Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The shopping in Santa Fe was great, but nothing compares to what I came away with

It’s been four weeks since my sister Lori and I embarked on our famous cross-country crazy sisters’ trip. I still have so much to tell you.

One of the highlights was our stop in Santa Fe, where my dear friend Joan put us up in her fabulous house. Joan and I met here in Albany back in 1987, when we worked together in one of the looniest work environments I’ve ever encountered (and I’ve witnessed quite a few). Like two war buddies who’ve shared the hardships of battle, we’re bonded for life.

Several years ago Joan and her partner, Donna, bought the place in Santa Fe as a second home. Last year Joan got a job out there, and that’s her primary residence now. Unfortunately, she lives there alone. Soon after they purchased their house, Donna was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and a year later she was gone. I want to say she was about 43.

By the time Joan and Donna got together, I had already moved out West, so I didn’t know Donna very well. Her smile and her upbeat disposition are what I remember most. She coordinated Joan’s 50th birthday party, and having pulled it off so well, was radiant with joy. But what I loved most about her was that she made my friend so happy.

I felt Donna’s presence in the house we visited. Joan had a couple of pictures of her displayed, and when I admired a piece of artwork, she said, “Oh, Donna picked that out.”

During our visit Lori, Joan and I were preparing to go to downtown Santa Fe for an afternoon of shopping and exploring. “I wish I had something better to walk in than these,” I said, referring to my Vegas heels.

Joan jumped up and asked, “What size do you wear?”

“Forget it—I’m only a size 6,” I replied. Sharing shoes with full-grown adults is nearly impossible.

She dashed out to the garage and returned with a pair of running shoes. “These were Donna’s,” she said. “See if they fit.”

They did. They fit perfectly.

“Keep them,” Joan insisted. “I was going to give them to Goodwill.”

We had a lovely time in Santa Fe. The shopping there is amazing— the art, the jewelry, the clothing… I could have spent a million dollars. I didn’t buy a thing, though. Nothing could have given me more joy than walking in Donna’s shoes.


Josie said...

Beautiful post. poignant.

Sammi said...

Wow, Linda that story truly warmed my heart! I am sure that Joan was happy that you were able to walk in Donna's shoes, and Joan sounds like she was a wonderful lady. Cancer Sucks!

Unknown said...

Beautifully written. Make me tear up. Thank you for sharing. Sometimes all it takes is to walk a mile in someone else's shoes.

Stephanie said...

Wow! I didn't exoect your post to take that turn!So beautiful..made this sappy girl a wee bit teary. :)

Donna B. said...

Very touching. I'm glad Joan has you for a friend. She must miss her partner so much.