The Listener

Judy Bright Photo

Have you ever met someone who listens to you?  Like really listens?

Judy Bright, my other mother, did just that.

I wish I had her skills.

Sometimes when I visited her house, typically once or twice a month, I’d make a commitment to ask her questions before we broached the subject of Danny Tanner.  The conversation went something like this:

“Judy, how is your health?”

“Danny, we’ll get to that.  But first, I have a question for you.”

An hour and a half later, about the time our conversation had to end, we’d move back to the topic of her.  She’d share for a minute or two, and then, the conversation would end with a hug and a kiss and a promise to talk more about her at our next visit.

Oh she shared bits and pieces about her life during our time together.  But that was secondary – to add to the conversation, not the primary focus.  I was the primary focus.

Judy was more interested in others than she was in herself.  Admirable.  Unusual.

We would grab lunch periodically.  She was the queen of using condiments to visibly guide me through strategy to help me get through the problems I was facing.

“Danny, now you’re the Sweet and Low, and (pick the person I’m having a tough time with at the moment) is the salt.”  She would then move the condiments around the table as we strategically worked through the problems bringing the mustard bottle or sugar packets in for supporting roles as appropriate.

Judy was one that freely said, “I love you.”  Not just to me, but to everyone she loved.  And she loved a lot of people, deeply.

She was a person who made each person she came in contact with feel like he was the most important person in the entire world.  We all thought she was our “other mother.”  We all felt special in her presence.

She encouraged and challenged us all to be more than we ever thought we might be.  She had more confidence in me than I ever did in myself.  She gave me the gift of self-confidence.  She gave that gift to others too.

Judy passed away last Thursday after an 18 month battle with colon cancer.  She was 72.  It breaks my heart to lose people like this, good people in a tough world.

At the end of many meals at Camp Seafarer where Judy was the director for many years, she would give a closing charge to the eight hundred campers and staff.  She would say, “You know what to do,” and the campers would respond, “Now let’s go do it.”

In her absence, I think that’s what she’d want us to do.  She has taught us well.  Now, we must just go do it.

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