CREDOS : In bloom — I

It was a cold, drizzly day. Mist nudged up against the windows and doors of the house. I was adding more wood to the fire when I heard a knock at the front door. Judy was standing on the doorstep, wearing her usual faded green sweatpants, a hand-knitted sweater — and a silver tiara. She only wore her tiara on special occasions. She held a large, crumpled plastic bag in her arms. We smiled warmly at each other. “Flowers for the newborn child,” she declared, holding out the bag. I welcomed my friend and accepted the package. There was no sign of any flowers, but I said “thank you” anyway.

Judy has always been full of surprises. If she said she brought flowers, then sooner or later, flowers would appear. I have never known anyone even vaguely like her. She has always approached things differently, danced to her own tune.

At seventy-six, she still considered such practical things as umbrellas or raincoats unnecessary on rainy days. She would simply stride out into any weather, defying rain or snow.

“I’ve yet to hear of a person dissolving because of a little extra moisture in the air,” she’d say.

That particular morning, there were tiny jewels of rain nestled in the weave of

her sweater, a cascade of droplets adding sparkle to her wiry gray hair, a rain drop still clinging to the tip of her nose. She shook her head vigorously back and forth, like a dog after

a swim, then matter-of-factly straightened her tiara. —