A word that comes up for me is
JOY when I think of her. Which, defined by the dictionary means:
1 A feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
Pictured here is sweet Gladys Torres, also known as my “Florida Mom.” In this photo, you can see the twinkle of her eye. It truly captured her essence, which was joy. Gladys was one of the most joyful people that I have had the honor of coming in contact with. She always had a smile on her face. She always had a kind word to say. And she LOVED sharing her precious Bamboo with her guests. Great pleasure and happiness is what was felt in Glady’s presence. Oh, and her sense of humor. So witty! So funny! So delightful.
This past year, we said good-bye to this truly special lady. Gladys took her final breath on December 13, surrounded by her family. I received “the call” the day after I returned home from the island. While I will miss her physical presence at Bamboo, her legacy lives on. I will hold close to my heart every single memory and word of wisdom.
It feels good in this moment to share a funny story with each of you. Gladys and I had a running dialogue about squirrels. I was given the “green light” to feed them as long as it was away from the cottage. (I’m going to tell on myself right here). One day my Dad and I were sitting outside of the cottage by the big pine tree. Dad was smoking. I was watching the squirrels play. It was then that my inner-rebelious teenager decided to put some grapes up high in a recessed spot in the big tree for the squirrels to eat. Shortly thereafter, as luck would have it, I hear my Dad say, “Gladys is coming!” Uh oh. Quickly I position myself so that my body is blocking the view to the nibbling rodents. However, nothing much got past Gladys, ever. Then, to my horror, a squirrel came down the massive tree trunk with a grape in it’s mouth. My Dad and I exchanged a look. Of course, Gladys noticed the squirrel and questioned, “What does that squirrel have in it’s mouth?” Brief silence. Dad then chimes in with, “A grape.” Gladys, “A grape?” Me, “A grape? What in the world?!” Her answer (makes me laugh to this day), “They are scavengers those squirrels. Scavengers! They will get anything they can get their little paws on.”
I’m pretty sure that she knew exactly where those grapes came from. Maybe she is smiling in Heaven remembering this story, too. I sincerely hope so. It is one of many!
Thank you, Florida Mom, for always making me feel so incredibly loved.
During this month of February with the big HEART holiday, it is a wonderful time to remember LOVE present, past, and in the future. I will always remember Gladys for her big heart and for all the joy she brought into my Life and the lives of all the guests at Bamboo.
I remember (and bring to my present awareness) all of the LOVE in my Life now and the joy that it is to share each day with my love, Kim Coffman. I look forward to every future moment experiencing all the love that we can muster up.
May you experience great love now and forever more.
You are loved!
Live. Love. Play. Prosper.
With love and gratitude,