Let me tell you a little story. When I started working for the Home Depot in Pace, Florida, I became friends with Eddy, one of the cashiers and one of the most sweetest guys you ever met. Eddy was a hairdresser by trade and would come over to his co-workers' homes and cut their hair and enjoy everyone's company. Eddy used to cut Mom's hair, and we all became close friends.
Last August, Eddy wasn't feeling well and went to see his doctor after having a seizure. After about a week in the hospital, the doctors told Eddy he had non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, but it was 70-90% treatable. I was at the hospital after his diagnosis and was thinking positive for my dear friend and his mother Mercedes. It was during Eddy's hospitalization in Pensacola that I met Mercedes, a little Spanish woman who loves her four kids and will drop everything to be with them when they are ill. I knew Mercedes and I would become dear friends after that first hug during my first long visit at the hospital with Eddy. Eddy, Mercedes and I would spend about three to four hours a visit talking about history, sports, and other topics to keep Eddy happy and not think about his illness all of the time. Mom came with me on one visit, and once again Mercedes opened her arms to Mom as well.
Unfortunately, Eddy's cancer had spread into his pancreas, liver, brain, and spine, and an infection after surgery to remove the spinal tumor weakened Eddy terribly. Mercedes was desperate to save her youngest child and took Eddy to the Siteman Cancer Hospital in St. Louis. I sent a hand-knit hat to Eddy for warmth which turned into two afghans and other knit goodies for Eddy to be comfortable during his stay at Siteman. But even the best cancer hospital in the USA couldn't save my friend Eddy, and only 24 hours after talking to him on the telephone, he fell into a coma and never woke up. Eddy died on October 9, 2009, and many of us at Home Depot were devastated and are still feeling Eddy's loss.
I needed to tell this story to set up for the next part of this journal entry. Mercedes and her friend Kathy drove up from Sebastian, near Orlando to give Eddy's former partner part of his ashes and visit all of the people from Home Depot who were his friends. Mercedes, Kathy, and I met at the Wasabi House, and after we all ate dinner, Mercedes wanted to take a ride to show Kathy the area. I suggested we go and see Palafox Pier and downtown Pensacola, and we crossed the Escambia County Bridge and headed south.
Now Palafox Pier isn't any old pier to me. It became a great place for Mom and I to walk around and take our dog Loki for a walk during our first eight months in Pensacola. We would enjoy watching people fishing off the pier and walking around the marina and seeing the ships docked at the port. Now, there is a statue of Tristan de la Luna that King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia dedicated during their February 2009 visit to Pensacola, and I knew that Mercedes, who was born and raised in Spain until she was 20 would love it. We arrived at the pier and parked her SUV. Kathy was a bit chilly and stayed inside while Mercedes and I got out and looked around a bit. Mercedes took pictures of the statue and I of some of the ships docked at the Port. The rain had let up enough to enjoy the sunset and smell the sea air.
After Palafox Pier, I gave Kathy and Mercedes an abbreviated tour of downtown Pensacola passing the the Federal and county courthouses and St. Michael's Church (1781). Mercedes didn't have a chance to see Pensacola while Eddy was ill, but she and Kathy didn't know the history I was telling them about the place and how most of the downtown was mostly law offices and cathouses during its wild days as a Navy port. My tales that I have heard in a short time here in Pensacola left Mercedes and Kathy craving for more, and I hope they will return to Pensacola when the weather is better and we can walk around and really enjoy the sights and sounds of Pensacola.
It was getting dark and rainy by the time the little tour ended, and Mercedes didn't want to be driving in the dark for much longer, so we reluctantly headed back to the Wasabi House parking lot where we left my car and parted ways with big hugs and kisses and promises to keep in touch.