Did you get the chance to experience Bernie?
Cancer claimed the life of our beloved co-worker, Bernadene Bennett this past year. In four months we went from having an active young woman to a memory. Even as time passes, it is still hard to believe that she is gone from our lives.
Bernie helped grow Fox Creek Leather into what it is today. An excellent employee, she had a keen business sense and a dedication to continually improve our company. If she didn’t know how to do something or if something was not working as it should, Bernie would not quit until she mastered the situation/program/idea. In one word: Mrs. Efficiency.
Outside of work, she continued to prove how she was a loving mother, a dedicated wife, and a good friend. When I was hired, Bernie trained me at FCL. A little bossy I thought, but great at teaching and even better at laughing. So over the weeks we started talking. Being close to the same age, we shared many common interests and experiences.
As I came to know her, Bernie made an impact on my life. She made me want to be a better employee at work, a better cook at home, and to seriously contemplate joining weight watchers. Through her illness, she made me promise to go to the doctor over ignored symptoms. I finally did. I also want to live a healthier lifestyle and make better choices.
Melinda and I talk about Bernie occasionally, but she comes to mind daily. It amazes me at how fast she was taken. We laugh at good times shared. We cry at times we lost.
Bernie and I both loved NASCAR racing, just not the same drivers. Bernie and Chippy went to Martinsville in April of 2005 (complements of UPS) to watch qualifying in the UPS box. She was so excited even when showing me the photographs. She took this one:
(Melinda and I went this year and agreed that it was so nice that she got to experience this event.)
We really bonded the most over our love of food (although Bernie was way more health conscience than myself). Man, this lady could cook. She enjoyed sharing meals with the office staff. Bernie was so thoughtful; she would never miss baking you a birthday cake.
When going to place an office supply order today, the woman asked if I was Bernie. My heart stopped for a split second, and you know, I’m not Bernie, but I do wish that I was more like her in many ways. She has taken a place in my heart and I will remember and cherish our short time together for always.