With this week’s blog, I wish to say a few words about a gentle, musical lady I know.

tcgm 2014 Shirley Jean Aria

My Sister Jean

I refer to my sister Jean. She has always been so good to talk with for words of wisdom, for words of direction, for words of calm. Even as teens, we had ‘bathtub talks’, where we would sit in the bathtub at home (fully clothed, for those who need it explained to them) … and discuss matters of all sorts.

She is the oldest of the three of us – so she led the way through all those family milestones from first days of schools, to piano lessons in second grade, to confirmation, to getting that driver’s license, to college. She did all this quietly, calmly, and with a seemingly steady demeanor all the way. I can say I never saw her outwardly angry – at least not that I can remember. Sad, yes. Hurt to her insides, yes. Silly, oh my, goodness, yes! Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she can become angry – I’ve just not seen the kind of anger that comes with yelling/hitting/screaming kinds of behavior.

But what I have seen has come with listening and love and compassion – add your own positive words to the list and you’d be right. Need to have someone listen to get a different outlook on something? Jean is good at it. Then, when she’s done being good at that, she’ll be good at doling out some words that will be helpful and useful. This will often come in a form of a question, as she leads you to a solution.

And have you heard her music? She started on piano with mom as teacher when Jean was in second grade (as did we all … ) then she stepped up to the piano lady of the area, Dorothea Helenius Thomes, who had her playing all the usual piano stuff … the later John Thompson books, then into Clementi and Hanon and all the skill building stuff .. and then into Grieg’s piano concerto, Beethoven Sonatas … and organ at church wax next .. and quick, can you name another ninth grader who accompanied an entire production of AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS? Probably not. Choir accompanist, etc etc… even through college.

She and her husband Tim Johnson (yep – Jean never had to change her name) … have been together a long time, and have two good kids in Karin and Joel . . . it has been good to see these parents and their kids become such friends .. and a good deal of that is due to Jean’s gentleness and wisdom … add to that the granddaughters Cadance and Aria, and you have one pretty fine lady full of love for her family.

So Happy Birthday, Jean…. Best big sister ever.


Jean and Tim