Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dorothy Manin - Ace of Hearts

The phone rang today with tough news to face
Dorothy, a stellar example of the human race,
Had passed, as a heart she would gladly share
Finally had gotten too much wear.
In the deck of Life she was an "Ace"

It makes one realize no matter how long
We're here, another verse of our song
Would be welcome to those still here
Who hold these connections most dear
As rights emerge from what might seem to be wrong

Memories are the footprints on our heart
Of all those who have played some part
In teaching us lessons, both "good" and "bad"
that are necessary to shape the life that we've had
So we're grateful to all from finish to start
Thanks again to Dorothy, who was one of the best
at living life with armfuls of zest
She showed you're never too old, if you don't think you are
And to keep reaching for the moon, as you might catch a star
Thus we bid adieu, and wish her sweet rest.

This morning we got one of those calls that you always dread, as our dear friend Dorothy Manin passed away peacefully late on May 7th at the age of 91, due to a heart attack earlier in the week. She was surrounded by her family and was lucid till the end, so it brought a gentle close to the life of an amazing and inspirational person. She had just attended a Women's Retreat in LA and a few weeks earlier had been down to Cabo San Lucas with family. The frequent flyer miles she racked up after the age of 80 would put most travelers to shame...

Dianna & I didn't even meet Dorothy until she was 81 but the last 10 years have been a fun ride. We've been to conferences, workshops, travel outings and celebrations over the years but rarely got to sit with her since she was always looking for new experiences and new people to get to know. One of her most familiar phrases was "Hi, I'm Dorothy, and I'm so glad to meet you", after which she would actively and intently listen and add another recruit to the ever growing club of Dorothy's Friends. She was great at remembering life's milestones and would often call or write with a congratulations, or condolence or thank you. Just 4 weeks ago she sent me a birthday card and the last phone conversation I had with her 10 days ago was a request to join an advisory board for her microlending non-profit she started a couple years ago after being inspired by the work of Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank. This was a woman who parasailed and skydived in her 70's and rode a Harley on her 85th birthday to get her to her 90's, both in age and mph. She was involved in the writing of two books in the last 10 years, "Project Everlasting", a book about the secrets of long lasting relationships that she researched by traveling cross-country in an RV interviewing couples with her grandson Mat Boggs and his friend Jason Miller. She also published a book last year called" 90 Ways to Put a Zip in your Life", and I think she could have turned it into a 26 volume set.

The one place we could sit down with Dorothy was at a pinochle table for a spirited game of cards. A few years ago we were playing 3 handed and after a back and forth bidding frenzy, I passed and smugly said I thought I had most of her suits blocked. She said, "Now that you've told me what I can't do, let me show you what I can do..", as she turned over the Ace of Hearts in the 3 card kitty and laid down 1000 Aces, which is quite rare in 3 handed Pinochle. That summed up her philosophy life and she definitely walked her talk.

Rick & I went out and played golf today and I told him I was treating it as a memorial round to Dorothy and on the 9th hole I chipped in from 40 yards with what I was sure was outside help. Appropriately enough, I shot a 91... Merry was visiting Dianna and planning their Mother's Day outing tomorrow when I got home so we sat down and played a few games of pinochle with Dianna being the rightful winner. With Betty White at 88 in the background hosting Saturday Night Live, I dusted off my blog for Dorothy and also sent a birthday note as a counterpoint to a dear friend who had a profound influence on my life, the impact which continues to resonate even now. Today was a good reminder to thank all those you can while they're here to hear....

Thanks again Dorothy - I'm so glad we met you...

No comments: