A surcee (sir’-chee) is a small unexpected gift.  It’s a southern word that is infrequently written but spoken by my dear friend, the late Jan Miranda. 

Jan always brought a token of friendship to our lunches.  Little did I know that the Monday before her passing, we would share our last lunch, precious conversation and our final exchange of surcees. 

I met Jan as she kicked off a meeting about college admissions when my son was in the 8th grade.  She literally wrote the book on the college application process, so I was an eager listener.  Jan asked a question to the audience, and my son in a red baseball cap stood up and was the first to respond.  She liked the boldness of his initiative (and probably the red hat too).  That day began a great education on college entrance, but more importantly, it marked the beginning of a great friendship.  Jan poured into my son and my two daughters that followed him, just as she poured into her two sons, grandson and all of the students around her.

Last year, Jan gave her new favorite book, The Noticer, to my daughter for high school graduation.  The gift had two parts: the book and then a lunch with Grace, her younger sister and I to discuss the contents.  She had previously discussed the book with her own family.  Well, we felt like family too and she included us in on her new tradition.

Jan loved life and people.  She noticed things!  For example, she noticed the love and fun shared by my entire extended family as we dined at Uncle Julio’s while she coincidentally was also dining there.  She noticed what was important.  In fact, during our last lunch she said, “Julie, this is what is important.  No one will care how much you worked.  Sharing face to face time, that is what’s important!” The words seemed significant at the time, but now they seem profound as that was the last time we shared together.  So many special conversations, hugs and smiles exchanged.

I remember Jan with thoughts of love, laughter, encouragement and wisdom.  If you knew her, you could not help but notice these things about her.  She was a surcee in my life…a wonderful surprise gift that brought such joy. 

Please help me honor my friend, Dr. Jan Miranda by extending a surcee to someone today and noticing the people around you.