Saturday morning as I rounded the indoor track and dreamed of being on the outdoor track, a vision popped into my mind…one of Phyllis Ehrman Moser, about 12 years ago. We often met at the track. While I ran, she walked. But boy, could that woman walk…long legs striding, arms swinging in the true, graceful form of a race walker.
She once told me about participating in a race some time after she’d undergone successful treatment of breast cancer. She proudly wore her race shirt for years — it was a reminder of what she’d been through. In the winters, she’d disappear from the scene but not from walking. Her basement became her indoor track and she’d do laps around and around and around. When the snow and ice cleared, she was back on the track — a tall form in a white sweatsuit, with a bright smile and cheery wave.
One morning I watched as she came up the road and through the parking lot to the track. She stopped periodically, bending over to pick up something. When she got closer, I realized she was carrying a plastic bag. She’d decided to do her part in keeping Bluffton clean by picking up trash while she walked. I often wondered how many bags she managed to fill over the years.
Memories of her carried me through Saturday’s run, but as the day went on, I forgot about it. Later that night, when we returned from a trip out of town, my husband — as usual — checked his Bluffton Icon inbox for any news to report. Phyllis Ehrman Moser had died at 6:20 a.m., less than two hours before I’d started my run. Wonder what prompted my thoughts of her?
Phyllis was my voice teacher in college. I loved my lessons with her — she was so cheerful, so encouraging, and so willing to let me sing what appealed to me. She had a silly side that I think she only shared with certain people — maybe sensing when another person shared that need for some silliness.
And she could sing. Wow. Could she sing. I once asked her how many times she’d sung in the Messiah, and she thought it must be over 50 years. She must have known it from memory.
The last time I saw Phyllis, I’m pretty sure she didn’t recognize me, but that didn’t matter. Her face lit up with that beautiful, bright, infectious smile. I miss her already.