My friend Libby lost her short battle with cancer the last day of May. This is what I read at her service. Miss ya girl!
I wanted to say a few words about why I loved Libby Jordan like a big sister.
First off, to understand why she meant so much, there’s something you need to know about me. In my mid 20s, I decided I didn’t believe the same way my family did anymore (this was a few years before I met Libby). My family are in a religion that shuns everyone – even family – if you leave. By the time I met Libby, I was a single mom with no real support. But I’m a Southern woman … a gulf coast woman. I did what we do. I buckled down, made a plan, and did what needed to be done. But thankfully I have been able to thrive, in large part because of my friendship with Libby.
I met Libby when we waited tables at Fisherman’s Wharf. That was 24 years ago. I looked it up. 😊 Libby and a bunch of the crew decided to bail on that place and go to open Joe’s Crab Shack. She kept bugging me till I went too. She told me that they needed smart-alek, loud-mouth wait staff.
I WAS PERFECT!
I worked at Joes with Libby until the summer before I left to attend FSU in 1999. I danced on tables, I think I have a bit of PTSD from the experience and hearing the macarena definitely triggers that!
Libby was the consummate Southern woman. She was just so kind. That’s what my kids remember about her – how nice Libby was. She loved going to church and really wanted me to go with her – which just never worked out. But she was happy I found spirituality that finally got me grounded. She was so pretty too – wasn’t she? She always looked so fit and put together.
And she was shady like only a southern woman can be. God forbid someone didn’t do all of their sidework and left it for her the next morning. She may not tell THEM directly – but she would make *that face*. Y’all know the one, right?
Libby wasn’t just a southern lady, she was a Gulf Coast woman too! Which means she knew how to have a good time! You know how it is working in Destin in the summers – you work hard and make all the money you can before things get slow in the fall. That means long, hot hours keeping the tourists happy. Which is why we’d all head out someplace after work to drink Absolute stresses and if you were with Libby – DANCE. She could never stand still – I don’t think it was possible for her. She’d be out on that dance floor with a mich lite in a coozie she whipped out of her purse, or maybe with a napkin wrapped around it, just bopping along. If you went out with her, you knew you were going to be dancing – along with everyone she met along the way. When the rest of us were ready to move on to the next place, we knew where to find Libby. The dance floor!
If you dated me with me in the last 25 years, Libby knew ALL about you. And I do mean ALL. She was with me when I was single and dating here in FLA, and then the crazy dating period you go through after a divorce. She loved my crazy dating stories. In my 20s, I met a guy who was in the Canadian air force when he was here on TDY. I was crazy about him. I mean that that literally…thank god Facebook hadn’t been invented yet so there is no digital record of it. NO ONE believed he was real – everyone thought I had “a boyfriend in Canada” — and the only one who ever met him was Libby. She understood why I was so smitten after she met him. That boy was FINE – I believe that is an exact quote from Libby.
When I came back home from Austin, I usually stayed with her. I stayed with her during my dad’s illness and death, which was complicated for me because of the reasons I mentioned before. We never had to discuss what was going on in depth, although she was always there for me. We would go to Hogsbreath or the boat house or AJs to dance and talk. She was a shining example of how when you love someone you’re there when they need you. When I did get remarried that second time, Libby was at the wedding. My parents and family were not. And Libby was there for me when that marriage fell apart too.
I have so many funny memories with Libby. I’m not sharing most of them, because I’m pretty sure she’d come and haunt me in the bad way. I wouldn’t blame her.
Libby and I were not in the same place when it came to politics. Y’all know Libby loved Trump. I do not. I came home right before the election, and we were at the Boat House. She was really upset at me for not agreeing with her about Trump and she got pretty animated, loudly telling me “You are not allowed to vote for that woman!!”. Now this was in the Boat House in September or October, so it was packed! Of course I had my own things to say on the topic, and wasn’t shy about saying them!
We really never agreed on this matter – but this didn’t make her love me any less. Nor me her. We could always talk about hard, complex things we didn’t agree about and still care so much for each other. Libby taught me that people who really love you will not just cut you out of their life for disagreeing with them.
If I’m being honest, there was one big difference we had that was just too much for me. Libby was a huge Alabama fan. But honestly I never held that against her.
I’ve been thinking a lot about those days when I waited tables at Joe’s, and how Libby became such an important person in my life. I am so grateful to have a blessed life. I have an amazing career and I’ve done things and been places I never dreamed were possible. I’ve come so far, and none of this would have happened for me if I wasn’t blessed to have women like Libby in my life, loving me unconditionally. I was fortunate to be able to choose her as family.
Libby LOVED her family. She talked about y’all all the time. When Austin came along, we knew everything about him. Many of my trips home, my time with her was scheduled around the time she spent with her brother. She loved all of y’all so much. Thank you for sharing her with me and my kids.
Libby was an amazing southern woman. A fiery gulf coast woman. She was one of the good ones. She deserved 20 or 30 more years.
Libby, my sister, I’m going to miss you like hell. God speed. I know you’ll be happy wherever you are, but please lord give Libby the peace and happiness that this amazing woman deserves.