Mike has been in the same industry for seventeen plus years. Mike knows a lot of people. I have been on business trips, and have attended enough banquets, social events and parties, even a couple of weddings and funerals to have met some of these associates. Some I have liked more than others. (People and events!) A little over ten years ago, I remember sitting on a job-site with Mike and some of his crew eating a Subway sandwich courtesy of a Sprinkler Rep I was meeting for the first time. The Sprinkler Rep was very friendly and I was flattered that he included not only me, but my two year old toddler as though we were nothing out of the ordinary for a job-site lunch.
Sometime after that lunch, I had the opportunity to sit at the same table as this Sprinkler Rep and his wife at a Landscape Convention banquet. I remember his wife talking about learning to do a 'new' kind of math with her grade-school son. I thoroughly enjoyed my time talking with her about a subject we shared in common: motherhood, as the men around the table spoke of sprinklers and plants.
A few years later, we enjoyed a family dinner one Friday night with this same couple and their son, and another in-industry family. It was a great night of laughter, good food and fun.
Fast forward a few years. With the exception of running into them coincidentally once, while both of our families were visiting Temple Square, our interactions with Russ and his wife lessened as Mike and Russ each moved into some different circles (still within the industry).
Last September we attended an industry BBQ we have attended many times over the years. We were thrilled to share a table with Russ, Kathy, their son Logan and another family. We had many conversations that evening, covering an array of topics. Two things from that evening will forever stand out to me. First was Kathy's repeated desire to repeat the Friday night dinner of so many years ago. She mentioned more than once the need for Mike and Russ to co-ordinate schedules and get a dinner planned. Secondly, Kathy was thrilled to have been served an over-sized portion of ice cream. Insignificant memories? Perhaps...
We said our 'good to see yous' and our goodbyes, and as we walked away, I heard Kathy yell out, "Call us to arrange another dinner."
Life gets busy.
Time quickly passes.
In December, Mike and I received the following card in the mail:
This Christmas card will not be thrown out with some of the others. It won't earn a place on our magnet board this year with some of our favorite Christmas card photos. It will be put in a safe place. A permanent place. A place that can remind me not to let time get away from us.
This Christmas card will forever remind me that some tomorrows will never happen.
Last Monday, three weeks after receiving the card, I sat next to Russ at an 'Ice Cream Gathering' following the Graveside Service for his dear wife, Kathy.
Life got busy.
September to December quickly passed.
Kathy unexpectedly passed away.
We never went to dinner.