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My best friend Rita and the microwave...

I met my best friend Rita on the first day of the ninth grade at Mt. St. Mary Academy for Girls in Little Rock, Arkansas. We were best friends until November 15, 1997 when cancer claimed her life way too early. We were best friends for 26 years. It was a delightful relationship. We got married within a week of each other and had our children nine months apart. I was actually pregnant when her son was born but my son was "baked" extra long. He came 6 weeks late. Our boys grew up together and shared many adventures with Rita and I.

One adventure Rita had was during the time she was the den mother for her son, Jamie's Cub Scout troop. She was a very dedicated den mother and had an assistant den mother to help her. One night at meeting time the assistant den mother showed up spitting vitriol about how angry she was at her son. He had decided to heat up some soup that afternoon, poured it into the pan and then put the pan in the microwave. This, of course, caused the microwave to blow up as metal doesn't work in microwave ovens.

Rita asked the assistant den mother who we will call, Connie, if the microwave was under warranty and if possibly she could get a new one. Connie got all vile with Rita and told her that her microwave was NOT under warranty that she had bought it hot, via a fence. She went on to read Rita the riot act about how Rita might be able to afford a new microwave oven (she couldn't) but that she only had $50 dollars to spend on one and now she didn't have a microwave because of her son. She then huffed off, got her son and left the meeting.

Rita carried on a held the meeting but she was so upset that she called me after the meeting. Rita was not mad that the woman had been hateful to her for trying to be helpful but rather she was upset that a DEN MOTHER would buy STOLEN GOODS knowing that they were stolen. She was simply beside herself and didn't know how to "fire" her assistant den mother. As it turned out that was a moot issue because the assistant den mother never showed up again and removed her son from the cub scout den.

I have to laugh when I think about how incensed Rita was because she came from a working class neighborhood and crime was not a stranger to her. She lived in a family of 18 children before TLC existed and made television shows about families with 18 kids, especially families that had both parents working to support the family and kids that actually went to school and lived like normal every day kids. Rita's family did not get food stamps or any assistance except financial aid when they went to college. Rita came from a solid family and had a strong core value system that said to her that assistant den mothers needed to set a positive example for the children they worked with. Rita wasn't rich but she never would have knowingly bought anything that was stolen no matter how bad she might need it.

Rita was on hell of a gal.



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