Jodi Hills

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


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Beside her.

My grandparents had apple trees. All variations of sweet, but for one. That tree produced sour apples. My mother loved them. During peak season, my grandma would pick sacks of apples. Ready for any visitor that came by. Reused brown paper sacks from Jerry’s Jack and Jill grocery store filled with green. Only one was labeled. She wrote Ivy in bold, black magic marker. The sack with the sour.

I had only begun to put letters together to form words. I knew my name, of course, and I knew my mother’s name. I ran to it in delight. In this sea of ordinary brown paper, there was her name. “Are you famous?” I asked her. “Yes,” she nodded and smiled. My heart beamed. I knew it!

During my husband’s first visit to Alexandria, Minnesota, my mom took us to Herberger’s. We walked in the back door by shoes. Jessica looked up from her customer’s feet, “Oh, hi Ivy!” Sue from the bra department waved, “Hi, Ivy!” Dominique smiled. Claudia from the Clinque counter asked her how the new moisturizer was working. A man stopped, put his hand on my mother’s shoulder and said “It’s good to see you, Ivy.” “He’s the manager,” my mom offered. Dominique looked confused. “Is your mother the mayor?” he asked me. I smiled. “Of Herberger’s… yes.”

I suppose we all want to be seen…noticed for the bold markings of our own magic. But just as important, and rewarding, is to see others. What a privilege it is to be let in. To be trusted in someone’s truth. My mother gave me that gift. Let me walk beside her. I give thanks for this, every day.