For Betty

When I was young, I attended a very special tea. Our friend Betty hosted us for a Little Women tea after a trip to the cinema to see the latest movie incarnation of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. I remember dressing up and eagerly looking for my place card on the table. I also remember my disappointment when the character I was assigned was Amy. Sure, we share a name, but I so wanted to be Jo. To my young self, Amy was whiny and petty while Jo was strong and creative. However, my disappointment did not ruin a fun event. And, in the long run, it probably helped me learn to appreciate the excellent writing that led to such a strong preference for one character over another.

Today I watch my little Jo, my Ellie Jo, play and think of my friend Betty and her most recent cancer news. I remember singing “Sweet Betsy from Pike” together as we waited in traffic at Hoover Dam and meeting her very nice Aunt Jewel on the same trip. I had my first violin recital in her home. She’s encouraged my dream to live overseas from the very beginning. Just a few weeks ago, we saw her and Papa John in the airport as we left the States. She looked deep into Ellie Jo’s eyes and said, “You just keep delving for a rhapsody, ok?”

She will, Betty, she will. Thanks to you and your family she is growing up in Africa. Someday she’ll learn “Sweet Betsy from Pike” and, rest assured, she will grow to love Little Women just as much as the rest of us.

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