The night I met Kandy Sims she earned a permanent place in my heart. I didn't expect and I wouldn't have bet on it, but it happened.
It was the fall of 2007, and the freshman dorms had just opened at SCAD. Kandy and her husband, Mike, had spent the day moving their son into his home-away-from-home. The Sims are a musical family, so after the unpacking was finished and the teenager made it clear he didn't need them to hang around, Kandy and Mike headed for River Street to check out the local acts. Chance brought them into the Bayou where Dave was on stage. I wish I could remember how we started talking, but I don't. Bars are crowded and loud and I am used to fielding questions about Dave (I'm With The Band), handing out business cards, and occasionally booking gigs while he's playing. I do remember that we hadn't been talking long when I asked what brought them to Savannah.
You know where this is going, right? She told me about her kid and then, because it's what moms do, she asked about mine. Did I have them, how old...and I told her, in that oddly-tensed way, 'I have a daughter. She died about year and half ago in a motorcycle accident.'
And, for the first time in that year and half, someone new - someone who hadn't known me Before and who never knew my girl - stepped towards me instead of taking that oh so perceptible half-step back. In a moment where most people murmur and move away, she chose to stay. I never forgot it.
We ended up hanging out with Kandy and Mike that whole night and saw them several more times over the years when they'd come from Atlanta to Savannah to visit their son. We saw them in Atlanta, too, catching Mike's show when we were visiting family there.
Kandy and Mike's son graduated from SCAD yesterday, but she wasn't here to see it. Kandy died in April and I will always miss her. Her particular kindness - because that's what it was, truly, a kindness - remains a rare thing and Kandy's initial reaction has become the yardstick by which all new people are measured. Not many people have passed that test.