Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Season for Sahara

Lest anyone thinks Amy's been lying in a heap on the gymnasium floor after all that running back and forth on the basketball court, I have to confess. She wrote this several days ago. But I've been too wiped out to post. The good news is, I think my doctor has finally come up with the combo of magic meds to send this cold/sinus monster on its merry way. The bad news? It's taking my brain and typing fingers for a bit of a wild ride. Wheeeeee!

I'm spending the evenings just staring at the tv and wondering if it has always been so intellectual and fascinating. And I'll think the word beverage and type the word bunting.

So, I've spared you all the joys. I seem to be lucid at the moment, which probably means it's time to slurp down more cough syrup.

I hope all of you got the chance to see Rick Springfield on Oprah this week. Not only is the man a talent, he's got a huge heart for his family and his life. I'm always struck when people who are blessed understand that--and are amazed by it themselves.

Well, it's finished. The most difficult basketball season ever because Sahara wasn't on the court...or was she? The Lady Comets ended their spectacular season on Saturday with a perfect record of 8-0. The Southeast Missourian did a great job of covering the story and I was so surprised to see it on the front page Sunday morning. (Thanks, Lindy!)
There's also a photo gallery online at

It was an emotional weekend for all of us. We have the most wonderful group of girls, all of whom are so different, yet when they are playing it's all about the team. I've never witnessed such unselfishness, week after week. We are so proud of all of them. I know Sahara is, too. Thanks to everyone who came out to watch the girls play this season.

Most people know that Sahara's number was 21.
We won yesterday's game by 21 points.
Brittany Perkins, (who also wears #21 on her school team) scored 21 points in the game.
We took the girls to see Sahara's beloved Lady Redhawks play Saturday night. They won their 21st game of the season.

Oh yeah, I believe that Sahara was definitely with us. :)

Last night we went to the Upward awards ceremony and it was really nice, yet it was tough, too, because it was the first time I'd sat in the sanctuary of Lynwood Baptist Church since the day we celebrated Sahara's life there back in November. I could picture everything from that day...the flowers, the photos, the mementos, the balloons, the faces of the people we love. I know I'll never look at that room in quite the same way.

I managed to get away last weekend for a quick trip to Nashville, and I'm so glad that I did. I went to see Rick play two nights at the Wildhorse. It was so nice to see so many people that I had not seen in so long. Rhonda, Cindy, Sherry, Paul, Kathleen, Tracy, Stephanie, Stacey, was great talking with all of you...and thanks to everyone who came up and gave me a hug and said hello. I truly appreciate all of you and I'm glad you still read the blog. :)

Although he wasn't ready yet, and the band hadn't even heard the song (imagine their surprise), on Saturday night Rick sang the song he's written for Sahara. It's going to be on his new album, which they will begin recording next month. The song is called "Saint Sahara" and he has truly outdone himself with it. I'm glad that I had already heard it before Saturday night, or I would have been crying even harder than I did. LOL. When it's recorded and ready, you all will have a chance to hear it. I can't wait. It's such a sweet tribute to her, and I know that she is getting a kick out of having her own song.

Have a great week!

With love,

Monday, February 25, 2008

The 21 Club

There's a very nice piece in the Southeast Missourian this week--make sure you check it out. It's at

Those of us who come here regularly know how much Sahara still affects our lives. We see her in the most wonderful little spaces. Whenever I see something orange, for example, I'm apt to mouth the words "Hey, Sahara" or "I know you're out there, birthday twin." She's forever tied to Gummy Bears for me, and the heavenly aroma of TI body lotion from Vegas, and the tickle of fresh kiwi slices on my tongue.

The article shows how she's still very real on the basketball court, and how her parents pushed aside their grief to support a team of local girls through the season. A fine season it was, and those girls truly championed the meaning of Hope for Hoops. A year ago, that meant something so very different--especially to Amy and Shannon. Now, it's something we can all take into the future--lifting up those who need it along the way.

Who will you inspire today? Who will benefit from your spirit?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Good day sunshine

Good morning!

Just checking in with the world of Aldridge fans and saying hello. Amy spent last weekend with her wonderful Rickfriends in Nashville, and her quick tales to me by email made me want to pack up a bag and GO. There is an amazing story out of that, but you'll just have to be patient for a while longer. Giggle.

Y'all will be delighted to know that I have just signed on with cold #10,000 for the school year, which means that I am now officially banned from having any more. Or so I'm wishing. Don't offer me a bit of comfort or sympathy (I'll take a tissue, though). I'm just going to be humble and refuse my crown of cough drops. My colleagues and friends all seem to be zipping from one cold right into the next this winter. It's just one big barking thrill.

