Miss Sandy was the woman who lived next door to us when I was between the ages of five and seven. Miss Sandy was as round as she was tall, sturdy as they come and smoked like a fiend. She had the kind of Southern accent that said, “I am not from the fancy side of town.” Miss Sandy snored as though it was powered by a jet engine and she could fall asleep anywhere. Miss Sandy had a joyous, let-it-all loose, laugh and always seemed happier than she should be. Miss Sandy had a hard life but she didn't always act accordingly. I liked that about her. In fact, I liked her a lot and if I went “amissin'” you could usually find me at Miss Sandy's visiting with her or playing in her yard. It was a fun and familiar place but, one day, it was magical!
This will seem really silly to some of you but it's true nonetheless, so here goes.
One day I went outside to play and (as I would have) I looked over at Miss Sandy's place to see what I could see. What I saw excited me so much that I tore off over to her house like a jack rabbit! Apparently, she was going to put down white rocks as her driveway and those rocks were piled up and glowing in the Florida sun as though they were thousands of tiny angels. I thought they were the most beautiful things I had ever seen and I couldn't believe these treasures were just stacked into a pile for me to admire and, hopefully, play with. ;)
I ran into Miss Sandy's house so excited and begged her to let me play with them. I remember her laughing that laugh of hers and telling me that it was fine with her if I wanted to “play with rocks.” Hilarious! She must have thought I had lost my six-year-old mind, but she didn't treat me that way.
After I had examined and played with this Heavenly quarry I declared (to her) that these rocks were so special that other people would want to see them and play with them and keep them and that, if she'd let me, I would sell some for her and then she'd have some money. I was certain, I was passionate, I believed…in the rocks. ;)
Miss Sandy chuckled again and said, “Sure, take a bucket and see what you can do.” She didn't try to explain to me that she had already purchased these rocks, or that they were (in reality) just rocks I had never seen before. She didn't try to make me feel silly, but she did give me the materials to make a sign with, a stool and a small table to set up shop with. Think lemonade stand only with rocks. Hahahahaha!
Believe it or not, I did sell a few. Mostly to moms with kids just as enamored with these jewels as I was. When I took the coins to Miss Sandy at the end of the day, she congratulated me, smiled and told me to keep it. What?! No way?! Really?! Really. :)
I can tell you this...it rained penny candy at my house!!!
I'm writing about Miss Sandy today because my mom called me this morning to tell me that Miss Sandy had passed away. By all accounts her hard life had followed her, even in how she died. Alone.
Well, I'm not going to let her go out that way. Miss Sandy was all of the things I described above and more. Miss Sandy showed me kindness daily, gave me memories to cherish and taught me that if I worked for something I believed in, that other people just might believe in me. The other lesson she showed me that day was that even if you don't have much you can still be generous to others.
Thank you Miss Sandy. You were a wonderful woman and even though you had little, you left (me) a lot.
Rest in peace.