Elizabeth flew in a few nights ago. On the drive home she told us the story of a death. She works in an expensive restaurant in a tall building in Chicago. Only a few nights before one of her co-workers had collapsed. The restaurant manager gave him CPR, and the paramedics somewhat stabilized him in the ambulance. But at the hospital he suffered another attack (of the heart) and this time he didn't come back. His name was Raul (or Raoul, not sure). He was someone Ebe joked with all the time. A good guy, a Mexican, who liked to laugh. She was not on duty the night he went. While telling it to us, she seemed a little stunned by the fact that someone she talked to most everyday and had fun kidding around with could be here one moment and gone the next. She was also stunned by how quickly others, in her words, "move on." She didn't understand why they couldn't shut the restaurant down for a day so that everyone could make the memorial service - without realizing she'd already answered her own question. She felt bad about not being there. It hit her, she said, a couple nights later as she was driving home from work, and that's when she "got emotional." He was 34, single, with a only a sister in-country, and trying to build a life here.
Since coming to town she's had homemade pizza, the cherry dessert, brownies, and pancakes and sausage, though not all at one sitting. Yesterday she went to the beach where she and her Mom strolled among the dead jellyfish and later fell asleep on the sand, during which interlude she says she drooled on herself. Then they went to Sea Harvest for shrimp, grouper, and hush puppies and watched the pelicans land on the pilings. Tonight I'm making her steak on the grill, which will be accompanied by cornbread, a salad, corn on the cob, and potatoes with sour cream.
A few months ago a professional photographer took a publicity picture of her for the Chicago Ballet's spring performance. For all I know it's still hanging in the Ruth Page Theater. (Enlargeable twice over.)
She'll be flying out of here at the crack of dawn, on a wing and with more than a few prayers at her back.