Saying good-bye is so hard

Posted on October 23, 2013 

The past few weeks have been difficult ones for those of us who loved Irvin "Brother" Rosenberg and Louise Tennent Smith.

Brother was a man who never met a stranger.

He met my mother once or twice, and when he found out that she had had a quadruple bypass, he shared that he had one, too.

And every single time I saw him, he'd ask, "How's your mama?" I mean every single time.

I could go in with my brother or one of my sisters and after he'd say hello to them, he'd ask about our mother.

Too sweet.

I was happy to see a lot of Broadway merchants and a lot of customers at his funeral.

You couldn't help but love that man.

Now, you could never say Louise Smith was too sweet. She had too many opinions and didn't pull punches to be considered sweet.

When she was hired here at the Ledger-Enquirer, the editor brought her around to introduce her.

A bunch of us thought, "Oh, no!"

Here's this white-haired older woman and we'd probably have to watch our language and our manners.

Little did we know that she cussed like a sailor! Yes, she was one for manners, but her language was something else. Then one day, she realized that her language was so bad that she started a little fund for herself. Every time a bad word fell from her lips, she put a quarter in a jar. That lasted maybe a month.

She loved a good story and she told a lot of them.

I was in several of those stories, of course, but I didn't mind.

One time, I went to her mountain home in Cashiers, N.C., with Elinor Winn and the late Connie Johnson. I was the youngest.

We went to this gorgeous meadow on top of the mountain ridge and on the way, we walked through the woods. I have this irrational fear of snakes and I was watching the ground carefully as we walked.

When Louise noticed, she said loudly that the second person to step over a log or rock would be bitten. Naturally, I moved to the back of the group. She laughed and laughed about that!

Later, we went to one of those gem-mining places where you buy buckets of dirt and then put the dirt in a sieve in water to see if you can find a gem.

I didn't want to get dirty, so this guy who worked the mine filled my bucket and carried it to the water and swished the dirt for me to see what I had. We found several tiny sapphires and rubies. I believe out of the four of us, I was the only one who found anything. And who had a helper.

Louise never let me forget that either.

There are plenty of other stories, but I won't bore you.

Who would have thought that I could be such good friends with a woman who is my mother's age? We never talked politics because she was a staunch Republican and I am not.

I really loved that woman and I'm going to miss her.

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