Friday, November 13, 2009

Million Dollar Millie

Dear Millie leaves behind many fond memories. We enjoyed long chats in her place of employment. They ultimately led to lunches in the adjoined restaurant... always a hotdog for Millie. The exchange of many a story during those visits resulted in a long-lasting friendship, extending to Millie's retirement. Lunch at her home meant arriving to the bubbling WearEver percolator; she'd love that I'm using one now! As the meal progressed, she issued stern instructions "... to refrain from getting up to clear the table." Millie ultimately told me that the "clearing" was the prerequisite to a guest's departure, a moment in time she did not look forward to. What a grand lady.

It was decades before I knew of the horrific losses she suffered, earlier in her life. Millie did not trust easily; but when she did, the recipient of that trust had mined a diamond. Then, there was her sense of humor. The fact that she was more "tangibly" religious than I did not keep her from respecting my rather liberal Catholic-Jewish views. She understood that my style is of the more spiritual nature. She roared when I teased her about her son, Joseph, the priest. She'd show me photos, and I would comment, "Oh, Millie; he's 'Father What-A-Waste'! The girls in his parish must be swooning." It was so nice to finally meet Father Joe at her 80th birthday party.

I loved Millie's ability to laugh. Son Peter accompanied his Mom to the wedding of my oldest son. In analyzing the festivities, she told me she loved everything and was so happy to be there, but "... why do the bride and groom have to waste cake with that old tradition ...?" :-)

My last visual memory of Millie is a sad one. Her injuries left her extremely frustrated in being unable to just plain work... something that was as much a part of her daily plan as brushing her teeth. How many 80-something-year-old women do you know who would ride a tractor to mow; or, who would skid a car into a snowbank, climb out the window, and shovel herself out?? Dear Millie; I despised seeing her feisty frustration. I'm sure Heaven is a happier place in receiving the precious soul of a truly good woman, who is probably working for the Lord, as I write.

Here's to artichokes, cooked and mailed cross country..... yep, that's how she managed to keep her son in his favorite food!
I love you, Carmela (Millie). Rest in peace.

Your friend, Nicki Carmel