A long time friend died today. I have known Ann Riley and her family since the late 1960's. Her husband Mike worked with Marty and we moved around CHEVRON together. Three families moved within a few months of each other, often to the same territory. We noticed a pattern, if one of us fenced, carpeted, or planted a tree, we were all moved.
We tried to see Ann and her family whenever we went back to Kentucky. But time crunch and family duties kept us apart most trips. With Facebook we could stay in touch a little bit.
Ann was a special lady. If she liked you she would do anything for you. If she didn't like you she still was a lady and was nice to you. She was a Kentucky Southern Belle, whose accent out did mine. She also could teach a sailor how to cuss.
When we all came to California in the 70's we clung to each other as family. None of us thought we would ever be transferred across the Mississippi. We were so far from home and so different from our neighbors. Southern folks are pretty formal when they entertain. We had sterling silver dip bowls. Neighbors were more causal and put the dip out in the containers. Ann loosened us up and helped us blend in.
I asked Marty his favorite memory of Ann. And he said all the times we got together. And he was the one who remembered her cussing abilities.
One of my favorite memories is of a cookout at their home. The women were in the house, (AC was on, it was a very hot day) and the phone rang. It was an obscene phone call. Ann thought it was one of the husbands on the neighbor's phone and every thing the caller said, Ann topped him with something worse. The caller hung up on her. It wasn't one of our husbands.
She and her family (children included) helped us paint the outside of our house. Her husband and mine never got a spot of paint on them. Very neat men. Ann and I fixed that. The men were on the ladders painting high up, so we painted their legs. They won though, they painted our faces. Good times.
When we transferred back to Louisville, the Rileys were already there. Ann knew the best resell neighborhoods (corporate gypsies' first item, will it sell in a heart beat) and rode with me and the Realtor. She helped me find a home that would resell, in a good school district, and would fit in our life style. And when the movers showed up and I was losing my mind with the help from my aunt, my mother, and Marty's mother, she took over. She called Marty and told him to come home before the two of us were arrested for murder. He did.
Ann, we moved each other in and out of homes over the years. We protected our husbands from their jealous rude co workers. We laughed and we cried together. We were friends.