The email went like this...
My wife Eleanor and I both read your beautiful book in Robert's waiting room. His acupuncture helps us greatly. We're both 84, and we live in West Sedona.
I'm hoping for ten copies of All Was Love. Please tell me where to send a check, or perhaps we could invite you to lunch and do business then?
“TEN COPIES!!?? WOW” I exclaimed to myself. They saw the copy that I had left at my friend Robert Abrahamson's acupuncture office, in his sitting area. “TEN COPIES!” I thought in awe. “And they want me to join them for lunch. How lovely!” I accepted their invitation and set up a luncheon with them at a local restaurant that they like to frequent. I was really looking forward to it.
I walked in the restaurant door and saw such a sweet couple sitting at a nearby table. I knew it must be them. The gentleman stood up and stayed standing by his chair until I was seated and I knew immediately I was in the presence of a true gentleman and his adorable wife. We all hit it off right from the first few words. I was as curious about them as they were about me and my book.
The first thing they commented on was how fascinated they were that the artist for the book, Trea Christopher Grey, was color blind. They expressed that his art was stunning and transformative. I told them that sometimes I get to see new paintings that he is creating and I look a long time and see colors that I honestly do not think I have ever seen before and I don't know how that is possible but it happens quite often. They were mesmerized.
I told them stories about how I came to know Trea and our graphic designer Kimall Christensen and the kinds of emails I get from people I have never met telling me such amazing stories about how they came across the book and how it helped them. I love talking about ALL WAS LOVE but I knew that these two elders had their own fascinating details about them and I wanted to know what those details were so I asked them questions and they sweetly gave me their very interesting answers.
Eleanor had attended Columbia University, getting straight A's in all of her subjects. Woody had attended NYU. Eleanor switched to NYU and graduated there. They are both PhDs. Eleanor wrote a dissertation called, Hamlet: A Window on Russia. They had both studied the Russian language and even spent time living there. Eleanor was a good writer and a creative woman so one day she found herself waiting in a grocery line and coming up with a “How To” book idea. She and Woody were friends with Art Buchwald, the American humorist best known for his column in The Washington Post, which in turn was carried as a syndicated column in many other newspapers. While in Paris, Buchwald became the only correspondent to interview Elvis Presley. Art's wife, Ann, was a fashion designer, as well as a book agent. Eleanor told her book idea to Ann and the next thing she knew Ann had come up with a great title. “Waiting Games. How to get rich, powerful, sexy and healthy while you are killing time.” The book was published and sold many copies. Eleanor appeared on many talk shows including the CBS Morning Show with Morton Dean. Morton asked Eleanor how the book was going to make him rich, powerful and sexy. Clever Eleanor said, “Aren't you already all of these things?” Morton assured her she would be back. How funny!
Woody...Woodin, was named after his mother's father, Will H. Woodin, who had been the Secretary of Treasury under President Roosevelt. Though a very political man, Will also had an interest in music and children. He wrote the music for songs created for the Raggedy Ann and Andy characters. Woody has followed in his grandfather's shoes in his interest for creating things for children. Woody has written children's books that are truly delightful. He gave me a couple and I can't wait to give them to my granddaughter Liliana.
Woody and Eleanor's eldest son, is a Buddhist Monk. He moved to Sedona many years ago as a follower of his teacher, Jetsunma. Woody and Eleanor would come to visit him and they fell in love with Sedona and chose to move here in the early 2000's. Eleanor follows Buddhist teachings and has formed Tibetan Buddhist study groups in the past. Woody has been a follower of the teachings of Paul Brunton. Paul was one of the first men to bring the teachings of the East to the West and make them understandable to the heart and mind through the many books that he published.
I was just amazed by this couple and their life stories. We chatted about so many things and Woody gave me the gift of looking at All Was Love from his perspective, a new perspective for me. He said, “At our age, eighty-four, we are looking at life and especially death in a close way. We could die any day. It's always a possibility. We found that the book gave us a deeper inner peace about coming closer to the end of our life's journeys. We want to give copies to our other friends that are at this stage of life to help bring them more comfort, as well.” And that is when my heart just swelled up even more than it had just to be in Woody and Eleanor's presence.
The ripple effect of this little gift book keeps going out with so much love and healing that I just do not know how to truly conceive of the full effect of it. I am certainly going to spend more time with the Rowes, for selfish reasons I admit. They are a true delight that fills my being with great joy and inspiration and who wouldn't want more time spent that way?
As a footnote: I got an email from Woody yesterday that he went on Amazon and bought a book from there instead of me directly so he can write a verified recommendation for ALL WAS LOVE in hopes that people will read his review and purchase it. And now my heart is even more full, as are the joyful tears in my eyes.