My late friend, Caroline, arrived yesterday. I knew she was coming. I got a call from a friend of hers that I met the last time I saw her. Caroline died on December 7th last year in Colorado. Her memorial service was May 17th, the day we left for Vermont for my Father-in-law's memorial – he died on New Year's Eve. I had planned to make Caroline's send-off in Ouray until the plans were made for Tom's Dad. I hated to miss hers. But yesterday the package arrived; a program from her Memorial Celebration, a collection of her poems, a DVD she made about planning her own funeral while she was fighting cancer with every cell of her body, and a small double-bagged ziplock bag, wrapped in bubble wrap containing a gray-white powder, a small bit of the cremated remains of my childhood friend, entrusted to me to scatter or hold however I thought appropriate. What a gift. I think it says something about my friend that she so literally shared of herself. She was a gift. She absolutely lit up a room with her enthusiasm.
For now, I will find a nice box to keep her in. I don't know where to take her, our childhood camp is not really an option anymore. I could take her to the Bamberger Ranch in Blanco County, which is the last place I saw her alive. It was a wonderful day. We hiked Enchanted Rock, as far as she could go, lunched in Fredericksburg and dropped in on the Bamberger's for an impromptu tour and spent the rest of the day. It was beautiful and such fun. She was on mega doses of steroids and had tons of energy, but she had pain from a radiation burn that affected her ability to get around. She was positively manic and we had a blast. She didn't sleep much on the steroids, there was too much she wanted to do – too many people she wanted to reconnect with. I can't believe I let 30 years of my life go by without Caroline in it and I am so grateful that she found me again before she left the world. It was Caroline who took me to my first concert, John Prine and Steve Goodman at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas. I was 14, she was 16 so she could drive. To this day I am a die-hard John Prine fan. Caroline was in the car when I got my first ticket for speeding, 90 in a 70 on our way to camp the first weekend in May, I was 16. I was so scared – it ruined the entire weekend for me because I dreaded facing my parents with the news. I still remember it like yesterday. I have yet to watch her dvd. One day.
The summer is upon us in a big way, the temps are way too high for the season – we still have a month before the start of summer and we are closing in on triple digits. The garden is rebelling. I may get nothing until fall. I am aching to buy an above ground pool so I can teach Abby to swim this year, but really can't afford it yet. Abby's last day of school is today and we are making plans for her to have a fun summer. There have been promises of a brief trip to the coast sometime. Oh, and I made a pair of socks. For my friend Frank who I have teased with my praise of the handknit sock.