Sunday, January 10, 2021

A Shooting Star


The mid wife looked up at me from where my newborn child lay and asked, “Do you want to cut the cord?” It was a special moment in the living room of our little house. The doctor stood nearby and my tired but happy wife lay on her back with the baby on her stomach.

Doctor, at birth of Naomi

Morning light streamed in the bank of windows nearby. I took the scissors offered me and cut the cord—separating mother and child. About a foot of cord stayed attached to my daughter’s navel. I hardly could take my eyes off her, marveling at her perfection. The day: January 11, 1980. 


Tomorrow would be her 41st birthday. Naomi died when she was but nineteen.

There are countless mysteries in life, and most of them will not be unravelled. I will have many questions when I cross over to the other side to reunite with Naomi and my ancestors. Then, as I stand in the light of truth and divine love, understanding will be given.

Colored pencil drawing Naomi made hours after learning of her cancer

One mystery that haunts me is the dream I had when Naomi was 12. I woke up with a feeling of extreme sadness and dread and then wrote the details down. It was a marvelous dream in all respect—full of awesome symbols of power and beauty—yet in the end the death of a child occurred. I could not understand its importance and even went to a psychologist to unravel the meaning. I made a painting using its images. Then, when Naomi was diagnosed with terminal cancer at age 17, I thought about the dream again. 

I will carry this mystery with me until the end of my days.

In the dream, which occurs at dusk, after witnessing an amazing flock of birds fly by, I ask for a sign and it is given immediately—a shooting star racing through the evening atmosphere, fiery, fast and bright—just above barren winter tree tops. More events unfold, before the sudden surprise ending that left me gasping when I awoke.

And so too, Naomi’s life was short and bright, for especially in the two years of her struggle at the end, she incandescently shed light as her life burned up. 

I am filled with a wonderful sense of happiness. It is an indescribable sense of utmost freedom and joy. When I am in touch with it I just think, Oh, God, thank you for this beautiful body and life. I have learned how to use THANK YOU throughout everything.
  —Naomi, age 18

The book I wrote about Naomi is available in print and digital edition: A Heart Traced In Sand

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Santa Italiano

He called on New Year day around dinner time but my phone was turned off. When I saw I had a message from him, at 10:30 PM, I was surprised and happy. “Gosh, it has been a long time,” I thought. Amazing he is still alive—he must be about 89 years old.

Ralph Caprio, a second generation Italian American, always worked with my father and was a steady presence from the start of my life in Chicago. My father, Richard W. Boone (March 29, 1927 – February 26, 2014), always rose to leadership positions throughout his life, and chose to have Ralph beside him. When our family moved, so did Ralph. 

Handsome and spry, Ralph stayed a bachelor—always with girlfriends. He had style, and effused ebullience.  

All the Boone family loved Ralph. He loved us for the family he never had. In fact, Ralph was our Santa Claus. My parents had five children in eight years. Early on, we were very poor. Living in a tenement on Chicago’s south side, at Christmas, there were meager gifts beneath the tree. Then, on a cold Christmas morning, Ralph would arrive at our door, arms laden with the best presents for us kids. A knock sounded and when the door opened all of us little ones would shout with glee, “Ralph!”

I only had to debate a moment to decide to call him back. I knew it was almost midnight in Chicago on New Year day. I know Ralph has the ability to live on four hours sleep daily, and prefers living that way.

I called back and after a few rings a youthful, familiar voice rang out, “Hey Steve, happy New Year!” He mostly wanted to know how I am. He mentioned that my mother and father would be proud of me and then said, “I love you” before hanging up. 

Amy had been nearby when she heard Ralph answer, and remarked, “Wow, he sounds so youthful and bright!”

Yes, he has always been like that.