Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tears for my friends

The weather was sunny, warm and beautiful this past weekend in Mt Vernon. It brought out crowds of people, but not a lot of buying. Maybe it's too close to tax time? And the timing of the parade and pouring rains in Puyallup kept the crowds away. So it ended up being a bit disappointing as far as sales are concerned, but as Betty said, "it's better than a poke in the eye." I'll take her word for it, she's been in the business since before I was born.

Years and years ago, the tulip festival show in Mt Vernon was one of my very first outdoor street fair shows. I was just getting my feet wet, had a dinky little garden tent and a rather amateur, small display. At that first spring show, a gal came by, stopped to admire the soap and we started chatting. Such a lovely woman, Linda, and it turns out she was hoping to start a little candle making business with her best friend Kathy. We talked for a long time about getting started and I gave her whatever little tips and hints I knew at that time, in my rather meager experience. The following day, she brought Kathy by to meet me, who is also the nicest woman you could ever hope to meet.

The short version is they DID start their candle business, began doing shows, and their path has sort of meandered the same path as me. We found ourselves at many of the same shows, often as neighbors, while they travelled in other directions too. It was always a pleasure to catch up with them, share experiences, tips, and laugh at all the crazy things we had in common. Both of them were always so sweet to take care of me, always checking to see if I needed a break since there was two of them, or plumping up my display and restocking for me when I wasn't around. It was just a little over a year ago that they decided to get out of the business. They wanted more time with their families, and as the crafting business got tougher for all of us, they decided that the work they were putting into it was far more than the small profits they were splitting.

Kathy stopped by my tent on Saturday in Mt Vernon, the one place where we always saw each other, even last year after they gave up the show. She was alone this time. Linda is sick. Very, very sick. With cancer everywhere, undiagnosed and misdiagnosed until now it's totally consumed her insides. It's heartbreaking. And the last little bit of time left may very well be harder for Kathy than it is for Linda. She is trying to be strong, trying to figure out what to say and do, working out her own fears and grief and rage at the injustice. They've been best friends their whole lives, pals since they were kids. This cancer thing is so unfair, and it's happening to almost everyone I talk to lately -- someone in their family, or a close friend, there is nobody untouched by their own personal experience with this horrible disease. Why, why, why?

Send out a little white light for Linda. And for Kathy too. I love those gals.