You know my propensity to dodge in and out of rabbit holes. I think I was born that way. It does not take much for me to veer off course from my planned activities for the day. Today was no different.
As I sipped my coffee, I glanced up and saw the small oriental plates in my china cabinet. They are always there but I do not ‘see’ them every day.
The plates were a gift from MK, a woman I met in Alaska. I cannot recall now the occasion for which she gifted me the plates.
MK was a large gregarious woman with flaming red hair. Her voice was gravelly from years of smoking – her laugh contagious. She and her husband married late in life, a first marriage for both of them.
One day I found out she was in the hospital. We talked on the phone. She was scared as they were prepping her for emergency surgery. The doctors were positive she had terminal colon cancer. She phoned her sister and asked her to come and be with her, but she said she could not come. She was enrolled in adult college classes and she did not want to miss her finals. It broke her heart.
I was there when she came out of surgery. I stayed with her until the anesthesia wore off. I never saw her reclusive husband or any other family. I combed her matted hair, coaxing the knots out with care. She thanked me and wept.
When the doctors came in, they told her there had been no cancer at all. This seems unfathomable now, but this was in the mid 70s – diagnostics are much improved now. She was relieved of course, but weeks of trauma from worrying had taken a toll on her.
We lost touch over the years. I have researched and know her husband died 13 years after they married. She lived another 15 years after. I wish we had not lost touch.
I keep the plates. I am not sure anyone in my family know their relevance. Some may wonder why I keep them. They have no intrinsic monetary value.
To me they tell a story of a wonderful lady who I had the pleasure of knowing for a brief time in my life. She was kind. She was funny. She was my friend. I treasure my memories.