Is this window taken? Remembering Danner Dyess.

Maybe it’s a mistake to write about my memories of my friend, Danner, so soon after hearing of her passing. I don’t really know how these kinds of things are supposed to be done. Forgive me if I’m erring. But since she is heavy on my heart and mind today, I would like to remember her to you all.

First of all, what kind of name is Danner Dyess? Unique, that’s for sure. I asked her once how she got her name and she told me that while she was being born her grandmother was reading in the waiting room and saw the name and liked it. So Danner it was!

You know, it’s fitting to me that her grandmother helped named her. I remember that her grandmother was an immense source of love in her life. They cared for each other deeply. I marveled at their relationship when I was in their home. It was beautiful.

Danner liked to remind me of the day we met. It was in high school. I think it was our junior year, but it could have been sophomore. P.E. had just ended and we were all waiting in the hallway for the bell to ring. She was leaning on the wall, looking out one of the windows that flanked the hallway. I walked up to her and said, “Is this window taken?” It tickled her that someone would do this. “Is this window taken,” became one of our greetings to each other.

I wasn’t usually the overtly friendly type, but she was new to the school, and for some reason, completely disarming. Maybe it was the way she was looking out the window – caged birds that we were. I don’t know, but it felt like we were friends before we ever met. One of those people you feel like you’ve always known.

The next few years she was a “regular” in my sister’s lives and mine. Sleep overs, school lunches, church events, hugging me when I got stood-up by a college guy, making me call him to ask why, then finding out I had the wrong night. She could gently push me to move beyond my barriers. Danner Dyess was a good friend to have.

Sadly, I lost touch with most of my high school friends when I got married and moved away. But now and then we would touch base. I know she didn’t have an easy life. I know she loved her daughter very much. And I know she will be missed by many. I’m so glad she shared that window with me.

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