Although I never met Sonia in person, it was evident that she loved to make people laugh. She had a way with words that could brighten any day.
The first Sonia Todd story I read was “Mirror Image” published in A Shaker of Margaritas: Hot Flash Mommas. The story was a humorous take on a daughter advising her mother on how to dress for a “first” date—after a divorce. Sonia’s story is laced with humor throughout.
From “Mirror Image”:
“Really?” I said with more than a hint of desperation in my voice. “Ugh, I’m whining. I don’t want to be one of those people.”
She tossed her head, obviously amused. “What people?”
“You know, those people who are always preoccupied with their appearance, and middle-aged divorcees who get all ga-ga over a boy.” I used my hands to illustrate with some force what I meant.
“First of all, no one says ‘ga-ga’ anymore unless they are talking about the singer. And Mom, at your age, I think they call it a man.”
After Hot Flash Mommas was released, I learned that the Moscow, Idaho, authors were quite the marketing group. Sonia and Susan Thomas held a signing at Hastings Books. They sold out, but stayed to visit with the disappointed shoppers who weren’t able to buy a book. Sonia said, “We broke their store record for most books sold at a signing, and we outsold Twilight today at the Moscow Hastings. We had a great time meeting folks and telling them about the book and Mozark Press! So much fun!”
Sonia submitted “Worker’s Compensation” for Mozark’s next anthology in the Shaker series, Cougars on the Prowl. In this story, a crisis at work requires Elizabeth to fly across country. The flight attendant moves her to first class after a child repeatedly kicks her seat. When a nearby passenger starts up a conversation, Elizabeth is cautious and suspicious of his motive.
From “Workers Compensation”:
I swear, Elizabeth thought, if this guy tries to sell me insurance or annuities I am going back to the chair-kicking kid.
“So are you traveling for business or pleasure?” The man asked.
Here comes the sales pitch, Elizabeth said to herself, but she replied, “Business.”
“Me too,” the man said. “So what do you do?”
Elizabeth did not want to invite more questions, so she was purposefully vague, “Oh a little of this and a little of that.”
“Me too,” the man smiled wryly.
Elizabeth couldn’t help herself; she decided to shut down the conversation, “Yeah, I used to be a professional eater. I can eat thirty-nine hot dogs in under two minutes. But my sister was injured in a freak bologna accident so I gave up the gluttonous life and joined the circus.”
The stranger openly smiled, stifling a laugh. “No kidding?” And without missing a beat the man continued, “Well I was an Elvis impersonator for ten years until my hips gave out. Then I became a semi-pro Atari gamer. My specialty is Pong. But my dream has always been the exotic world of tattoo art; I have been practicing on citrus fruit.”
Once I became acquainted with Sonia’s humor, I followed her blog, http://myfirstlaunch.blogspot.com, and watched Sonia’s personality and quirky sense of humor take on a life of its own. I think my all time favorite post is “I Can’t Take You Anywhere” telling about an evening out with her husband at a restaurant where they wait, and wait, and wait to be served.
Sonia and I became Facebook friends, and my heart ached when her diagnosis was so bleak. Still, I wanted to believe she would make it though this tough time and find more fodder for her writing. In fact, after she knew she had only a short time to live, she continued to write humorous anecdotes about her kids.
The last communication I had with Sonia was in September when I asked for prayers for my niece who has cancer. Sonia immediately responded that she would pray for Angie. I sent Sonia a message to let her know I hadn’t stopped praying for her.
Today, I read Sonia’s obituary. This isn't your average eulogy—this was Sonia’s obituary, written by Sonia in her own style, and of course, with humor. Her life’s accomplishments, her club memberships, and the statistics that try to summarize the time between the dashes are missing. What she does tell us is that she was a woman of faith who loved her family and friends. Between the lines, it is evident that she was a woman of courage.
Through a blur of tears, I salute Sonia for giving us that last laugh. Her wisdom was way beyond her 38 years and as ageless as the eternity God promises.