“Oh, before I forget, I promised I would give this to you. It’s for the calendar.”
I reached over as Sammy Quinn handed me a piece of paper with information about the North Kitsap Widow-Widowers Social Club (by the way, you all have a lunch at 1 p.m. Feb. 10 at Whiskey Creek Steakhouse in Keyport).
I had to laugh because Sammy was doing her job — keeping North Kitsap informed.
I stopped by her room at Martha & Mary on Monday afternoon, with crimson red Gerberia daisies, yellow spring mums and purple tulips in hand, to find the Kingstonite in typical form — spunky conversation and bright pink fingernail polish.
While the only thing missing was her blue eyeshadow, she was wearing a red baseball cap brought in by her daughter — clearly signifying that this lady was a definitive member of the Red Hat (Red Hot Mommas) Society. And as always, an angel by her side, or more like, in her hand.
“I’ve had it with me the whole time,” she said as she opened her fingers to reveal a small angel wrapped in paper and strung on a green ribbon that was wrapped around her hand.
She complimented her doctors, who said it was “a perfect textbook surgery” and that they got all the cancer during the 11 1/2 hour procedure last week.
Thank goodness. And even better, she is not in any pain.
“It’s gotta be people praying,” she said.
Thanks, North Kitsap.
“I’m just amazed,” Sammy said about the cards and phone calls she’s been receiving. She’s even been hearing from people she doesn’t know, but who read her column, often starting their conversation with her as, “Well, you don’t know me, but…”
And as with Sammy, there is always a story.
Such as a the triangle-shaped contraption they put in her room after her surgery which allows her pull herself to a sitting position — but the nurse dropped one part of it on her head, but it’s okay.
“Just a bump on my head,” she remarked.
And she was disappointed when she was transported by ambulance from Virginia-Mason in Seattle to Martha & Mary.
“There were no sirens — not even one!” Sammy exclaimed.
Oh, and Virginia Mason sort of lost her, too.
“People kept calling (the hospital) and they said they discharged me but they didn’t know where I went!” she said with a laugh. She was tracked down by friends at M&M but then Sammy couldn’t receive phone calls.
“We found out the ringer had been turned off,” she explained.
But even after the commotion of getting settled in, her room has been the social center of North Kitsap — there’s been a stream of visitors for her, evident by the abundance of flowers by her bed, and cards and angels.
Two things I learned about Sammy that day — she doesn’t like whipped cream and that “Sammy” is really a nickname.
When friends came to visit, they brought her a surprise from Debi at Natural Grounds, who knows her order by heart: Chocolate mocha, skim milk, single shot, no whipped cream.
“No whipped cream? That’s the best part,” I argued.
“Oh, no,” she said, shaking her head. “I just don’t like it.”
Well, okay, then.
Above her head on the wall is a taped sign — “I like to be called Sammy,” scrawled in black marker, ending with smiley face.
I noticed the sign outside her room said something different and I asked.
“When I was in boarding school, I was Marie Louise,” she said. “When the teacher would call my name, my hand went up and so did another girl’s.”
To solve that problem, they went by last names. Sammy’s was Salmon and the other girls was John. So they went by “Sammy” and “Johnny.”
While she doesn’t have any other gossip or news to pass on, she just wants to say thanks to everyone keeping her in their prayers.
So I’m ending this like she does, with a Sammy-esque comment that she relayed to me about the entire experience.
“If you don’t keep laughing, you cry.”