At the grocery store near the exit sits a bench that was placed there a year or so ago. Husbands waiting for wives and older chidlren waiting for moms sit there impatiently, watching the endless stream of people walking out with their groceries. It sits between the cheap vending machines with rings and slime and superballs that Michael always begs me a quarter for. The free newspapers sit next to it also, and sometimes you will see an older gentleman thumb through one waiting for his significant other.
A plaque rests in the middle of the bench, written on it something to the effect of "In Memory of Doris Laquerre". I remember Doris. She was an elderly woman, in her 70's or so, who used to pack groceries. She was a tiny woman, and I always thought she should be sitting at a coffee shop drinking coffee and playing cards with three other elderly women rather than packing bags with pierced teenagers with green hair. Not that she seemed unhappy packing groceries - oh no. She was friendly, always quick with a smile, and never squished the bread or broke the eggs. Michael used to tell her he had an aunt named Doris and she always smiled at him.
I remember the first time I saw the bench and read the inscription. I was a little shocked, because until I read it, I didn't realize she was gone. I felt bad, like I should have known or something, but I was also touched that a bench was placed there in her honor. Either corporate people placed it or a collection was made to raise money for it. Either way, she obviously touched lives to warrant the spot. There's not 10 benches sitting there with inscriptions on them. Hers is the only one. That is a statement all alone.
It is this time of year that we often think of those who have passed. We wonder how they are doing, when they should be with us instead. Tom's mother's passing just passed the six month mark. This will be our first Christmas without Nana Rose. To lose a mother is so profound I can't begin to fathom it, and I instantly start to think of something else. My godmother's year anniversary just passed us also - coincidentally both were on December 7 (also, coincidentally, the day Brady smiled). Last year, we also lost my uncle, an old Italian bachelor who epitomized every stereotype you can think of. They are all missed dearly and it is during this season that I remember Christmases past, and their kindness and generosity. I know they are all looking down on us and keeping watch.