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You know how I like to blah-blah-blah, barely letting anyone get a word in edgewise?


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Is this a rhetorical question? Or, a trick question?


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Neither, I leave those to you. And, you know how things happen to us that seem accidental but probably aren’t coincidences?


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Is there a point to these questions? If so, can you please get to it?


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As you often tell me, “Patience, grasshopper.” Although I know that’s not your strong suit. Especially not in conversations. Anyway, the other day you sent me a video about stutterers. Well, that same day, I happened to speak to someone who stuttered, and it was just what I needed.


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The video? Or, the conversation?

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The conversation. It happened before you sent the video. As you know, we weren’t sure the buyers of Mom’s house wanted the 22-foot shuffleboard table in the second-floor game room. And since it’s a solid piece of, well, whatever the board’s made of, it’d have to be broken down to get it out of the house since the original homeowners probably brought it in through the windows while the house was still being built.

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I know the story. But, I am running out of patience with your blah-blah-blah. Can you get to the point?

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I’ll try, but sometimes the details are important. Anyway, I was pretty stressed about finding someone who could remove the shuffleboard, especially since we only had a few days to pull this off. So, I was excited when I found LoadUp, a company that professionally disposes of your old items, but imagine how I felt when the person who answered the phone stuttered. I was not in a patient mood.

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Oh, I can only imagine. Normally, you would have been patient and understanding, but getting Mom’s house emptied has been overwhelming and emotional for you.

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There’s an understatement, but something remarkable happened during that call. I went from being incredibly stressed out to being calm and in a good mood. Because as soon as I heard his stutter, I forced myself to “slow down” and just listen.

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I will not get into the power of active listening, but by focusing on what he was saying, that was an escape, albeit very brief, from everything going on in your mind.

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Besides him being highly professional and knowledgeable, he was extremely nice and understood my “disposal” dilemma. I only wish he could’ve seen me as I went from being a woman bouncing off the walls to someone in a much better mood, all because, ironically, of his stutter!

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I am certain he could hear it in the tone of your voice. Regardless, as the video points out, the problem is not with the person who stutters; it is with the listener.

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Which makes sense. And even though you commented the video was a great piece and worth the time to watch, I only did so a few days ago. And I agree. But you also mentioned I should remind you to tell me about the Make-A-Wish interviewer who stuttered.

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It was exactly one week before your conversation with the man who stuttered. I arrived for the building dedication interview and was introduced to the two-man film crew – an interviewer and a camera operator. I noticed that one man stuttered, so I assumed he was the camera operator. Imagine my surprise when I found out I had guessed wrong.


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I’m sure you were great. You don’t tolerate fools well, but you’re very empathic with people who have genuine issues.


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Perhaps. But, I also have been known to finish people’s sentences or interrupt them when it is obvious where they are going, and I want the conversation to move along quicker.


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I think we’ve already established you’re impatient.


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Point made. But, just as you learned allowing yourself to genuinely listen not only allowed you to connect better with him but also to stop and catch your breath, I realized that allowing the interviewer to ask his questions at his pace allowed me to think about what he was saying and carefully prepare my answer. That it was not a race to the finish.


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So, does that mean you will start being more patient with me? And become a better listener?


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Doubtful; however, I wonder if people who stutter do a better job of getting to the point and actually are more succinct speakers.


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You would …
Check out this list of famous and gifted people that didn’t let stuttering get in their way!
Photo courtesy of Red


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I know that you’ve been involved with Make-A-Wish for decades, and it’s an amazing organization, but I’m not sure why you made such a big deal about the recent Texas Gulf Coast & Louisiana chapter ’s dedication of its building. I appreciate that you were part of the planning group, but with all due respect, it’s just a building.

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I don’t expect you to remember that it all started in 1980 when Tommy Austin wanted to do something special for a young boy, Chris Greicius, who was battling leukemia and wanted to be a policeman. That wish became a reality and the start of The Make-A-Wish Foundation.


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That story has always inspired me as it makes you realize the difference that just one person can make. But the building wasn’t named after Chris or Tommy, so I’m still confused.
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I may not celebrate Rosh Hashanah by going to temple, and now that the girls are no longer home for the holiday, I don’t prepare a seder with the traditional foods . But I know and appreciate that it’s one of the most important Jewish holidays, as it’s a time for reflection on the past and hope for the future. And this year, between world events, where I feel surrounded by so much negativity, and on the personal front, with Mom’s passing, it seems more important than ever before.


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Although Rosh Hashanah is filled with traditions, like apples dipped in honey because it is believed apples have healing properties (think of the rhyme, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”), and the honey signifies the hope for a new year that will be sweet … it is still incredibly relevant. In today’s hectic world, a contemplative holiday where you stop and think about the road you have traveled over the last year (including any wrong turns) and where you would like to go in the future may be exactly what we all need.

We wish everyone who celebrates Rosh Hashanah a happy and sweet New Year. And remember, you don’t have to be Jewish to look back and reflect … and then try to do better in the future.

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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So, I had to smile when Sawyer came to visit us at Mom’s estate sale. And even though I had seen her only a few hours before, I gave her a hug.


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Yes, you make it rather obvious that you are warm and fuzzy. And, a hugger.


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But what made me laugh was when she greeted you by acknowledging that you weren’t a hugger. Now there’s an understatement.


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No, it is merely a fact.


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I never realized, though, just how much both Natasha and Sawyer are like you. Although they begrudgingly let me hug them, they’d both be just as happy with a handshake. If that.


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Maybe a fist bump?
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