I remember how tickled the two of us were when we accidentally discovered we'd both been to the same small town in California that none of our other friends had ever heard of. From then on, we always had Yuba City. And it was in CA, this time in a much larger city, at a RWA Conference, that Sandra got "The Call" - her joy was just luminous, and the entire conference one big celebration.
Only three weeks ago, she gave a brilliant workshop at our local RWNZ meeting, the notes from which I have sitting beside my computer. A whole bunch of us had coffee together afterward. It was the last time I spoke and laughed with her, and I can still see her sitting across the table, her wild, gorgeous mane of curls tamed straight.
Then there were those fantabulous sneakers of hers that I may have threatened to steal one sunshiney Saturday as we stood having tea before the start of another meeting. We laughed over that, and over whether angels flew vertically or horizontally. Explanations with hands and bodies were involved. Thinking of it now still makes me smile, and I think that's fitting, because Sandy had the most beautiful smile, and of all the things I remember about her, it's her smile that is the brightest.
I will miss you, my wondeful, generous, kind friend. I'm so glad I had the chance to know and love you, and that your vibrant voice will continue to live on in your stories.
p.s. I still adore those sneakers!