Greetings comrades! Soon I will unleash a deluge of tales from my most recent adventures! Car accidents! Strangers in strange lands! Intrigue! But, today I am going to post a brief recollection of The Beach Trip. As you might remember, I have a policy never to refuse a ride from a stranger. One day  I decided to take that policy a step further.

A myriad of petite sunbursts reflected off her aviators as she asked me, “Wanna go to the beach?” I squinted at this brunette stranger standing outside of my domicile with her three companions. I glanced at their faces, wondering why I had been chosen as worthy of this invitation. None of them looked familiar. I was undeterred.

I was properly attired and seated in someone’s car less than ten minutes later, on my way to the beach for the first time since moving to Grand Rapids. The countryside passed by in an incandescent blur of fields and grasses washed out by the brilliant light of midday. I stared with open curiosity at a chicken meandering its way alongside the tar black highway without any sense of mortality. We spent the car ride in staccato bursts of chatter and amiable silence, accentuated by the never-ending buffeting of the wind racing through our open windows.

Eventually, the road was replaced by the cloudless horizon, and we disembarked. I gleaned snippets of their lives as we lounged on the beach. Our limbs tangled and spread across the sand unencumbered by propriety, a slumbering familial group. The sand was gloriously warm, golden brown–texture like sun.

A boom box was retrieved from the car and enlisted in our quest for the perfect atmosphere. She hooked her iPod into the system, and we reflected audibly on the divergent sounds of the seagulls gliding by overhead and the awkwardly forced rhymes of Soulja Boy. We spent hours basking in the heat until the sun threatened to retire.

The brunette invited me to join her and her companions for dinner at her home. I acquiesced immediately, and we collected our things, saying a regretful goodbye to the sands which had cradled us tenderly as we napped the afternoon away. The blood orange rays set behind us as we left the shores of Lake Michigan and departed for her apartment.

“I learned to make this when I lived in the dorms and didn’t have an oven.” She remarked to me as I observed her create the meal. Her hands moved with surety as she cleverly manipulated the toaster to prepare homemade garlic bread. The glowing red coils hummed with energy as the bread hardened.

After the meal, I said my goodbyes and exited into the cool night air. I quickly gained my bearings and set out for home, perambulating without hurry as I surveyed the stars, unconsciously searching for Orion. I never saw my beach companions again, but I cherished their unfettered gift of camaraderie long after.

Greetings, comrades! I have some downtime, so I figured I would tell you about our post-wedding (but not a honeymoon) trip to Boston. It was an adventure filled with intrigue, romance, and danger! By which I mean cannolis!

First of all, my friend Devora lives in Boston, and when I spoke to her in June, she invited us to come out and stay with her for a few days. I checked ticket prices and bought a pair of round trips for less than $200 a piece via Spirit Airlines from O’Hare to Logan. Even with gas prices, we saved $150 versus flying from Grand Rapids.

However, Spirit Airlines is a piece of garbage that flies out of a garbage airport (O’Hare), and we were sorely tested before our journey even truly began. Our flight was delayed 3 hours, so we drank away our sorrows in the airport bar.

“This beer tastes like it has vodka in it.” I remarked to Kyle upon sipping Goose Island’s Matilda. A warm sensation traveled from my now-numbed tongue down to my stomach, giving me the somewhat unpleasant feeling that I had just consumed the brewery’s equivalent of pure gasoline. Nonetheless, the gasoline beer made reading the poorly ghost-written Michael Crichton novel, Micro, seem to be of as great literary merit as Ulysses or surely Great Expectations. I finished my glass.

After a relatively uneventful flight, we landed in Boston and were immediately transported to MIT by Devora who was late for orchestra practice. Left to our own devices for two hours, Kyle and I wandered MIT, and I did my best to impress him by showing off my superb Boston accent as we toured the streets.

“Go pahk the cah.” I instructed him nonsensically as we wandered afoot past a building dedicated solely to the study of memory.

“You have the worst Boston accent ever.” He retorted. Miffed, I pouted and practiced saying “Bahstin” quietly while he asked a passerby if we were correctly en route to a nearby restaurant.


The next day we awoke early and began extensive sight-seeing (upon later calculations, we determined that we walked 8 miles this day). We visited the Boston Museum of Science and viewed the Dead Sea Scrolls. I was about to attempt convincing a fellow museum patron that I was fluent in Greek and Aramaic when I was retrieved by Kyle who discovered I had strayed away from our trio.

