Ode to a Friend

The Great Pumpkin sighted me at the Giant when last I shopped there. It was a beautiful orange pumpkin balloon. When I saw the price, I gasped—too much money. So I tried talking myself into a small balloon, and there were some nice ones. But the pumpkin wouldn’t let me go. The pumpkin  stuck to me like glue, so I capitulated, paid for him, and brought him home cheerfully.

It’s been too long since I blogged, so I had to begin with a balloon story. Life got in the way—some good, as in my grandnephew’s wedding and new book releases. Other things were not as good—a partial rotator cuff tear and a good friend gone to hospice. Beatriz Moisset died on October 18 after a long illness. Multiple Myeloma. When treatment doesn’t go right, it behaves like Parkinson’s disease, wreaking scorched earth on the body. When Anita Stewart announced the forthcoming October blog hop, I realized I was remiss in following up on emails and communication. And all the while, while other members of our writing group and I headed to the nursing home where Beatriz went, the Great Pumpkin made his visit to cheer me.

It was a pleasure to talk with Beatriz. She gave great advice about people, finances, and family. Sometimes, she helped me understand why people do and say things. And she had a sense of humor.

Beatriz also ran the Beehive Writers’ group, offering helpful critiques. She was the thread that held the group together for several years. I’m one of the members, and the others have been very supportive of my writing. At first, the meetings took place at the Giant. When the cancer caused her to tire easily, she held the meetings at her house, serving refreshments. Others would bring treats to share. Then the pandemic hit, so she continued the meetings via zoom. All the while, she continued getting weaker but soldiered on holding meetings. I came to her house, masked and sanitized since cancer treatments wiped out the immune system. On days she felt exhausted, she started the meeting, and the conversation continued.

I turned her living room into a balloon farm. She loved her turkey in the backyard, and when it was gone, I gave her a turkey balloon. The plants I brought were surefire hits. She loved her flowers and pollinators. Last Easter, she said she wished she could go to Argentina and have one of their meat quiches. I make Italian sausage quiche every Easter, so I offered to share some of it, which I did. She later thanked me, laughing, that while she enjoyed the sausage pie, it was not what she had at home. 

She loved feeding people and often had several candy boxes on the table. Going to her house was like visiting a favorite aunt. I wish I could have gone to the Beehive meetings when they took place at the Giant.

Beatriz was very encouraging with my efforts at my work-in-progress. I have been struggling with it, especially after an extensive edit. One of the last things she told me was, “Please continue with your writing. I wish you luck.” I promised her that day that I would complete the book. Meantime, the pumpkin balloon sticks by my side, reminding me of when it’s time to work on my projects.

Bucks County Writers Group in Hatboro. Top row, left to right: Barbara of the Balloons, Allan, and Ethel. Bottom row: Beatriz, Dave, and Linda. Picture taken about ten years ago.

About Barbara Custer

Author of: Twilight Healer Steel Rose Life Raft: Earth City of Brotherly Death Close Liaisons Infinite Sight When Blood Reigns Infinite Sight Publisher / Editor of Night to Dawn Books & Magazine
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