Sunset and Camden


37, college grad, 2x married, one son, one stepdaughter, four cats, one idiot dog, one very small house and small garden.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

My Friend Alice

One of my best friends, someone I've known for ten years, died yesterday at the age of fifty-two. She was my next door neighbor, my friend, my confidante...she was My Alice.

She wasn't the sort of high class grande dame that makes important friendships. Alice loved everybody. She walked a lot, and everywhere she went she talked to people and made friends. She didn't care what you looked like or where you lived. If you were willing to say hello, she was willing to be your friend.

The very first time we met, about a week after I'd moved in next door, we had a terrible fight. Her dog, Rainy, was barking non-stop, and my son, Connor, had the flu and needed to sleep. I went outside and hosed the dog down to get him to shut up. Alice launched on me, and I on her and we argued for half an hour. Then the very next day, she and I both apologized and from that moment on, we were friends. (Although I have to say I never really warmed up to her dog. But when Rainy died, I held her while she cried.)

She was there for me when my son was diagnosed with diabetes, and when she in turn was diagnosed, I talked to her, gave her recipes, and we gave each other encouragement. She was there for me when my beloved dog Bonnie Bedelia passed away. She even bought a figurine to adorn Bonnie's headstone.

She loved animals. She was forever taking in strays and finding them homes. I don't know exactly how many cats passed through her life, but it had to be quite a few. The one constant in her life for many years was a cat called Mrs., who followed her all over the neighborhood. Alice would walk by the house, and a few minutes later, Mrs. would come trotting after.

Alice loved my kids. She made them sno-cones and saved cereal box toys for them; she took my stepdaughter with her on errands just to chat. She thought Connor was a wonderful son. And she loved my garden. I'd give her produce from the plants and she always brought me some of what she'd made with it. She had a wicked sense of humor sometimes; when she saw how big my zuchinni were getting, she made several off color remarks that I won't repeat, not because they make me blush, but because I'm afraid I won't be able to type from laughing.

As I've gone around the neighborhood talking to people, trying to find out who knew her, I realized something. Alice knew everyone. She took an interest in everyone. And the funny thing is that in trying to let her friends know about her death, I'm making more friends myself. Alice has left a legacy of goodwill in our neighborhood. It's up to us to carry that on.

I'm really going to miss her. She was one of a kind.