I have blogger issue, too. I'm thinking to change, but don't know how. Scaredy-cat, is what I am.

JoAnna said...

Is there anything more horrifying than flagging down the WRONG PERSON and not knowing what to do about it? Just this morning, my neighbor suddenly had acquired 2 dogs and was walking toward me. At least i thought it was my neighbor. She gains and loses weight a lot and I don't see her much. And she wasn't looking like she knew me. So I asked anyway "hey, did you steal some dogs?" Yeah, it was my neighbor walking her daughter's dogs but I had that momentary panic of "OMG I'm accusing a stranger of something not funny!!"

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to hear the second half of this story. Amazing Grace is my favorite hymn. So I've been going through your list of blogs today and I've found some new bloggers I love-thanks Lady:-)

Tracie Nall said...

I want to meet your aunt Lorrie and learn her secret of heart openness, because I need more of that in my life.

Amazing Grace is a beautiful song....and now you HAVE to tell the story!

Those blogger outages/blips/flip-offs drive me batty!!

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