EDITOR'S DESK: Farewell to Mikki

       Mikki Kraushaar had a way of leaving an impression. She wasn't loud or emphatic. She just had this... presence. There's a word I want to use. Ethereal. The part of the definition that talks about “highly refined... of the celestial spheres.” She had a way, when she talked to you, of seeming to reach into the better, even funnier side of you. That's something that her obituary didn't delve into this week, her sly sense of humor and the way she could just pull it out, even during times when she was worried that her budget might come in $100,000 in the red. And express herself? Our reprinted article from 2004 on Page 13 this issue is just a feeble attempt to convey how wonderful she was at stating things. I wasn't there to see it, but I can imagine that when she talked to her Giving Tree drivers back then, they must have swelled with pride at just a smile from her and the sweet nickname she gave them - “my voluntary Kris Kringles.”
       There's no point in trying to define her level of caring. She embodied it. "Love" is an often overstated word, especially if you apply it to a broad group (such as senior citizens), but if anyone had the capacity to make that real, it was Mikki. She felt their needs. She wanted to help. And if tangible support did not seem possible, she seemed almost to will it to happen.
       I don't want to get too carried away here. Mikki was a person, just like any of us. And I know she had a few wars with the Silver Key board of directors before that clumsy "retirement" they handed her in April 2004, the one she compared at the time to "having a death in the family."
       No doubt, she hadn't computerized enough or been efficient enough to suit those who have to heed the bottom line. But in letting her go, Silver Key lost its guiding light and has foundered to some degree since. To its credit, the agency's leaders reached out to her in recent months, and now they want to keep her legacy alive, perhaps even naming the future new facility after her. That's a fine and honorable thing, and I support it wholeheartedly, but a place inside me doesn't care so much. Because I knew her, and in that place, Mikki Kraushaar will never die.

- K.J.