I've been working /volunteering at our little local thrift store since the beginning of the year, and I absolutely love it! Not only the work itself (which involves just about everything imaginable) but I've been blessed to be able to work with, and spend time with, some amazing people. I usually work on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and the Wednesday crew are really some great folks to work with. Well the folks are great on both days, and I love them all... but on Wednesdays, there are two special gals who come in at the same time as I do, and we just "clicked" right from the beginning, if you know what I mean.
All of the ladies I'm blessed to work with, are fun to be around, but there has always just been something special about Wally and Shirley... and maybe their "advanced" (at least to me, anyway) age has something to do with it. They tend to treat me as the spry "young 'un" of the 3 of us, and it's somehow comforting to kind of feel "coddled by Mama figures" at my age. These ladies both love to share their life experiences and stories, recipes and opinions, and it just makes the hours we spend together, whizz by. It's been fascinating to listen to talk of their careers (Wally was a Botanist before retirement, and Shirley was/is still a Nutritionist - both back in the day when ordinary women didn't have "careers", so to speak) and I love to hear them talk about the dreams they've fulfilled, as well as their dreams for the future.
So yesterday was a wonderful day...
It started out with an amazing thrift store find of an old antique cheese box / pantry box, and I was thrilled when I found out that it was within my price range!
I'm thinking that it's pre turn-of-the-century - and it's as heavy and solid as they come!
1890's or maybe even slightly older, judging by the fasteners used to hold it together.
It's in pretty good shape, although it's definitely showing the dings and dents of a life well lived.
And yesterday was a bad day.
Anyway...the gals and I worked like clockwork together yesterday, seemingly anticipating each others next move, and getting a whole lot accomplished before lunch time - with lots of laughter and talking and teasing thrown in... which is the way it usually it is, on our day together. Wally only works a short day, from 10am until lunch time, while Shirley is there until 3, while I and the lead person ( the "lead person" can vary week by week), continue to work until closing time.
Well, at about noon, Wally left to go next door to the Senior Center for lunch, and shortly thereafter, someone came in, and said that Wally had passed out right after eating her lunch. 911 was called, but in spite of half a dozen emergency vehicles, and at least a dozen medical personnel and sheriffs officers running in and out of the senior center, all putting in their best efforts, our Wally didn't make it.
It hit us all pretty hard.
I'm still having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that one minute we were laughing and sharing stories and recipes, and then the next minute... that those sharing and caring moments with Wally, would never happen again.
I was restless and stressed for most of the evening last night, and I kept wandering by that beautiful old cheese box, stroking it, and trying to find joy in it again, but it didn't work.
Maybe it's just too early.
Thank you for your friendship, Wally, and thank you for sharing so many of your life experiences, recipes and opinions on life in general with me. It meant more than you know.