Monday, February 07, 2005

Inside jokes

I had promised a dear friend, beloved team and family member, that tonight I would write of special things. These things that are inside jokes, moments of joy that sparkle against the melancholy and surreal backdrop of our current existence. It has gotten late with fellowship and storytelling but I feel this is indeed an important part of our journey. One to which you are all entitled as beloved members of our circle.

First some special snippets, pop culture phrases and general silliness:

My family has a peculiar affinity for the Princess Bride, the original Inlaws and The Weather Channel. Common phrases thrown about (or a-boot, depending on team member) include "Get used to disappointment", "It'd take a miracle", "Serpentine, serpentine...", "And bacon", "And it doubles as a coaster, BRILLIANT!", and ANYTHING involving Jim Cantore.


The path to the hospital from the hotel is one of great adventure. First we must wend our way to the great Burger King (where the correct path is a RIGHT turn). from there it is past the great mound of dirt, under the sniper bridge, past the pit crew flagging you in to windshield repair shops, to the side of the crucified Paul Bunyan automotive specialist statue, around the street of lopsided jagged potholes and finally to rest in the parking garage of no left turns. Then we work our way across the overpass-style sidewalk (or moat if it has been raining) to the heavy jasmine laden air that seals medical knowledge into a fortress Conan would envy.

Each trip through security provides a new discovery of contraband metal in Roland's clothing, a wand search and a battle with elevators that only wish to go down. (The secret key is to PRESS the lower level button, jump out of the doors' way, let the lift sink to the lower level and rise again to ascend to the 9th floor... just in case you are wondering.) There is always a new place to narrowly miss clipping a homeless person or a police car, or a new Jamaican security guard to impress with one's honesty and wristband. We wear the bands like so many bikers wear the yellow rubber bands for Armstrong. When properly applied, a single band will survive at least 5 showers and 6 days.

The trips are long and, in the evening especially, they can be fraught with anxiety. Such drives are enlivened by jokes. And the inevitable punchline has become not the one at the end of the story, but the phrase, "and as is often the case in stories like these, one thing led to another..."

It is the comfort of these rituals, the safety in the monotony of the ride, that makes the fear less palpable and the hope more sublimated. It is the way strangers become family, the casual becomes the blessed, and the ridiculous becomes the sublime.

This is our journey. The journey we strive to share with you- the highs and the lows, the endlessness of one day and the fleeting passage of one hour. Know you are welcome and your posts read by all here. Those of many words as well as those of few.

Now, tonight I am off to sleep. And, perhaps, tonight I will-



Blogger Paul Hodges III said...

Dear Jacqui, I just heard the news about your Mother (my cousin Pam) and am very sorry and deeply concerned for her well being. Please let her know that her long lost cousin Paul is keeping her in his thoughts and prayers.
I will check your posts as often as I can and when I get back home (hopefully in a few weeks now) I will do so daily.
All my love,

Paul III

1:23 AM  
Blogger Trish said...

Jaqui- that was wonderful and at the risk of sounding sarcastic you probablly find all of that mess in a two block journey that takes about 30 minutes, right? Keep the good spirits coming we are all keeping you guys and pam in our thoughts and prayers!~ trish (VCC)

6:59 AM  
Blogger Angie Antkowiak said...

I love reading your posts...they add poetry to an otherwise tenuous situation. And of course, I am elated to read about how much progress Pam is making, the sign of a strong spirit! And lastly, now I know why I feel such a connection to Pam and her family...I LOVE "The Princess Bride"!...

"You keep saying that word. I don't think it means what you think it means."

And apparently Pam doesn't either because she is continuing to accomplish the inconceivable in her healing.

God Bless all of you, and special love to Pam!

7:55 AM  
Blogger Trish said...

Jaqui- that was wonderful and at the risk of sounding sarcastic you probablly find all of that mess in a two block journey that takes about 30 minutes, right? Keep the good spirits coming we are all keeping you guys and pam in our thoughts and prayers!~ trish (VCC)

8:20 AM  
Blogger Uncle Paul & Aunt Trudy said...

