I’ve known Sandy for quite some time, having worked as her illustrator for the past 12 years. During that time, I forged with her a friendship that I consider the closest and one that I most treasure. To give you an idea of how close we are, I can tell you with absolute certainty what she had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as far back as a month ago.
I’d begin my description of Sandy with what I admire most about her. Sandy is one of the strongest people that I know. I can only imagine how much strength it must have taken to move her life from the States to a place so far away and so culturally different from what she was used to. Yet she was able to adapt well, even opening and running a school here in her adopted home. Even more remarkable though, is that she actually raised four of our most outstanding citizens today, two of whom are in the Senate. For an American woman to move to a different land and show us how to properly raise kids is just incredible. It’s but natural that whenever I need advice on just about anything, whether it be dieting, motherhood, marriage, or friendship, I seek out Sandy’s opinion first.
She fondly calls me her Princess, and I call her my Queenie, being the kind and regal class act that she is. That she calls me her Princess is a true reflection of how special she makes me feel. No other friend has ever treated me more royally, and it’s hard to put into words the profound effect that her kindness has made in my life. The treatment I get can only come from a woman who is herself very special. It sounds almost clichéd and unoriginal to describe a close friend as being sweet, thoughtful, and generous, but the truth is I think those words don’t do my friend justice, because she has taken thoughtfulness and generosity to a completely new level. She gives so much of herself and what she has. She takes time to ask me how I’m doing or to ask if I’m feeling ok. It’s actually hard for me to remember the number of times she has surprised me with gifts, taken me out to lunch at some really nice restaurant, or done the sweetest things when I was sick just to cheer me up.
But more than that, she doesn’t think twice about taking your problems and making them her own, and pulling all resources within her reach in order to help. She even goes so far as to extend help even to her friends’ friends and family. Being the good Christian woman that she is, Sandy is capable of giving until it hurts, so much so that she leaves herself vulnerable to people who sometimes tend to abuse her kindness and generosity.
I remember that she once got mad at a really frustrating staff member who couldn’t seem to get his act together. She called up the erring staff member to reprimand him. After talking to the guy, she noticed how somber the guy’s voice was, and it occurred to her that the guy was actually sick. I noticed right away that she couldn’t bring herself to be angry anymore and felt bad about feeling so angry at the guy.
Yet underneath the refined lady is a woman with the wittiest sense of humor who manages to crack me up all the time. Most people aren’t aware that despite Sandy’s high stature in society, she remains a well-grounded and fun-loving girl. She knows how to enjoy the simple things in life, whether it be a cute set of stationery, a fine cup of coffee or a good talk show. One time, when I visited her at a hotel where she was staying, she asked me to rub my toes under the soft bedsheets. It didn’t sound like much of a thrill, but when I tried it, it really felt good! Another time, we took ballroom dancing lessons, which we took seriously for a while. Although we didn’t end up becoming the dancing divas we had hoped to be, it turned out to be one of the most fun experience I’ve ever had.
I thank God for giving me such a wonderful friend in Sandy. She will always be my Queen, and there’s a special place in my heart where her throne will forever stay.