Devora then guided us to the Prudential Center which features a 52 story building culminating in an expansive (and expensive) view of the city in the Top of the Hub restaurant. Smoothly lying to the hostess that we were headed to the bar, we avoided the $25 per person fee for picture-taking and snapped several quick panoramas before a waiter began heading in our direction to ask us to leave. We deftly darted between tables and maneuvered around the waiter with great precision, racing back to the elevator and safely evading the fee.


On Saturday, we slept in till an extravagant hour (10am) before embarking on another adventure, this time into Cambridge territory (5 miles this day), where Kyle informed me that I am lactose intolerant upon my adverse reaction to ingesting a large amount of ice cream. Shocked and annoyed that he was probably right, I proceeded to make him knead my stomach like a large cat in an effort to disperse the ice cream periodically throughout the day.

At the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Kyle and I stared in awe at the skeleton of a giant sloth. Devora explained to us that the skeleton (roughly twice the size of an H3 Hummer) was the South American equivalent of an elephant thousands of years ago. Simultaneously perturbed and excited by the idea of elephant-sized sloths, I spent the remainder of the museum visit in silence.

We ended our evening in Little Italy, where we purchased cannolis and ate one of the most delightful pasta dishes I have ever had the good fortune of consuming. The next morning, we lingered around Devora’s apartment before reluctantly heading to the airport and beginning the long trek home. All in all, we had an excellent trip.

I’ve received tons of questions about the music, our vows, who catered, etc. which I will answer here.

Here is the complete list of all the songs that were used at our wedding. I hand-picked each song. My bestie, Phillip painstakingly compiled all of these songs for me, and my bridesmaid Liz dumped them into iTunes. I used an app called WeddingDJ on my phone for the reception. It faded in and out for each song, even when skipping. It also allowed me to rearrange songs on the fly, and I was able to take requests.

Walking down the aisle

Walking down the aisle


Here is the complete outline of the ceremony. I threw this together for our fantastic friend Joe Hearns who volunteered to get ordained for us when our original minister decided to back out abruptly.


Please turn off all cell phones and electronic devices. Please remain in your rows until the wedding party has exited.

Dear Friends: We are here to witness the beginning of a marriage, and to ask God to bless Kyle Kennedy and Jordan Freeman in their wedded life together. By our presence here we all accept responsibility for helping Kyle and Jordan, and for encouraging them in their days ahead, as they grow together in love. We are called to rejoice with them in their happiness, to help them when they have trouble, and to remember them in our prayers. Let us pray:


Most gracious God pour out the abundance of your blessing upon this man and this
woman. Defend them from every enemy. Lead them into all peace. Let their love for each other be a seal upon their hearts, a mantle about their shoulders, and a crown upon their foreheads. Bless them in their work and in their companionship; in their sleeping and in their waking; in their joys and in their sorrows; in their life and in their death. Amen.


Marriage is a commitment to life, the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other relationship can equal. It is a physical and an emotional joining that is promised for a lifetime. Happiness is fuller, memories are fresher, commitment is stronger, even anger is felt more strongly, and passes away more quickly. Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid.  When two people pledge their love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique unto themselves which binds them closer than any spoken or written words. Marriage is a promise, a potential made in the hearts of two people who love each other and takes a lifetime to fulfill.


It is this potential you set about exploring in the commitment you are making today. Your marriage will foster the love you have already found; with that guide, no fences will block your way. And as you find joy together, you will bring that joy to everyone in your life.


And now, Elena Campos will give a selected by the couple: [this is from a book called The Alchemist] “When he looked into her dark eyes, and saw that her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke — the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. Something that exerted the same force whenever two pairs of eyes met, as had theirs here at the well. She smiled, and that was certainly an omen — the omen he had been awaiting, without even knowing he was, for all his life. The omen he had sought to find with his sheep and in his books, in the crystals and in the silence of the desert.

“It was the pure Language of the World. It required no explanation, just as the universe needs none as it travels through endless time. What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing. He was more certain of it than of anything in the world. He had been told by his parents and grandparents that he must fall in love and really know a person before becoming committed. But maybe people who felt that way had never learned the universal language. Because, when you know that language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city. And when two such people encounter each other, and their eyes meet, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.”


