Jodi Hills

So this is who I am – a writer that paints, a painter that writes…


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At play.

I’m not sure we ever finished a game. There was softball. And kickball. And kick the can. And freeze tag. Regular Tag. One game morphed into the next in the empty field between our house and Dynda’s. With five girls, the Norton’s made it possible to do almost anything. If they showed up, teams were easily made. And that’s really all any of us had to do — just show up. Balls. Bats. Even bikes waited patiently in the grass, or the curb of the gravel road.

If we did keep some kind of score, it was forgotten. Erased by front stoop calls to dinner, or the dark of night. When I think back, it may be one of the greatest lessons I received in humanity. In love.

As we get older, we think we have to do something – and even worse – do the “right thing.” When someone is going through a difficult period, we struggle. “I don’t know what to say.” “I don’t know what to do.” We search for answers or solutions. But as with most things, we were given the tools from the start. We knew what to do. It turns out, it still holds true. All we have to do is show up. Be there for each other. Forgetting all the scores, remembering only to reach out an imperfect, sweaty, grass stained hand, and just be… together.

My lot is trampled. Sure. Worn even. For this I am blessed. My heart is at play. And I will never finish loving you.


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727 home runs.

I could tell you I did. There are no records to prove it. No one kept the stats. And to be honest, there was never a wall that the ball had to clear. We didn’t have stadiums. We had parks. And if you hit the ball beyond the outfielders, you had a pretty good chance of a home run. And if the infielders would happen to overthrow, underthrow, or just completely miss from base to base, which happened often, and you kept running, and they kept throwing, you could often round the bags without being tagged. A home run. Now in the major leagues they would never score it as that. Maybe a single with three errors. But this was summer softball. A league of our own. And if you scored with one swing of the bat, that my friend, was a home run. And when my mom got home from work, she stopped everything. Even if there were groceries to be put away. And I’m sure her feet hurt from heeled shoes. Legs to be freed from pantyhose. But no, before she did anything, she stopped and asked about my day. My game. As if it were the only thing in the world. She didn’t care about softball. She didn’t ask if we won or lost. She cared about me. I listed off the victories – “a homerun, a single and a double.” (When I think about it, I rarely got a triple. Once you got to third base, you just kept going, no matter what.) I could have told her anything, I suppose, but when I was finished, she raised her hands and cheered! Fists nearly to the ceiling, my heart not far behind.

I haven’t missed a day of writing these posts, these blogs, in 727 days. Again, no one other than me is keeping the stats. Some days I will get 30 likes. Some days 100. I started writing them mostly to get the two handed cheer from my mom. Nothing will ever compare to this. I can still feel it, with each word I type. Each letter is a foot on a sanded field. Each sentence a run toward the base. A paragraph to first. To second. A story each day, just trying to race home. Race home to the one who will lift you. Love you — hands raised in the air kind of love!  No matter the score. 

The sun is coming up, my heart is not far behind. I’m ready to play.
I will spread my wings and call this home.