We had dinner with Greg tonight. Greg was married to Sandy, who was my very best friend until 6/30/2000 when she finally, after a long heartbreaking fight, succumbed to cancer at age 37. I miss her keenly.
Greg's moving to Seattle soon, and was cleaning out his house. I'm not sure if he was actually looking for things to give to people in memory of Sandy, or if he just ran across this, or what.
Back when I was visiting our pottery studio weekly, Sandy would show up now and then and, and this is just like her, would throw clay down on the wheel and with great hilarity try to make something. Occasionally she'd wind up with a small dish or something; more often the result would be a sodden lump of clay on the wheel and a Sandy entirely spattered with clay.
I unwrapped the present to find a small ceramic dish, maybe suitable for holding candy by the front door, or salsa served with chips. On the bottom was "SVS 1994" scratched into the wet clay before firing. I was pleased he thought to give it to me. When I got home I noticed that it exactly fits inside a similarly-shaped dish I made when I was first learning to throw clay on the wheel, which I think is just about perfect.
It's funny, thinking about this thing that my friend made, years ago. Fired clay, especially glazed, is incredibly tough stuff. Impossible to wear down, difficult to break, it has a tremendous sense of permanence to it. It reminds me that I often think of Sandy in the present tense, as if she were still around. Not like she's in heaven or anything like that (for who can say where the dead really go), but that she really is still here, because I still think about her, and I still love her, and she is still in my heart and so still has a say, in some way, about what I think about things. She used to give the best advice, and sometimes I think she still does.