O God, the Author and Giver of all good things, we bless you for the gifts of love and friendship and for the joys which gladden our lives. May your blessing rest upon and remain with Kyle and Jordan as they pledge their mutual love. Bless this day, and lead us always in your ways of love and peace. Amen.


Kyle, you have come here to proclaim your love and devotion for Jordan. Do you take her to be you wedded wife? (I DO)

And do you promise to love her, respect her, and care for her during times of joy and hardship? (I DO)

Jordan, you have come here to proclaim your love and devotion for Kyle. Do you take him to be you wedded husband? (I DO)

And do you promise to love him, respect him, and care for him during times of joy and hardship? (I DO)


Kyle and Jordan will now make the vows they have prepared for one another.

[I don’t have a copy of Kyle’s vows at this time]

My vows: I knew even before we started dating that I would marry you someday. You are a game-changer. You completely turned my world upside down, entering it with what I thought was surely the worst timing possible but ended up being the perfect time.

When I found you, I marveled at the idea that someone like you even existed. You are unfailingly compassionate and patient, unless it’s game night. You let me put my abnormally cold hands on your stomach when I sniffle that I am dying of frostbite. You pretend not to notice when I surreptitiously wipe my nose on your shoulder when you hug me. When I passed out at the optometrist because of nerves, you didn’t roll your eyes or tell me to grow up. You held my hand and reassured the receptionist that you would take care of me.

And you always have. You have helped me move from apartment to apartment, only complaining slightly when I told you that there were just a few more boxes to pack or that we just had a couple more trips to make.

You have always had an unwavering confidence in me, and you have pushed and inspired me to try harder or sometimes just try at all. I honestly believe that you make me a better person.

You are the only person who won’t let me get away with something just because I am cute or you love me. You won’t let me tell people when I think their baby is dumb or that they are too fat to wear a two-piece. You make me apologize to people on the internet for being rude, and you call me out if I say something nasty to our friends.

At the same time, you accept me for who I am. You understand that I am going to dance randomly in the frozen food aisle at Meijer if I feel like it, and you might even dance with me. You will wrestle with me and chase me through the house trying to kick me in the butt when I start a surprise pillow fight while you are watching ESPN. If I want to dance around the living room with Fred while singing the theme song to The Love Boat, you will chime in and sing along.

I know how much I love you, and I know that you feel the same way, so I will continue to try my hardest to be the person you deserve me to be. I love you, and I have always loved you. Sometimes there are moments in our lives where I am just so overcome by how deeply I care about you that I stop everything and acknowledge our love. I feel like this whole day is one such moment. I am so happy that we found each other, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together.

Also, Fred texted me that you are a butt.


Kyle and Jordan, the rings you exchange here represent the unending love and commitment you feel in your hearts.

Kyle, please repeat after me: [this is from the personal correspondence of two lovers Abelard and Héloïse] “To half my heart and part of my soul: what I am I entrust to you. I am yours as long as I live.”

Jordan, please repeat after me: “To half my heart and part of my soul: what I am I entrust to you. I am yours as long as I live.”


And now, let us pray: [this is a modified version of the Prayer of Saint Francis]

Lord, make Kyle and Jordan instruments of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let them sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

Grant that they may not so much

seek to be consoled as to console,

to be understood as to understand,

to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.


May the longtime sun shine on you, all love surround you, and the unfailing light within you guide you on your way. And remember: be in love with your life, every minute of it. I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride.

Friends and Family, I am honored to give you Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy!





Catering was provided by Adeline Leigh Catering.

The cakes were provided by Food Dance Cafe in Kalamazoo. The cakes were: The Cat’s Meow, Carrot Cake, and Lemon Raspberry.

Our WONDERFUL photographer was Ashley Avila.

Makeup and hair for myself and the bridesmaids was done by Ashley Amaya.

The floral arrangements (with the exception of the white flowers at the ceremony) were done by Aimee Madden.



My dress was purchased for me by my wonderful mother-in-law from Becker’s Bridal in Fowlerville. The designer was Allure Bridals, style 9000. However, the dress was specially modified for me to become a close-fitting sheath dress instead of a mermaid dress.

My bracelet and earrings were purchased from Banana Republic.

My hair pins were purchased from a seller on Etsy.

My pink rain boots are Hunter rain boots.

The bridesmaids each chose their own dress from Nordstroms, J.Crew, and Modcloth.

Hunter rain boots

Hunter rain boots



Kyle’s suit jacket and pants were from Express. The suit vest is from Yonkers. His tie was hand-made by a seller on Etsy.

