"I'm really gonna miss her smoothies. Eleanor had a blender and she used to make me smoothies..."
I will never forget the precious innocence with which Norman lamented the realization that Eleanor would no longer be around to make him smoothies. It was a simple act that Norman clearly cherished, and which Eleanor no doubt received much joy from doing, even if the blender did have a tendency "to get stuck on frappe." This sweet reflection is just a snapshot of what we can only assume was a larger legacy of love and kindness the she bestowed upon visitors to her office.
We've also come to learn that both Norman and Oliver, neither of whom truly had mother figures, made visits to her office on what we can only assume is a regular---or, at least in Oliver's case, recently more frequent---basis to said office, as Norman knew about the new blender and even made a special trip to get all four of them smoothies in One In A Million (several of which ended up comforting Nikki later that day). You almost get the picture of two little boys at heart seeking out a motherly figure as adults, finding a "mom" in the workplace.
"Come on up to Passports---we'll do some blending."
Shane may have never taken Eleanor up on her offer, but the fact the offer stood open to Shane reminds one of the open invitation to connect with parents we sometimes don't take in life, but through whom unconditional love welcomes us---sons and daughters alike---with no expiration date.
Oliver's words about Eleanor during her funeral were not unlike those a son would use to reflect on his mother, particularly when reflecting on the strength and character of her faith, which found her dispensing sage wisdom with a hint of wit. She relayed messages, the truth of which reverberated even in death, particularly for Shane. And, of course, we know she attended Oliver's church.
But perhaps her greatest act of nurturing came in her stewardship of the potato Norman and Rita ultimately "adopted." At the very least it demonstrated her desire to have a family, which, arguably, she created with the people around her. Eleanor may have settled for parenting a potato, but she truly achieved much more. Norman, Oliver, Rita and even Shane among her adopted "children" in a sense, a concept that will make a lot more sense in the days to come.
Aside from, or perhaps even parallel to, the duties of a mother to nurture, mom's often become their child's greatest confidant, and it seems Eleanor played this role for at least one POstable.
We know Oliver likes to keep things "close to the vest," as it were, but it seems that Eleanor was the exception, as evidenced by her note of well-wishes attached to Gabe's letter to Hattie. Not only was she aware of Oliver's "date on Saturday," about which she expected a full report, but think a little harder and this tidbit of information actually speaks volumes about the level of trust Oliver placed in Eleanor.
If we take up the position that Oliver informed Eleanor after their date was rescheduled in One In A Million, then she is still the first person besides Shane to know about the date. Oliver only communicates it to Joe on the commercial set after Eleanor passes in Lost Without You. This means Norman and Rita are, perhaps, unaware, which is why Oliver clams up reading Eleanor's personal note to him in Higher Ground.
Insane, but true, right?
From this we can infer that there was something about Eleanor that made Oliver feel safe enough for him to express things he wouldn't even to those closest to him---maybe even only to God.
The motherly attributes become even more ingrained when we remember that the person we all eventually came to know as Eleanor was pictured as Martha's mother, who passed several years ago, at the funeral.
When daughters are asked who their role models are, most identify their mother's immediately. And while this question wasn't asked of either Shane or Rita, there were certainly some things about Eleanor that each wanted to emulate.
It's clear Rita admired Eleanor's inexhaustible tolerance for her blender getting stuck on frappe, noting "she always handled it with such grace." It's the only time we really hear Rita offer commentary on Eleanor, but suggests she, too, had personal interactions with her.
Much like Shane's propensity to "drink kombucha in the evening and martini's at night," Eleanor blends bee pollen, ginger and kombucha smoothies during the day and does cross-stitch at night. Both women are a unique mix of classic and contemporary, and it's clear that Shane desired to "make a kombucha smoothie as good as Eleanor's," making her a culinary role model for Shane at the very least.
Postal, To The End
Eleanor may have stamped her last Passport as Passport Supervisor, but she wasn't done issuing them once she was gone. Her legacy extends beyond her occupation or even the grave, as her death gave birth to an abundance of life through what she left behind, and in those she left behind, particularly Oliver, Norman, Rita and Shane.
A nurturer in both life and faith, Eleanor encouraged those in her sphere simply by her presence. Of course, as we'll discuss in the coming days, it was in her death that an incredible amount of growth was accomplished by those she left behind, growth which she directly and indirectly contributed to.
Missing Her, Too,