July 2015. I never imagined that I would be in Kansas City, MO for this auction. But there I was, front row, in bright pink, for all the world to see. And now that the video of that marathon day has resurfaced, all the world can see it again. As my Shirley Soul Sister says, “Oy.”
There was NO WAY I wanted to see this video when it was first posted that July. I cringed when I heard someone talk about it. “We could see you the whole time!” I simply couldn’t face seeing my crying, fidgeting, foot-tapping self. I don’t even pose for photographs, let alone this. (Some day I’ll tell you the story of my behavior toward my wedding photographer. Ouch.) Much of my reluctance to watch it had to do with that. But there was a part of me that couldn’t watch it for another reason. I didn’t want the visual reality to spoil the MEMORY of this life-altering event. I didn’t want to be an outsider looking in; I wanted to remain inside the experience.
So when it disappeared from Youtube, I uttered an audible sigh of relief. And happily forgot about it. Until yesterday.
Time really does wonders. Heals, erases, softens, puts into perspective. Sure, my first inclination was to listen and not watch, but I got over myself. And took that journey again. And felt those emotions again. And witnessed Shirley’s Army history again.
Now I can’t stop watching. I want to find certain clips to see if what I remembered about that moment really did happen that way. I want to see the expressions on people’s faces, because the first time around I missed that completely. And I want to recapture – and hold on to – those feelings of joy, surprise, love and fatigue. Most of all, I want to marvel – at what took place in July 2015, and what has come since.
If you watch nothing else, watch Stuart’s opening remarks. Was I the only one to feel a secret, self-satisfied thrill when he told the story of how Shirley’s Army was formed? Or experience a little jolt of recognition every time he called, “Shirley’s Army strikes!” There we were, a small band of members in the front row, and I thought we were hot stuff. And, to be sure, we were. But man, look at us now. Our ranks have swelled, the recognitions have multiplied, and the experiences keep coming. If we weren’t then, we are certainly now a force to be reckoned with.
I’ve said it about a million times since that July, and I’ll say it again. How’d I get here? Well, all I have to do now is watch this, and I’ll know.