Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Remembering A Friend

Whenever I see ice beginning to form on ponds or lakes in our area, I think of my slightly crazy unique friend Lenore.

Lenore's mother wanted her to become a world-class figure skater.  That never came to pass mainly because, much to her mother's chagrin, Lenore had no desire to do so.  But, boy howdy, could that gal ice skate.

There is a special spot off the main highway near here that makes me think of Lenore every time I drive by it.  We would meet on a sunny, early winter day, drive to the area, park our venicle as far off on the side of the road as we could safely get, grab our ice skates and hike through brush and stubble until we got to a secluded, mid-sized pond where early in the season, before snow became deep on the ice, she and I would spend a couple of hours skating.  I often thought perhaps Lenore's mother had been right; she could have been a fantastic figure skater if she had so desired.

In the deep winter time, we'd go cross country skiing together.  Most of the time she'd lead the way and although I was in good shape and a competent skier, I'd often come around a curve to finally catch up only to find her waiting for me while taking one of her regular cigarette breaks.  I would be puffing, too, but only to catch my breath since keeping up with her was a challenge.

It wasn't just in physical activities that Lenore excelled.  She hand-crafted quirky, colorful dolls out of leather dressed to look like the French voyageurs who once paddled great distances across the Great Lakes.  Selling the dolls to select big city stores turned out to be such a success that at one time she employed fifteen people working for her.  Then one day she decided it wasn't fun anymore and she never made another one except as a special gift.

Each early spring, Lenore volunteered to check wood duck boxes that the local Department of Natural Resources had constructed and mounted high on trees on the shores of various lakes in the area.  Lenore's job was to determine whether the nest box had been used the previous year, clean it out in anticipation for the current year's nesting ducks and fill out a form to hand in to the DNR.

Gaining access to these nest boxes required carrying an extension ladder through some fairly rugged territory and then using it to reach the boxes.  Since someone had to help carry the extension ladder, she talked me into joining her on one of these expeditions.  But only once.  

I don't remember ever being so cold and muddy and miserable.  Spending the day slogging through mud and water up to my whazoo while carrying the I'm sure heaviest end of a long extension ladder turned out to be an experience I never cared to repeat.  Two or three times, I know we were "lost in the wilderness" but Lenore, of course, thought it all a great adventure while I felt lucky to get out of the woods and safely home before dark.

She was a skilled carpenter, quilter, photographer, flower grower and arranger and never hesitated to climb up on a neighbor's roof to clean out a wood stove chimney.  

Lenore passed away several years ago sooner than anyone who knew her would have expected.  Had she had more time, who knows just what other adventures she would have experienced.

Seeing ice forming on ponds, streams and lakes early this year brings back lots of memories of a fun-loving, very talented friend.  She's missed.


Kathy said...

Nice memory of your friend.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

What a beautiful tribute. She sounds like a really interesting, diverse woman! -Jenn

Michelle said...

What a singularly fascinating person!

wisps of words said...

Lovely memory-tribute, to a gal, who must have been a great friend. And who certainly lived her life, exactly as she chose to do so.

Her years may have been short, in the usual run of things, but I'll bet she didn't have many regrets, when she was dying.

Gentle hugs...


Goatldi said...

She had to be special as she choose you as a friend. 💗

Bonnie Schulte said...

I enjoyed reading this post so much. Your friend,Lenore, sounds like a "once in a life tme" kind of best friend, that few of us are ever lucky enough to have. I wish I would have known her, what wonderful memories, and I can only imagine how much you must miss her.

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

That's a wonderful tribute, great adventurer!

Vicki said...

Everyone needs a Lenore in their lives. I am glad she was in yours.

Cockeyed Jo said...

Your friend sounds a lot like me. Life is a great adventure and she lived it the fullest without regrets.

Lenore was a terrific friend for you. She made an impact on you in a great way. Everyone needs a Lenore in their life at least once to break them out of their shell and try something new.

Susie said...

I loved reading this post. I know what it's like to miss your best all time friend. I lost mine 7 years ago. I still miss her. Stay warm, xoxo,blessings, Susie

Lynne said...

So sad, but so many happy memories you have . That's a treasure for sure. Thank goodness We have our wonderful memories, especially as we grow older. ox

Mama Pea said...

Kathy - What would we do without those good memories!?

Michelle - And a character, to boot, who always made you laugh.

wisps of words - You make a good point. We shouldn't be so hesitant to live in a way that works for us!

Goatldi - Thank you! She had a lot of friends and she always left us wondering what she was going to be up to next.

Bonnie Schulte - She still brings a smile to my face because she was truly "one of a kind!"

Nancy - Yep, in bringing back some of these memories it, once again, reminds me we should never be afraid or hesitate to do what brings us joy.

Vicki - I did things with her that I never would have thought to do by myself . . . including a couple that won't be mentioned! ;o)

J.L. Murphey - Oh yes, having a friend who encourages you to try something new and different. That's what's great about having friends who may be a little different than you. Usually a very enriching experience!

Susie - So sorry for the loss of your friend. Losing people truly changes our world, doesn't it.

Lynne - I have a feeling if Lenore were still here, she'd be doing much the same as she always did. She wasn't the type to let age change her personality.

Susan said...

What a wonderful story. She sounds like someone I would have loved to have had in my life.

Hill Top Post said...

I also would have liked to have a friend like Lenora. You told her story well!

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Trust me, dear Sweezie, the two of you would have gotten into untold amounts of trouble . . . and no doubt have enjoyed every minute of it!

Hill Top Post - Thanks so much! I keep thinking of other incidences I'm remembering and could have included. Best I don't make any additions though because some of them could incriminate the innocent. And DEFINITELY the guilty! :o]

The Wykeham Observer said...

A true friend.

Mama Pea said...

Phil - One who was never afraid to try new things! :o)

Peter parker said...
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