Often I receive mail that makes no sense to me. A magazine about bass fishing for my eldest son, who has not shared this address in years & as far as I know, has no interest in fishing for bass. “Wired” magazine made more sense for my techno guru son. “GQ” made about as much sense as bass fishing.
The most difficult for my Liberal bent have been the missives from the Republican party. Including a survey during this election from the RNC.
Years ago, a much loved & admired young friend not only sent me a two year subscription to the National Review, but filled out paperwork in my name & donated to the Republican National Committee.
Little did my young friend know that William F. Buckley was a secret pleasure of mine, for the pure joy of his command of the English language & its nuances. The RNC less so.
After months of phone calls & a myriad of requests to both the Fort Bend County Republican Party & the RNC, I thought I was finally removed from their mailing lists.
Until the survey.
But that is not what sparked this particular post. It was today’s inexplicable catalogue from Forestry Supplies Spring Sales & New Products Specials. Addressed to me.
I tried to decipher what I could have done to prompt Forestry Supplies to send me their spring catalog. I have no need for increment borers, aerosol boundary paint, dibble bars, log grabbers, duckbill earth anchors or chain & bar oil.
The “rite in the rain” mechanical pencils appealed to me, but it has been decades since I felt the compulsion to write in the rain. While outdoors, that is.
Then I turned the page of the catalog & spotted the hard hats – orange, yellow, royal blue, navy blue & white.
And I remembered the pink hard hat & slip on steel toed boots stored in a tote upstairs.
Both of which I wore in shipyards & walking through rigs under refurbishment.
Which, I realize, after writing over 300 words, is what led me think about Kim & her birthday.
I first met Kim as the CFO of a rig management company my employers, the owners of the rig being refurbished, hired to manage the refurbishment. I was the assistant controller & Kim represented our most important contractor.
Our positions & our companies’ interests often set us at odds against one another. I represented the source of the project funding & too often Kim had to represent an opposing interest.
But she always handled each situation with grace & discretion & well thought analysis.
My superiors were often outrageously demanding & too often encouraged me to follow their lead. There were too many times when I went to Kim & demanded that she produce something that I knew she could not possibly guarantee.
To Kim’s credit, she never lost her poise or composure or her center of gravity.
And most often, delivered.
More importantly, & this is the center of this post, Kim & I became adversarial friends.
And over the time of the doomed project, friends.
Kim listened & gave me feedback I could not obtain from my own supervisor, who was consumed by building her dream $450,000 house. Or her next vacation or plans for her family’s next holiday. Or pictures of her children from the last holiday.
Kim came to see me when I was in the hospital (although I was still asleep) & left a lovely, thoughtful gift. Kim sent flowers to my brother’s memorial service – casa blanca lilies with bear grass, my favorite.
We shared many lunches & many hours of talking things out.
The doomed project that brought us together ended up in bankruptcy & distanced us as law suits & court orders dominated my landscape.
But I found Kim on Facebook & I have been following her & her beautiful family for years. When I first met Kim, she had two very young children, Ivan & Laila.
Ivan is growing into the same handsome man as his father. Laila is destined to be a beauty. Their two little sisters will no doubt become beauties like their Madre & sister.
I do not always like the woman I was during those pink hard hat & slip on steel toed shoes period. I try to let her be, to forgive her, to let it go.
But I do like are the remnants I was able to salvage from that doomed project. From that life.
Kim is more than a remnant. She is a treasure I managed to reclaim.
Happy Birthday, Kim. With love, Jaki Jean.