From the Editor

From the EditorIt’s a Date: Girls’ Night Out

By Rosanne Dunkelberger, Editor

Terri, Gayla, Vickie and I were an eclectic group who met about 10 years ago and got to know each other during scrapbooking “crops.” But eventually, time and other obligations got in the way. We’d run into each other occasionally but, for the most part, our lives were running full speed in four different directions.

Terri decided if fate wasn’t going to put us in the same place at the same time, she’d engineer it. So for about a year, every month, the four of us would get together for dinner. We’d coordinate calendars, pick a date, pick a restaurant and make a solemn promise to show up. We were probably the bane of servers everywhere, arriving at 6 p.m., eating and hanging out and running our mouths for the next four hours.

The conversation never flagged; we had years of catching up to do. Terri, the world adventurer, now a little more tied down with her retail store in Havana and two young children; Gayla, with a newlywed son and a daughter in college in Muncie, Ind.; Vickie, with two grown sons and an ongoing home renovation; and me … well, you get the picture.

Sometimes we wouldn’t talk at all in between our rendezvouses, but it was OK. We knew we’d be seeing each other on the fourth Tuesday or Wednesday of the month.

And then Vickie died.

She was 53. It was sudden, unexpected, shocking and unbelievable. She had been at my jewelry party the week before. We were set for dinner a week later. And now she was gone.

After Vickie’s unforeseen death, I thought a lot about my friend and just exactly what her passing has taught me. So many say to live each day as if it were your last, but I’m thinking that’s not quite right. If we did that, nobody would ever go to work.

Rather, what Vickie showed me was how to live a life without regret or unfinished business. She left a husband, two sons and family members who know, without doubt, that she loved them well. For all that I didn’t know about Vickie, I knew this, because I listened to her talk about them all with such pride and pleasure. She traveled and enjoyed fussing over the minutiae of her immaculate home. She invited friends to a cookie exchange that was a highlight of my holiday season. She retired from the School Board as a bookkeeper and then kept going back to help out. She was an insomniac and an unrepentant forwarder of chain e-mails. (Which might be why her death was such a surprise. By my reckoning, she had amassed 386 wishes and 2,345 years of good luck.)

Every scrapbooker has a style, and Vickie’s was slow perfection. Although she had amassed the greatest collection of albums, paper and accoutrements known to man, her sister was able to find only one complete album – but it was perfect.

Vickie was right with the world and right with God when she died. I only shed tears at her funeral when I thought about how she had missed the pleasure of being a grandmother. She would have loved being a grandmother.

So take this away from my friend’s untimely death: Don’t leave letters unwritten or love unexpressed. Travel to Europe even if the exchange rate is awful. Rearrange the furniture. Ask. Offer. Apologize. Forgive.

And if there’s someone out there you like but haven’t seen in awhile, for goodness’ sake, call and make a date for dinner.

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