One of the bestest things about going back to the Land of the Utes, or the Utities, as Mrs S calls them, is, well, Mrs S.
Her daughter, M, went to school with HRH, and they became best buds when we first moved to our little town. It took a bit for Mrs S and I to finally meet, and when we did, I realised it was one of those people the Universe puts in your path and says, "If you don't appreciate and love this person, I will give you boils for eternity"
I'm not fond of boils.
She has this way of looking at you, with this grin.... you can't help but grin back. She converted to the LDS faith, and she is one of those people that makes you understand why people bind themselves to a belief, a religion, a way of life. She lives her belief in God. Not in a pushy way, not in a method that ever made me feel I was wrong in any sense.
Trust me, there were those who did make me feel an outsider in Utah. I will not pretend otherwise... she is not one of them.
She misses the smell of coffee. I come into her home sometimes, and she will stop and INNNNNNNNNNNhale, and grin that grin. She'll wiggle her eyebrows at me, her china blue eyes will sparkle, and we move on.
She taught me to can.. yes, the Quin can can. I've put up so many jars of peaches, plums, apricots.... all in her pristine kitchen, with us in aprons, sweaty, timing things, laughing, measuring sugar, water, cut up peaches and peachacots.....oh, wait, you are asking, "Quin, what is a peachacot?"
Well, it's what we thought were apricots in my back yard. Turns out, they were underwatered peach trees. The following year, I had peaches.
One year, we had a bumper crop. We had barrels, and bushels and pans and bags and tubs of peaches. A friend offered us plums... so, we said, "Sure, why not?" and she let ME climb the tree. Up I would go, doing something I'd not done in, well, a wealth of years.
We added to our bonanza of fruit, as if we had nothing else to do.. and that fall, we put up (that's what you call it, 'putting up') over 300 jars of just peach products.
I also peed my pants in her kitchen.
We'll skip right over that.
It was in her kitchen I discovered some people keep salt in a salt cellar, and not in a shaker. Other people, who are visiting, don't know this, so, when they are making Leslie's Luscious Lemon Loaves, and need to glaze them, they dump a cup of salt into the mix.
This person remains un-named.
This person also gave Mrs S a container that says SALT on it, to prevent future mishaps.
Every fall, Mrs S and I go on the Model Home Tour, taking the day to drive a good 100 miles round trip to see all the builders dream homes... we walk though, ohhh'ing and ahhhh'ing, and nodding at what we like, giggling at the air toilet and lying on the foam mattress in the master bedroom. You vote on these tours, for the top home.
We vote based on the best candy and/or give away. I don't care if you have a view of Cedar Breaks that will break your heart.. if you have mini Hershey's, and the upscale trailer has full size homemade rockyroad brownies... you have our vote.
We get lost, we end up on mountain roads, we gossip, we laugh, we cry... it is our ritual.
This woman, this amazing, wonderful woman took in her mother in law, who had Alzheimer's. She cared for her for a number of years, putting her own life on hold, dealing with the issues of her mother in law, also loving and caring for her brother in law, who also had medical problems. She raised four children who are the bomb. I'd take any of them in a, well, New York minute.
She lets me in her life. She forces her way in mine, because I don't open my door easily. She loves me. She lets me love her and hers. Her husband is a dear, sweet man, who blesses me, L discusses faith with me, M hugs me and thinks I'm odd, S treats me like an aunt, and E... she's a bit like a younger sister to me.
And Mrs S? She will lie on the lawn with me, looking at clouds. We laugh about birdfeeders made out of cowboy boots. We wear aprons. We have picnics. We are barked at in films because we giggle and talk. On one home tour, we found a home NOT on the tour, and broke in.
It was HER fault, she made me do it, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
She actually talks me into doing crafts. Me. Crafts. Sitting still long enough to make cute crafts. As I type this, I can look up, and on the wall hangs my Santa made from a stick of cinnamon she made for me.. it was one of the few things I brought with me aside from clothes when I moved.. mine didn't look like hers. My Santa's looked a bit like the guys near the homeless shelters after they've had a few bottles of MD20/20.
She has a face and a smile and eyes and a heart that prove God does love us enough to put someone special here for us.
I don't have sisters of birth. I have my sisters of my heart.....I'm lucky enough she wants to be one of mine.
She's picking me up when I go back....and I'll be staying there with the terrier, dear, dear Mrs S.
That alone earns her a special place in the Universe.