Breast Cancer steals a childhood friend
I learned last Thursday that Virgina (Harris) Hill had died; losing at last, her battle with breast cancer.
I grew up knowing her as Ginger. Our families shared a section of land. The Harrises' on the northeast quarter, the David's the southeast. As the crow flew, we were one-half-mile apart.
There were three Harris girls, Ginger, Shirley, (with whom I share a birthday) and Jacque.
It was on a hill in the pasture west of their home, where I learned what little I know about baseball; and that I was supposed to bat “right-handed”.
Ed, their father never seemed to mind that he had no boy with whom to play baseball. He taught the girls to run the bases; and tried to teach me.
It was to Ed, on a cold day in January, 1945, that my father with his home ablaze, his upper body rapidly swelling with blisters ran for help.
It was to show the Harris girls that I pedaled a mile-and-a-quarter when I learned that vinegar and baking soda combined in an old stoppered Rexall Vitamin bottle created a rocket of sorts.
Every now and then, when spending an afternoon with the girls, I was coerced, (It really didn't take much), to play house.
As the oldest, Ginger always ordained herself “the widowed mom” with Shirley, myself and Jacque having to be her kids. We'd sweep out the well house, and make a home from peach crates.
As we all grew older, the girls outgrew missing baby teeth and skinned knees. All three were pretty, athletic, and if memory serves me, each took piano lessons.
But to Ginger...God had given a voice; a beautiful voice. It was like finely polished crystal; clear and pure. I could hardly wait for each year's Christmas play at school so I could listen as she sang “Oh Holy Night” and “Star of the East”.
As often happens when we grow older, I lost touch with each of the girls. We'd see each other in passing at alumni events; or at funerals.
It was Ginger who arrived to represent her family when my wife Carol died. It was an honor and a tribute I was sadly and ashamedly unable to return.
I don't remember when I first heard Ginger was battling breast cancer. I wasn't there for the ugly part of the battle, with chemo or radiation. When I saw her again she'd passed that stage, though the treatment had wrecked her lungs. But each time I saw her, she was in good spirits and as I'd always remembered; beautiful.
I was always amazed that even after that horrible fight against a killer she wanted so badly to beat, she still had that winning smile and attitude and was even prettier than I'd ever known her to be.
It's the way I wish to, and always will, remember her; a smiling, pretty woman, with a beautiful voice.
Boise City News