Shawn and Ryan each had a bow tie from Etsy as well.

Carmen’s dress was purchased from Modcloth.



The fabric backdrop for our ceremony was made with help from Phil Roth who assembled the PVC pipe. I then cut the fabric into strips, and friends and family glued and assembled them.

The paper flags down the aisle were hand-cut by yours truly. My wonderful bridesmaids placed them along the aisle way.

The chalkboards were the original windows from a house built in 1913 near my yoga studio. I purchased them, cleaned them up, and Kyle painted them with 3-4 coats of chalkboard paint. My bridesmaid, Emily, wrote the selected sayings on each.

The paper doily table-runners were made by Emily’s husband Sean and me.

The fabric bunting hanging from the rafters at the reception was made by Emily for her wedding. She kindly let me borrow them for my wedding.

The white flower arrangements at the ceremony were hand-made by my friend Jessica Baker for her wedding. She graciously allowed me to borrow them for mine.

Cutting the cake

Cutting the cake


Well, that should be the answer to all of the questions I have received so far! Let me know if there’s anything I didn’t answer that you wanted to know about.

As a child, the highlight of the Easter season for me was the Easter egg search. I understood that the holiday was a time of religious renewal, but the thrill of the hunt spurred me into a spiritual fervor in a way that hymns could not. My mother misunderstood my restlessness as a manifestation of spring fever after the seemingly unending dormancy of winter.

Easter Sunday arrived with a burst of sunshine after a week of overcast skies and the menacing threat of a torrential flood. My body hummed with anticipation as I jammed my arms into my jacket. I was eleven years old, and this was the last year that I would be considered a child in my church. There would not be another chance, no more Easter egg hunts after this.

The lines of the parking lot had long since been bleached into obscurity by the indomitable sun. Cracks spidered across the pavement, forming slender chasms which sprouted weeds and wildflowers. My Mary Janes slapped loudly against the concrete as I ran inside the church to seek out my comrades. Unfortunately, the youth minister was ill, so the children were forced to remain with the adults.

An eternity passed. The incomprehensible sermon buzzed around my ears like a swarm of mosquitos I longed to swat away. I balled my hands into fists and was about to shriek when Pastor abruptly drew the service to a close.

Pastor’s wife instructed all of the children to migrate into the parking lot for the hunt to begin. We received our baskets and instructions. As I listened with half an ear, I took careful notes of which eggs I could see already, and I planned my route accordingly. Nevertheless, a blurb of speech entered my consciousness.

“There are many eggs, but there is only one special prize. The Easter egg hunt begins now!”

I hesitated for a moment and sought for clues as to where the special prize might have been secreted away. A ring of brush and trees surrounded the parking lot; the willowy branches were already sprouting small green buds. Renewal. A small discoloration at the edge of my survey caught my eye. There was a tiny glimmer of gold in a brush pile on the perimeter of the parking lot.

I raced across the asphalt, the lacy layers of my pink dress frothed about my knees as I ran. I jumped heartily into the brush, twigs and vines snatching at my delicate stockings. I rooted through the debris like a pig searching for truffles, flinging dead leaves and dirt around without care. I could see it, the flash of gold beckoned like a siren’s song.

After a tussle with a particularly nasty handful of decaying vines, I was victorious! A shower of russet soil sprinkled my brow as I held the golden egg above my head. Each fleck of earth washed over me like a baptism of triumph. Pastor’s wife smiled indulgently at me while the other children stared jealously.

“The egg is only a placeholder. The real prize is waiting inside.” She told me as she brushed some of the dirt off of my face.

I walked into the church a champion, proudly displaying the egg which I refused to place in my basket with its more unrefined, plastic brethren. I followed Pastor’s wife into the half-lit children’s room which had been unused that day. She carefully handed me a large book, a collection of stories from the Bible. I cherished it for many years, remembering my victory fondly whenever I lifted its purple cover.

July was hotter and stickier that year than we ever remembered. We spent more time lazing about on the merry-go-round than zipping past the neighbors on our bikes, pretending we were Zack and Ivy on the prowl for Carmen Sandiego. Adam and I lay on the teal disc with our arms dangling off the sides, lazily pushing ourselves to keep a light breeze.

