I have been on a cleaning frenzy this past couple of weeks. Amazing how I have lived with clutter and random junk for all these years, and now I cannot tolerate another minute of it! I spent an ENTIRE DAY cleaning out my pantry – there was food in there from 2002! I guess I don’t make cherry pie very often – LOL. All of this cleaning and time alone and moving junk from one pile to another so I at least know where it is, or packing it up and giving it away, has made me miss my friend Sandy so much. Sandy died very suddenly in September, and she had already wrapped Christmas presents for “the girls” of our family, and we found Christmas presents for the guys in her apartment. So Sandy was very present at our Christmas this year – we don’t really exchange presents anymore as no one needs anything and others need more, but Sandy sure did do a lot of exchanging this year! We so enjoyed having her with us one last time.
Sandy was my “random” buddy. She’d come talk to me and help me put up Christmas lights, or if I was having a party and ran out of stuff, she’d run to the store and get whatever I was panicked about. She was always a listening ear when I needed one, and she was great for a good laugh. She had been homeless before coming to Ripley, had a ton of baggage to work through, and we dealt with her emotional situation often. It took her years and years and years to trust us enough to open up and know that we would still love her. We play this game that is absolutely hilarious – it’s called Things – and you get these cards, and they’ll ask a question, something like “What do you not want your surgeon doing during your surgery,” and each of you puts an answer down on a paper, and then you try to guess who said what. To make the game really fun, the answers can be outlandish. One of our guys once answered “What should you not do at a funeral” with “French kiss the decedent!” One night we were playing with a bunch of church people, and the question was “What should you not say on a first date,” and one of the answers that came out was “Let’s get it on!” I knew instantly that was Sandy, so when I outed her on her answer, she was like, “I hate you know me so well!” Later she said she loved that I knew her so well and still loved her.
Sandy sometimes did crazy things, and we enjoyed many a laugh at her expense. She would housesit for Kim and Ken when they would go places – it gave them someone to be at their home, and it gave her a free mini vacation with cable TV – and one time, Ken and Kim were in Florida at mom and dad’s, and when Kim would call to check on Sandy, she wasn’t answering. Well, the first couple times, Kim thought she may have been taking a nap, let her cell phone die or whatever, no big deal. After a day and a half of not answering, Kim gets worried and calls a neighbor to go to their house to check on Sandy. They find her in Kim’s garage, with this little red flag she had made up hanging out of the window of the garage…..turns out she had gone into the garage to feed the dog, and Sandy being more paranoid about break-ins than we are, she had turned the lock on the doorknob to the outside garage, and when she went to go back in, she was locked out! It was winter, very cold, and she did not have on her regular shoes or a coat, of course.
Their garage is reasonably warm, has extra food in it like from Sam’s that was too big to take into the house, so there was water and some crackers. She found an old coat of Ken’s that was hanging on the wall, and she set in to wait. Wait on what, I’m not sure! She knew Kim would check on her eventually. She opened the window and made this little red flag and would occasionally wave it out the window (to no one who could see it, of course!) She waited out the day and even slept in the garage for the night, in a new dog bed that Kim and Ken had bought, with the dog as company. It wasn’t until late afternoon the next day that she was found. Now, the interesting part of her adventure is that at the end of Kim’s driveway (not a real long driveway, mind you), there is a neighbor, almost within sight of the house. We kept asking her, “Why in the world did you not just walk down the driveway and call Kim to see what to do?” Well, she didn’t really think of that. I wouldn’t have lasted five minutes! I am so impatient, I would have walked barefoot down the snowy driveway if I had to rather than sit there and wait on someone else to take care of my situation.
Another day, Sandy calls and says, “Can you take me over to the hospital? I’ve run over my hand.” I’m like, “What do you mean, run over your hand?” She says, “Well, I ran over my hand with my car.” I think for a minute and then, of course, have to ask: “And how in the world did you accomplish that?” She had stopped to drop off a lawn chair to a friend, so she pulled up in front of the friend’s house, put her car in neutral, grabbed the chair out of the back seat and ran it to her friend just as the car began to roll down the street. She is chasing the car, door still open, and somehow trips and the back tire runs over her left hand. Only Sandy…..oh, I miss her so!
Please take today to count your friends as a blessing and tell them so! Since Sandy’s death, I have made it a habit and practice to tell the people I care about that I love them. I never want them to think they are unloved, or to wonder how I feel about them. Our Savior tells us over and over in His word of His love for us, how He sacrificed His life for us, to give us peace and joy and the ability to live in this crazy world of ours without losing our minds or our testimony. We should do the same with our family and friends – I even tell my court reporters and office staff that I love them. I’m sure they don’t know what to do with it, but I DO love them and want them to know it! Give someone a hug today and let Jesus work through you…..
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.