So... those of you who know me (all 4 of you faithful readers out there) know that I am rarely one to get too serious. I am all about the laugh.
But there are times that I can grow somber. Kids getting sick. I get serious. Mass shootings. I get serious. Illness, hunger, harm to the elderly, a puppy, or a child. I get serious. People absolutely flipping out over the breakup of Rob What's-His-Face and Kristen What's-Her-Name of the vampire saga. Don't even go there. I laugh so hard I can barely breathe. A lady trips in the mall, falls out of her Louboutins, smacks her new (bought by her 6th husband) nose on the ground, and drops her Louis Vuitton. I don't get serious. I laugh so hard I almost vomit. Okay, I digress ... The point? There are times and situations I take very seriously. Dear readers, this is one of those times.
I was a writer at Southern Living Magazine for 10 glorious years. The best part of my tenure? My friends. I made friends who became family. Co-workers? Nope. These writers and editors and photographers and artistic geniuses were my family. And, truth is, they still are. Reality is, though, that one of the absolute brightest stars of my group passed away not so, so long ago. The impression she left is like a Sharpie to a wall. It isn't going away easily. Or, more likely, ever.
Sara Jones. She had red hair like fire and a laugh that could shut down an entire block of people. Trust me. I've witnessed it. I've been in a closed-door meeting and had the entire room stop, simply because Red was laughing -- somewhere within a 10-mile radius. She was a ballerina, a mom, a writer, an artist, a wife, a daughter, and to me, a friend. She was a dear, dear friend. And, when I wasn't out hunting down stories for Southern Living Magazine, I was downstairs, in the office cafeteria, eating lunch with Sara Jones and a few other ladies. It was precious. It was sacred. I was the kid in the group and I have never felt so blessed to sit among these women and share, laugh, and learn. And, did I say laugh? Be jealous, friends. Because when we lunched, when we were not on the road traveling or fighting a terrible deadline, we laughed. And my friend Sara Jones, my Red, she led the laugh. I miss her. I wish that she was able to meet my son. She knew my girl. But, she missed meeting my boy. I think if she had been able to meet him and she'd laugh. And he, in turn, would, too. This is how it worked. When Sara, my Red, was around, we all laughed. Even through sadness and tears and absolute heartbreak, we laughed. Always.
So... my friends in Birmingham are fighting to keep the Sara Jones legacy alive. With an online auction of artwork, furniture, photography sessions, celebrity-cooked meals, and so much more, they are working to raise funds. This money will be used to construct The Sara Jones Memorial Arbor, which will serve as the entry to the Hess Camellia Garden at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
She fought cancer for so many years. When I first met her, she had beat it for the first time. Then it came back. Again and again. It finally wom. But, again, my fellow writers and editors and artists are fighting to keep her memory alive. And, please, my 4 faithful readers out there, help them, and me, keep the Sara Jones memory alive.
Here are a few of the gems you can bid on: