The 2016 holiday season was filled with nostalgia. Okay, okay, I know...all of them have been that way since Dad died but this year was especially poignant for me because I lost another very dear loved one.
Cassie Tanner passed away on Thanksgiving morning. It was news I never wanted to hear about my beloved "Myrtle". She was 95 years old and remained fiercely independent until the very end. I can't exactly recall when she officially grabbed this special place in my heart, I just know that I can't remember not knowing and loving her. Ours lives became intertwined through church work. I was a young(ish) first time staff member (director of youth and children) and she was the long time AA and bookkeeper. When I arrived in Hinesville, GA, Cassie was already in her 70s but you'd never have known it! She was sharp as a tack with a wit and charm to match! She was a southern lady in the truest sense of that term. I loved her immediately, although I think I had to grow on her but I did and she became one of my dearest and most trusted friends and THE most awesome roommate! We shared a very special bond.
Once we moved to the Atlanta area it was more difficult to visit in person but she was only a phone call away. She was always a night owl, which is one of the reason she and I were perfectly matched as roomies, so I would wait until the kids were in bed and the house was relatively quiet to call her. Often, she'd be watching David Letterman or the late news when I'd call. We'd talk for an hour sometimes two. Then, as we'd start to hang up...we'd both pause and one or the other of us would say, "I love you". I always loved how Cass told me she loved me...there was always a tone of intention. She meant for me to know that she loved me. Cassie was not a "gusher". She didn't throw words around all willy-nilly but when she said those three words to me...I knew she meant them.
I could go on and on about all the reason I treasure Cassie and the years spent knowing and loving her but I will save that for another time, perhaps. What I do want to say is that knowing her, loving her, being with her, having her trust me and confide in me and love me as if I was one of her very own forever changed the pattern of my life's tapestry. She made the colors of my life richer and deeper. She showed me the depth of true friendship...a shared bond that isn't diminished by time and space. I love Cassie...yes, LOVE in the present tense. Just because she is gone from my sight and removed from my reach doesn't change my love for her; that love reaches across the veil and will until we are together again in Heaven.
I miss her voice. I miss our talks. I miss knowing that she's rambling around at the Plantation. I miss my friend...immensely.
Hey Myrrrrrrtle...it's Les! I love you!