Christmas in July has become a time to remember.

After being such a bah-humbug at Christmas last year, I am seriously doing some hard-core making up for it through this Christmas in July season. Watching some Christmas movies, listening to Christmas music, and having special “little moments” in life that could relate to that moment when you open up your stockings and find something really special and you talk about it forever because that smile on your face stays on, well, forever. 

I was introduced to Christmas in July during my houseboat days where my parents and I would stay on our friend’s houseboat on Lake Cumberland. I remember Santa on a jetski, the midnight parties, the boat parades, decoration contests, the Christmas music and just everything so special about that time. Who knew years later I’d be in Florida where (real) Christmas is just like that. And, it took eons for the rest of the world to catch up to the celebration in July. 

Anyway, not only do I full out celebrate today (July 25th), it is also a “marker” of one week before my birthday (August 1st). But none of this is why I’m writing. It’s been two years since I’ve lost a really important person that was in my industry. Today I celebrate Joe Anthony.

I still remember having a horrible feeling through my body on July 24th, 2014. My heart was hurting and I was on the edge of tears. Nothing happened in my life that would cause that, but yet, I was walking down Beach Blvd and Shore Blvd in Gulfport writing a poem on my phone:

They say lightning never strikes twice
but that’s awful nice…
When you’re standing on the bridge
and see lightning through the sunset.
That makes your heart bleed color
when it’s black and white
Days of old and days when I was told

Lightning never strikes twice
but that’s awful nice —

When my heart gets torn in two.

After I wrote that, I left for home and just went to sleep. The next morning the first phone call I answered was from one of our vendors “Land & Sea”. It went something like this:

“Hi, I was calling to let you know about the replacement for Joe Anthony.” (L&S)

“Replacement? What do you mean… replacement???” (Me)

“I’m so sorry to tell you this but Joe passed away yesterday.”

My heart sank so badly; I burst into tears and couldn’t stop. It was a really emotional day, especially since having felt that sadness around the same time that he passed away.

I met Joe through the previous company I was working in the marine industry. He supported my work, and carried around the book that had my front/back cover design on it–showing it to everyone. I was very appreciative of that, because it gave me hope that I was doing something right.

After taking a summer or so off of the industry, I was ecstatic to get a job at Thunder and it was an added bonus that I’d get to see my favorite rep again. Everyone knew he was one of my favorite people, and since they knew it, one of the parts guys let me call him one day. That was the last time I talked to him before his death in July. I never saw him again after the previous job.

I went to his funeral with my previous boss. Hundreds of people showed up. It was so emotional—you knew he was loved, and by many, but there were so many things they talked about him that I didn’t even know. There’s so many things I still wish to share with him, I know he’d be proud, and cheering me on. Maybe I could even get his blessing one day for my future work as BoatShowGirl. A little trickle of Heaven dust will do. If only.

This is what the final poem came out to look like after I added some appropriate last lines:

They say lightning never strikes twice
but that’s awful nice…
When you’re standing on the bridge
and see lightning through the sunset.  

Born a clean slate of black and white
with personality bleeding of color.
One foot on Land and one in the Sea,
that’s where my heart will be. 

Days of old and days when I was told
lightning never strikes twice
but that’s awful nice —
When my heart gets torn in two.  

© 2014 Karen Maeby