Recent Splats according to Miz Yank

Moved To Tears

When a trusted friend calls and says she needs you to do something, you offer before you know what the “it” is.

You hope something benign motivates the call—she’s going on a trip and needs a ride to the airport, she’s hosting a party and wants you to bring your signature mango salsa, or she’s getting married and needs you to juggle fire at the reception.

My friend, Philippa, placed the call a couple of months ago for a reason that was anything but benign.  She had been diagnosed with breast cancer and needed some post-op help. She’s one of the most independent people I’ve ever met, so I knew she hated to ask. I hated the reason that placed her in need but was more than happy to answer the call.

As we ironed out dates for appointments and such, I told her I was unavailable the weekend of November 9.

“Oh, what’s going on that weekend?” she asked.

“My whole family is doing the Moving Day walk on the tenth to fight Parkinsons Disease.”  Philippa knew my dad had been diagnosed with the disease in 2007 but didn’t know about the walk.  I explained that my three siblings, their spouses, their kids, and my aunts and uncles on both sides were mobilizing for the walk, which takes place at the stadium where the Nationals play, to support Dad and the millions who suffer with PD. I also told her that, since my brother and aunts and uncles had to travel for the walk, on the ninth, we were planning to have an early Thanksgiving or, as I call it, “Yanksgiving.”

During my post-op stint at Philippa’s place, on a day when her mom happened to be there, she mentioned the walk.

“What about it?” I asked.

“I’m gonna do it,” she said. She was horizontal when she said this.

I said, “That’s nice.”  Then I mentally dropped her comment in the bin marked “Vicodin Musings” and went off to feed Louie.

When I heard her mom say, “I’ll do it, too,” I wondered if Mom had been hitting the painkillers, too.  I asked her to repeat herself, just to make sure I’d heard correctly. “I’m doing it,” she said, somewhat defiantly. “You walked with my family, now I walk with yours.”

I knew better than to argue with her.  I was at a loss for words, anyway.  My dear friend, who was still going through her own ordeal, was already thinking well beyond herself, and so was her mom.  And I hadn’t even placed the call.

Philippa’s friends, her brother, her niece and her nephew followed her lead.  Within hours of Philippa announcing her walk decision on Facebook (where she also thanked me so publicly and profusely that my mother began to worry about being dislodged as the President of my fan club), their names began to appear on my list of donors and on the Team Yank roster.

As the date neared, I sent an email out to our team with logistical information and one important instruction.  “Wear purple,” I wrote.  “It’s Dad’s favorite color.”

Mother Nature was on her best game when we arrived at Nats Park this morning, delivering clear skies and balmy temps.

Dad and my brother had gotten there early.  Dad pretty much always gets to the ballpark early.  He can’t get enough of the game –aside from watching it, he still coaches an American Legion summer league team—  and he never misses batting practice if he can help it.

Today, he had an even better reason: Because our team had raised over $4,000, we were invited to have two of our team members come an hour early for a private tour of the Nats dugout.

We sent our two baseball junkies.  (My brother pitched at Georgia Tech and then professionally until injuries ended his baseball career.)  And boy did they make the most of it.  While my brother took pictures, Dad picked up the dugout phone and called the bullpen.  He stood there for a few seconds and then hung up the phone.

There’s more than one way to make a dream come true.

“Nothing happened,” Dad said. “Just like the Nats.”

After the dugout tour ended, the fourteen-person Philippa branch of Team Yank joined our twenty-one person contingent.   Philippa was again in fine sartorial form.  This time she blamed it on Dad.Philippa, modeling the latest outfit from the Vicodin Line

After 97 hours of speeches, Team Yank was off and walking. Philippa and I are both very competitive people, but for once, we weren’t in a hurry.

We, and everyone else on Team Yank, just reveled in the beauty of the day and the people who had come together to fight PD.  Their walk reminds us to just keep moving forward, no matter how fast.


  1. Beautiful story.

    Goodness, she’s purple!

    • Thank you, EG! My family and I were blown away by Philippa’s act of friendship, not to mention temporarily blinded by all that damned purple. My eyes!!!!

  2. I love reading about your friendship. This was a great story.

    • THank you so much for stopping by and reading. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I felt pretty lucky to have ringside seats to watch the force of nature that is my amazing friend.

  3. YAY to Team Yank 🙂

  4. This is fantastic — not the cancer part, of course, but the power of friendship and people joined together for a united cause. $4,000 is incredible and Philipa is certainly blessed by your friendship. Once again, a post you have written has reminded me that frienship is every bit as sacred and eternal as marriage. God bless all of you! Love and hugs!

    • Thank you for the kind words. I found it hard to express what a beautiful few weeks it has been, or what it felt like to see Philippa supporting me, and her friends and family lending their support to both of us. I don’t think I’ve ever had an experience quite like it. I feel profoundly grateful!


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