My Dear Friend: Sharon Elliott just died. I am so sadden to know she will no longer be available to me for our phone calls and visits. But, I am relieved that she is no longer suffering. I think of the many fun times we had together. My wonderful Ron enjoyed her and we inclued her on many of our vacations. Her quirkiness kept us laughing and she enjoyed being the rebel. We adored her. She was a wonderful friend. When I needed her she was always there for me. She was one of the most generous people I have ever known. I have seen her through the death of her husband and great love of her life. For one year after Richard died I kept her with me. She would go to work and back to me, she would go home on the week-end long enough to check her mail do her laundry, get fresh clothes, then back to me. We would stay up most of the night, smoking, drinking and talking and talking and talking and laughing and laughing. It took a full year for us to talk her pain and grief down to where she could manage it. God, I loved that girl.
When she had her face lift she came from the hospital to me. Against all advice she refused to wear a hat and insisted on sun tanning her face. She worshiped the sun and kept a tan most of her life. Sharon seldom followed the Dr. instructions or any one elses. She was a rebel and delighted in blazing her own trail. We agreed to not discuss politics. I loved her so much that I closed my eyes, ears and mind to her lack of knowledge and quietly accepted that she was a “dumb Pollock”, when it came to politics. There was no point in trying to change her position on a subject once she had set her mind. I learned early in our relationship, that I could spend hours trying to enlighten her with my vast knowledge, resorting to badgering and conjoling her with my intelligence and verbal skills. She would sit back and allow me my fun and never interrupt as I adnosium lectured on and on. When I had finished she would look up at me with her cool green eyes and say very calmly: “I disagree”. End of discussion. God I loved that girl.
When I moved up to the Delta, she bought a house boat there. She no longer worked so she and I both being single, tore the hell out of that crazy Delta. I would cook and take all the food to her house boat and she would invite everyone she encountered aboard to eat. That is how I met my Ron. Sharon ran into a lady on the dock and invited her to join us. She was a long time friend of Ron’s and was in San Francisco on business. He invited her to spend the week-end on his sailboat before she returned to Portland. So the two of them arrived to dine on my craw-dads. Ron and I started talking about boats and going to Mexico. We never stopped talking and we went to Mexico together a few months later and have been together ever since.
Ron loved Sharon, he use to say she was our great source of entertainment. The three of us had so much fun together. When we moved up to our Ranch, Sharon came often. Now Sharon never came empty handed. She and I both enjoyed gourmet food and cooking so she would come with a trunk load of exotic food from Trader Joes and of course boxes of farm fresh produce from the many farm stands she drove by on the way to our Ranch. I had horses. Sharon loved horses. I spent most of the time she was around them trying to make sure she did not get hurt or her harm them. She had no common sense when it came to horses. Thinking she could read their minds and they would send her messages of what they really wanted.(“No Sharon, they cannot eat a whole bale of Alphalfa each.”) I forbade her from wearing her ever present flip flop shoes around the horses, for fear of her getting stepped on by their hoofs. She had no fear of them and did not exercise common caution when around them. I talked her into volunteering at Saddle Pals in Sacramento. That did not work out so well. They fired her. How does anyone get fired from a volunteer job? Well, perhaps one has to be Sharon Elliott . She told me the horses told her they wanted to eat the nice green grass on the other side of the fence. So she opened the gate and let them all out. It took many hours to round them all up. Sharon laughed and said she knew the horses enjoyed their adventure. God, I loved, that girl.
I needed $60,000. Sharon said she had it. She sat down and wrote me a check for that amount. I said ; “Let me get you an IOU.” She said: “Don’t bother, I know where you live.” God, I loved that girl.
Ron and I lived together for many years before we finally decided to get married. Of course, Sharon was my Matron of Honor and Kim Grover was Ron’s Best woMan. We got married on Valentines’ Day at the Court House in Oroville. They had it all set up in the Court Yard Garden with an Arch Way, it was lovely. Sharon got lost driving from our Ranch to the Court House. I had to send my son David to find her and lead her to us. She took this honor to heart, she showed up wearing a dress (first time I had ever seen her in a dress) and high heeled shoes that she had bought for the occassion. I think it was the first pair of high heeled shoes Sharon had worn in 30 years. She had great difficulty walking in them and my son David carried or supported her most of the entire event. She finally said; “Screw them”. threw them in her car and went bare footed. We didn’t care, that was Sharon and she could pull it off. We continued on to a Wedding Dinner and Show at Gold Country Casino. Sharon looked elegant in her fancy Matron of Honor Dress and carried herself so well that few even noticed her bare feet. God, I loved that girl.
Sharon always sent me a wonderfully thoughtful Birthday Present and card for my Birthday. When I turned 76 this past March I didn’t hear from her. Her phone message center was full and I could not get a call through to her. When my Birthday came and went with out a word from her, I told Ron we have to go to Sacramento and find her. I found her in a nursing home. I went in and there she was looking White headed, (when had she stopped coloring her hair auburn?) She looked so small and frail and very lost. She had some dementa. She said she had been there a month and she had only been there three days. After getting her home with her Grandson; Joels’ help. Joel and I went about trying to get her affairs in order. I set up a new will and a Quit Claim Deed for Joel. Her son Mark was in the Hospital dieing. Sharon had had open heart surgery and was in declining health. Joel and I expected both of them to die shortly. Mark surprised us all, made a recovery and returned home to take care of Sharon. Hospice was called in. I called and talked to Sharon often and even more often to Mark. He did an admirable job caring for this difficult woman who liked to challenge everything and disobey all instructions for her well being. Joel loves his Grandma and he tried his best to do right by her. It took a lot of courage for the both of them to deal with her. She was often demented and even more often cantankerous. I would talk to them and then tell Sharon,: “Knock it off! Stop Bullying them. “. She would giggle and admit that she was exercising her power. As their Mother and Grandmother she still had that power over them. When she went into the hospital this last time. I did not feel the need to go to see her or to phone her we had so many hours of talking. We had said it all to each other. There was nothing I could do. I had promised her that I would see to it that her wishes were carried out and would comfort her son and grandson through their grief. That is what a friend does for a friend.
My friend Sharon Elliott died today. God, I loved that girl.