“Do you think that you can really slip on a banana peel?” Adam inquired as I watched the russet wood chips pass by under the questing tips of my stained fingers. It was an intriguing question, and we hadn’t had a decent experiment since the time we disastrously tried to fry an egg on the sidewalk. After procuring the fruit in question, Adam consumed the banana while I watched with disgust. I had never developed a penchant for the bland, mushy produce.

We carefully placed the banana’s flayed skin on the sidewalk and proceeded to stride across the yellow peel with great gusto. We were unable to get even the slightest bit of movement out of it; the grooves of the pavement gave it too much traction to slide. Disappointed with yet another botched endeavor, we left the playground for the backyard.

We reclined beneath the apple blossom tree and watched the emerald leaves sway in the wind. The gate creaked as a gust jostled the latch. A delicate sprinkling of jade leaves dusted our shoulders as we contemplated our next steps. After discovering that we had used the last of the bananas with our previous trial, we moved onto a new test. Adam and I were determined to find an iconic cartoon sequence that was not entirely based in falsehood.

My mother and I maintained a small garden on the back porch, and I had a small green hoe that I used for groundbreaking and gathering leaves. Carefully laying the hoe on the ground with its tines pointed sharply heavenward, I stepped back and nodded at Adam. Adam gingerly placed one foot onto the tines of the hoe, and the gleaming wood handle shot up directly toward his face. He scrambled backward and narrowly avoided a braining; I crowed with elation at our success.

“Do you think if you drop a safe on my head I will end up inside the safe?” I inquired excitedly, caught up in the excitement of our success. My mother had a small fireproof safe in her bedroom closet where she kept candies and other treats. Both of us were in high spirits thanks to our accomplishment, and I thought it was the best time for us to proceed with another experiment while the taste of victory was still fresh.

Luckily for me, Adam had more sense than I did and argued against any trials with the safe. He reasoned that we would likely get into trouble if we popped the screen out of my bedroom window to drop the safe onto my waiting head below. Instead, we retrieved our swimsuits and frolicked with the hose, aquamarine droplets spraying through the air like a wealth of diamonds as we idled away the afternoon.

The Reporter

I thought I might regale you with the tale of the first time that Kyle took me to his hometown. But then I realized that it’s a pretty boring story. Instead, I will tell you about the first dream that I ever remembered. It’s much more cohesive than most people’s dreams. Also, it will make you question what kind of child I was if you haven’t already.

One night, my babysitter convinced me to eat all of my mac and cheese by telling me that if I finished my dinner, I would have the most wonderful dreams when I went to sleep. Fork precariously hanging out of my mouth, I peered into her dark brown eyes skeptically before deciding that she was probably telling the truth. I finished my mac and cheese with gusto. That night, my five year old subconscious Dreamed.

Lightning flashed bright white across the ugly purple sky punctuated with a roaring bang of thunder. Startled into alertness, I looked up from the newspaper at the evening storm raging outside the train car. Setting the newspaper aside, I nervously smoothed my high-waist pencil skirt over my thighs and retied the large bow neckline on my blouse. The vivid sky crackled with electricity as I proceeded to fuss with my carefully coiffed finger curls; lightning illuminated the sky once more.

“We need to go.”  A gruff voice growled at me from the seat across from me. Distracted by the sky’s theatrics, I had forgotten about my companion. The weak light from the exposed bulb swinging above us showed me the tan brim of a fedora obscuring a handsome if stern visage. I heard the rhythmic ticking of the train over the tracks murmur like a heartbeat as I surveyed his poorly lit features with curiosity.

He stood abruptly, leaving the spicy scent of cologne lingering in his wake. The trembling light bulb cast shadows across his khaki trench coat, forming half-remembered patterns that sparked some distant memory within the recesses of my mind. He reached over and pulled me to my feet insistently but not roughly. I stumbled slightly in my patent leather pumps, unsteadied by the urgency behind his movement.

“Follow me.” He commanded brusquely as he shoved the wooden panel open and stepped into the narrow hallway. Entranced, I watched his trench coat disappear around the corner before prodding myself into action.

I gripped the door frame and felt my fingers brush against a knot of wood. I was prepared to trot after him when the already unreliable lighting sputtered and died completely. The train swayed violently on the tracks, and I was flung against the door jamb unceremoniously. I fell to my knees on the cherry wood parquet and crushed cigarette ash into the delicate weave of my nylons before regaining my feet.

