Babs

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From Andrea's husband Chris:

It’s raining in Tucson today, maybe the second time since January. It feels appropriate because Mimi/Babs (Andrea's mother) died last night.

Babs would laugh at the fact that you’re reading a blog about her. She had a great laugh that sent her head back and arm out to touch you. Her eyes twinkled. She was an elegant woman and beautiful, but her laugh was the best.

Several images come to mind but the one that sticks is her at the checker table across from one of our kids, playing with them for what seemed like hours. Just the two of them, hovered over this scratched-up table. Talking. Laughing. Sometimes just sitting. Always engaged with the kids and asking questions. Pippen and Frodo on the floor nearby listening. The dogs loved Babs.

She used the word “adorable” liberally. It was a favorite. “Isn’t that dog adorable? Aren’t those older people adorable? You have adorable children.” She saw the adorable in everyone. Even in me.

I know she thought her daughter could have done better, and to be honest I agree with her wholeheartedly. (She would laugh at that line.) She never said this to me, of course, but I could tell she was a bit skeptical of the young West Virginian who had captured her daughter’s heart. Those were the early days, before we were married. I think the moment she changed her mind about me was when we said our vows. I think she knew I really meant what I said. And that was enough for her.

She was one of the most inquisitive people on the planet. She read books I’ll never hope to read. She not only knew about the latest news, she had opinions and questions about why things were the way they were. She would come into my office in Colorado and look at the computers and the radio hookup and the books and marvel. She was interested in how the publishing process worked and how my voice got to her radio in Florida. She was proud of me, proud of any little accomplishment along the way, and she read my books. A writer can’t ask for much more than that.

It seems trite to try and sum up a life that meant so much. How do you tell of the struggle and the loss and triumph that was her life? I could write pages and pages and still only scratch the surface.

So I will focus on the small things. Her smile. Her laugh. The twinkle. Her sense of humor.

I still remember the round of golf we played together in Illinois. It was the late 80s, I think, and I had recently picked up the game. I was zealous to show her how well I could play and she had good things to say about my progress. Until, that is, I tried to reach the green in two on the fourth hole at Boughton Ridge Golf Course, a small 9-hole course. With a mighty swing I connected with the ball and watched it sail past her on the other side of the fairway and leave a rather large dent in the aluminum siding of a house nowhere near the direction of the flag.

She paused a moment as I caught up with her. She looked at the house, then back at me with a deadpan face. “Well, you certainly got all of that one,” she said. And then she laughed.

Her one fear as she grew older was that something would happen and she would become a burden to her family. But her family would have moved heaven and earth for her. I know that is true.

In the end, with her husband by her side, she left us peacefully. It was her way. And adorable. Always adorable.