15 hours ago
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Saturday, I drove over to our local Catholic church for a memorial service. It was for my former cheerleading advisor and later neighbor, and always 'Coach Mac's wife, Sally'. She had kids around my age in school and we all grew up together. There are still places in America where that is done and I don't think there's anything wrong with that.
Sally could be a tough cookie if she needed to be, because remember, 'to whom much is given, much is expected'. And also, she was married to the Football Coach, and he was much the same. We learned a lot more than cheerleading from Sally. So as not to be confused, we were not competition cheerleaders, doing huge climbing mounts and acrobatics, but for the late 70's, we put it together pretty well. She taught us to get along, she taught us rules are for being followed, no matter who you are or what your name is, she taught us that good brownies could fix a lot of things in life. She taught us that having friends to walk with every day, for 30 years is a wonderful thing. She had a love of reading and was a big Library Friend. She was feisty and she was Irish.
Sally had lovely gardens overflowing in perennials and she was glad to share the flowers and the plants with friends. The flowers at the service were from her gardens. They weren't showy, braggy gardens. They were the kind that you walked past and often just had to stop and look at, or walk closer to and sniff deeply. The kind that just draw you in like a swing on a porch, not a STAY OFF THE GRASS kind of place.
Sally was a cancer survivor and a wonderful support and encouragement to Elaine during her battle. It was the return of cancer that took her this May, while in Pittsburgh in the midst of bone marrow transplant procedures.
I lived kittycorner behind Sally for several years. Those where some of my early running years and then my busy new mom years. Sally was always friendly and helpful, a good mentor for young women. One thing in particular that I remembered was when Sally was talking about her hubby of 50+ years. Howard tended to be a bit superstitious. Lucky pants, lucky socks, lucky penny in your shoe. One thing that Howard was on the look out for, was a penny lying heads up. That was lucky and never to be ignored. She told me that she would put pennies down, heads up for Howard to find. So as I got out of my car at the church, I grabbed a few pennies from the cup holder. I carried them in rolled up in my hankie, these three pennies. I hugged Howard and the girls and cried, as is one of my spiritual gifts (gift of tears), then found my place beside another woman. In the course of the service and up and down and dabbing tears, I managed to drop some of my pennies several times. I was supposed to leave home around 12 to meet friends for an arranged date. It was almost over as 12:10 and we rose to do a song, and I sneaked out the back. I stopped at the doorway, and laid all three pennies- yes, I'd managed to end up with the three pennies again- on the carpet on the way out the door...face up. I figured, this was going to be one of the toughest days Howard had ever had, and a little help from Sally's pennies couldn't hurt. Don't know if he saw them. Don't know if someone else picked them up. A few people saw me do it, but don't know if they knew why. Don't even know if Howard ever knew Sally was doing it. But I knew... and I smiled all the way home.
When I got in the car and headed home, the radio was playing a Jeremy Camp song:
....But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering
There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we'll hold on to you always
and oh yeah....I knew it was going to be OK...