When you wish upon a star….. dreams come true. What happens when you bring together a svelte, youthful looking octogenarian whose desire was to take a long distance truck trip and a singer-songwriter, interfaith minister, handy-woman, retired truck driver? The manifestation of a miracle, that’s what. Eighty two year old Margarette Kirsch from Merritt Island, Florida hopped up into the cab of the 18 wheeler driven by my friend Annabella Wood (I have written about her and her music before) to begin a journey that will take them to California and then back East to Florida where Margarette will return home to her husband (of 53 years) named Jack. The matchmaker for these two kindred spirits, born decades apart, is the unstoppable Cass Forkin, founder and director of Twilight Wish Foundation whose mission is to “honor and enrich the lives of deserving seniors through wish granting celebrations that connect generations” Their vision is to “make the world a nicer place to age, one wish at a time.” and that they do.
I have been in awe of witnessing the process of granting this woman’s wish for the past year or so, but the seeds were planted long before. Eight years ago, Cass was sitting in The Dublin Star Diner, having breakfast with her daughter. She noticed that two older people were counting out change to pay for their food. She approached the waitress and handed her a twenty dollar bill and asked to anonymously pay for their breakfast. The waitress wasn’t willing to keep silent, so she told the two who had treated them. They hugged Cass and thanked her for not forgetting them; meaning that a younger person honored older people. From that moment on, Cass became a force to be reckoned with in terms of her desire to keep the process going. Now Twilight Wish has made dreams come true for seniors all around the country, including a tv for a 71 year old woman in Idaho who rarely leaves her home except for dialysis, dental work for a 78 year old in Pittsburgh who would otherwise not be able to afford to care for her teeth, a handstitched quilt to replace one destroyed in a fire for a 94 year old woman in Alabama and a new stove for a 73 year old man in Missouri.
On Monday, June 6th, Cass returned with a much larger group to the same diner in which a spark of inspiration had been struck, to celebrate the commencement of Annabella and Margarette’s cross country truck-trek. Annabella’s friends had gathered nearly an hour prior to welcome her as the tractor trailer bearing The Twilight Wish logo, came rolling down Rte 313 in Dublin, PA (my home town:) We waved and cheered when she pulled up and clapped with delight when we saw Margarette, so amazed with her youthful exhuberance when she stepped out of Cass’ car, wearing skinny jeans and a fun and funky torquise cropped jacket. Her white hair was eloquently coiffed and she was carrying a heart topped magic wand. Annabella was more casually garbed in jeans and a t-shirt bearing the logo of our interfaith community called Circle of Miracles ; one of the sponsors of the trip. She was also wearing a characteristic warm ear to ear grin.
At breakfast, speeches were made, praising the faith in action that was evident in order for this day to arrive. Something between 4-6 years ago, Margarette had contacted the organization with two wishes in mind. The first was to be a Las Vegas showgirl for one night and the other was the truck trip. The first was not able to be fulfilled because dancers are in a union and she was told that the dances were already choreographed, so she wouldn’t just be able to jump right in. As they pass through Las Vegas, she may attempt again to make this trip a two-fer and ask about dancing anyway. There were many delays since she tossed the proverbial coin into the well, including having difficulty securing a truck. I was inspired by watching Annabella and Cass hold firm to their knowing that this trip would eventually take place and was gratified to be part of the group who bore witness to the fact that dreams do come true and miracles are everywhere, even in (and perhaps, especially in) the cab of chariot such as this that will carry Annabella, Margarette and Annabella’s dog Quark (she is seen holding him in the photo) into their daily adventures on the road. You can follow along their route on the Twilight Wish website www.twilightwish.org AARP will be filming their trip as well.
To hear Annabella’s music, including her song Truck Driving Mama, go to www.annabellawood.com
Margarette and Annabella…may the road rise up to meet you.