Last night, the thumbnail moon and shimmering Venus stole my extra night of Leap Day’s sleep to count my blessings.

I recalled the four Thursdays in February, thankful for safety to and from a memoir class. The thermostat fell the lowest, and snow piled the highest every Thursday night we met in Romeo.

Laura, a kindergarten teacher, read a memoir titled “Eddie’s Entrance” about her second son’s birth. The group’s seven stories ranged from childbirth to the disappointment of returning to one’s childhood home as an adult. The coal furnace, windows, and rooms all looked so much smaller.

For two hours we fell under the spell of family history and story-hallowed memories of the human condition.

The third week, another night for polar bears, Laura’s older son, Joey, followed her into the room. A sixth grader in Romeo Middle School, Joey listened to each writer.

“I like how you began and ended your story,” Joey said to a reader.

Between a boy and teen and avid sports fan, Joey related to the humorous account of a tow rope dragging a beginner uphill on a ski slope.
“I’m coming back next week for the last class,” Joey announced.

That night, I parked in the church lot and waited in my toasty car for the class member with the key to unlock the door. Laura parked next to me.

There sat Joey in the passenger seat, his predictable smile and new strawberry blond hairdo. He sipped a small to-go coffee cup.

This smarted because I first met Laura during my lavender farm years when Eddie was an infant. She harvested bundles for a few hours “boy free.” We talked about farm life. I learned that day we’re neighbors.

How many Leap Days ago? Two?

Our last class, three members read poignant stories about trusting God’s will, the charity of a fellow shopper, and discovering a child’s grave in the desert.

Three writers ventured into poetry. A soprano sang her poem. Laura wrote her verse to celebrate her best friend’s birthday Leap Day night. The poem took us to her banana seat bicycle with her best friend and best friend’s sister behind while Laura’s legs pumped them around the neighborhood for endless hours and miles.

How many Leap Days ago?

Joey read “Bounce Back,” a poem. “I love basketball and Shakespeare.”

“We can tell,” a writer said. “That’s what makes it a good poem.”

“Dad doesn’t like competition and says to play ball for fun.”

“Can you do that?” asked a mother of four boys.

Joey shrugged. “Yeah, but it’s fun to win, too.”

After two hours, we turned off lights and locked the church, richer than when we entered.

High above in a black, clear sky, the waning crescent moon and Venus guided me home.

Dear Reader, I pondered how many Leap Days I have left with Joey and Eddie in my neighborhood and church. Maybe two?

While I lay on my pillow, I decided it’s time to watch Joey play basketball.

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