Jackie just gets me. I told her that when I am with her, I feel like she sees all of the best parts of me, gathers them together and makes a bridge out of them that spans all of my unpleasant bits. She knows they're down there, but she understands why, and doesn't judge me for them. She steps over my mud, and looks up into my leaves and branches, and calls them beautiful.
Jackie and I play a game over text like we are going to see each other in a little while for lunch. We offer up menu items and a meeting place, and count down the hours via text. As the designated time for lunch draws close, we then politely excuse ourselves; "I had to get my horse re-shoed this morning, and he's despondent. Maybe we should postpone" or "Darn it all, I forgot today I also invited Her Royal Highness the Queen to lunch! I simply must reschedule (said all British-y, "re-SHED-du-al).
We have to cancel, you see; Idaho is a long way from California.
But once in a purple moon (far rarer than the blue variety), Jackie and I get to see one another. And last month there was a gloriously purple moon.
Fast forward through the wailing and gnashing of teeth to pinpoint the problem: space heaters. Four of them to be exact. Luckily, by the time we got the bill, Lady Summer had sat down on us like a big ol' menopausal hot flash. At least we had time before the next big chill to do some figurin'.
Now, hop skip and jump through "me trying to solve this problem on my own in 50 different ways" (none of which was less than $2000), and we come to Jackie, who, through all the selling-buying-packing-moving had been one of my devoted- long-distance rocks. She would wipe my tears with her words, "Come to my bosom!", which, to me, is like Lady Liberty singing, "Give me your tired, your poor!...send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me!" Few words comfort me the way those do from her. She got me through the first month here with daily, sometimes hourly, contact.
As wives do, Jackie ended up telling her hubby, John, about our heating situation.
Now, if John were a surgeon, and I had a ruptured spleen, things couldn't have been more perfect - because John just happens to have an HVAC company, and a soft spot for people who love his cute wifey as much as I do. He offered help, and I, having run entirely out of options, very, very gratefully accepted. (Did I mention VERY gratefully? I am teary now just thinking about it). After much planning and figuring, John prepared to pack up all he would require, and make the two day round-trip journey from Idaho to help us by installing a propane heater in my dad's place.
We would first need to place a propane tank. Easy, right? Oh, you silly, naive child. No. It's not. Because digging the required 30 foot, 18 inch deep gas line trench through rock infested soil with hand shovels was as effective as a plastic spoon on over-frozen ice cream. It took some doing, but I tracked down a thingy called a ditch witch, and a sweet fellow in our church congregation hauled it to our place. This monster is the power-tool equivalent of a mechanical bull with a 2 foot rock-chewing chain saw for a nose. We were told it would eat through our bolder-laden soil like buttah', but we didn't know it would cough, sputter, kick, lurch, choke, puke, and try to attack us. Best four hours ever.
And then... (drumroll) ...
John drove all day on a Friday, and then spent the entire next day, from morning to well after dark, in the rain (and I quote, "I'm not made of sugar"), installing the heater. Yea, and there was much cutting and grinding and threading of pipes. And behold, it was good. And it was beautiful. Is beautiful. And it works. The new stove is a lovely little cast iron show piece that is super warm and fabulously cost effective. My dad can crank it up and keep his whole place toasty, and he does.
I know John would hate it to know I made a fuss over him. He's humble, and fussing over him would make him need to go drive a tractor or maybe weld something. Too bad. Here comes the fuss...
I am so very, very grateful. He gave so much of himself for our family. True service happens when what you give is something that the person receiving could not have done for themselves. Before John offered to help us, our prospects were to freeze or go bankrupt. There was no solution within our means that could be reached. John did that; he created a third, bless-ed possibility. Of all the gifts the sacrifice of his time, energy and personal cost have given (not to mention his poor back), the greatest was the gift of utter peace it has given me. I slept well that night for the first in ages.
Thank you, John.
|(Miss Jackie peeking through the hole in the wall where the exhaust would eventually be routed)|
And, not that I really even noticed, but he happened to bring Jackie.
Next up, a day with Jackie, which was certainly not enough, but was all I got. Therefore it is all you will get. Don't be greedy. There is only one of her. You are quite fortunate I am willing to share her with you at all!
(And if you are in the Boise area, and need an amazing HVAC man, contact me.)