Wednesday, January 12, 2011

You Were and Are Our Sunshine

What does it take to pull a "blogger" out of a seven-month retirement?

A fiery blonde muse from Titusville, Fla.

[Friends, especially those of the Pi Alpha variety: I'm posting this for those, including yours truly, who were unable to attend the Jan. 8 services.

Writing a so-called eulogy for Miss Ann is either the hardest job in the world, or the easiest.

It's been more than a year since she first mentioned the E word and I still can't reason why, out of the scores of people who adored every blonde ounce of her Titusville-bred self, she deemed me worthy of this task. What I DO know, though, is that I can't imagine a greater honor.

It was the Sunday after a reunion disguised as a football tailgate--a tailgate orchestrated largely by Miss Ann--that she first mentioned the E word. In a tone as familiar as one fitting for "I'll take a glass of Yellow Tail chardonnay, please," Miss Ann summoned me into her suite, and with just a few words, anointed me the future author of her eulogy. She'd even told Stacy as such.

The statement was paralyzing. I was as much honored as I was horrified. Tebow had just secured us a win over LSU. Our two-day visit had been punctuated by game day endorphins, reminiscing about trouble we'd gotten into in the DZ house and her excitement over the bundle of joy growing in Stacy's tummy. At that time, 16 months ago, the thought of saying goodbye to Miss Ann for more than a football season was strictly out the question.

As she persisted about the E word, I agreed, under the pretense we'd table the conversation for 20 years, after she’d said a toast at my and Nicole’s weddings, after Brian had executed an engagement as colorful as Shaun's, after Stacy had a house full of bubbly little tinkers. God, it seems, had other plans. Maybe heaven was lacking in laughter. Maybe the angels needed someone to make them chicken noodle soup and seven layer bars. Most likely, though, I think He saw all the fun she was orchestrating on earth and wanted in on the action.

Because I'm pretty sure there aren't laws against plagiarizing oneself, here's a snippet from a letter written four years ago.

"Though us Delta Zeta sisters share varied faiths, we spiritually agree on one certainty: we know why God rested on the seventh day. He did so to create the woman whose homemade ice cream cakes and pepper roasts make Rachael Ray dishes taste like Chef Boyardee, the friend whose compassionate dialogue rivals the writers for Grey's Anatomy, the role model who stands taller than Macy Gray on stilts, the set of shoulders more supportive than Tim Tebow’s game day armor… Miss Ann Grenville.

Should the price of paper rise in the future, it'll be easy to pinpoint the culprit. It will take several forests of refined greenery to create the wedding invitations, birth announcements, thinking of you, change of address and Christmas cards directed Miss Ann's way in the future. To not include Miss Ann in the joys of life would be like not inviting the mother of the bride to her daughter's wedding. Graduation may close our days and nights with Miss Ann, but a little bit of her character is embedded in each of us as we follow in her footsteps."

These words were written in 2006, a time when I visualized addressing announcements to a Miss Ann at 903 S.W. 13th Street in Gainesville, Florida. Now that she'll know about engagements and babies long before a paper product could be stamped, she's taken "going green" to extremes. Leave it to Miss Ann to be hip and trendy from heaven.

I heard that Miss Ann was going to let us know it was her time by saying, "Well folks, the party's over."

Miss Ann, you know I'd never correct you, but I'd be remiss in not calling you out on this one. The pre-party may have run its course, but the band has just arrived.

While the next few weeks and months will leave us longing for one more hug, one more wild hair to leave her a voicemail to the tune of "You Are My Sunshine," one more notification that "Ann Grenville likes this," let us find comfort in the thought that we no longer have to share our Miss Ann.

From here on out, on any given fall Saturday, the DZ tailgate will boast one more attendee, no more panhellenic or fraternal laws to mind. Tables on the Front Lawn will sport an extra guest, one silently encouraging rounds of upside down pineapple cake shots. Sidelines throughout the SEC will staff an extra blonde cheerleader... when said cheerleader is not distracted by unannounced visits to the locker room. And when his mom and dad are distracted with singing "We are the Boys," Parker will have a built-in playdate, one that will continue to rival his youth.

There was nothing ordinary about Miss Ann during our precious time together. And there will be nothing ordinary about this Anngel - that's angel with two Ns. As much as this Anngel will be on hand to blanket us in her protective arms, she'll be just as much a silent antagonist encouraging us to follow her tireless pursuit of adventure.

So... Miss Ann, our Anngel, you're officially on the clock. I hope you're ready. Because, well folks, this party has just begun.


  1. sad sad sad and beautifully written. i don't even no ms. ann but totally get the amazing woman she was by your words. i know you and nic will miss her terribly. i hope you stay in contact with her family.

  2. Speechless. How is it possible that someone so influential to you was a stranger to us? I am so thankful this anngel was there to take such good care of you while in college. Rest in peace, Ms. Ann.

  3. That was sooo beautiful....thank you again for writing this. Mom would have loved it! You are the best! Love you!! XOXO

  4. Your friend Nicole did a wonderful job translating your words. This was a very special moment and everyone in the church listening felt your words and your love for Ann. My mom is Emma and one of Ann’s BFF’s… We will miss that girl, but know she is always close in our hearts!


    You are now a celebrity by 92 people. Actually, you were a celebrity way before. I say this in my post, but Flynnie that was pure prose. I don't plan on needing your services soon, but if I ever need a eulogy. You, my dear, are my go-to gal-writer. I just hope I can be as much of an upstanding client as a certain House Mom that we all love so dearly. Miss you Miss Ann.

  6. That is beautiful friend. She is smiling down on us now and forever. Thank you for putting into words what everyone who could not attend felt in their hearts. Love always!