Meeting a friend's husband always fills me with trepidation. I love, love, love my friends, but how often does lightening strike twice in the same spot? But my friend Lynda's husband, Preston, was the perfect storm. Joe and I both loved him immediately. There was just so much good about him -- an Arkansas-born retired Navy man turned ER nurse, Pres was always ready with a good joke, helping hand or cold beer, whatever the situation required. Terrific host. We usually stay the weekend at Boyds when we're in town; I always secretly marvelled that Preston would call to talk with all the dinner guests if he was working the night shift. Wonderful dad, brother, son. And best of all, you could tell he and Lynda were still really happy together after 30-plus years of marriage. Sexy, too, if I do say so myself. And smart. Always ready to talk with me about what he was reading. An avid sportsman, surfer, dog-lover and football fan. Loved music and gardening -- Sunday morning, he came by our booth at Kane to show us some CDs he scored in the flea market (Allman Brothers Live at the Fillmore, The Doors, some blues guy whose name escapes me now), plus a flat of hostas, perfect for fall planting. Never mind that he'd just seen us at breakfast; he wanted to say hi before heading home. Gonna take a nap before starting his shift and would see us next month.
Lynda called early this Wednesday to let us know that Preston died Tuesday while she was at work. Only 57. I have a mental picture of him opening his eyes across the divide and thinking "Sh-T! Never saw this comin'." Then picking himself up, dusting himself off, and heading out to see when he could tryout for the band. But I'm afraid he'll also be worried about Lynda, the boys, his extended family and friends. We'll do the best we can for them, Pres, but we really wish you didn't have to go home so soon. You were the life of the party; it will never be quite the same without you. xo
Editor's note: Joe and I will not be at Grayslake this weekend, so that we can be with Lynda and her family. Thanks for all your kind words; I will pass them on to her. See you next month. Be sure to hug the people you love.