The plans for my birthday did not include a trip to Oxnard. I was supposed to have lunch with my family and birthday shopping and later on go out to dinner and the next day there were plans for a pedicure and another dinner out. But sometimes things happen that we can't control and the best made plans are set aside as we move ahead with another plan.
The Sunday before my birthday, we got word that our sweet friend MaryJane had died. We flew down with John's parents. MaryJane has been best friends to my mother-in-law for 70 years or so. They lived next door to each other, sometimes they lived with each other, they grew up together, got married and each of them had 8 kids, almost to the year. She was as close or closer than family to the Dixons. Of course I met her way back, but it was not until the past 10 years that I really got to know her. She was genuine. She had the sweetest smile and was sincerely caring for those she knew. Everyone was welcome in her home and you better be ready to have a meal! She was so fun to be with and always made you laugh. She loved to plan parties and go on cruises. She was not afraid to tell it like it is and I guess that is why so many laughed because not many people have the confidence to speak it as they see it. You knew where you stood. I know, when people die, everyone goes around saying all kinds of good stuff about them. Well, the things they said and remember of her are so true, I know that so much was left out. This woman was definitely an inspiration to me!
We stayed at Uncle Jimmy's place, a home that his grandmother lived in before he was born. It began as a tiny garage, then little by little it was added on to as the family grew. He even built on some of the rooms himself when he took over ownership. I also took a picture of the palm trees that line the street by his home. They are nearly 100 years old. Since we were so close to them, Dennis and Abby and Gabe got to spend time with us while we were there too. Abby came down alone with Gabe the first day while Dennis was at work and they all came back again the next day.
On Sunday we all drove up to Winnetka and had a barbecue at their place.
So even though it was not the birthday I had planned it ended up being a celebration of life. The life that MaryJane lived, her example to live it to the fullest. The reminder that we are all growing older and we never know when it will be our time to go. What will I leave behind? What memories will others have of me when I am gone? A reminder to not put off what needs to be done while I am still here to do it.