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It was 1982, shortly after I began working at the Carroll County Public Library, trying hard to put names with faces and learn the ins and outs of Carrolton when my most unique patron walked in with her young son.
I think it would be correct to say hers was the brightest plumage and hers the most unforgettable face I had yet encountered.
Her name was Daisy and she had the sweetest smile. Her hair was a red not found in nature, but that was wonderful on her.
Her makeup was dramatic, and she always wore a flamboyant hat or had a truly edgy hair cut.
There was no forgetting her.
Years passed and her visits to the library were less frequent. She became a hairdresser, I heard; and then later, I learned she had battled cancer and won.
Forward to about 10 years ago. Daisy, now married to Gregg Hughes, who worked for Duane Chappell who sometimes worked for me, re-entered my life.
This time she was dressed in a flannel shirt and jeans.
Her hair was still a wonderful red and her makeup beautiful.
This time she became my friend.
She came to my side through more than one crisis situation and as I prepared to put my house on the market, she was there, helping me clear out ‘stuff’ and finally taking the paint brush from me as I was just not good at painting.
When I entertained a few people to celebrate Evelyn Welch’s new job at another state park, Daisy was my mainstay. She helped me set up, serve and clean up.
People who had not met her before fell in love with her that day.
Best of all, when I went away, for as long as a month at a time, she and Gregg came to my house to feed the cats twice a day … and clean the litter boxes. Could you ask for a better friend?
We loved to occasionally sit down in the afternoon and share tales over a cup of coffee, but I am sure that I did most of the talking. Daisy was a good listener and a wise friend from whom I never heard an unkind or ungracious word.
She was especially loved by the crew she so often worked with: Dwayne, James, Ray and Stuart.
She was a wonderful partner to Gregg, worrying over him as he did over her. She loved their marble weekends, the 127 Yard Sale and working on the Carroll County Tobacco Festival. Her home was filled with her treasures and like her, was impeccable.
A gentle soul is gone from our midst. She was a frail lady, I now know, but also perhaps the strongest I have ever met.
Jarrett Boyd is the retired director of the Carroll County Public Library and now resides in Madison, Ind.