How my girlfriends rescued me

By Michal Ann McArthur,
Bend writer

Silver Prize Winner ($35) in Oregon Women’s Report “Thank You, Girlfriend” contest

I shudder to think where I’d be without my girlfriends.
Probably in some dark corner gorging on chocolate or sucking my thumb.

We lived in Corvallis for twenty years, so you can imagine the deep and meaningful friendships I developed over those years. I loved everything about Corvallis, especially my friends, but I also enjoyed the lush vegetation. When we purchased our first home, I immediately went crazy making flower beds and planting innumerable bulbs and annuals and perennials. My yard was a glory of color splashed everywhere. Well, almost everywhere. I optimistically kept planting pansies, but every year some varmint or fungus—I never knew what, but I’m sure it was evil—snuck in and destroyed my sweet little blooms. I simply couldn’t grow a pansy in my yard to save my socks.

The day came when my husband’s job forced us to move to Bend. I was honestly devastated. I didn’t want to leave my gardens, and I certainly didn’t want to leave my girlfriends. Uprooting and leaving them was excruciating. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I drove our trusty 4-Runner, loaded with last-minute necessities and fragile breakables, through the forests, over Santiam Pass, and into the . . . desert? Eeeek! Tan and grey for miles and miles. The lack of green and the absence of familiar faces absolutely sucked the life out of me. I thought I’d die.

A few months later, two of my Corvallis girlfriends came to my rescue. Like two heroes galloping in on white steeds to rescue a damsel in distress, they came riding into town to cheer me up. Oh, it was so great to see them. They brought me a tub of bright pansies, which I happily placed on my front steps for a spot of color. I was immensely encouraged.

Well, heartened by my friends’ visit, I began making new friends while those pansies grew thick and lush in their little tub and bloomed profusely all summer. That fall, I put my tub away for winter, thinking that was the end of the story. But here’s the wonderful thing: The following May, volunteer pansies sprang up in the apron of soil around my front porch where, unbeknown to me, seeds from my friends’ pansies had blown.

For the past twelve years, those rambunctious flowers have been thriving and multiplying. Every time I see them, they remind me of the power girlfriends have to encourage. They also show me that friendships can spread from heart to heart and spring up in new places.

And hey, I’ve come to love living in Bend. Where else could I grow such fabulous pansies?

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