Edith, her cousin Nancy (both over 70) and I met on an America West flight back to Los Angeles from San Antonio May 1991. I noticed Edith while I was waiting in the airport for the flight that would take me back to Long Beach (where I lived) after negotiating a contract at San Antonio Air Force Base. She was dressed head to toe in black with a black hat and special black glasses wrapping the top half of her face indicating she had a problem with her eyesight. The only colored clothing was a noticeable lime green jacket covered with huge red and yellow roses. Like meeting Spring. She must be an artist, I thought. As it turned out, we were sitting next to each other when the plane took off and I had guessed correctly.
My career as a poet was two months old; I was handwriting all my poems in a tiny spiral notebook, which I carried with me everywhere. I was writing feverishly on my poem in the aisle seat while we were taking off, and they noticed. Hadn’t even reached the novice stage yet. We started talking, I shared my notebook of poems, and Nancy gave me their calling cards in white lace gloved hands. When I arrived home, I wrote Beautiful Ladies and mailed it to San Antonio, Texas.
It turns out that Edith Kroshel was a renowned watercolor artist who had been commissioned by the City of San Antonio to paint the Alamo.
She sent me a thank you letter with a note, “Thank you for seeing past the wrinkles.” Hand written on pale blue tissue paper. Edith and I have been corresponding since that airplane ride. She now lives in a retirement home in Texas and sends me letters written with a magnifying glass and tiny drawings of her surroundings. I respond in 18 pt font so she can see the words. Recently she wrote that she’s been reading my poems to her exercise swim class. While the “girls” are doing kicks in the pool, Edith is reading my love poems out loud. Imagine that!
Guess when you share your gifts of gratitude; you never really know how far your gifts will travel. In retrospect, always put back more cookies in the cookie jar than you take out. Then the cookie jar will always be full, and so will your heart!
All rights reserved. ©2009 by Sara Fryd