You may have noticed her as a relatively recent addition to my sidebar. We met when Joe and I lived in Ohio the first time. I was young, married only a few years, and childless. She was 15-or-so years older, widowed, and mother of four. Our paths crossed when we trained to be volunteers at the university-sponsored crisis intervention center. She didn't need the lessons in active listening; it was a piece of who she already was.
She'd say things like, "It's okay that he isn't funny. The world needs an audience." I'm not sure just who she was trying to convince; she loved people who were funny. The first time she met Joe she told me, "Hang onto him. He's going to age awfully well." (She was right, of course.) She'd fling GWTW lines back and forth with me the way Honna does.
She wasn't and isn't a quilter, but she embroidered the most exquisite strawberries on a muslin maternity top I made when I was expecting Sherry. She served a spectacular breakfast on Sunday mornings as an alternative to church. She is the kind of person you can call in the middle of the night to leave her bed and come stay with one's preschoolers while one goes off to have yet another child (and she does it with grace and humor). Her living room was where I fled the day I had no idea that it was post-partum hormones that were making me so wretched; she straightened it out in a jiffy. So many times she served as family for me, healthy family. I imagine she had no idea whatsoever how much of a wisdom figure she was for me, and how much of a bulwark. This is starting to read like an obituary, but no! read on!
She took up blogging this winter and is a refreshing addition to the blogosphere. She writes the way she talks: in an intelligent and straightforward and frequently funny fashion. She writes with confidence and conviction. She nails it. Just look at what she wrote yesterday.