Friend: Barb Bergantzel
Activity: Lunch and a Frosty
Location: Wendy's (the restaurant, not my house)
Total $ Spent: $1.06 (remember, tax is allowed)
On a rainy Thursday morning a couple years ago, a woman with fiery red hair appeared in the hallway. Her fanciful Mickey Mouse coat was damp from the rain, and her purple umbrella with images of tiny shoes and purses was dripping. "Kacie, I think your volunteer is here," I said. "Oh yeah, come meet Barb!" The first thing I noticed (besides the aforementioned red hair), was her eyes. Barb's warm, loving eyes. And so it would come to be that every Thursday, Barb and her warmth came to volunteer at the Museum. A mother, grandmother, dog lover and Disney fanatic, Barb and I were fast friends. Our $1 date was, as she put it, "Wendy's with Wendy."
The sun was so bright and strong today that most drivers had their windows cracked just a bit. I couldn't help but think about my friends and family on the East Coast who are being completely overwhelmed with snow. We've certainly had our share of the white stuff this winter, and I think that's why the occasional clear sky days like today are so glorious. I arrived at the Wendy's near Nebraska Furniture Mart and found that Barb was waiting for me in her car. And she was BLONDE! A hot blonde! I knew she was in the process of lightening her hair, but I haven't seen the final product. She had her vacation pictures in hand, and we mosied inside to order our food.
You probably already know this, but Wendy's has an entire $.99 menu - perfect for my $1 dates! I was torn between the Biggee fries with a small water or a kid's Frosty. Naturally, I wanted both so I could dip my fries in the Frosty, but clearly that was not an option. Frosty wins. Barb ordered a jr. bacon cheeseburger and a baked potato. I'm not going to lie, had she ordered fries, I would have stollen some. We sat in the sun and dove into conversation.
First, a little catching up. Barb caught me up on her kids and grandkids, and I updated her on my dad's post-surgery progress, and how I've been busying myself in my luxurious time of unemployment. She told me about her daughter in Boston who is starting to feel some of the very real stress of debt. And I didn't know this, but Barb once aspired to train her Soft-Coated Wheaton Terrier (that's a dog to you novices) to be a therapy dog, but that plan ended when her daughter took him to Boston. I still think she should consider training one of her other dogs, or at least volunteer with dogs. She is a natural-born animal lover and that is a gift not to be wasted! She has even been babysitting her son's chihuahua, Romeo, for like a month or something. This obviously opened up the door for me to share stories about my darling cats. Unlike SOME people, Barb doesn't tease me for having multiple pets!
We had gotten so engrossed in our conversation, that we nearly forgot to open up her Disney World photos! This was Barb's fourth trip to the resort, but it was her baby granddaughter's first time. It wasn't hard to notice that her grandchildren are the apples of Barb's eyes. She narrated each photo so that I could feel like I had been there with them. I could hear the music at the parades, I could feel the freshly planted flowers in the English garden, and I could imagine meeting all of the Disney characters, and following them around with my very own autograph book. I only teased Barb a little bit for renting a scooter to get around the resort. She said that it really made a difference with her energy level, except that "no one respects the scooter!" But seriously, she assured me that aside from her aching legs, she is feeling well.
Barb and I can talk about anything - absolutely anything. Before we realized it, we had been sitting in the sun at Wendy's for 2 1/2 hours. That's how you know you're enjoying yourself...when time isn't even a factor. Barb encouraged me to keep my chin up, and to remember that patience is a virtue. She's a woman who is too hard on herself over too many things, and I try to be as equally supportive for her. As she continues to acclimate into retirement, I hope she allows herself to explore her own wants. Why is it that so many mothers deny themselves simple pleasures? Do I not get it because I'm not a parent? My wish for my friend Barb is that she can rediscover herself. She deserves to more than just "okay." She should be fantastic.
On deck for day 11: Mimi. I'll be seeing you....