“Be Excellent to Each Other”

San Dimos, CA, 1988. Bill & Ted’s music is responsible for world peace, the end of poverty, and planetary alignment. If only.

August tends to make me grouchy. The oppressive heat and excessively negative political attack ads (from both sides) don’t help. All I really want to do is get up on a stump and tell people to behave and play nice. And whack them with a big stick if they don’t listen.

But, it’s not my job to go around whacking sense into people. Life’s lessons come when they will. Just ask the parent whose child was diagnosed with cancer. Or the husband who lost a wife to a drunk driver. Someone in the middle of a life-altering crisis knows what is most important, and I’d bet my last dime they’d say it ain’t got a thing to do with fried frickin’ chicken.

My late husband, Thom, worked in a plant where cell phones couldn’t be used. He had a pager, and most days I’d put in the number “867-5309” just to let him know I was thinking about him. Blowing him a kiss across the telephone wires.

Neither of us had heard the song in years, but it made sense to us. It was one of our inside jokes, the kind every family has; made special because of its exclusivity.

About a week after he died, I took my two year old to daycare in his truck. After I dropped him off, I climbed back up in that white Dodge pickup, started it, and turned the radio on. The music faded out and a brand new song came on. A song I hadn’t heard in years. Guess what it was?

Oh, yes, it absolutely was our song. It peaked in 1982 and this was 2000. What are the chances it’d be the first song I heard while driving his truck?

“Jenny, Jenny, who can I turn to? You give me something to hold on to….867-5309.” Thom blew me a kiss across time and space to let me know what I needed to know.

Now, I’m sharing this story to encourage people who are feeling the loss of loved ones. I pray that all will experience grace in the midst of immense grief. And that we all find it within ourselves to be excellent to each other.

About Laura Alford, PhD

I'm a recent graduate of LSU (PhD in Accounting). In addition to academic research, I also write fiction on Tuesday nights with the Asilomar Writers.
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1 Response to “Be Excellent to Each Other”

  1. Susan Sands says:

    Thanks, Laura, for slapping a little sense into us today. May we all find a little grace and kindness to offer one another in the dog days of summer and throughout this awful stretch of never-ending politics that work to tear down instead of inspire positive change for our world. I hate politics.

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