Bet you’re thinking of the president’s wife, right? Well, wrong. Nothing against her, but the Betty Ford I knew was the kind of woman that all women should aspire to be. Almost two years ago she left this world. I think her body was tired, as it should have been. She’d fought breast cancer and won and was fighting lung cancer hard. Who knew that a woman of such small physical stature could put up such a fierce battle? Truth is, anyone who really knew her, knew. I’m going to guess she was all of five feet tall and maybe 100 pounds soaking wet on a rainy day. She carried herself in a way that was elegant and strong. I expect it’s common of women from her era as I see the same thing in my Nana.
I lived with my Grandma for a while when I was kid. I watched her work hard from sunup to sundown. I really can’t remember her ever complaining. I worked with her in their bird shop, Ford’s Feathers. I learned a lot during time that. I remember asking her why she only used the cash register as a big cash box. She told me it was important to exercise your brain. So even though I didn’t understand it at the time, I learned to hand-write the sales tickets and make change in my head. I think of her every time I buy something and the cashier gets stumped when they have to make change.
I am pretty sure that woman saw the positive in everything. Something I could use to remember sometimes. I know she loved being outside, she loved adventures and she really had an amazing sense of humor. I’m sure not what people would really expect from her. But I loved being an adult and hearing her tell me a dirty joke and the way she’d smile as telling it and then we’d laugh like little girls. The way she’d say, “Right?!” and touch my arm.
Yeah, she was a giant of a woman. Who genuinely cared about people, who I’m pretty sure never met a stray animal. Heck, she’d set out food for the wild rabbits, the quail and water for the coyotes.
So why am I writing this? Well, like I say, it’s my page and I can. I miss her something fierce. I miss her voice, hearing her laugh. I miss the birthday call with her and Grandpa singing happy birthday. I miss the birthday cards. Forgive my language, but she was a hell of a woman!
October is coming up and as you may or may not know, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. I still have the little pink breast cancer ribbon pin she gave me after her battle. It was her way of reminding me to do a self exam each month. As a further reminder, I’ve got a pink ribbon tattooed on my wrist. It’s my reminder to me to do my self exam. And hopefully a reminder to anyone that sees it.
The picture today was taken at her house… a rose from her garden, the morning of her memorial service.