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Story Time: My red baby

Posted on Tuesday, June 6, 2023 at 2:29 pm

By Lorry Myers

She came into my office one day and told me she was dying. I knew Donna had been having health issues but this announcement caught me off guard. “It’s OK,” Donna told me when I reached for her. “I am ready.”

Only she wasn’t, not yet, anyway.

In life, I connected with Donna Pace in many ways. She was in my sister’s class at school, her brother ran around with my brother, and more than anything, Donna was someone I wanted to be around. She was loud and outspoken, irreverent and unpredictable. She was funny and kind and seemed to know instinctively how to make me laugh.

I liked that about Donna.

Donna was also a lover of unique things. When I drove by her old stone house, I went slow so I could take it all in. She had wonderful things growing and blooming everywhere. There were crazy colored gazing balls that caught the light, and concrete statues that greeted visitors when they arrived. Urns spilled red and blue flowers and blissful angels stood proud and tall, their wings ready for flight.

I loved it all.

But there was this one thing, this one giant thing that I loved most of all. It was a faded, chipped, giant statue of a baby, balancing a concrete ball on her head. Each time I drove past Donna’s house, I had to make eye contact with that red baby.

I felt her calling to me.

Donna knew that. Every time she came into my office, I had to ask questions about her yard. I do not have a green thumb; I don’t have any natural ability to raise plants or make my yard into a wonderland.

Not like Donna, anyway.

Over the years, I told Donna that one day she would wake up and that red concrete baby would be missing. “If that happens,” Donna said, laughing that infectious laugh, “I know right where to find it.”

I watched Donna plan for the rest of her life. She did not rant or rave and wish that her life would have been different. She was determined to fill her days with laughter and purpose and resolve. She talked about her parents and grandparents and the history of her people. She bragged on her children and joked about her husband, and always she said, “I see you driving by plotting to steal my red baby!”

Donna saw me.

For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard