Monday, February 16, 2009

Once Upon A Time

February 16, 2009

Leicester, England
Rubber Plantations
London Model
The Who Drummer, Keith Moon
Skin Care and Facials
Ian McLagan
Red Hat Ladies of Austin
Jane Long Middle School
Wii Fit
Erin Buenger

Now what if I asked you to write a coherent story that connected the items in this list? It starts, "Once upon a time. . ." Can you finish it?

Here, let me help:

If you know the online game, Funny Farm, these places, people, things, and concepts would form a network of connections around the central key word, Kim Kerrigan (if you don't know Funny Farm, I promise you are really missing out on fun and distraction, and you should stop right now and give it a try.).

Did you Google Kim Kerrigan? If you did, you probably went to a Wikipedia article about her. That would help you write part of the story (up through "Skin Care and Facials"). Let me help you with the rest. Kim Kerrigan McLagan lived a full and vital life. A little over two years ago she died suddenly in an auto crash. Her impact on people was profound and long-lasting. A group of people who knew her (but did not always know each other) formed a group to keep her spirit alive. That group, The Red Hat Ladies of Austin, heard about Erin through a connection they had with a teacher at Jane Long (Erin's school). They decided that to help Erin with her goal of getting back into shape, so that she might return to competitive soccer someday, they would present her with a Wii, Wii Fit, and a full range of accessories so that her friends could support her in her goal AND have fun with her. They want her to continue to conquer the world with her smile and wit, much as their dear friend Kim did.

These wonderful folks, whom we have never met and who we may never meet, arranged the surprise for last Friday afternoon, shortly before the school dance. Erin is not speechless very often. Friday at 5:35 she was. As she pulled the paper back on the first box, her stunned look and flushed cheeks said it all. Eventually, she stammered, "Mom. . .mom. . do you know what this is?"

Here's how it went, step by step (I recommend clicking on each shot to zoom in and see the facial details):

All I could say then and all I can say now is "Wow!"

Why did I wait until now to post this entry? Well, Erin did have the Valentine's Dance about to start. Then, we had to run up to Dallas (only two hundred miles) on Saturday morning for cousin Emma's Pump It Up four-year-old birthday party.

No, it wasn't as calm and private as these two shots imply:

As one thing leads to another, being within an hour and a half of Clayton Sue's house, we felt moved to drop in on the Benson's in Fort Worth on Saturday evening.

Katherine (my sister) and Emma (the newly anointed four-year-old) returned with us to Bryan on Sunday, just in time to have Erin's buddy, Jackson, come over and help her set up the new Wii. They managed create their Mii's and bowl a line before we rushed off to meet another group of angels.

Some fine folks at St. Francis Episcopal Church heard about Erin's lanyards and asked us to come an teach a workshop, so they could make lanyards and raise money for pediatric cancer research, too. Boy, they did beautiful work, and while we shared the work, we shared some fine fellowship. At one point, I was explaining to the group how to know that you could stop adding beads and go to the finishing process. I wrapped a partially beaded wire across the back of my neck, so that the front two ends hung in front, and said, "most people would like their lanyards to come down about even with their bosom."

From across the room, I heard, "twenty or fifty?"

I, thinking 20 inches would be too short and 50 inches way too long, looked confused and said, "I beg your pardon."

The woman said, "Should it hit the bosom of a twenty year old or a fifty year old?"

Rim shot.

Anyway, we returned to regular programming this morning, with Erin not looking or feeling real great when it was time to get up for the start of a new school week. I hope it was just van lag (or whatever you would call it when you get hauled up and down the road all weekend). I think I may drop by for blood counts after school, since I have had a difficult time distinguishing Erin's lips from the rest of her pale face for a couple of days.

I always get in trouble when I start mentioning the kindnesses that people do for us, because we are touched by so many friends. Aaron and Jesse gave Erin carnations at school on Friday because they are great buddies. When she got home Friday evening (she ate so much and danced so hard that she accidentally threw up at the dance and got sent home early), a candy and flower arrangement from her retired historian friend, Jim Smallwood was waiting for her, just in case she needed to replace the calories lost from dancing and vomiting. The inestimable Bate family, who gifts Erin on so many special holidays, had another lovely box of surprises waiting for her when we got back from Dallas. There is absolutely nothing I can say to express how loved these action make us feel, so I will just say thank you.


  1. I'm glad that I zoomed in. That look on her face is priceless!

  2. well, that post, for some reason, was nearly a tear jerker. i know that erin isn't the perfect angel all the time (none of us are), but she certainly sounds like a very cool kid and i'm soo glad that she was so blessed. i'm also jealous of her wii and wii fit! (i guess its good i don't have one, i certainly don't need another distraction from academia). keep telling the good stories vickie - imho the world needs more of them.

  3. I just wish you could see the smiles this put on all of our faces as we read this entire post. never a girl more deserving of very special treats!


  4. That is so cool! We have a Wii fit too, and we LOVE it!! Erin totally deserves it. Also, in regards to the last post, I just want to mention that both MY sets of gym clothes got stolen in jr. high as well!! That really does stink!! Stolen gym clothes are much better than a million cancer related yuck-things that I can think of though! ;-)

  5. Awesome...what a rich life! And we'll all be waiting to hear your
    Wii age!


  6. As an almost-fifty year old, the "twenty or fifty" line was priceless.

    So glad Erin got blessed!

  7. I'm so happy for Erin! that was so amazing!!

    Hey, next time you're in Dallas, let me know. Maybe we can meet for tea/coffee and I can get to meet Erin!

  8. HEY!!! That's me! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : )

  9. I have really been debating getting a Wii! Maybe it's time to give in. I hope Erin can start playing soccer soon!