Shirlee is no longer with us. She left this world at the age of 91 in 2016. She had an infectious laugh that was highly contagious. We shared many stories about life, philosophy, family, food, politics and more. I enjoyed many meals with her, her family and friends.
Every so often I do think about the good times that we enjoyed and the stories that she told including the following one. Shirlee was scheduled to fly from her home in Portland, Oregon to Minneapolis, Minnesota to visit her sister, Maxine. Shirlee was born in Minneapolis and left the state in her early twenties to move to New York. She married, gave birth to three boys before moving to Portland.
Shirlee was looking forward to spending time with Maxine. Shirlee’s friend Ed offered to drive her to the airport so she would not have to take a taxi. This was decades ago, years before Lyft and Uber were companies competing with taxis to transport people and years before Trimet, public transportation, transported people to the airport.
Shirlee had an early morning flight. Ed picked her up on time and the two were on the way to the airport. Suddenly Shirlee realized that she forgot her purse at home. She told Ed that he needed to take her back home. She told me that Ed looked a little skeptical, but he understood her well enough to know that she would not ask to go back home to get her purse if it wasn’t important. So, Ed did as he was told. Shirlee knew that she might not return to the airport on time for her flight and rescheduled her flight for later the same week.
She telephoned Maxine to tell her that her flight plans had changed and that she would see her in a few days. They hung up and a few hours later Shirlee learned that the flight she would have been on had it not been for her purse, crashed.
No this had nothing to do with intuition. Shirlee said that it wasn’t her time to leave this earth. Who can argue with her. She lived several more decades