MakeConnieLaugh Winner: Grand Prize

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Announcing the Grand Prize winner of the MakeConnieLaugh in 140 Characters or Less Contest will be the last off-topic post; we’ll resume regular blogging tomorrow. On second thought, is it really off-topic when your blog is about social networking and making connections through conversation?

The winning entry for the Grand Prize not only made me laugh, it had a special significance for me — one the writer could not possibly have known about, and one that directly pertained to the reason I was feeling blue and needed cheering up in the first place. The synchronicity really does not surprise me, though, for Jon Swanson, author of Levite Chronicles, is a man who listens with his heart.

Here’s his winning entry, and remember that it appears here in reverse chronological order.


When I dreamed up this contest, I had just been through a rough week. Then on Saturday morning, I found this post in my RSS reader. The last time I’d had a chance to sit down for a chat with John Moore, we talked about his mom’s battle with ALS. In addition to reading his blog, I’d been following John’s marvelous video scrapbook, narrated by his mom, Glenna, until she lost the ability to speak. Just take a look at this sample, where John’s dad, Al, tells about his love for Glenna.

I knew all too well what the Moore family was going through, having lost my father to a neurodegenerative disease in December 2000. He managed to maintain his sense of humor until the end, but the suffering took a huge toll on our family. As time passes, you forget the suffering and remember all the laughter. But for a few moments on Saturday morning, it all came back when I found out about Glenna Moore.

Thanks to my Twitter pals, the painful memories soon faded as person after person endeavored to make me laugh. And here’s why Jon’s Burma-Shave for the Information Highway tweets bowled me over.

burma-shave-logo.jpgMy father loved to load the family in the car and take us places. Back in those days (remember, I’m older than the average Internet maven), the occasional series of weathered Burma-Shave signs still dotted the back roads of the Hill Country. Dad would slow down so my sister and I could read them out loud.

That would distract us momentarily, but like every small child on a road trip, we would soon be asking how much longer it would be before we reached our destination. “Daddy, are we there yet?”

Daddy would always reply, “Not much farther. It’s just over that next hill.”

Those words came back to me on that final, unbearably long night when we kept a bedside vigil at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House. Dad’s breathing became so labored that each breath would raise him chest-first off the bed. The nurses increased the dose of morphine to ease his pain.

At one point, when this lifelong Daddy’s Girl didn’t think she could take it any longer, I kissed his cheek and whispered, “Not much farther, Daddy. It’s just over that next hill.”

Mercifully, a couple of hours later my father slipped from this life to the next. I like to think that if there are two-lane roads in heaven, Daddy has “the pedal to the metal” on a battleship-sized Cadillac Fleetwood or Chrysler Imperial (his cars of choice), slowing down only long enough to read the angelic equivalent of Burma-Shave signs.

With more love and laughter and appreciation than you can imagine, Jon, I’m sending an autographed hardcover copy of The Age of Conversation your way.

This post was written by:

Connie Reece - who has written 152 posts on Every Dot Connects.

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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Ann Says:

    Why did I possibly think I could ignore that “possible tears warning”? Wiping away a few tears here. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Jon Says:

    Thank you, friend.

    You are right.
    I didn’t know.
    I had to write.
    It’s Daddy’s show.

    Grateful to be part of the process.

  3. Kami Huyse Says:

    Today is my grandmother’s birthday, she died last December. The tears warning should have been written large for me. I think I might need a make Kami laugh contest. What do you think?

  4. Marti Says:

    Awww (you know you had to wait for me to stop crying before I could type a comment, don’t you, fellow weeper?) That was beautifully written. A well deserved round of applause for Jon Swanson.

  5. Becky McCray Says:

    Jon warned me to bring a tissue…

  6. Len Edgerly Says:

    Wonderful contest, wonderful winning entry and, as Paul Harvey would say, wonderful “rest of the story.”

  7. Connie Reece Says:

    Thank you ALL for the comments. I really appreciate the kind words and the fact that you stopped by to say hello and help me thank Jon.

  8. Bill Vanderbush Says:

    ….not knowing what to write….choking back a flood of memories…I love your Dad, Connie. It’s not a past tense for it’s as alive now as it was years ago. Then again, so is he.

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