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Blythe and Belonging

This was a bit of content that got cut from the final book edits, it didn't fit with the flow but it's still another snapshot of my mother in action, at her best. I have saved these nuggets to share with you from time to time.


Blythe Ricker

My mother taught me that humans were always humans, first and foremost, and that differences in culture or race or ethnicity or religion or socioeconomic status meant very little to our shared need for connection. Before the dementia took hold, she actively sought to create those opportunities with her open dinner table philosophy, and she frequently befriended the unhoused people she encountered in her neighborhood. One winter she even added electricity and running water to their backyard shed at their house in Inman Park to provide housing for a man who had done some odd jobs for her. When, a few months later, he stopped showing up for dinner and she realized that both he and many of her and Eric's yard tools were missing, she refused to believe that he’d just stolen them and left. I am sure I was among those of us in her orbit who shook our heads and clicked our tongues a bit at her naivete. In hindsight, that so called naivete is a quality in her that I cherish and strive to emulate. The theft of those tools was an inconvenience and a bit of money lost. But for a few months a man who felt discarded by the world found some belonging in my mother’s presence. That had always been mom’s way. To be kind first and to ask questions later, if ever. She met people where they were and was not afraid to sit with them there. Bless her, she didn’t always practice that with me, or with any of us who were closest to her, but she was a powerful friend to the lost misfits of the world.


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