31 Days, 31 People
Day 11: LORA
My tall, thin, red-haired, lovely friend Lora. Lora and I became really great friends around my 11th-grade year, 12th grade for her.
After I graduated we became college roommates. That lasted one semester because I really didn’t like the school or city, so I moved. We were also seasonal Park Rangers together for several summers. Holy cows, the stories we have from those summers could fill at least one book.
During high school we both waitressed at the only restaurant in town, which at the time was called Skittles and Vittles. (That was always a fun one to write on resumes.) Skittles and Vittles was located at the junction of two highways in very rural Nevada. There are tons of great stories from our shifts there. Lora was a pro at always handling situations so gracefully. Even that time when the truck driver threw his menu on the ground and told her to stand on it, so she could be “on the menu,” so he could “order her up.” Ack. I’m still so, so grateful for the time I had a solo shift and a tour bus stopped in, all of them wanted milkshakes. Milkshakes at Skittles and Vittles were delicious, but they took FOREVER to make. You had to hand scoop the ice cream and mix the flavor in and you couldn’t run more than two at a time on the machine, so making more than two or three could really put you behind on everything and everyone else in the restaurant. Lora stopped by to say hello and saw that I was completely drowning, so she just jumped in and took over milkshake-making, allowing me to catch up with everything else. Phew!
Lora had this really awesome car, it was an old Ford Fairmont with dark tinted windows, she called it “the mafia car.” We went everywhere and played a lot of Morrissey and Depeche Mode in that car. Small towns can be so challenging for teenage kids in finding stuff to do without getting into trouble. Lora and I seemed to always have a lot to do, and a lot of fun without finding much trouble. We did do a few inadvisable things, like race trains on the Kershaw Ryan road. And one time we swiped apples off of some trees that did not belong to us, to make a sugar-free apple pie for a friend that had just found out she was hypoglycemic. But most of the time we were pretty straight-up good kids.
Eventually, I married and divorced Lora’s older brother. I wasn’t sure if she’d still even talk to me after that, but Lora has remained a dear friend. She’s still very much a sister to me. We live far apart, have lives and families that keep us pretty darn busy, but we do still catch up a few times a year.
I’m finding that it’s very difficult to truly capture the spirit of Lora in my words here. Words about kindness and acceptance seem to sell her short. She’s really smart and that awesome brain gives her sharp wit. Her sense of humor was always part of what made her so much fun to be around. Even that does not do her justice but I’ll let it be for now.
I’ll sum it up noting that Lora is incredible. We go through life making a handful of friends, forging relationships that carry us through good and bad times. It seems there are people in our lives we can always look up to. Lora is one of those people. She defines the depths of what it means to be a really wonderful, amazing human being and I’m so grateful she is a part of my life.
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