Missing Judy

Since we've lived in our neighborhood, we've lost some really wonderful and influential friends. Marianne O'Brien, Rick Raiter, Pam Gru, Tom Segar,and many more, I think of you often and am grateful for what you have brought to my life. But this week, we lost Judy McLaughlin, and right now that loss seems unbelievably hard to bear.

Judy was one of the first people to take me under her wing when I moved into my neighborhood. She taught me how to stand for what I believed in politics, from the local level on up. She taught me how to throw events. She taught me how to care passionately about things, and to organize people to care along with you. She taught me about the importance of historic preservation. She taught me how to be a steadfast and caring friend. She taught me about the importance of tradition — and when and how to break it.

Her parties were legendary. For years I counted down to midnight in the Summit Manor living room, sipped wine in her backyard, and watched the runners at the Marathon on the final descent down the hill in front of her home (when they weren't stopping to get cups of water from Paul Wellstone, that is). I've spent numerous evenings with her at various local establishments that served various kinds of alcoholic beverages, summarizing board meetings, deciding what to do next, or simply laughing with a big group of friends. When I needed advice, or just someone on my side, I could always call Judy, and she always, always set me straight.

To some extent, Judy's not gone, because she lives in in her family, in the community that she loved so much, in the entire future of Saint Paul. But of course, in the everyday way we have lost her, and I already feel the loss more strongly than I could have expected.


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