Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tribute to Toner

Every now and then, we come across people who really speak to us on that deeper level of human existence, without even trying. They reach a hand into our souls, not to take anything, just to write their name as if it were a fogged up mirror. So far in my 20 short years on this planet, I’ve only come across 3.


Last week, at the beloved Sonora Farmers Market, I made two trips in hopes that I would run into my college English professor, Jim Toner. And that I did. For at least fifteen minutes we stood baking like cinnamon rolls on the asphalt catching up about his year spent abroad with his son and wife and my major discoveries as a young adult. It was one of those few experiences when the elements couldn’t matter less because I was just so overcome with happiness. It barely felt as if a week had passed; we picked up exactly where we left off.


Obviously, I told him that I have a blog and he winced about neglecting his.


“How about we make a challenge?”


With a slight gasp, I answer, “Of course!”


“If you write four blog posts in the next seven days, I will buy you a cucumber and slice it for you, right here at the market. And if I write four by next week…”


“I’ll write you an honorary blog post!” Little does he know it’s already on my to-do list of blog ideas. He draws his hand up to his mouth to think and I’m convinced he hates it.


“Yeeeeees. YEEEEES. YES!”


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So here I am at 7:09am, an hour before I leave for the farmers market, writing his tribute (which I am counting as my fourth blog post, oops). Let’s get to it.


  1. You taught me the value of saying “yes” and how this one little word can drastically improve the quality of life.
  2. You showed me how natural writing is when you just let go and only think of the next sentence.
  3. Which leads me to teeka-teeka. Involuntarily, this is how I now approach everything. Just think about the next kayak paddle or focus on this round of sun salutation and even taking the dishes one at a time. Teeka-teeka is how I write, clean, exercise, everything.
  4. You’ve shown me how wonderful it is to open up my heart on paper and to everyone I meet. You opened my eyes to a world of people being themselves completely and allowing human nature to rule their thoughts, not unnatural societal standards.
  5. You’ve taught me how natural it is to love each other as fellow human beings and there’s no reason to hold back showing our love.


Jim Toner, I could continue forever with this list, but it is time for me comb my hair that’s sticking out in directions I didn’t even know existed and finish my detox tea so I can claim my pre-sliced cucumber and revel in all the glorious words we somehow managed to put down on digital paper this week. Thank you for the inspiration to keep writing, no matter how serious or silly, and I will forever be one of your blog apostles, cherishing every word that comes from your anti-handyman fingertips.


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P.S. I won’t forget to feed my rabbit if you don’t forget to feed your pillow. Deal?

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