I received a voicemail this morning, advising me of the death of my friend, Rona. My first thought was-- has Rona been sick? Impossible-- I just spoke to her last week and she was fine. Believe me, if Rona had been ill, she would've mentioned it. As a middle-aged Jewish lady from New York, there were no secrets in her life!
I first met Rona a few years ago. She ran the kitchenware/china department at Bloomingdale's. Her favorite part of the job was the chef demos that she arranged for every weekend. Lucky for us, she loved the Flying Biscuit and especially Delia. Once a quarter, Delia and I would go to Bloomies and cook up something good for her audience. We always arrived early and stayed late, just so we could spend some time gossiping with Rona.
Over the years, we got to know her daughter Dana and her son-in-law John. Last year, Dana had her baby, Micah, and he was the light of her life (the picture shown here is of Micah at Christmastime, wearing my Santa hat).
Rona and Dana visited us at the Biscuit often. Every time that had guests in from out of town, Rona would load them in her car and drive them to Candler Park for breakfast-- passing at least 2 other Biscuits on her way to see us.
I don't think that Rona ever met a stranger. She personally knew the owners/ managers of just about every restaurant in Atlanta. I envied her spunk and her people skills!
I never parted ways with her without getting a great big hug and an "I love you" from her. And she meant it, too. She called me last week to schedule a cooking demo for July. At the end of the conversation, Rona said "I love you". And those are the last words I would ever hear from my friend.
Delia and I went to Dana's today to sit shiva (sp?). Of course Micah was oblivious to the reason that so many people were coming to visit. I think he thought it was his birthday again or something, because he was the hit of the "party". What a nice distraction in the face of something terrible.
We learned that Rona had been sick for about 2 days. She didn't have a lot of energy, which was strange for her. Her husband was taking her to the hospital, and she died on the way. I know it's devastating for her family, but all I could think was "what a nice way to go". No lingering illness, no suffering, just a tired feeling and then a well-lived life was over.
Cheers to you, Rona, wherever you are. You were a lovely lady and it was an honor to know you .