forty days. forty stories.
by Don Cooley
I know that the writing assignment was to tell a story about Jules that stands out and there are two problems with that. First problem is that Joolee Aurand is the kind of person that takes any ordinary time and adds that extra to make it extraordinary, so choosing one story is virtually impossible. Secondly, we are getting older and I forget the details of some stories. My wife tells me this along with not “asking the right questions”; make my stories boring (ha!)
Instead of a story, I would rather talk about a true act of kindness that Joolee exhibited shortly after we started becoming friends. I knew her a little when she unfortunately lost her father at such a young age and I felt bad, but didn’t really help her out at all. Well as fate would have it, 6 months later tragedy came knocking on my door next. I considered myself a pretty popular person with a lot of friends, but during this confusing whirlwind of emotions, there was only one friend that I had that mattered. Julie put her life on hold, along with her emotions to be a sturdy rock for me to hang on to. I will never forget this as long as I live that she sacrificed her own sadness to help a friend through theirs.
Our relationship shortly after this was indelibly etched in stone. She would be the sister I never had and a lot of the time needed. We were/are the kind of friend that is solid no matter how much you communicate with them. Julie was/ is if nothing else; real. She would, with a smile on her face, tell me when I was being a good person, or an ass. I was most of the time worried about having a good time and having people like me in school and Julie would not hesitate to set me straight (like Mr. Purcell’s physics class.) On a kinder side of that story, when I would put myself down about my intelligence level, she was truly a voice of reason and truth telling me that I sold myself short. Coming from my humble upbringing, I would truly have to say that Julie contributed to me believing I could finish a college degree.
We then went to Ship and while there, kind of went our separate ways finding ourselves. Even though we talked and met sporadically here and there, Julie, I always knew you were there if I needed you. This made the beginning years of college much easier. We did attend some of the same parties and possible classes and I could tell a couple of stories…nothing really stood out that would make this reflection funny.
Joolee, you are a person that I talk about whom I admire very much. You are not afraid and have never been afraid to take a risk. Many people walk around quoting sayings such as “live life to the fullest” or “carpe diem”, while very few people live those lessons. You however don’t just live them, you personify them. It seems as though every time I talk or email with you, there is a new chapter in your life. You have realized that life happens quickly and you have grabbed it by the horns.
My picture that goes along with this reflection is that it is better to give than to receive. That above all else is what makes you the person you are. Anybody that knows you knows that that saying could not be more suitable for any other person they know. Time and time again, you have sacrificed for everybody else, friend or not, to make their lives and the world a better place. From going through my most dismal time right there by my side, to offering up the shirt off your back, to sending Antarctica onsies for my twins….you just never stop giving. This is why you are so loved and respected.
Not real sure how forty years goes so quickly, but I do know one thing is for sure…..that my life has been enhanced because our paths crossed and because we are friends. I can’t pick one story because everything you do is extraordinary. I truly value our friendship and hope to God that you are in my life for the next forty.
Love and Happy Birthday,
Donald Earl! It’s 6:49 am and you’re about to make me cry! Thank you so much for this. Yes, please, I hope we’re in each others’ lives for the next 40 years, too, AND that we actually get to see each other sometimes! (and we get to meet each others’ luvvies…before the wee ones grow up) I don’t know that I deserve all the credit you give me here, but I loved our friendship in high school, and know that you helped me trememndously too (silly Miami :O). You’re wonderful!
I hope it wasn’t too heavy! I am in agreement that we need to meet up and definitely meet Bill and Caralyn. You are lucky to have a man that would organize this project. His creativity seems to be right on par with yours. My twins could definitely use an Auntie Joolee as well! Have a happy birthday buddy!
No, it was absolutely perfect (just as the tears come, you make us laugh with the ‘telling you you’re behaving like an ass’ comment :). And you’re right…I am very lucky to have that Bilby in my life…as well as my Donny and my Soozin! We should make our own reunion…I miss you guys!
Donny!!! I’m sitting here at my desk with tears in my eyes too!! Beautifully written. 🙂
Oh man Cooley…..I need to rethink everything I was thinking of writing. Thanks for the tears!