Sunday, August 26, 2007

Girl Friends, Episode 4 - Gloria

*Note: This Gloria is the same Gloria mentioned in, both, the Purple Keds and the Love Letters blogs.

Gloria was probably my most mischievous girl friend. She was also my Oregon shopping buddy. Until I shopped with Gloria, I had never returned an item to a store. I just thought it would be too embarrassing, and that, maybe, they'd put me on some sort of black-list, or something. But under Gloria's masterful tutelage, I learned I could even purchase two of something, take them home, see which one fit better or which one matched my couch or which one my husband preferred, and then return the other one. Gloria introduced me to a whole new dimension in shopping!

Gloria and I were often part of a threesome. Another friend, named Mary, was the third musketeer. One Friday the three of us were - you guessed it! - shopping. Our husbands, who also palled around, were going to be leaving that evening, after work, for a men's weekend retreat at Camp Yamhill. Mary stopped to look at an attractive men's golf shirt on one of the manequins. It was a teal green with narrow beige stripes. "I think I'll get this for Tom," Mary said, referring to her husband. It'll be nice for the retreat." Gloria's mind started churning, and we knew, by her giggle, that something fun was in the works. "Let's all get identical shirts for our husbands, gift wrap them, stick them in their suticases with a note saying something like, 'something special for you, to wear at the retreat on Saturday morning.'" And so we did! You can imagine the amusement on the faces of the other guys, at the expense of our red-faced, dressed-alike husbands, when they all met for breakfast in the dining hall!

There was one prank in which Gloria really outdid herself. Another close friend, Pam, was out of town for a few days, with her husband and three kids. Gloria's mind conceived the "marvelous realtor prank." She put a For Sale by Owner sign in Pam's yard, with a ridiculously low price, and Pam's home phone number. When Pam got home she was, first, in shock to see the For Sale sign, and then amazed to find dozens of offers on her answering machine! It took her NO time at all to figure out who was behind that one.

I remember, fondly, a number of women's retreat talent show skits that Gloria and I took part in. Here's a little video clip of one of my favorites. Performers, from left to right are Pam, Linda (me), Gloria and Tracy. I was the bass. I can't remember who the "arms" were, standing behind us and behind the sheet. Take a look at this little clip:

But beneath Gloria's mischievousness was a thoughtful and loving heart. On a regular basis she baked cookies, put them into sweet little baskets or tins, and, with her children, went to visit the elderly in the care home. I remember how, when I was signed up to provide food for an event at church, and my back suddenly went out, she prepared the food and took it in my place. I remember whenever some young mother was ill, she would go to her house and, without any discussion, take the children home with her until their mama was feeling better. I remember how patient she was with children, and how gentle. I remember how she always looked for people who were lonely or in need, and offered them her friendship and help.

My friend, Gloria - a neat little mixed package of fun and good works. Because of her, I have many great memories from those years in Oregon.

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