She called me her Mercedes Man
She called me her Mercedes Man.
I never quite nailed down exactly what that moniker meant, nor how she came to start using it for me. Google has been of no help—preferring only to highlight Mercedes-Benz dealers and enthusiasts of those vehicles. I, on the other hand, have never had any connection to these cars.
Yet, I am not oblivious that it was a term of endearment in response to the thrill she exhibited upon most every interaction we had.
Her name was Betty Kossick. Writer. Author. Poet. Wordsmith extraordinaire.
There were various professional projects we shared which, if my memory is correct, began in the 1990s when my former boss contracted her for writing assignments. There was also the extremely fun, yet short-lived, communication department newsletter, A More Excellent Way, to which she was a column contributor for each issue. There were only a total of eight quarterly editions produced from 2006–2007.
Our relationship of late was dominated by the small newsletter she launched for Florida Living Retirement Community where she resided, appropriately titled Front Porch Visits—a hat tip to the inevitable chats that ensued as a result of residents strolling through the property and saying hello to neighbors enjoying the outside air, seated in all variety and styles of furniture placed just outside their apartment doors.
She launched the first issue of Front Porch Visits, November/December 2018, with an employee of the apartments as the layout designer. This sort of work wasn’t his primary skill, but he did extremely well with the tools and skill he had. From the very beginning, the pages were delivered to me where, as print shop manager at my office, I took care of laying ink to paper. I never got around to sharing the pun with her, but she would have cackled over my answer to the internet meme inviting people to describe poorly what they do for a living—I apply powdered dinosaur fossils onto dead trees! (This is a reference to the printing ink made from petroleum/oil and paper made from lumber.)
After completing five issues of FPV, the original designer departed the apartments for a new job. I was contracted to take over the design/layout task for the September/October 2019 issue. The January/February 2022 edition was the 20th issue of FPV and the 15th that I designed.
Betty, with her husband, Johnny, had briefly moved away from Florida Living to an assisted care home due to Johnny’s failing health. Several months after Johnny passed away in June last year, Betty was able to move back to Florida Living. My father-in-law and I transported her belongings from the home back to the apartments on New Year’s Eve. After everything was inside, she and I had a most wonderful chat on her front porch, perfectly befitting the title of her newsletter.
Sadly, she became ill from COVID exposure very soon afterward and fell asleep Wednesday, 2/2/22. Although I understand her actual time of death was later, I would like to think it was at 2:22pm.
The Florida Living administrator and I concurred that FPV could never even hope to resemble the masterpiece it has been if someone else took the reins. As such, other than a a final, single-page tribute edition, we will allow the project to rest along with her.
Betty Kossick, rest in Jesus until He returns. See you in the morning.