Sunday, January 6, 2013
It was a bright day in my life that day I first met Annie. My friend Nick and I were at our club after playing tennis and decided we would walk the track for a while. A couple of ladies were already walking, one slower than the other and as we would catch up to one or the other, we would exchange greetings or comments. One thing led to the other and Nick being the most friendly would get the names of these two who turned out to be sisters. Nick, always the jokester would have them laughing as we passed by. We found out that the slower one was Ruth and shorter one was Annie. Her pace, walking the track was at least twice the speed that Nick and I maintained. She was possibly five foot tall, if that, with foot speed to match a wide receiver. She could really pick them up and lay them down. As weeks passed, this friendship grew and we would go to breakfast together on occasion or possibly go to their home for lunch. It turned out they lived together and set a table of corned beef or pastrami for Nick and me and it was a nice friendship.
Then Ruth was rushed home from Palm Springs with a illness that shortly thereafter, took her life. Annie was terribly distraught and Nick and I wanted to lend our support as best we could and went to the Shiva held at Annie's home. I let her grieve for a few weeks before contacting her and invited her to go out for coffee so she, in some way, could, at least, get out of the house. I'm sure she felt depressed at the loss of her best friend and I hoped to lend some consolation and lift her spirits. She accepted my invitation and before long I asked if she would like to go out to a movie or to dinner and one night she confided in me that she had not gone out on a date in the 18 years since her husband died. Some may have stated we were a strange couple, -a Mormon and a Jew, but we enjoyed each other and our friendship became warm and close. I think Anne was about 75 when all this took place but for those 20 years I considered her one of my best friends.
It was a sad day when I made my decision to move to Arizona. I was going to miss many friends but my affection for Nick and Annie topped them all. I went back to see her last summer and she still was strong and warm but age was beginning to take its toll. She greeted me at the door of her home with the help of a 'walker' still smiling with a welcoming handshake. I miss Annie now. She was always one in whom I could find a smile and bright eyes. Life does not offer us many friendships and those that I have garnered I have treasured. Of those treasures Annie stands as one of the brightest. In my mind I can still her short legs churning around the track faster than a speeding bullet with a smile to match. I look forward to my summer visit to once again be charmed by her warmth and friendliness. And as a famous comedian used to say Annie, "You are the greatest!"