Spotlight: Moby

By Sharon Brown (Sharon) on November 21, 2011

I'd like you to meet a good friend. She might just be the happiest person I know. She's one of those people who freely spreads her happiness around and leaves us with a smile. There are some people like that; Moby is one of them.

Moby's path crossed mine several times over the years. I wasn't sure if Moby was male or female, I only knew the posted words were always fun. Soon I began to watch for 'Moby posts' because they always made me smile.

I was fortunate to be invited to an Iowa gathering of gardeners last May. Arlene, my hostess and I, along with another friend, had traveled to our destination a day early since it was a few hours away. We spent the night in a motel. I am a late sleeper, and was happily sleeping away the next morning when there was a knock at the door. Since the others were already up, but being reasonably quiet, I kept my eyes closed until somebody said, 'Sharon, meet Moby.'

OK. Man or woman, I was almost afraid to look. It was May and it was very cold in Iowa. I was sleeping in my long red, white and blue Pepsi jammies and a long red Duckhead shirt that had once belonged to my now 36 year old son. Have y'all ever noticed how curly hair smushes when you sleep on it? But I sat up, looked at the smiling eyes that were right in front of me and said, "Hi Moby, ya got any coffee?"

And just that quick, Moby led me down stairs to find coffee. Pepsi jammies, smushed hair, red Duckhead shirt down to my knees, I would have followed her anywhere; I don't even remember if I grabbed my shoes or went barefoot. Sometimes good friendships just happen like that, when we least expect them.

Getting her to share her story was typical Moby. Here's how it went, I'll just let you follow along:

 Oh, lordy, what do you want to know?? You could make up a story and it might just be true.

I was a medical lab tech for 13 years but now I'm a cleaning goddess. (My own house is a mess.)

I'm a complete goofball and love to have fun; always want to learn something new.

I'm a practicing non-Catholic but I make rosaries.

Enjoy physical work. I have participated in 3 Women's Build Habitat houses.

Have more bubble-making toys than a whole neighborhood of kids.

How the heck can you write an article with all those contradictions?

Gonna have to do some thinkin' . . . boy, that'll hurt.

Meet Moby, angel, fairy, princess, and cleaning goddess




I grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, the youngest of 5 kids in a typical Catholic family. Next to our house was an open lot so we had plenty of room to play, and with all those kids, you can bet we were booted outside everyday except in the very worst weather. The most agonizing punishment in the world was being grounded indoors! We weren't really into gardening but we did have a veggie patch and the customary tulips, purple irises, tiger lilies and moss roses. I understand that one of my favorite things to do was pull up an onion or garlic bulb, knock off most of the dirt, eat it and then go give my Dad a big kiss. "Dammit, Mary's been in the garden again!" was his exclamation.



A few months after high school graduation, I moved to St. Paul, Minnesota. About a year later I met a good man, and after dating for 4 years, we married. Shortly thereafter I realized I was married to an alcoholic. Then came treatment programs, a baby, 3 years of ups and downs and finally divorce.

I had never lived alone and now I was a single parent to a very busy, curly-red-headed boy. It was a lonely time. Oh, I dated a lot but these suitors couldn't even measure up to someone I divorced. For 10 years I was single but had several wonderful, supportive friends. My biggest supporter was my Mom, whom I could always count on for her kernels of wisdom. There were many bumps in the road but she was always there with a "this, too, shall pass", or "there's a lesson in there, somewhere". I learned much; about relationships and the roles we play in them, the needs of others and mostly about myself. Once you get all of your own bugs worked out, it's pretty easy to be happy. And I make the decision every day to be happy.

Somewhere about '92 or '93, my good friend suggested I come work on a Habitat for Humanity house that was being built by women. Women? Women don't build houses . . . only men know how to do that, don't they? She assured me that there were professional women and that non-professional people had their work inspected. The Habitat for Humanity 'Women's Build' houses usually go to a single woman with a family. Certainly seemed like a worthy cause. Well OK, I went along with it but still thought it was kind of weird.

I showed up and did a variety of minor jobs on the exterior. Once the house was enclosed, we held a potluck and invited the prospective owner to walk through the house. Everyone had written well-wishes for her and her family on the walls between the studs. She was utterly overcome and tearily asked, 'Why are you doing all of this for me?'  Shucks, it wasn't that big a deal, only a few hours of my time. It was then that I truly realized the value of the axiom 'Many hands make light work'. It doesn't cost a thing to do something nice for someone. Kindness is always repaid in one form or another. Karma at work!

My area of (minimal) experience was in hanging and finishing drywall. I soon found myself teaching other women how to measure, cut and hang drywall. We all learned a lot in the process and a young family could enjoy home ownership.

After 15 years in St. Paul, 1995 bought me back to Lincoln. Sometime around Christmas of 1996, there was an article in the paper about the local Habitat getting together donations and volunteers for a Women's Build. There was such an outpouring that we were able to build 2 houses! Another fond memory to tuck in my pocket. And I still have my pink hard hat.

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In early '98, I met a pretty awesome guy whom I eventually married. He came with 5 kids so we have a 'Brady Bunch' ~ 3 boys, 3 girls. We've been together for 14 years now, and I don't have to think too hard about being happy. The kids are all grown and some have familes of their own, blessing us with 3 granddaughters.

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I keep a lot of things around to play with, crayons, sidewalk chalk and every bubble-making toy ever made. Mostly gifts from the Easter Bunny. (Didn't I say DH was awesome?) All this stuff isn't for the grandkids ~ it's all mine! I share, of course, as there is plenty to go around, it's just that I don't need kids around for an excuse play and to be silly. When was the last time you pulled out a string and played Cat's Cradle? Remember cutting snowflakes out of folded paper? Cut a perfect square out of some pretty wrapping paper and go to town! Don't remember how? Try it anyway. If it comes out badly when you can just laugh at the mess and throw it away. You don't have to tape it on the fridge unless you want to!

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Is this a good point to mention that I have depression? I've taken antidepressants for over 20 years. It's a part of me but it doesn't control or have to color who I am. That's up to me. I could have hidden this fact as it might influence your opinion of me, but if telling my story helps just one person to get assistance, or someone else to understand a loved one, then my day is a good day. They're all good ~ because I say so.

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Moby, hanging out . . . . . . in her garden!


Do I ever have a bad day, nothing to be happy about? Sure, but it's what I do with it that matters. Some jerk cuts me off in traffic, then I visualize doing something dreadful (that I'd never really do) like shoving a potato up their tailpipe. Think up all kinds of silly things and soon you'll be laughing at the ridiculousness of it.

My mama always said the only thing holding up my halo was my horns.

We may not be able to control things that happen day to day but you can change the way you think about it.

And go play!



Moby and her husband across the table from me at The Giggling Goat restaurant in Iowa.

May 2011


So now you know my friend, Moby. I'd follow her anywhere, anytime. I even have my own supply of bubble wands and I keep colored string handy. It's interesting, isn't it, how gardeners can travel miles and make new friends so quickly? Instant new old friends.

It was a great trip and I am blessed to have made it. Meeting Moby was part of the blessing. Thank you, Moby, for sharing your beautiful story. I will long remember your soft voice and your smiling eyes and the hot coffee on a cold Iowa morning in May.

Wishing you love, Moby, always wishing you love!


Thanks for joining us. Come back again next week to see who Nap or Zany brings to our Spotlight. 

Related articles:
interview, spotlight

About Sharon Brown
I am a retired Art and Humanities teacher living in western Kentucky. I love writing and art with equal measure, but I also have a passion for nature and plants.

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