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  • Writer's pictureGrace Rice

I smelled the May Flowers!!

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

April showers bring May flowers, the old adage I grew up believing as evidenced by the blossoming of nature after a month of rain and precipitation. For me, this May has been a month of my own individual growth blooming. I was blessed to take a trip to San Jose, California for 2 weeks. I visited my cousin Kenny who had been very earnest and persistent in his invitation...So, after more than a year of hem-hawing around, I decided this was the time I would take that step to fly all the way from Ohio to California and spend 2 weeks with my very bachelor cousin!

I mention that part so you can use your imagination to glimpse his lifestyle which is filled with gym first thing every morning for an intense pick up game of b-ball before hitting the workout machines. Then a daily trip to Panera's for coffee and breakfast, then off to teach a chess class with young and mature students, then swing by the local all you can eat buffet and after that, jump on the computer at home and in-between having online chess matches, update his schedules, business documents, etc. But, lucky me, he cleaned for 2 weeks before I came so I wouldn't have to shower with the scum algae and other suspect organisms on the shower floor! I think you get the picture!

But, here's what my beloved cousin did that helped me (Type-A personality) gain an appreciation for his Type-B personality. Because of Kenny, for those 2 weeks I was forced to be more relaxed, flexible and approach each day with ease. That's because, he was not having my carping about "why is everything you do, done so chaotically", "we spend each night talking for 30 minutes to plan tomorrow, and first thing the next morning, you ball that paper up and introduce an entirely different plan", "Kenny, can you PLEASE just drive to our destination where we have a set reservation without stopping to holla at your boy at the auto repair shop, spinning through the car wash, refilling the gas tank, or driving in the opposite direction to show me where San Jose state is"!

Yes, I was a real pain for Kenny, and he would always calmly say, "you need to chill, you are so intense, trust me have I not gotten you to one place on time, even if we arrived with tires screeching to a stop?" "and besides, I wanted you out here so you could unwind, let-go, relax and let me take care of you". Now how can you be upset with someone like him? I thought about what Kenny said to me, and then I started reflecting on all the things he was doing to honor his commitment to make this trip an opportunity to unplug from my day-to-day routines, schedules, busyness!

From the very first day I landed at the San Jose Airport, I stepped into not only a different time zone, but an alternate reality that flexed each day unfolding in a different venue. San Franciso's Lombard Street, aka the most crooked street in the world, San Juan Bautista Spanish Mission founded in 1797 and still part of the Catholic Church today, San Jose State University to take photos with the Olympic Black Power Statue, Gilroy (garlic capital of the world) to buy garlic, Monterey to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium on the famous Cannery Row known as the grand canyon of the ocean, Sausalito to visit Muir Woods National Monument home of the giant redwood trees, Lick Observatory on the summit of Mt. Hamilton in the Diablo Range in Santa Clara County, Livermore Shopping Outlets (woo-hoo!), Walked the Golden Gate Bridge taking in the views of the San Francisco Bay and Alacatraz, Palo Alto home to Facebook (Meta) and Mountainview home to Google. And topping it off, with a visit to Stanford University to walk the campus and reminisce about my own college days!

To accomplish all of this it became obvious to me that Kenny was packing in as many memorable activities and experiences as possible to ensure I had one of my best vacations ever, and in that process, I learned or better yet, I blossomed into a more patient, tolerant, easy-going, relaxed person (at least for 2 weeks!) So bottom line, is that Kenny forced me to stop and smell the roses, something I had not done in a very very long time. That's why I can truly say that for me, I smelled the May Flowers! Have you had a chance to do that lately? Can you share your "blossom" experience with us in this safe, nonjudgmental forum? Would love to hear from you!


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