There are times in life when we are fortunate to meet people who affect us in a way that makes us want to spend more time with them. If I had known when we moved to France that our neighbor Sally was going to be one of those people, I would have done all I could to get to know Sally right away.

One of the first things I learned about Sally, was that she and I liked the same type of books and many of the same authors. Sally and I were also able to introduce one another to new authors, which I greatly appreciated.

I also learned fairly quickly that Sally had a rapier wit. She was very quiet, but more often than not, when she spoke it was to say something that made those around her laugh out loud. As an example of Sally’s sense of humor, one day, Sally’s husband Clive came by our place to ask if we had a small screwdriver. I told Clive that I did and that I would be down to help him. I grabbed our tool box, which actually contained not one tool other than eight various screwdrivers, and headed down to help Clive. I knocked on the door of Clive and Sally’s flat and went inside toting my toolbox. Sally was standing in the kitchen cooking, and the second she saw me, she feigned palpitations with her hand on her chest and said dramatically, “Ohhh, a man with a toolbox!” as if I were the sexiest man she’d ever seen. I almost dropped the toolbox because I was laughing so hard.

Sally appreciated a good joke as well, even if she was somehow intertwined with the joke. At one of our neighborhood gatherings, I told a joke about a woman who went to a finishing school. Sally laughed as hard as anyone else and had Clive not alerted us, we never would have known that Sally had actually gone to a finishing school!

Besides her sense of humor, I also appreciated Sally’s toughness. She battled cancer for over twenty years. Though she had numerous health problems associated with cancer and its accompanying treatments and often times was in a great deal of pain, I never heard her complain. In my mind I picture her waking each day and telling her various ailments to “bugger off!” and getting on with her day.

The time I got to spend with Sally enriched my life more than she could have imagined, and I will be forever grateful. I only wish she had more time to give. I am proud to have been able to call Sally a friend even though it was only for a short while.

Go out and be consistent.