Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Garden Village

Last Friday, I took a nice drive up to Barry Road – north of Kansas City – the most north I’ve been on this latest trip. I was heading to a meeting with a Mary Jane Branch, the Activity Director at a place called Garden Village. I’ll tell you more about Ms. Mary Jane Branch, a wonderful person and I hope a new friend. But it’s the way I came to be introduced to Mary Jane that makes me smile.

So, I’m here in Kansas City, looking for work and needing some income to keep up the momentum. Struggling a bit to find something worthwhile, two weeks ago I found myself in a legal staffing agency (Kansas City Legal Staffing) owned by a young woman named Emily. Within seconds of our introductory handshake, I knew I liked Emily; something about her energy and determination. You know what that feels like when you meet someone and you just connect with them? Immediately, Emily was so completely supportive of my job search and, more importantly, supportive of what I’m trying to do during my stay in KC. She loved hearing about the project and smiled quietly and curiously as I told her about my life work. I asked her why she was smiling.

“Well," she paused. "You're not gonna believe this but ... My mom is an activity director at a well known senior community up north a bit.”

And, there you have it. Emily’s last name is Branch. Mary Jane is her Mom.

Garden Village is a beautiful retirement community (I'll have some photos soon) and Mary Jane took great pride in the place as she gave me the 50-cent tour. Every step of the way, I found myself being introduced to a new senior – really wonderful, warm and energetic people. And the staff members - from the nurses, to the kitchen help to the wait-staff – all the people were warm and friendly. I stayed for dinner and Mary Jane surprised me by calling me up to say a few words to the community, although I have no idea what I said. Still, many of the folks heard my words and later came up to me to ask more about Eldercation. I’ll be spending more time at Garden Village, I know that.

* * * * * * * * * *

Mindset Shift - Now that I’m settled in a bit more, I’m working hard to shift my mindset about Kansas City. February to June were four very special months in my life, I have to tell you. I loved being on the road and I’ll be doing it a lot more in the future. I have to. It’s in me. But while here, I’m treating it as though I'm still on the road. Once again, I’m doing advance work, setting up fresh interviews and meeting new people around town. Hopefully, I’ll be able to interview one particular local radio veteran who shall remain nameless until the interview is confirmed. And then, there are always the baseball veterans. I’m still dreaming about some more of those.

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