One of my friends out here, T., hosted a dinner party some months ago that included her neighbor, Mary. I was absolutely delighted to meet Mary, who was one of those intelligent, creative, warm, fun people you sometimes have the good luck to run across. I was looking forward to getting to know her better, and it seemed like it was going to happen given that T-bone and I are good friends with T. and her husband, and we would naturally be thrown together in various ways.
Then Mary's husband, who had Alzheimer's, died suddenly shortly after that. And Mary passed away two months later, from an abdominal cancer that had apparently gone unnoticed while she was caring for her husband.
T. has been helping Mary's family since then by cleaning and sorting out Mary's possessions to get the house ready for sale. T. invited me to come by and see if I was interested in some of the not-salable items, like house plants; wine; cookbooks, etc.
And I went over, and y'all, it felt like Mary was still there, to the point where I automatically said "Hello!" to her as I walked in, and asked if I could tour the house. Which sounds creepy, but it was the exact opposite: I got this warm sense of welcome, such that it still makes me smile to think of it. (T. didn't even break stride; she just smiled and said, "Yeah, Mary's still here.")
And among other things, I did take some wine from the cellar, because the estate can't legally sell it, and it needed to be cleared out. There was a cardboard box with partitions for wine bottles in it, and I took about six bottles, or half a box full, and, not wanting to be greedy, decided that was plenty. And then I felt this *push*...I swear, Mary was pushing my hand back to the wine rack. T. was getting the same vibe and said, basically, that Mary didn't want me to leave without filling the rest of that box. We just started laughing, and I said, "Okay, okay, okay...! Mary, what wine do you think I should take?" And again, my hand felt steered in certain directions. A lovely port. Some very nice red wines from 1999-2003. And two bottles of homemade dessert wine, of unknown origin.
Mary loved to cook and to host parties, so I told her we'd have friends over and share these in company. I left feeling like I had really missed out by not having the chance to know her better, but also like I'd just had a good afternoon with her. Anyway, this is kind of a random story, but it was so happy, in its own weird way, that I had to share it with someone.