Jodi Hills

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


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Prescription Filled.

I could see her from the kitchen window. Her head just above our gate. I couldn’t breathe. It was the old woman from the pharmacy who had just accused me of being a drug dealer, or addict, who could be sure… 

I had been to the pharmacy twice that week. Leaving each time with two garbage bags full. Both Dominique and his son were recovering from surgeries at home, and I, being able bodied (but not yet of sound French mind — not that I am now) was left to go to the pharmacy. I handed the pharmacist my stack of prescriptions, which apparently included an extraordinary amount of morphine. I returned her stare with an apologetic smile — it was my go to response for most things foreign. Then the questioning began. I understood little but the tone, and this was not good. I could feel the heat from behind the counter, and the glare of those waiting in line behind me. I stumbled and fumbled with the few words I knew for husband and back surgery and I’m sorry. They finally allowed me to leave with my “stash” and I sulked out the front door and loaded the car. 

If I hadn’t been sure before, I was now, that certainly I would never get my own insurance card, not to mention visa. I was now a wanted criminal. My worries were confirmed as I saw her face, this pharmacist, waiting at our gate. I screamed something to the likes of “she’s come to get me, and now I’m going to be deported.” Dominique laughed. (Which was less than reassuring.) 

It turns out she had checked out the prescription. Confirmed it. And was bringing the remainder of the drugs that she, by law, had to confirm before distributing. It all makes sense. Now. We laughed about it again this morning, from the safety of our kitchen table. 

When I look back, there have been countless situations like this through the years — not so much drug related — but situations that I thought were simply unsurvivable. It’s almost embarrassing typing that now — unsurvivable. Oh, what we can survive!  I try to keep these memories close at hand, for my own education, but being human, I so easily forget, and I find myself slipping into another trauma — a “trauma” like deciphering shipping codes for FedEx.  Oh, how soon I forget. This is not trauma, but something to be laughed at from a kitchen table.

It gets easier to let these situations go. I still go through them, but I find myself laughing sooner — and I suppose that’s progress. We take our victories where we can.  

Today started out with laughter. They say that’s the best medicine of all. I sit at the kitchen table, prescription filled.


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Nothing else would I trade for this.

I heard a familiar voice in the dressing room next to me. I had met my mother at the Macy’s in St. Cloud to do a little shopping for the upcoming launch of my book, Friend. As I lived in Minneapolis, and she in Alexandria, it was half way for us both. I opened the door a crack to see who belonged to the voice. A short, blonde woman passed by – oh, Kari Ness – I had gone to high school with her. My mom popped in. I think I saw Kari Ness, I said. We both stepped out. No one was there. We continued through the racks of clothes. And there she was. She introduced us to her mother-in-law. And it began. I heard something about fashion, and she owned a store, San Francisco I think, it was all happening so quickly. What are you here for? she asked. Before I answered, “What are you shopping for? What do you need? A black and white event, I said. For my new book. She grabbed me by the hand. Took me to dresses. Put this on. I’m sure I said yes – who knew at this point? What’s happening? my mom asked. I didn’t know, but we were both smiling from ear to ear. And you’ll need shoes, she said, and started instructing the clerks in the shoe department. I don’t even remember trying on the dress, but I was wearing it. Three clerks were running to get shoes for me. Kari’s mother in law was directing the Macy’s orchestra and all we could do was dance along. It was glorious! Within minutes I had a fabulous dress, and hosiery and shoes and a handbag. There, she said. I’m not certain that I even spoke to Kari. I hope I thanked her. It was spectacular. For a few minutes in the St. Cloud Macy’s, I was a princess! I was a model! And it was a ride I will never forget.


My mom and I went to Ciatti’s restaurant afterward. Bags in tow. Ordered two glasses of wine, and relived it again and again with each sip.


Bobby Darin sang a song, “And the curtain falls.” It plays in my head as I remember these moments:


Your cheers and laughter
will linger after
They’ve torn down these dusty walls
If I had this to do again
And the evening were new again
I would spend it with you again
But now the curtain falls.
Your cheers and laughter
will linger after
They’ve torn down these dusty walls
People say I was made for this
Nothin’ else would I trade for this…


Life happens where and when you allow it. People and places will take you on unforgettable rides – I only encourage you to take them. Hop on! Your cheers and laughter will forever linger after. I hear them now!


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Good morning, Fern!

We got a new plant for our library. She is a fern. I named her Fern. (Everything doesn’t have to be hard to be delightful.) She sits beside the antique typewriter we got from Dominique’s mom. So in my head, Fern works in this office from the 1950’s. Every morning, when I open the shutters, let the sun in, I say in my most boisterous, yet cheerful, of voices — “Good morning, Fern! Take a letter.” I hope you’re laughing. It makes me laugh every day. I’m smiling as I type this.

It really takes so little. Today, (well, and every day) find something that tickles your heart from the inside. I’m old enough to know about the Reader’s Digest magazine. They had a section in there called “Laughter is the best medicine.” I was probably six when I started reading them. I didn’t always understand, but I knew I liked to laugh, so I hopscotched through the words and found myself laughing just the same. I guess I had already started making a choice to find the good. And it is a choice.

So fling those curtains, those shutters, those hearts wide open. Greet the day. And find the good — it’s out there! Good morning, Fern!!!