Excuse Me.. 6-11

Dear Readers,

    When I write to you, I do it from the perspective that you are my friend.  My feelings are true and there are not too many people who are honest anymore.  They aren’t honest about themselves.  They don’t take time to make assesments of their lives and ponder it from the perspective of a novel.  I mean take a look at yourself from the outside.  Sit in a chair in your office and watch yourself.
    It may sound crazy but if I wanted to do that and talk to someone about it who would not think I was crazy it would be my friend Noelle.
     Noelle always says, “I understand what you mean.”  There are very few of my friends that I can talk about almost anything too without them taking everything literally out of context or bringing up Jesus.
     My Noelle, is a great friend and anyone who doesn’t think doesn’t have all their ducks in a row.  I have never had one bad thing to say about her and I’m a complainer.
   The thing I like the most is that if she has not seen it or experienced it she will tell you that she hasn’t and move on.  She is secure and sassy.
     She is also by far one of the most dedicated mothers that I know.  I don’t know if I could sit for hours and tackle one of those 10,000 piece Lego sets.  But Noelle’s life revolves around her son like one of Saturn’s rings.
      You’re probably wondering why I am writing about her.  Well, she is leaving the area and moving South.
      Noelle is the only person who would think about asking me to go to a Nine Inch Nails concert with her without any hesitation.  Well, I’m a big Nine Inch Nails fan.  Growing up in Long Island/Brooklyn gave me experiences of living in the suburbs and the rough and tumble world of the big city.
  Being brought up in a Caribbean centered household was different.  We were surrounded by sounds and culture of the Dutch/French West Indies.  It was not uncommon for you to know about the culture of the 100 other islands that shared the Carribean with yours. 
      I recently had a huge argument with someone about jazz.  We didn’t listen to jazz.  We listened to salsa, calypso and merengue.  We did’nt listen to gospel music we’re Episcopalian.
       My mother brought us up right and I thought how crazy is it that I am arguing with a grown man about who and what I should be because my skin is brown.  I asked him did he know anything about my culture.  I was so upset that I gathered my things and left the table.
  About a year ago I made it my business to learn more about jazz and did that because I wanted to.  Learning about jazz is a process and there are way too many artists to say that I like jazz.  I wonder if he went out and bought a Tito Puente album after our conversation. 
     I remember the smell of my mother as she did the salsa all across the room dancing by herself.  When you were lucky she would take hold you tight to her small frame and sway back and forth and twirl you around.
      I remember how she used to tell us to always be proud of our culture because it was the only thing that connected you to your past.  I miss New York but I love Lansing.
      I love people like Noelle, yep, she is the one that I’ve been to the most diverse places with.  We’ve dined at Gregory’s on a Friday night and Noelle was the only person there who was not black but she fit right in and ordered her catfish and french fries.
      It’s for all the right reasons but I am just going to miss having her around to talk to. 
     She is the kind of person that knows what not to say and what to say.  Even though we have never had an argument or disagreement.  We had different opinions but we respected each other.
     She is like a sister to me and a best friend.  We are a lot alike in that we both love to give to causes and entertain.  We are both Capricorns and we both turned 40 last December and decided that we were going to have a Black & White Party. 
     It was kind of a play on words too.  I mean if anyone could do and get away with it, it would have been Noelle and I. 
   We had a fabulous time and we also turned it into a fundraiser for two non profit organizations.
      Noelle currently works at the Lansing State Journal, which is the mainstream newspaper in Lansing.  We never really talk about newspaper issues just the issues that surround journalism in general. 
     She is an amazing person, friend, editor, writer and idea person.  If there was a creative idea bank, she would be a millionaire.
     She is going to be missed by her circle of friends here.  Her smile, her laugh.  Yes, we can all visit but it won’t be the same.  Some of her friends are only connected because she was the thread between them.
     Talking about threads…  I am going to miss her fashion sense.  Her love for hats. Her different hairdo’s and our “hamburger” conversations.
      With a huge lump in my throat I told her that I wouldn’t be at her going away party because I didn’t want to say good-bye.  I called her back and told her that I was lame and that I would be there.
     Out of all of the people that I know, if I were moving… she would be the one planning the party.  She would be collecting the funds just in case the U-Haul broke down or unexpected expenses came up.
       I wondered why I didn’t print them directly after the party.  It wasn’t the right time.
     I will never forget her and I want you all to share pictures from our joint birthday party with you.
     It was one of the best and most interesting time of my life and we kicked 40 in the butt!!!
       I am already planning my trip to Arizona.  I will do a travel edition for you so that I can involved you in the journey.  We have not done a travel edition in a while. 
     I will have to find some of my most memorable ‘Excuse me are you Listening?” column.
     Have a safe trip Noelle and indeed we all hope that we will see you soon.  Maybe in December?  Hint, hint.

With all my love and sincerity,

Rina Risper 

P.S.  One of our clients from New Jersey is having surgery, please put her on your prayer list.  She is a great person and needs your support. 

PSS.  If this was paper the writing would be illegible from tears smudging the ink.