This is one of those situations where the unexpectedness of the situation blunts the reality. As the day goes on the more I miss her. She was such an asset to me, and I don't think most people know how much she did behind the scenes here.
Rita picked and posted the message and pictures of the day on the front page every day. She also read every reader review that would come in and often commented about them to me. We didn't talk on the phone every day, but I usually got anywhere from three to ten emails a day from her.
She did the layout of all the articles, and I actually have four articles yet to be published that she just wrote. She was such a hard worker, and she really knocked out a few topics in the last week because she said she felt obligated to do them.
I don't know if you guys know that she wrote copy for a web site where she got paid by the word, just about 5-cents or so, but she would do 10,000 words in a weekend. She wrote a book about sky-diving and she was interested in writing another book.
She was the kind of person who never pussyfooted around anything. If she wanted to do it she jumped in with both feet. As I said, she got her travel agent's certification from Cruise Planners (a very good outfit) which required flying to Florida for training. I also just heard she was going to court reporting school.
She smoked, you could hear the rattle in her voice when she talked. And she was only 53 years old, Jan. 16, 1956.
She took care of her dad all on her own, and he is about 95. He used to need hospitalization quite often.
The thing about her is that she always took everything in stride. She never, ever got mad about anything that I can remember. She complained sometimes but always in a kidding, very good natured way. And she could swear like a sailor when she wanted to, but not very often.
I swear, there is something about the early 50s age bracket. My brother passed away at 51. A lot of people seem to go at that age, and it is almost like if you can beat that you are home free for awhile.
Anyway - she wrote me an email at just 3:30 pm yesterday and I didn't get a chance to reply. She wrote and said she had a migraine and was taking off work.
Goodbye Rita. I hope you are now on a cruise ship to paradise. The only places you cared to go were warm and tropical. She was booked to go to Hawaii/Tahiti in October and she said "no Alaska for me, I don't care about that cold stuff."