The lights flickered in and out as I hurried down the tight corridor toward the end of the car where my companion had been headed. A woman’s soulful song broadcasting from the PA system highlighted my progression.  The record skipped, and I heard rapid footsteps behind me. I turned my head and viewed my pursuer with horror. A balding man with a sagging belly was chasing me, the dangerous gleam of a pistol visible in his left hand.

The murmur of the train’s progress grew to a deafening roar as I pried open the metal door and moved between train cars with alacrity. I hastened to find my companion, tripping into one of the non-passenger cars. I caught my breath for a moment until the sliding side door of the car crashed open, exposing us to the storm’s fury.

A blaze of lightning revealed the scene to me. My companion was standing at the top of a pyramid of blonde hay bales, his trench coat rippling furiously in gusting wind. He stared unflinchingly out the door of the boxcar at the moving countryside, half of his face aglow from the lightning’s brilliance.

My pursuer’s entrance into the car was announced with a boom of thunder. The sudden brightness of yet another flash of lightning silhouetted him against the open door. Alarmed, I looked up into the shadowed face of my hero and began to climb the hay bales, but my heels impeded my progress. I could feel the cold shadow of my tracker mere inches behind me. My companion thrust a hand down to assist me, and a shiver of awareness ran through my body as I grasped his outstretched hand and felt him pull me up.

The movement pulled me straight into consciousness, and I reluctantly relinquished the dream.

When I was about eight years old, I often entertained irrationally idyllic beliefs in humanity’s capacity for cooperation. This manifested itself in a variety of ways, especially when I found myself among my peers. I saw no reason that a group of children couldn’t accomplish incredible feats if we banded together toward a common goal.

One cool April day, I was exploring the neighborhood with my companions when I noticed that a piece of sidewalk had been split in twain. The roughly triangular piece had been marginally elevated from its pattern in the ground, and I pieced together the events that had led to this. As I examined the craggy surface of the cement, I hypothesized aloud how the cleaving had occurred. When the snowplow had shoveled its icy loads onto this sidewalk, the overwhelming weight of the precipitation and truck had cracked the cement asunder. With the plow scraping its way indelicately across the path, it had haphazardly dislodged the broken piece.

I reflected on this awareness and decided to wholly remove the piece of cement. I was seized with an urge to see the black dirt which had been long hidden beneath this unnatural walkway. The weak spring sunlight glazed my face as I turned to my comrades and outlined my plan.

We set to work at once. The holes in our well-worn sneakers absorbed the dew of the earth’s seasonal renewal while we toiled at the extraction of the cement. Our fingertips turned red and white from strain, scrabbling at the concurrently coarse and slippery surface for leverage. Though the sidewalk piece weighed at least twice as much as me, I remained undaunted when we didn’t so much as wiggle the block.

I called a halt to our efforts so we could reflect on the trial at hand and determine an improved method of approach. The early spring had made the ground damp with melt water, but I realized that the sidewalk piece was likely stuck in place through a combination of gravity and ice as an adherent. I narrowed my eyes and balled my hands into small fists of determination.

“We are going to need a bigger boat.”

My friends and I began to knock on doors, enlisting the assistance of other children in the neighborhood. After we had assembled a team of eleven workers, we detailed the goal and plan of attack before resuming work.

“Come on men! Put your backs into it!” A comrade yelled as we strained at the cement block, sneakers slipping in the muddy melt of spring. A thin line of sweat broke across my forehead while I redoubled my efforts and pulled with all my might.

Two of the children who could not fit into the fray to get a handhold on the block found sticks and dug around the edges, seeking to force the earth to release its icy grip on our goal. A third child directed the actions of those attempting to move the sidewalk piece.

A flash of peach and russet distracted me. I heard the robin’s bright call as I lost my footing in the mud and scrapped my hand roughly across the jagged cement, leaving an unsophisticated smear of skin and blood. Undeterred, I resumed my position and shouted commands at my cohorts. I would not let this piece of rock defeat my ambitions.

Teeth clenched and eyes scrunched tightly closed in effort, we heaved the block out of its place in the pattern and onto the walkway. Cheers of elation traveled on the afternoon breeze as we celebrated our victory.

I pushed through my companions and stood in front of the magnificent hole we had created in the earth. A breeze caressed my hair as I carefully rolled up the sleeve of my coat and pushed my left hand into the rich, damp soil, savoring my conquest.

Two days later, the maintenance men removed all of the broken pieces of sidewalk and repaved the walkway, but in my heart I carried the memories of my triumph.

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