Archive for October 2012


Remembering Sue

October 27th, 2012 — 12:21pm

A phone call came at mid morning on Tuesday.   Rick was saying things in a sympathetic voice, waving me to the phone.   I said hello and it was Laura,  the daughter of our friend and former employee Sue, calling from downstate.

My eyes filled with tears.  I said, “Oh, Laura,” because I knew what the news had to be.   She said “Yes,” in a trying-not-to-cry way and we were both quiet for a moment.

I’d just been thinking hard about Sue a few hours before.  I was sorting through my yarn box and there was the leftover variegated blue boucle I’d knitted her a hat with years ago–two hats, really, as the first one blew off.  She’d been coming out of the Sportsman’s after coffee; the wind was blowing a gale (it was in March, I’m almost sure, and we were having one of those impressive spring blows that can go on for days and tip trees over, snatch garbage cans and lawn furniture out of yards and fling them down onto the beach, put the power out across half the U.P.); the wind caught the door and she didn’t have time to let go of it.  Sue’s hat blew off and tumbled away and she fell out onto the sidewalk.

Someone–I can’t remember who–lay down beside Sue underneath a coat to keep her warm until the ambulance came, and then she was loaded up and taken to Marquette General, 110 miles away.  Her pelvis was broken and she was there for a while–weeks, as I remember it–then using a walker and getting physical therapy at home for a long, long time after that.  What she kept coming back to and seeming to feel very bad about every time I talked to her was the hat tumbling away.

It was such a relief to have something I could do, so I quickly got my hands on some more blue boucle and made her another hat, a copy of the first.  She acted like I’d handed her the world on a platter when I gave it to her.

I’m sitting here right now wondering if she knew that, knew she needed to give me a project to make me feel less useless.

Sue set up the salad bar in the diner for us for many years, and no one’s ever done a more beautiful job of that.  She loved coffee,  scrambled eggs (well, actually I think it was Leo who liked his eggs scrambled but they often shared one of our big breakfasts and Sue went along with that when she might have preferred fried), slab bacon, wheat toast, philly steaks, slices of pie, pizzas.  She loved hollyhocks, dogs, her church.  She loved her husband Leo very much.    She loved to sew and made all kinds of things on the enclosed porch Leo built for her on the back of their house, surrounded by her cupboards of fabric and projects-in-progress.  We were the lucky recipients of her talent:  she made new tablecloths for the diner several times, mended all manner of things for us that would have just stayed ripped or buttonless or unhemmed otherwise, helped me sew a wedding quilt for my brother and sister-in-law not long after I moved to Grand Marais.  Sue’s was one of the first houses I visited in town, and I remember the warm feeling of being welcomed, the exciting idea that I had a friend in this new and sometimes lonesome place.

Sue Baudoux was an exceptionally kind, cheerful woman.  She had the sweetest smile I’ve ever seen anywhere, the most delighted laugh.   She understood when life was bumpy and hard, could listen in a way that let you not have to say much and yet feel comforted and comprehended anyway.   She’s all over the place in my life and memory, and I’m grateful for that.   I’ll miss you, Sue–like Laura have been missing you for a while already–and I’m so glad I had the chance to know you.

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In Memory

October 6th, 2012 — 12:55pm

A cold, rainy, windy morning.  I never mind this kind of weather, though it’s hard to keep the diner car warm in it.  Don’t know the specials yet.  Drinking a latte.  Catching up on emails.  Thinking.

It’s been crazy busy forever.  No time, no time, hurry, hurry, be a person later, someday, maybe.

Then something happens–news of a friend’s sudden death–and it stops you.  This great lively crazy smart person with the sweet smile, the love of lemon cookies and whitefish chowder and veggie omelettes, the huge ranging hungry mind, the pain in the butt sometimes, the good cook, kind friend, great conversationalist, gone–really?  No.  Wait, hold on.  All your friends want you back here, not walking on, not yet, not without some notice.

But that’s not how things work, is it?

I can see you grinning and shaking your head and saying, “No, it isn’t.”

Better take time now to be a person, not always later, soon, tomorrow, maybe.

Rick and are were very saddened to hear of the passing on Tuesday of David Rousse–who appeared in this blog in May, helping me accidentally superglue my fingers together and then sawing them apart for me without  leaving a cut, but wasn’t so lucky the next day, when like a lemming over a cliff he glued his own fingers together and had to awkwardly do his own sawing, and then sported a big band-aid for a while.

Your many friends  miss you, David.  We’re glad you were with a dear friend when it happened.

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