Be (in) the Present

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I’ve had so much trouble writing this. I must have started it three or four times. Whenever November rolls around, there are more than enough graphics, journaling prompts, and memes asking us what we’re grateful and thankful for. I won’t suggest that we should be thinking about gratitude all year long, but… 

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. For many of us, this is a time to gather with family, some of whom we don’t see all the time, put away our “issues”, gather the cousins, set up the kiddie table, and eat good food.

This last Thanksgiving and this upcoming one have probably been a little bit harder for some, after the election and all the baggage that came with it. Whatever side you are on, one thing that has proven itself is that we feel strongly about our thoughts and beliefs. 

For some of us, losing loved ones makes this holiday all the more harder. We lost my mother-in-law last summer. Last Thanksgiving was not easy. This one won’t be either.

I was just gathering some thoughts and went to Facebook for a breather from the keyboard. Trust me, this is (somewhat) relevant.

David Cassidy died yesterday. He was a favorite of mine and despite knowing that his death would happen this week, it doesn’t make it any easier. His daughter, Katie was on one of my favorite shows, Supernatural, and is currently on Arrow, both on The CW. Jim Beaver, another actor from Supernatural, posted a condolence to her, and that’s where the internet showed off its empathy. But not really. What about his son? No condolences for him? He and Katie didn’t even have a relationship? Why does she need condolences?

Wow.

It’s like we can’t turn off the self-righteous manufactured anger anymore.

I can say with certainty that Jim didn’t suggest no condolences for the rest of the family; he was simply talking to and about his dear friend, Katie.

Sometimes, we need to simply slow down, think before we speak (or send), give the benefit of the doubt, leave cynicism at the door, and have a little faith.

On Tuesday, my friend celebrated her mother’s life. She died from cancer at age 58. I didn’t know her mom, but I knew my friend, and I know how close the two of them were. I can see her mother in her, through her actions, in the way she treated people, with kindness and love, with empathy and positivity. They both had a strong faith, and believed in their salvation through Jesus. She’s sad that her mother’s not a phone call or a short drive away, but she knows where she is, and for the rest of us, who didn’t know her mother, we will continue to know her mother through her.

On Tuesday, at around the same time, I was attending the funeral of a friend from my church, who also died from cancer. She also had a strong faith. The last time I saw her was her fiftieth wedding anniversary. She was in a wheelchair, but she was happy and positive, looking forward to her evening with her entire family, to recovering. When I went to wish her a happy anniversary, I reached my hand out ot hold hers, and she wouldn’t have it – it was time for a hug. She pulled me in, and it was lovely. She was lovely, very simply just a wonderful woman. She always had a kind word for me. She asked about my family and our holiday plans or about the kids’ schools. She welcomed me without hesitation into the church family, and was always available if I needed anything. We participated in some of the same ministries, and from her, I saw how to act in committees that I was unfamiliar with. She was a role model and a mentor.

These two women, separated by different cancers and fourteen years, five kids between them, one in New York and one in Arkansas, and both pillars of their families, the rocks that hold their people in tandem, that teach the faith, the “rules” of life, and they bring people into their orbit and make them better for it.

I’m thankful that I was able to know and to continue to know people who make a difference, not just in my life, but in others, to be an example of who I can be, who push me with their spirit and their being.

Look around at the family this weekend, tell them how their lives impact yours in the good ways, ignore the politics for a couple of days, and be there, be present, and give and share the love.

Fandom is a Funny Thing

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I started watching Supernatural in the middle of the seventh season. My first episode was The French Mistake. I knew the actors better than the characters. I eventually started marathoning on Netflix. Since The French Mistake was an episode that broke the fourth wall it was easy to relegate it to the recesses of my mind and have it not interfere with the storyline.

Along the way I got to know the characters. The first actress to play the demon Ruby was Katie Cassidy. I really liked her take on the character. No offense against one of my favorite Padaleckis, but I preferred her Ruby to Gen. I mean, I had warm and fuzzies for Jared’s wife, but I really liked Ruby 1.0. I liked her sass and her practicality.

I didn’t realize she was the actress playing Laurel Lance on The CW’s Arrow for longer than I would like to admit. It took me a long time to figure it out. I only watched it haphazardly, if it happened to be on, a few episodes at the end waiting for Supernatural to start. And then Laurel began to be Black Canary. Seriously, one of my very favorite female superheroes. Black Canary and Batgirl. One in the comics, one on the television. And now, Black Canary was going to be on television. I was excited to see her take on this character.

About two months ago (or more), Marty Ingalls died. I looked up his wife, Shirley Jones. I had been a big fan of The Partridge Family in my childhood. I grew up singing their songs. Every time a school bus would pass by it would remind me of that show. Just like everyone else in the mid-70s, I had a crush on David Cassidy and Danny Bonaduce. In high school, I was a huge fan of Shaun Cassidy, David’s younger half-brother. I used to sing along to both Cassidys’ albums in my basement, sitting by the record player, wearing this giant pair of headphones as if I were in a recording studio with him.

Along this Google/Wikipedia trip down memory lane, I read that Shaun Cassidy was the uncle of the actress, Katie Cassidy. I know all of you see where this is going, but at this point, I still didn’t get it; not until I clicked on her link and saw her photo. And then, finally, I recognized her.

Katie Cassidy?!

Ruby? Laurel? Katie Cassidy?!

My mind was sputtering.

How did I not know that Katie Cassidy, one of my favorite actors on two of my current shows was David Cassidy’s daughter?

How did I not know this?

Second generation fan. Or is it the same fan but with a second generation actor? Or is it fan, once removed.

I don’t know which, but I think I like it.