Nothing is Random, or, Seeing God in Maggie Edens


Thank you all who snatched me back from the slippery soap scum of fear and loathing in the shower. Normally I just have that reaction because I can’t see my toes without bending. Kidding. (not so much…)

Tonight, I’m in Graford, Texas, about 60 miles west/northwest of Ft. Worth, staying at my cousin’s house, whom I have not seen in about 46 years. He and his wife’s log cabin, which they’ve have built and customized in an unbelievably amazing fashion, complete with a 65″ plasma screen TV, is worthy of a three-part series on HGTV – it is THAT interesting. Their house also sits on the same property as my Aunt Opal and Uncle Norman’s farm, just down the road from my Grandma’s house, both places I hold dear.

I’ll hold the “my cousin Benny story” for later, because, first, I want to answer a very logical question posed by Madge out in CA about what dictates where I stop; and, secondly, I want to share with you a couple of examples of validation from the universe I have received in recent days, along with the amazing support I get from my readers, who diplomatically call bullshit on me when I get down. Buying a cowboy hat also helps.

Me and Lalo at Fisher's Western Wear

Me and Lalo at Fisher’s Western Wear, since 1902 in Ft. Worth, Texas.

So, why do I stop where I do? Family or fatigue. This trip is built around friends and family, literally from coast-to-coast, hence the need to go to NYC to see son Patrick and all the way to San Francisco to seek a long-lost half-brother.

Dog park at a truck stop, Grand Prairie, Texas

Dog park at a truck stop, Grand Prairie, Texas.

Out of necessity, and to reward Libby (who I need to devote an entire post to her, she is SO funny and adaptable and we are SO chill together now), we stop in off leash parks to explore and to chat with folks and just relax.

Ft. Worth did not have one, (ridiculous)  but this truck stop, about 35 miles east of Ft. Worth, did. It was the fanciest truck stop I have ever seen!




Immediately after I posted “Shower Moment” this morning, in which I thought, “people are going to get fed up with my complaining,” I began the toasty drive from Ft. Worth, Texas, to Graford, about 6o miles.

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The grass here is so brown it’s like La Choy Chow Mein noodles with grasshoppers. Lots of them. I’d forgotten how horrid they are.

Palo Pinto County, TX

Shade, a cow’s best friend when it’s 108. Palo Pinto County, Texas

Shade becomes a priceless commodity.

On the way to Graford, I go through Weatherford, the county seat, and I come across this woman, Nancy Parker, and she is so damn cute, I just have to stop and get her photo and find out her story. THIS WILL BLOW YOUR MIND.

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The last time I was having a similar meltdown, with the “OMG, I’m out here all alone, I’ll have to get a job turning tricks or pancakes” when I get back to STL, (neither very likely) I came across Maggie Edens in the Azalea Dog Park in Asheville, North Carolina.

Nothing is random, Maggie Edens, Azalea Dog Park, Asheville, NC

Nothing is random, Maggie Edens, Azalea Dog Park, Asheville, NC

Her dog and mine sniff each other out, the canine equivalent of checking each other out. I sit down and we start to talk. I’m hiding behind my sunglasses, as my eyes are swollen from the Garrett flood the night before, and we eventually we get around to sharing stories. She gets what this journey is all about in less than one heartbeat. She tells me about her sister, Linda Cheek, who is an artist making a living in Asheville. She tells me about her son, Pierce Edens, and how he’s working to make a living as a musician.

“He tried to work at other jobs, and not do his music, but he was miserable, ” said Maggie. So, he’s doing some organic farming on their land, he’s got a recording studio set up, he’s playing gigs all over the southeast, living his authentic life. No wonder she nods knowingly when I talk about my dreams for mine.

How is this? That we come across s solitary human, in a muddy dog park, on the day after a hard rain, when the humidity is 9000%, and a soft-spoken gray-haired gal, with a sweet face and demeanor nods knowingly and then hands me a CD from her son for the road. “Listen to the song called, “Money,” you’ll get a kick out of it. The lyric goes something like this:

“Money, I just can’t keep it, it blows out of my pocket…”

Maggie hands me the CD and then says she will pray for me on the road. And then, I get this email from her later:

“Jean, you are an encouragement and an inspiration. You remind me to remember, “you are not alone.””

And this, my friends, is how I see God in Maggie Edens.

About Jean Ellen Whatley

Writer. Dreamer. Sometimes schemer. Journalist/memoirist/observer and sometimes constructive irritant. Prisoner of demon muses. Mother to four humans and two dogs. In my spare time, I delete phone numbers of former boyfriends.

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  1. Jean, I so believe God sends his angels when we most need them. He just sent me one today. I love your posts, and I want you to know, you will be okay!

  2. Beautiful story. Sounds like this was a great day. Have fun with relatives that you have not see in 48 years. That would be more scary to me than traveling by myself. :)

  3. Wow, I’m seeing a second, third and even fourth book here, Jean…composites of good, strong Americans who quit corporate life to live their dreams. There are more of you out there than you think! Chills….

  4. Can’t wait to hear more… I have no idea where, across the nation, all my family lives (some who I haven’t seen in as long either), nor do I know which cities do and do not have dog parks, not only because I don’t have a dog but… The point? You make us all think, laugh and cry. It’s all good.

  5. Gerry Mandel says:

    I read your previous post, Jean, about your meltdown in the shower. I did not leave a comment but wanted to find the right way to say get past it, don’t let that “stuff” drag you down, etc etc. Easy for me to say, sitting here in Kirkwood, listening to music, Sadie by my side. But how to say it? Well, a Leonard Cohen song came up a little while ago, happens to be a favorite of Mary Lee, as well as mine. Here are some of the lyrics. Carry them close to your heart.
    “The birds they sing, at break of day,
    Begin again they seem to say,
    Don’t dwell on what has passed away,
    Or what is yet to be.

    “Ring the bells that still can ring,
    Forget your perfect offering,
    There is a crack, a crack in everything.
    That’s how the light gets in.”

    We’re all in there with you, kid. Keep on movin’.

  6. Braveness is not about slashing your way through the impossible. It’s about believing in the possible. Keep going!

  7. I am enjoying your posts. You are one gutsy lady to do this. May the Lord continue to guide you and smile down on you. Keep us in the loop. Barb Hodges

  8. I am so glad you met these people, and that you’ve found inspiration and hope in their stories! (As so many of us find in YOUR story.) I agree, it is like a message from God. Continued luck and strength for your journey.

    • I understand this is a matter of being open to observe. It’s like buying a new car, you never really notice a particular make and model of a car until after you buy one, then it seems like everybody in the planet is driving the same car. It’s all in the receptors. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.