Take your vitamins and get plenty of sleep. And if you see me coming, run!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


We have readers from all over the world, with clusters in places near and far. One of those places is Tennessee, so we're crossing our fingers and saying a prayer tonight that all of you are safe and warm in your own beds.

It was 65 degrees in New York today, and though it was rainy and grey, it was wonderful to get outside and breathe. J and I went to a friend's funeral on Sunday (we had two friends die in a four day period last week) and the rabbi had some very good insight on life, and living it well. I'm trying very hard to keep that in mind this week.

We marked three months without Sahara this week, and I'll let Amy tell you about that in just a moment. In the coming month, you'll see some changes here. It will still be a place for people to read Sahara's amazing story, and be inspired by the community that assembled to cheer her on. But it's time for a new look (I half think the template craziness is Sahara messing with us from the great internet in the sky...) and with that, a new focus.

Stay tuned.

Last night I took a long walk. When I got home from work, it was a balmy 71 degrees and it just felt like a good thing to do. The sky was an irritated shade of gray with a swath of churning clouds, and a blustery wind that causes nothing but earaches and bad hair days was blowing through town. The last time I took a walk, I was pushing Sahara around the Stanford campus in her wheelchair, taking photos of her beside the various landmarks. She was happy that day, glad to be going home soon, and it was good to see her smiling as the sun shone on her sweet face. I tried to remember the last time I took a walk by myself through our neighborhood, and I simply could not recall when that might have been. As I walked down the streets that Sahara and I used to walk or bike upon, I felt like such a stranger. I didn’t seem to recognize the houses or the landscape, and I felt as if I didn’t even belong there.

I passed by a house that used to be home to a couple of Sahara’s friends. Since then, their parents have divorced, the kids live elsewhere with their mom, and their dad has put the house up for sale. It sits empty and alone.

I walked down the hill that used to freak Sahara out so badly as she rode her bike. She would always use her feet for brakes instead of stopping the bike properly. Sometimes it worked, sometimes, it did not.

I passed the house that a former angry owner had crashed her car into, doing thousands of dollars in damage to the foundation. The house was put on the market for a fraction of its value, and we three went and roamed around it one evening to see what we thought of the place. Sahara loved that house and truly thought we should buy it. My hate/hate relationship with home improvement didn’t allow that to happen. LOL. She was very disappointed.

Next I saw the area where Sahara “found” her cat, SEMO. Good times.

I rounded a corner and passed by the house where the Tegels used to live. It was one of Sahara’s most favorite places to visit, as it was always bursting at the seams with little girls’ shrieking laughter, incredible barbecues, the terror of the trampoline and, of course, LSU games. Bill has also been known to shoot a few fireworks in that driveway. LOL. It was really, really hard walking past that house and it brought me to tears.

For the rest of my walk, I was just mad. EXTREMELY mad, hurt, resentful, lonely, hollow and furious in general. The ugly sky really matched how I was feeling. I miss her so much in everything I do and everything I see. I saw so many kids playing outside and I was so thoroughly angry that she wasn’t in the driveway shooting hoops with Shannon when I got back home, which is what she SHOULD have been doing. That is, what she should have been doing before life threw us the biggest, most horrible curve ball imaginable.

So much has changed since July, 2006. That 4th of July we enjoyed blowing up a carload of fireworks fuse by fuse in our driveway. I call it 2006 BC – before cancer. Sahara and Shannon always LOVED going to Reeves Boomland and loading up a cart full of things like Tennessee Kickers (our favorite) and a ton of other exploding delights. We would brave the stifling Missouri summer heat and mosquitoes and blast away until they were gone. There was so much smoke that I fear we drove our poor neighbors inside. I can still see places on the pavement that bear burn marks from that extravaganza and the one we had in 2007, which was so different…because Sahara had to watch from her wheelchair. We’d still managed to take her to Boomland, and she enjoyed shopping that day even though she couldn’t run up and down the aisles grabbing anything that caught her fancy. I watched her as Shannon lit each one and ran before it exploded, and I know she loved it, but there was such a forlorn look in her eyes that it broke my heart. She was so tired of not being able to have fun. She was alllll about the fun.

I didn’t realize that going for a walk would be so tough. Argh.

Today marks the third month since we lost our precious girl. I really hate the fifth of each month and wish I could skip it, or at least sleep through it. But it’s almost over, and at least we have basketball practice to distract us for a while this evening. Thank God for basketball.

I’ll have to think about it before I go for another walk. Exercise is overrated, anyway.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

the template is filled up with snow, or something

Your eyes do not deceive you. Our trusty blog template is misbehaving at the moment. I've checked out the back end of the site (makes me sound like a proctologist, huh?) and all is well. But sometimes these little hiccups bubble up.

Rest calmly and believe it will eventually get back to normal. It's been a bit of a rough week for me, so I'm concentrating on giving my psyche the cookies and milk it deserves.