another gordon moment
dream jobs

happy birthday debbie

This week my best friend Debbie turns 44. I can hardly believe it.

Debbie and I became friends years ago through our husbands. Steve and Kent were best friends, so after Kent and I married, she and I were sort of forced into friendship. Truthfully, I tolerated her at first. She was too forceful for my taste. On occasion I called her a Yankee and I didn't mean it nicely. (She's from Iowa, and Iowa is north of the Mason Dixon, you know.)

Being forceful, she forced her way into my life. I was aloof and snotty and she was jovial and gregarious. When we ended up on the same block, simply a few houses from each other, I began to love and appreciate her. She accepted me for who I was, only occasionally calling me a snot. Eventually I came to find her forceful, bossy way refreshing.

We've said over the years that we had "community" before it became a popular subject. Unfortunately neither of us knew how good we had it. How many people can walk to their best friend's house in two minutes? How many people can feel comfortable chatting in the living room while the other irons? How convenient is it when you can make a phone call and say, "We're ordering Sonic. Ya want anything?" I'd give nearly anything to have that kind of "community" now. But she's in Florida and I'm in Canada.

Debbie is hilarious, laughs easily, doesn't take herself too seriously. She's committed, good, and kind. She's also quirky. I've never been big into the ironing scene, but Debbie use to iron everything. To me that requires a lot of attention to detail. So how could someone who is so detailed in ironing totally miss obvious details in other areas? One time she had four jugs of milk sitting on her table, all of them sour and curdled. That night as Kent and I walked home, he said, "There was another jug of sour milk on the table tonight." (There had been only three the previous visit.) He sighed, "I've been thinking, maybe we shouldn't eat her cooking anymore." Debbie and I still laugh at that one.

Once she and I got it in our heads that we could make a killin' by having a booth at a craft sale. We rented a space for Lum and Abner's craft sale in the park. Over the next weeks (months?), we sanded, stained, and painted a bazillion geese that said, "I Love Country," cutting boards with roosters on them, and dozens of colorful wooden tulips. We were proud of our accomplishments. The night before the craft sale, we loaded our boxes with care. As we knelt on the floor wrapping our hand-crafted valuables, Debbie informed, "I figured it up. If I sale everything I've made, I'll make $435."

The next two days delivered a heaping dose of humiliation. Hundreds of folks looked at our crafts, and moved on. We sold nothing all weekend but one cutting board, and it was to my sympathizing kind mother-in-law. We were so embarrassed and quickly gave up the craft business.

Debbie and I were always scheming to make money. We had a couple garage sales, and we did well on them. The last one we had I wore a new under-wire bra that determined to cut my in two. I went inside to take it off for a spell. I had no more gotten the bra off when Debbie bolted through the back-door like a maniac screaming indiscernible craziness. "GET OUT THERE! Oh Dear Jesus, help me! GET OUT THERE! Jesus, help me. GET OUT THERE! John, Dora, and Cora are out there. GO, GET OUT THERE!"

I was clearly "in the dark" why she couldn't face these older folks from church, but I was not about to go outside without a bra on. She screamed again, "GET OUT THERE!" and I screamed back, "I DON'T HAVE A BRA ON. I CAN'T GO OUT THERE." We screamed at each other like crazy women; I'm sure they could hear us. Debbie calmed down enough to beg instead of yell. "Please, you've got to go out there. All the wedding gifts they gave us are out there."

I don't recall how it came to be, but we both ended up out there. John, Dora, and Cora bought all the gifts they'd given Debbie as wedding presents and they went to Debbie to pay for them. When they drove off, we nearly died laughing.

Debbie was like a second mom to Stephanie. Stephanie called Steve and Debbie, "Uncle Stoobie" and "Aunt Doobie." Debbie would have gladly taken Stephanie off my hands. They loved each other very much.

Now Debbie is a mom. Katie, Caleb, and Carly are very blessed to have a mom just like Debbie. And it goes without saying that Steve is amazingly blessed to have Debbie for a wife.

I wish we still lived down the street from each other. I'd love for our kids to grow up together. I'd love to watch her iron again. I'd love to go get Sonic burgers together. What I wouldn't give to have that "community" again. She was a great friend to me, the best. I'm so glad to have her in my life although it's a lot different now that we have thousands of miles between us.

Debbie I hope you have a GREAT birthday. I love you.