Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Real Woman of the Pacific Northwest

I'm home in Oregon this week, but it has been bittersweet. My rib is hurting and a call to Dad to find out how Mom was doing just makes me sadder. Yesterday while preparing to go to the Dentist I got a call from my long time friend Apriel's daughter. Apriel was killed on Monday afternoon by a logging truck.
Apriel and I became friends when I moved to Coos Bay OR. from Los Angeles. She was ten years older than me, and had such a different life than mine, yet still we became the closest of friends.
I worked in her pet shop, we went on many adventures finding baby birds to hand feed for the shop. I made her go for her first ladies exam and she taught me how to live on my own in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, as she was a true "Mountain Woman".
When I moved to Coos Bay, I had known the "LA woman". These friends had children the same ages of my children and our children were in dance and preschool together. Their hardest decision was where to go for lunch and what to serve at the next party. How to fit in the manicure and shopping before they had to pick the children up for dance.
Apriel was married at 131/2 years of age and had her first child at 14. She lived on a farm far away from everything. Her father was very involved in his religion and thought Apriel needed the guidance of a strong husband. She stayed with him for a few years and then married a man with a ranch. They worked the ranch as well as full time jobs. Horses and cattle and raising 4 children during the night and weekends and cutting meat during the day. When alcohol dissolved that marriage she left and started her own business. She married again (who wouldn't want this lady that could cut her own wood for the wood stove and then harvest her garden and have dinner on the table for 6:00!) and this was the marriage she was in when I met her.
I was in a "transitional" place in my life. I had escaped from Los Angeles and moved the children to Coos Bay Or., Mike had chosen to stay in Los Angeles. This is when I learned how to spin. Apriel was my mentor and well as being my older "sister". She knew things, I knew things and we both taught each other. I learned how to be much more self relent and she learned how to be more open and trusting and some of the softer sides of life. She started to get manicures. I learned about water pumps and cattle. She learned about the world outside of Coos Bay, I learned about power outages and that I could make it through tough times without "a man" ("here you just take this tool and turn it and then you get the chain saw, oh you don't know about chain saws? you don't HAVE a chain saw?" or "when I was on the Rodeo circut I bought this sweet little pisto and boy howdy it came in handy when that drunk cowboy came into the trailerl" me-Oh my goodness put that thing away!!!"). She was a friend to both Mike and I when Mike decided to move to Oregon and then she helped me be more of a wife and partner rather than a blob. She had so many lovely sayings my favorite was "She puffed up bigger than a poisoned pup". Meaning someone was getting on their "high horse" over something. There were so many good ones, and now they are gone. She was visiting her children in Coos Bay (she moved to Drain) and went fishing, Monday afternoon she pulled in front of a logging truck. I dialed her number at 2:00 pm on Monday and then thought better of it as I had "so many other things I needed to get done" and that I would just call her later and hung up, she was killed at 5:00.

I went to the doctors today. I got drugs. I decided I needed drugs today. The doctor aggreed.


Debbie said...

No words can communicate my heartfelt sorrow at your loss. Just know that a woman in Texas is mourning with you.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking of you and Apriel today.


monkeyspinner said...

I can't say anything. I lost a few people these last two years. Don't deny feeling upset or in pain and remember someone who meant so much to you.
thinking of you