Weaving in, out of our lives

Published 12:47 am Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It is interesting the way connections to people weave through our lives. I got a reminder of that last week when my phone rang.

“Hello is this Nancy Blackmon who writes for the paper?” said the voice.

“Yes, it is,” I said.

The person on the other end of the line called to tell me he wanted to give me something that he thought would mean a lot to me. He was right, but before I go on with that part of the story, let me tell you about those connections I mentioned.

When I was a child, both sets of my grandparents lived in Luverne, and we made many trips there for visits. Beside Mama Helms house was a big white house. Its backyard met my grandmother’s side yard. I remember it because there always seemed to be a bunch of children running around. I stood at the fence that separated the yards watching them play and I‘d ask Mama Helms about them.

Fast forward to the late 1980s when my husband worked at Tracey-Lucky and met Hank Philips. They became friends and then his wife, Darlene, and I met because of their friendship. One time when the four of us were together, we talked about growing up, and it turned out Hank was one of those children playing in the backyard beside my grandmother’s house. We kind of laughed about never meeting all those years ago.

After the plant where they worked closed, Hank and my husband talked a few times, but we eventually lost touch with him and with Darlene. Later, we heard Hank passed away and talked about how much we enjoyed knowing him and how we wished we hadn‘t lost touch.

Take another jump forward to a workshop I attended a year or so ago. To my surprise and delight, Darlene was there, too, and we started talking. Because of that meeting, we now have a renewed, and much closer, friendship.

On to the last connection. Another childhood memory involves visiting Folmar relatives in Luverne; one of them was Richard Folmar who was an amazing artist. I wrote a column about him when they held his estate sale, saying I was sad I missed it because I would like to have a piece of his art.

Now back to the call and the gift. The man on the phone turned out to be Hank’s brother, Harry. Not only did he grow up in Luverne, but he was also good friends with Richard. He had no idea I knew Hank or that the two of them lived near my grandmother when they were kids. He just read the column and decided he wanted to give me a little painting that Richard gave to him and his wife.

His generosity was overwhelming ,and I so appreciated his thinking of me. When I picked up the painting, I told him about knowing his brother and about where my grandparents once lived. We both smiled at the interesting way things work out.

As I drove home I thought about how we move in and out of each other’s lives, how our stories weave together to make a wonderful tapestry.

I just know Hank is happy that Darlene and I reconnected. I feel sure Richard would like that his friend gave me the painting. And, Mama Helms is probably smiling and saying what I heard her say when I asked her about the children next door, “Those Phillips youngins are something.”