I only found out about this Sunday morning--an old friend of mine, and of everyone else who knew her, passed away August 14, suddenly and unexpectedly.
NASCAR Debbie was a petite woman--four foot nine and weighing not more than 90 lbs, but she had a heart as big as the world. Her personality was absolutely magnetic, and she always returned friendship with friendship. In her obituary, she was described as "eccentric," in a positive way, and she certainly was off center--unique as no other person could be.
With an IQ ranging in the top 1 percentile, she loved to mingle with us "slow" folks, and being in her company felt perfectly natural. She was funny, not with the usual jokes or one liners, but with a running commentary on life in general, and NASCAR Debbie could always make us laugh.
NASCAR Debbie lived and breathed NASCAR. Her home was filled, wall to wall, shelf by shelf with Tony Stewart collectables and NASCAR paraphenelia. With the enthusiasm and excitement she exuded, she made watching the races on TV at the local watering hole a total experience--with her in the crowd, it was almost like being there.
It was NASCAR Debbie who kept me from drifting away from the sport after Dale Earnhardt's death in 2001. She got me interested in Smoke, more than I already was, and was instrumental in making me the fan I am today.
We had a falling out after 9/11/2001. It was my fault, because I suffer from PTSD, the events of that day produced issues that made me unbearable for her to be around. But, I will always cherish the times that Debbie and I had as friends, and she will always be a bright, shining light in my life. I never stopped loving her as a friend, and I never will.