Life was a stage and they played their parts well.
For 55 years, Dot Eshbach and Margaret Saint have been friends and next-door neighbors. They traveled the world together and explored every part of what they called our great country. For years, after they were both widowed, they made their venture through the United States in a large motor home. These two gals, pulling up to a location alone, in such a big vehicle, always surprised the onlookers. They traveled this way deep into their senior years.

We recorded many of their adventures in our newspaper highlighting trips to Russia, Europe or cross-country, because people were interested in what “Thelma and Louise” as they were affectionately referred to, were up to. After husbands John and Jay died, the twosome didn’t let grass grow under their feet and made the best of the life they had left.

Their last trip out of the country was to Mexico in January but they had several trips planned and some paid for in advance. Besides Mexico, they would soon be going to Branson and Dollywood in Tennessee. They had already booked a cruise for later.

The ladies were avid gardeners and shared their crops with friends and neighbors. Saturday before last Margaret worked in the yard all day and had planted blackeyed peas. Fall gardening and traveling were in their future but first Margaret, who was in very good health, had to check a valve heart problem. She had gone for a check-up on Monday where they discovered the problem, which was believed to be “no big deal.” Marie was upbeat, they would make the correction and the girls could get on with their plans. On July 15 they did the bypass. The procedure was a success, but when taken off of the machine, her heart would not kick in. Several jump-start attempts were unsuccessful and the doctor broke the news to Dot: Margaret Saint, 87, had passed away.

Just a few hours earlier they had been joking and laughing and now the journey had come to an end for Margaret and will certainly be a lifestyle change for Dot.

Dot’s son Cal and wife Connie have moved back to Bridge City, and will be around should she need them and will also be welcome company. Dot, 86, has no plans of shutting down and will keep on keeping on.

Since she and Margaret were together daily there was never any reason for goodbyes. On July 19, 2008, Dot bid her friend, traveling buddy and former business partner farewell and thanked the Lord for a wonderful friendship that had taken them down life’s highway from their young 30s to a few years short of 90.

Wouldn’t it be a blessing if everyone’s health and attitude would allow for living life to its fullest the way those two wonderful women have. Their entire neighborhood was one of friendship and sharing. I have known and been friends with Dot, Margaret and many of their neighbors for many years. Dr. Joe Majors and wife Mary and their children go back 45 years with my family. Our friendship with the late Nolton Brown and wife Jessie, also neighbors of Dot and Margaret, went back to the 1950s as well as others in the neighborhood.

Dot expresses a great affection for Bridge City. This is just a great community with the world’s finest people. Margaret and I were so fortunate to spend most of a lifetime here. The people show of affection during this great loss has been overwhelming. I love them all. Margaret would concur. Dot also had praise for Claybar Funeral Home and especially for Scott Smith, funeral director, for his kindness and help during the final arrangements and the entire service.

On a pleasant note, I’ve been blessed to know a lot of wonderful characters from all walks of life. Some famous, most just ordinary folks: lawmen, outlaws, wealthy or blue-collar, but the true-life story of Dot and Margaret and their exploits is a perfect setting for a great movie. They were so wonderfully different. They seemed so small in their big bus. I would ask, “Where are you girls headed now?” Dot would answer, “Just a short trip; a little over 3,000 miles.”

Every year, for many years, I have looked forward to Dot’s famous homemade fudge, which she always drops off at Christmas time.

From time to time she just stops by to bring a little something. Dot is proud of her family, all of them, but would give me a blow-by-blow of grandson Eric Eshbach’s pole-vaulting championships. He was state and national record-holder in high school and college. She shared her grandchildren with Margaret, who never had children.

Margaret often teased Dot saying the kids loved her more. They battled about that. The grandchildren have a grandmother that is certainly different. I know this is a difficult time for Dot but her great attitude will see her through. We all must go at sometime and my time will come but I’m not ready to catch the bus just yet. Dot will continue to be who she is. She’ll put on a one-person show or find a sidekick to go along but she ain’t done yet. That’s what I love about her.

Margaret said a year ago, “We have plots beside each other at Hillcrest Cemetery. We’ll make our last trip when they take us there.” Dot added, “Our husbands are buried there and we will keep on keeping on until we join them again.” May Margaret rest in peace and Dot keep on trucking and be the wonderful person she is.