She says my name like this: “JENN-i-fer!” with emphasis on the first syllable and always with an exclamation point. Every time, she is most decidedly enthusiastic that I dialed her number and invariably, regardless of the reason for the call, I smile wide into the receiver. With a seven a.m. report that my children are sick come clucks of sympathy; an evening query about a work file earns musings on human nature (specially her own dis-organization). Once she called me for help brainstorming over a weekend; if I didn’t have caller ID I’d have heard the friendship in her voice and known.
Phone calls and voice are only part of her texture; they reinforce what has been built over countless bowls of soup. In her home, with an influx of two dozen children daily, Nina thrives. She connects young people with “The Great Feast of Ideas” and delights as they find for themselves food for thought. I’ve witnessed her with younger ones, slipping on mittens and comfort; with older ones, relishing an inside joke and the bloom of youth; with friends, sharing their suffering with her kind eyes; or simply reheating last night’s dinner for whoever is hungry today. All these acts of love, done without fanfare, proclaim kindness as a much needed balm for the world.
This post is part of #Writing101, a course with Blogging U. The assignment: to describe the most interesting person you’ve met this year, in a character study. I chose my friend Nina Pension, who with her husband founded Plumfield Academy. It’s an amazing school where my children are now, and I used to work. Nina is a kindred spirit, and I enjoy talking about God, Breaking Bad, St. Ignatius, The Simpsons and pretty much anything else with her.