It’s Christmas Eve and I keep looking at the little house across the street and thinking of my neighbor Sally. She died just after Mother’s Day, after yet another battle with cancer.

Today will be the first time in years that we will not exchange homemade cookies. We both liked to bake and would make sure to save cookies for each other. We laughed at the mental picture of sugar cookies and peanut blossoms and tiny spritz cookies running across the street. It was one many jokes we had, as friends and neighbors.

We liked to hang out and visit, drinking tea on her back deck, working in her yard or sitting in her living room analyzing bad movies. I helped her with garage sales after she closed her floral shop. We were sounding boards for each other. She was my rock during difficult times, and I hope I was hers, too. She was a great friend.

Sally liked Christmas but her favorite holiday was Halloween. Children too small to enjoy candy got Beanie Babies in gift bags, tied with Halloween-colored ribbons. I sadly told a few of my trick-or-treaters this year that the Beanie Baby Lady had passed away. We found a few carefully wrapped Beanie Babies when we cleaned the little house.

Christmas Day 2013 we spent the entire day talking. She didn’t feel well enough to visit cousins and I was alone.  We ate the last of the spritz cookies. A few months later, she fell very ill for the last time. I visited her in hospice on Mother’s Day and talked to her for a time. I hope she heard me.

I wound up with her spritz cookie presses but was too sad to use them this year. Someday. . .