Thankfulness Thursday: Friend Harriet

Today, I’d like to do something a bit different for Thankfulness Thursday.

Instead of the usual list of thankfulness items, I’d like to tell you about one of my favorite quilting grannies.

Yes, (almost) all are my favorite in a different way, but this one is special. Even more than the rest. I’ll call her Harriet.

If you asked when I first met Harriet, I’d stare into space. Think back. Try to remember. And finally shrug helplessly, saying, “Haven’t I always known her?”

With most of the rest of the quilting grannies, I remember our first meeting. I remember being introduced. With Harriet, I honestly feel as if she has been part of my life since the beginning.

Harriet’s not the kind who will take center stage, show off, or entertain everyone with raucous jokes. I’ve only seen her command everyone’s attention once, when she and her husband took in a stray dog after years of not having a pet. They were reluctant, but their friends and family decided they should do it. Within a few weeks, Harriet showed everyone a photo of her new pride and joy. Now, to hear her talk, it’s as if the little dog flew straight from heaven and graced Harriet’s home with its divine presence.

Not that Harriet talks about the dog all the time. Oh, no! She’s the kind who will say, “Mm-hm” to whatever anyone is saying, nodding and agreeing. She calls to make sure we have the right number of players for our card game, and yet she insists on giving up her seat if someone comes unexpectedly (and wouldn’t be able to play). She’s the first to get out the coffee, or least she was.

We haven’t seen Harriet in weeks.

Not since her cancer came back.

This is Harriet in a nutshell:

She called me a few weeks ago, the day before our game. “Can you join us tomorrow for hand and foot?”

“Of course!” I said, thrilled to hear from her. She’d been sick off and on for a good long while, and then when we found out her diagnosis she hadn’t been able to make it to any events. “Will you be able to come?” She’d had her biopsy, and the news was not good. The cancer had spread.

“I hope I can,” she said, tut-tutting in a thoughtful way. “I’m a little under the weather, but I hope so.”

Under the weather. Recurrent metastasized cancer is “under the weather?”

“If you can’t come,” I said, taking a risk, “could I visit you sometime?”

“I’d love that. I’m getting so tired of not being able to go out, and I’d just love to see you.”

“I hope I can see you tomorrow,” I said, wondering if it would be possible again.

“I hope we can see each other, too.”

She hung up, and that’s the last I’ve heard from her directly. Today at church, her name came up. Apparently, she’d called someone else going through cancer treatment and was sounding down.

Before my quilting granny friend died last fall, I asked myself why I hadn’t gone over to visit her. I’d wanted to, very much, but I was afraid to impose. She was the kind of person who would never want to be a bother, and yet I would be afraid to bother her.

One of the quilting grannies and her daughter has gone to visit Harriet, but she was too exhausted for company. She did her very best, but she fell asleep twice (they didn’t stay long, either).

So I’m making a lasagna, I think, and bringing it to her. Food cures all ills, right? And her husband likes lasagna. Everyone likes lasagna. Harriet’s been losing weight (that she can’t afford to lose), and a good hearty dish will help if she can keep it down. I was going to make good old chicken noodle soup, but lasagna will freeze better. I can even give it to her in freezable individual serving containers. 😀

Today, I am thankful for Harriet. Thankful for a woman who makes me believe the world is a good and beautiful place, filled with good and beautiful people.

I wanted to be like Sara when I grew up, the quilting granny who died last fall. I want to be like Harriet, too. Last December when things were the most difficult they’ve been for a long time (and no one saw me at church for weeks on end), she gave me a call. I wasn’t up to answering my phone, so she left a voice mail message.

Hi, Ana. This is Friend Harriet. We haven’t seen you around much, and I just wanted to give you a call. Love you, honey. Bye-bye.

I want to be a Friend Harriet when I grow up.

And today, I’m so glad I’ve gotten to have her.

Who is your Friend Harriet? Or who do you know who needs you to be a Friend Harriet?

6 thoughts on “Thankfulness Thursday: Friend Harriet

  1. awesomesub says:

    Hi Ana, this made me cry, and I am grateful for our granny, who has cancer, to be with us. We are lucky here because my granny (closest and oldest friend of the family really) will hopefully be cured. She is treated for cancer and hopefully all will be good again later this year.

    And, even though it is just a gadget, I am extremely grateful that we have got phones. We still have the cold, so due to the infection risk we cannot see granny and what I think about not being allowed to visit is definitely a spankable offence. And therefore I am glad that we can at least phone and hear her voice. It makes me feel as if one of us is locked in a box we cannot open to see and hug.

    I think my best female friend qualifies as a Friend Harriet. She cares, doesn’t wait too long before she calls (in my case she simply pops in). She goes to some length to cheer up people or just be with them, whatever is needed, she is the one to do it. I think doing only half of what she does to make the people around her happy is what would make the world a better place, if done by a few more. I love her and she is who I am endlessly grateful for too. 🙂

    I am so sorry that the news about Harriet’s health were bad, and I wish so much for your friend to be better again and I hope that she can defeat this horrible illness. Sending positive thoughts her way.




  2. abby says:

    Oh Ana…i have been away and been down with the flu, but glad i visited you this morning. You , my dear are that type of friend…in real life and on line. These ladies have loved you so much, because the have lived long enough to recognize a ‘gem’ when they see it. And we are fortunate enough to share your light……
    hugs abby


  3. catrouble says:

    What a beautiful love letter about your friend…think we all can use and should be ‘Friend Harriet’. I hope you two had a lovely visit and am betting you were a welcome gift to her. Sending prayers and healing energy.

    Hugs and Blessings…


    • nancygoldberglevine says:

      Another lovely post, Ana. I can’t pin mine down to just one Friend Harriet. I’m using their character names…two are work friends, Cliff, (his character name is the same as his real name–he just seemed like a Cliff) who passed away from cancer in December…he is so missed at work, especially his sense of humor, Roxie, who has done so much for me even though there’s always something going on in her own life, and my best and second best friends…Vanessa (Van) and Jay. I could go on about those two all day but people would fall asleep.


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