Saturday, January 11, 2014


The year did not end well for me as my list of friends becomes shorter and shorter.

I met her when I was 14 and she was a neighbor
 a new bride she had married a bookkeeper who worked with my mother.
He was short and stocky, she was tall and natural blonde.
She never needed L'Oreal to keep her tone.
A blonde with blue eyes.
I remember the day she lost her first baby in a still birth.
Later she had a boy , the jewel in her life.

She passed o at the end of the year. She had started to forget a lot, dementia became her diagnosis but she did not have it until near her end.

She was 89.
I sat here wondering how she stayed so active for so long.
Did she eat "right"? No, she ate what she wanted and in a Belgian kitchen that is often with French fries.
Did she go to the gym? No
Did she walk miles every day? No

She did own a bar with her son , a very popular pub kind of place on the square of the village.
It was the kind of place you could get in at 7 and just get a cup of coffee and sit there as long as you liked.
It was the kind of place where she had been since 5 am and had washed all the tiles on the walls and the floors and polished the copper. If it needed it she would start again at noon.
She never stopped working , she would welcome every one with a smile.
Somewhere around her 85th year her son had a bad fall and injured his head.
They had to close up shop. She took care of him.

She had a bad marriage (the first) and then found the right man who adored her,
I remember while visiting my mom that we met her at a little restaurant across from the hospital, she was not eating. Clearly her eyes were swollen and red from a night of crying. The blond hair started to mix with some white but she still looked very young, even without make up. Just a very natural great woman.
She hugged us and said :"I cant be in that room all day and night, I had to come and have a "short one".
I do not know much about liquor but my Mom said that every day she would have a short one and sometimes a few more and no one ever saw her drunk. She could hold it. She said it calmed her down and was better than pills. That day we found out that her very nice husband was dying and she would probably need more than one "short one".

After her loss she and son opened the bar and both of them would work the place by themselves ,
we went often to say hello and I never saw the place empty.

A great lady in my books, would help every one around her and made an army of friends.
Down to earth nothing glamorous or pretending. If she did not like something she would tell you in your face and try to fix things. I never heard her tell a lie. She could make me laugh in a second.
Even with this distance and no chance for me to return any time soon I will think of her often
Rust nu maar het is tijd.

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