As Angela left a summer session at Buffalo State College one day, a vandal threw a rock from an overpass, shattering the windshield in her red Toyota, and showering glass into her hair, and everywhere. She pulled off the Scajaquada Expressway, chased the kid by car and on foot, demanded his wallet, and called his mother to report what he had done. She drove right to a repair shop, had the windshield replaced, and billed the vandal. She then drove on, to Empires soccer practice, changing in the car.
Her expressive face, mugging for photos, showing mock terror when she described her latest soccer collision. Her squint when the sun was in her eyes. Her look of determination when heading the ball or making a tackle in soccer, or when waiting for a pitch, playing softball. Her competitiveness. Even when she went to mail a letter, she would run to the mailbox on Bailey and Longmeadow, time her run, and try to better it the next time.
Her dark, shiny, curly hair. She'd put her fingers in the waves on the side of her head, and grin, and say, "See, Dad, this is your wave!" Her feet. Petite, but long and slim, with their "Coniglio toes"; the second toe longer than the first. She'd tease her mother because "she doesn't have toes like the rest of us". Now, I look at my feet, and I see Angela's feet.
Her physical strength, and the countless times she helped me carry lumber; or mow the lawn; or carry, split, and stack cordwood; or shovel snow. It was hard to believe the energy in her small frame.
During our first spring at Crystal Beach, a wooden ramp washed up near our cottage. I wanted to use it as a walkway beside the building, but that meant getting it up the beach, and then up the steep hill that the cottage perches on. As usual, Angela was my helper. She was eighteen then.
We picked up the ramp from shoreside and dragged it up the beach to the front of the house. It was water-logged and bulky and must have weighed well over two hundred pounds. We took a break and I walked up to the cottage for a drink.
When I came back down, one of our neighbors was looking on, and Angela seemed agitated. She said he had asked, "Where did you get the ramp?"
She replied, "My dad and I brought it up from shore"
"You carried that?" he scoffed, "Sure!"
With that, Angela picked up her end of the ramp, I picked up mine, and straining and red-faced, she practically pushed me up the thirty or so stairs to the cottage. I looked down at my neighbor, who was scratching his head in disbelief. I told him, "Next time Angela tells you something, believe her."
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