"Tomorrow, tomorrow, the sun'll come out tomorrow". Sing that song for our very special niece. Pam, we love you and our thoughts and prayers are with you every day. You are a fighter and we know you will astound the doctors with your rapid recovery. It will take a little while but we will be talking with you directly very soon.
Love and prayers, Paul and Trudy

8:33 AM  
Blogger rostitchery said...

that was beautiful jacqui. thank you for sharing your family's journey so openly with us. it feels very helpless to be so far away and not to even be able to squeeze pam's hand or to tell her and roland how much we love them. thru your postings, we can at least vicariously shoulder a bit of the burden. it is a very generous thing you are doing, giving comfort to a whole community. please squeeze pam's hand and tell her and roland how much rowena, rudi, and ella love them. :)

8:52 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

jacqui and brian,

just wanted you to know we are are thinking about you here in St. Louis--including my dad and his family. tell pam we're keeping her in our prayers and hope for a speedy recovery. happy belated birthday jacqui. heidi

1:37 PM  
Blogger Chris Warren said...

Dear Pam, Roland, and Family,
I have been following all the developments, and rest assured you have been in my prayers and my family's prayers. You will soon be added to our church's prayer list which reaches about 300 people. I know things will improve each day, and even though the progress sometimes seems slow, God works through each small step to encourage and motivate you and Pam for more. I know God will be in the healing process.
A note for Pam: Thanks to you for your help and guidance in my career at Blair and in churches, singing, etc. I have always been awed by your ability to rehearse groups of young people, including all the choirs at once, and without any animosity or harsh words, within a few seconds quieting the room enough to hear a pin drop. Everything you do is so musical, and it was and is a pleasure to work with you. Love to you all.

Chris Warren

3:35 PM  
Blogger Sarah Stone said...

Jacqui, I didn't get to meet your mom but everyone at the VTH is thinking of you both! The power of healing lies more in love than in science and the music and conversations with your mom will help her more than anything. We miss you here and can't wait till Pam is better. Joanne and I will be thinking of you at basic training tonight and will wish we were with you instead of sweating bullets! Best wishes to your mom (bruising on the eyelids negates eyeshadow application by the way so at least she has that going for her).

4:30 PM  
Blogger Chris Hines said...

Thank you so much for providing this blog so that the many people who care about Pam can easily hear the updates on her progress. I just wanted to add my voice to the many who have already contributed. Pam made a great impact on my life when I was in college and VUCC. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you as Pam makes her recovery.

-Chris Hines VUCC member 1998-2002

4:32 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Just saying hello! Nicole just this afternoon passed on the website, and I in turn passed it on to others. We've been thinking good thoughts and sending positive energy your way. Your clients miss you! Glad to hear the flowers found their way to you, EVERYONE chipped in-
tooooo many names for that little card!Take care of yourself,
All the Best,

4:38 PM  
Blogger David Lee said...

Your mom is very lucky to have you and such supportive friends and family by her side. The entire hospital is thinking positive thoughts and following her progress, thanks to your posts. Please let her know we are thinking of her and hoping for her quick and total recovery.
Best Wishes,
David (Lee)

4:49 PM  
Blogger Mike said...


Thank you so much for setting up and updating this blog -- I know it can't be easy to do with everything going on, but know that those of us who aren't there truly appreciate it. You, Pam, and your family are in our prayers in Indianapolis, and we can't until we hear that she's back in Nashville!

-- Mike O'Neill, VUCC Alum

4:53 PM  
Blogger Sarah Derksen said...

Hi Jacqui. I just heard about your mom and just wanted to tell you that you and your family are in my prayers. I hope your mom continues to improve. I am sure it means alot to her to have all of you there supporting her. The VTH misses you and wishes you and your mom all the best! Thank you for keeping us updated and sharing this website with all of us. It means alot.

sarah derksen, pvm 2005

8:44 PM  
Blogger Angie Antkowiak said...

