Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Channeling Dorrie

Today my mind is filled with thoughts and memories, oh so many memories, of my dear friend Dorrie who passed away a week ago at the age of 77. Her passing was not unexpected but no matter how much we tell ourselves we're ready for a loved one's passing, we never are. Ever. This post is not about her passing but about her life . . . and what a life it was!!!
I met her 25 years ago at a high on a hill, grass strip airport not far from where I live where she worked as a secretary to the airport manager. She was a true people person who talked to everyone and anyone and made you feel as if you knew her forever.
Everyone should have a Dorrie in their life. To say she was an amazing person would be putting it mildly. She was a free spirit and the salt of the earth.  She was one of those people you thought would live forever, even though we know that's not possible. Years ago I discovered, quite by accident, she had a privileged background. Think debutante. In later years she would describe this experience in one word -- "disaster."
She lived life on her terms and made no excuses, nor gave explanations. She lived a simple and truly uncluttered life. She was a big fan of re-gifting, a concept I'd never heard of nor experienced until I met her.
She traveled extensively often visiting unusual places like Iceland where she saw polar bears up close and personal. In 2007, she invited me (her daughter and her best friend) on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Canadian Rockies. It had always been my dream to visit Canada. A year later, she repeated the invitation to Canada to all three of us where we visited Halifax, Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island. A place I've wanted to visit ever since reading Anne of Green Gables.
She learned to speak Spanish and took every opportunity to speak the language. She often watched Spanish TV, which helped her remain fluent. There wasn't much that escaped her and she was constantly on the move. Years ago I remember looking at a monthly calendar she had hanging in her kitchen. Just about every block of the month was filled with an activity.
Every year, on my birthday, I'd receive a beautiful card usually with a photograph of an animal, wild or domestic, often a dog, on the front. She was an animal lover and over the years had three dogs and a cat. One of those dogs was Murphy,  a laid back, brindle-colored Great Dane. One day she baked a batch of her famous fudge and left it on the counter to cool. She had an errand to run and when she returned she realized Murphy had helped himself to a healthy portion. The story had a happy ending since nothing became of Murphy's potentially life-threatening fudge tasting.
She was very much a student of Native American culture and while I don't ever remember us having a conversation about religion, this culture was a big part of her belief system. It sustained her not only throughout but in the final days of her life.
There are many more things I could tell you about Dorrie but my post is already too long. Dorrie taught me a great deal about life. She is and always will be my biggest role model. Even as she knew her life was nearing its end she remained fiercely independent. It is one of qualities about her I admire the most.
The photo at the top of this post is one of my favorites; taken on our second trip to Canada.  She was a remarkable individual whose friendship I will treasure always. I am truly grateful for her presence in my life and will miss her terribly as will her family, friends and all the people whose lives she touched.
I love you, Dorrie.


Lisa said...

Dorrie sounds and looks like a beautiful lady. I'm so glad that she was your friend and for all the good times you spent together. I'm sorry for your loss.

SE'LAH... said...


Tracey said...

I've always dreamed of having a "Dorrie" in my life - someone with all those same qualities so I could soak up her wisdom, zest for life, etc. I am glad you had a chance to know, love & embrace her. What beautiful memories.

Lynn said...

What a lovely tribute to such a beautiful lady, Chris. Her goodness radiates from her face.

Anonymous said...

This is indeed a lovely tribute to Dorrie and to friendship. I don't think it was too long at all. In fact, I was craving more and was sorry to see it end. I'm very glad you have more wonderful memories of this treasure of a lady.