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Jo Heslin, Our Angel

Debbie Hooper Special to The Star

Jo and her Indian Pass Home

opened hearts,

created arts

and gave dreamers

a retreat to call home.

Jo’s old upright

Wellington piano

on the back porch

played music and songs

beyond melodies and words,

where its lack of keys stocked

Jim Beam, Kahlua, Smirnoff

and you name it, mixed drinks

of all kinds serving

as a real piano bar.

Jo loved history and

bought the Jimmy McNeil

family home near

the Indian Pass Raw Bar

to have it moved to her spot on

Indian Pass beach.

Its attached porches surrounded

each room with creaky wooden

floors and well worn rockers

and a hammock here and there.

Shells, pottery shards and frog

fig leafed knick knacks were part

of her creative and fun décor.

Her kitchen held so many

family and party aromas

that visitors sitting outside

leaned in to capture them again.

And to deter intruders

Jo set a pair of size 12

men’s leather shoes

by her front door.

Jo had an answer for everything.

Upbeat and positive

she rattled off stories and legends

of family and visitors

from near and afar.

Old photos on her walls of cowboys

sitting on her porch rockers

with guns on their laps

made you feel like you were

part of Indian Pass history.

I used to stop by to visit Jo and twice

brought my friend Trish from Tampa,

who told me after I had told her

that Jo had died that she had had

a dream about Jo two nights before.

In her dream

Trish and I were visiting Jo

who was happily floating around her porch

wearing a long whitish flowy caftan,

with her hair up like Katherine Hepburn.

Our soft spoken gracious hostess,

hummed softly!

Whispering that

SHE WAS NOW JUST FINE!

What a peaceful reconnection

Jo gave Trish and I in her dream.

Trish told me she thanked the Lord

for allowing her to have that

wonderful dream

where Jo hugged us both

and waved goodbye

saying “see you later.”

© Debbie Hooper

March 17, 2020