Huckleberries. A simple pleasure I have enjoyed my whole life. Especially the ones you pick yourself off of a bush warmed by the summer sun right here in the Inland Northwest. Those two hands stained purple are proof of your hard work, and the work becomes more enjoyable when shared with friends.
This week, we said goodbye to an old family friend who left us too young. He was a great berry picking buddy, and was the big brother I never had. With his blazing red hair and quick wit, he was far gentler on his interior then his rough exterior let on. Being the youngest kid on the block, he would always pick me to be on his team for games, leaving me feeling proud to be his choice. Looking back, I am sure it was because I was small and he could cram me into small spaces during hide-and-seek.
When at his service, it was hard to watch the story of his life unfold. The boy I looked up too so much had grown up, gone on to become an avid outdoors man, wild land firefighter, and welding instructor at the one of the local colleges. He became a father, and I am sure a damn good one. Although I was so proud to be there counted as a friend of this gentle soul, I know he was gone too soon, and for the wrong reasons. Hugging his parents, who were like my second family and my parents’ best friends, I felt their loss radiate from them like waves.
You matter. When times are hard, please remember YOU matter to many people in your life. You are a son or daughter, friend, community member, or maybe a parent. If you feel you don’t fit any role in this list, reach out! Even as a stranger who passes someone’s path with a kind word you can impact that person’s day. Be good to people in your life.
Reach out to people when you struggle, and accept it when you in need of a helping hand.
So, make today a good day. Pick berries with the sunshine on your face, do something that makes you soul sing to honor people who are woven into the fabric of you life.