Remembering a Dear Friend

Kim Flory (left) and Diane Arnold

Dear Kim,

What could be said about you that would truly explain to those unfortunate to have never met you, how special you were? We could say that you had the biggest heart, and your last wishes were for others to “Be Kind.” That you were brave in the face of increasingly depressing odds would be an understatement. You were always “fine,” even when those around you knew you were not. You never wanted anyone to worry.

You continued to create beauty where ever you went. Ceramics were a durable expression of your aesthetic. You made your “spirit animals” to leave behind. As you were always working on something, the desk in your studio inevitably had a piece in some state of assembly. The artwork you created for various shows around Santa Barbara and beyond were interesting and often had a twist that few others might have thought about.

With a brain that was so creative and full of interesting ideas, it was one of the things that made others love you so.

You went out of your way to make everyone around you feel that they were smart, interesting, and beautiful. With your creative mind, a sense of humor, and a wicked sense of right and wrong, resist and engage were bywords for you — whether it was toward insensitive people, cruelty to animals and children, the political system, both local and national, or just to the general sense of malaise that can affect us.

You loved your cats and Patrick, not necessarily in that order. All animals were your friends, from the blue jay in your garden to the monarch butterfly caterpillars you “wrangled” in your yard. Patrick appreciated and loved you to distraction, often creating beautiful items of wood for you that took him hundreds of hours of labor, just to make you smile. You had a strong sense of family, both in the small and very private life with your pal Patrick, to the complete encompassing of your own much larger family. Daughter, sister, auntie too for more than one generation!

You skinny dipped in the Santa Ynez River with Pat and Paul, smoked pot with the best of them, created art with the inmates in Lompoc, and danced the night away at many concerts and parties.

You and Pat were travelers, bringing home many fabulous photos and memories. Your friends, who went on trips with you to Paris and Mexico, were always so happy as you were easy going and willing to be part of any adventure.

A jack of many trades, you worked all over town, using your artistic skills to draw up detailed plans or your people skills to make you the best waitress the Brown Pelican ever had. You combined the best of both, working for the county, with people who became good friends.

That was your best skill. You would bring good people together, those who might not otherwise engage with each other. Then once that seed was planted, you nurtured and created an environment where friendships flourished.

As one of the last few people to actually send letters in the mail, your valentines were legendary. Be Kind, a fitting epitaph and message. I will try my best. You are so already missed.

Love, Diane


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