Hi there Jacqui and Roland and all other faithful friends and family...

Just wanted to send a quick update from the VCC...we managed to soldier on through choir practice tonight. Kelly gave a great update and Polly was so great leading us (encouraging us not to "clobber the notes"). We are all worried but hopeful and we continue to pray for Pam's full recovery.

Kelly also mentioned that Roland was having difficulty remembering the words to "Shenandoah" when singing to Pam! Roland has such a handsome voice, and Pam surely would love to hear it in all its here are the words for you, Roland. We miss your smiling face too!

O Shenandoh, I long to see you
and hear your rolling river
O Shenandoh, I long to see you
Away, we're bound away
across the wide Missouri

O Shenandoh, I love your daughter
Away you rolling river
O Shenandho, I love your daughter
Away, we're bound away
across the wide Missouri

Stay well my dear, I'll never leave you**
Away you rolling river
O Shenandoh, I'll not decieve you
Away, we're bound away
across the wide Missouri

**the first line of this last stanza is actually "farewell my dear, I'm bound to leave you", which I didn't think was appropriate to sing to Pam, so I took the liberty of changing it. I'm sure the authors won't mind! :-)

Love to all,

8:49 PM  
Blogger anne and ben said...

jacqui - choir was hard. many tears. since you and your mom have saved my life, in different ways, i am indebted to your family forever. i miss my friend and cannot believe the outpour of emotion for our pam! well, i can believe it, but WOW! you have the entire divinity community praying for her at vanderbilt - not bad, a bunch of preachers praying for her! many in the Div school have let me know that they are thinking about pam and y'all. she is really missed. thanks for sending kelly back - we need her! but, we'll send her back soon and with bill! aren't we so lucky to have such amazing people in our lives? thank you for your continuous updating - it makes me feel less distant and helpless. know that you all are on my brain constantly through the day and are my last thought before i sleep. rest well, friends. much love, anne gregory

9:12 PM  
Blogger Debbie White said...

Prayers are spreading across the state. Several of my friends at Lindenwood Christian Church in Memphis are praying for Pam because two members are in her choirs. Holly Wright is in the Vanderbilt concert choir and I'm in The VCC. We are both so crazy about Pam.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Pamela Sixfin said...

So glad that Pam is showing improvement. All my love to Pam, her family and friends.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Emma Rushton said...

Dear Pam and Roland, we missed you both so much at the VCC rehearsal last night. It was good to be there, to talk about you, to hear about you from Kelly, and to sing. Kelly is amazing, she even managed to make us laugh. But the singing brought some tears too. The Dean of the Blair School came to talk to us and was wonderfully supportive. We will try to manage without you for a while........but we want you back! We miss your joy and spirit. Get well, Pam, we all love you and we are all thinking of you and hoping and praying for your recovery. This website is a blessing, thank you so much Jacqui.
love, Emma

8:17 AM  
Blogger Jay said...

Pam, Roland, Jacqui, David, et al

I am overwhelmed by the expressions of love and support for the word spread throughout campus it was apparent that those who know Pam and don't know her, those who know who she is and don't know who she is, but know of and recognize her impact on people's lives, express concern and caring.....there is a wonderful community of people here who have you all in their thoughts and prayers...because afterall, just her presence on campus affects people in such a wonderful, postive way...Pam's smiles and infectuous enthusiasm are sorely missed........and Roland, so are yours......get well, and come back soon!

Jay Spiegel (VUCC 1999-2004 off for Spring 05)

9:56 AM  
Blogger DiTraglia family said...

Dear Pam and Roland,

By the way, in case you did not know,we have another member of our family. Born on Sept 30th is Roman Michael DiTraglia. We really want him to sing with you in the various children's choirs in the future! Please keep up your good work in recovery.

4:10 PM  

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