Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Where is the Green Jeep?

Mem Fox has this incredible book called Where is the Green Sheep?  It is one of my favorite read alouds for little kids and I still laugh every time I read it.   The phrase has to be said with a lot of emphasis too, "BUT Whhheeerree is the GGRREEENnnn sheep?" It is so fun to say.  I heard Lester Leminack talk about the book once, and with his slow Southern drawl and dramatic flair, he added another whole dimension to the reading.  I highly recommend it.

The phrase has been echoing in my head lately.  You see, my brother drove a green jeep.  Not for long.  He had a white jeep that got wrecked and he quickly was able to find an old green jeep to replace it.  It was the perfect vehicle for him.  Big enough to carry his junk.  Cool enough to still be cool.  Old enough to look responsible.  Fun enough to go on ski  snowboard trips and camping trips.  He drove it to the shore.  He drove it to my house.  When I visited my mom, I would know he was around if I saw his Green Jeep.  I identified him that way.

After his death a weird thing happened.  I saw Green Jeeps everywhere.  It was weird.  One morning I was driving to work through Camden and I turned a corner and saw a Green Jeep parked in front of a little house. Now this is not exactly the kind of place you think you'll run into someone, but I thought, "Oh, my God, here he is.  He is in Camden, and we just couldn't find him!  I'll just go in this house and get him and it will all be ok."  Of course you might think I am crazy and I thought I was too.  It was just an instantaneous reaction to seeing that car, that Green Jeep.  Where is the Green Jeep?  Here it is.  It was just hiding all along.  For some reason I was still looking for him.

And my brother - he was just playing a game with us the way he used to when we were little.  You know, one time when I was babysitting, he told me he was running away.  I was frantic trying to figure out how to tell my mother that he had run away.  Really, how do you explain that when you are in charge and babysitting and the oldest?  I was a wreck about it.  I begged him not to go.  I begged and begged but he left and we couldn't find him.  But as soon as my mother pulled into the driveway, here comes Austin walking down the street as if nothing had happened.  He was hiding behind the mailbox at the corner THE WHOLE TIME.  He drove me crazy!

So when I saw the Green Jeep - well.  I did quickly snap out of it, but honestly, it happened a few times more before I was able to process it better.   "Oh, look I found him.  He's in Mt. Laurel, driving on 295."  I know it sounds crazy, and it is.  But it is also pretty funny.  I know logically that my emotional brain is blocking my cognitive brain from properly processing and all that but for that split of an instant I actually Believed.  Now I still see Green Jeeps everywhere.  Everywhere.  I see them going to the store, driving in California, I see the same Green Jeep in Camden each time I'm in that neighborhood.  Every time I see one I'm reminded that my brother is around.  He is just hiding from view but his spirit is there.  He is with me when I need him, and especially in Camden.  I just have to keep Believing.

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