She is a modern day Pippi Longstocking.
Most people don’t know her by name, but they know her by sight. I’ve bared witness to the hundreds of times people do a double take and say “Hey! You work at the post office!” She doesn’t just ‘work at the post office’….she runs the whole shebang in our little town….but there’s more to her than just an expert on how many stamps you need and if it’s cheaper to ship it via ground….
I am partial to her, because she is one of my besties….but she is also a ‘brook Icon because she is eccentric, interesting and like most brook icons…she is solid in character and integrity.
Terrie Bourke. When I asked her if I could do an interview with her, she texted back “LOL ok!” and has proceeded to avoid me ever since. The other night when Corey and I were walking the dogs (Terrie and I call it walking the f*ckers, but you’ll read more about that later…) she screeches up alongside us and lets us know she is on her way to swimming lessons. Swimming lessons. But that’s her. One trait for sure about her is that she is determined. Determined is a nice word for tough as hell. She is the pirate version of Touched by an Angel….she is both the kindest person, while simultaneously not flinching if you drag her across fire. “Stay on my heels!” is her mantra to her friends when she is running at 75 mph and we are way back at .23 miles per hour…but because her belief in her friends, her convictions that life is what YOU make of it, we somehow stay on her muthaf***ng heels…..
So let’s begin….she stopped by last night, whirlwind that she is….”Ok, let’s go!” she commanded me as the dogs were freaking out with love around her and she was surveying the house that once again changed up….Immediately I asked her why she often slipped into a southern accent – it’s real and not deliberate- “My dad was in the Air Force – I lived in Louisiana….we also lived in New Jersey, Virginia and Texas before we moved to Maine.” Interesting because she identifies primarily as a “Hill Girl” because she grew up in her middle school and high school years on Munjoy Hill. The Hill Girls were tough. You wouldn’t know it by looking at them today – sweet, beautiful, accomplished women, but to hear the stories….Terrie said our mutual friend Lynn once told her, “Terrie you would have beat us up if we showed up on the hill…” Maybe, but most likely not. Terrie would be the Rizzo of the Hill Girls, but maybe with a little of the girl who wanted to be a hairdresser too…..anyhow…she has a core group of best friends from those days who she remains close to – especially Sandra who she describes as…..”not so gangy..but kinda.” Love that description. We talked about teenagers and adulttoddlers and how parenting is tough….but Terrie has such a big heart yet simultaneously holds her values and convictions, a hard balance, but an important one… “I was (expletive, expletive, expletive) at 13…so I get it…”
And then she tells me she is gluten free.
Why the post office? I asked her. It was all her dad’s idea – they signed up together almost 30 years ago to take the test and she aced it. Of course she did, Terrie, in my experience, takes nothing on that she can’t commit herself to completely. She has also been, for the past 20 years, a waitress/bartender at Jay’s. I am sure she is an icon there too.
She said that she enjoys both jobs but at Jay’s she likes the customer interaction especially when there are people there just enjoying themselves and having a good time. She then interjects that garlic and whipping cream are what goes in good mashed potatoes.
I met her at the feared 5:30am TYIA (train your inner athlete) class about 4 years ago when she read about it in the AJ and just showed up. Showed up and said she was ready for a change. And change she did…she is a die hard. We started running together – well, she at a whole different pace, but as part of the same group. Running to her is like a prayer. She can’t wait to run because it clears her head and it helps her to connect with her spirituality. For someone who ‘jumped into running’ as she describes it, she’s done multiple 5ks, 10ks and at least one half marathon. She is mulling the idea of a triathalon or two…hence the swim lessons. “I swear I drank half that (expletive) pool water yesterday and all I can think about is all those kids who peed in it…”
And finally, I insert me. I know she has a lot of friends. People are drawn to Terrie because her fierce, brave spirit is balanced with compassion, warmth and a radiant heart. You can’t not like her….you can’t not fear her a little too, but man, it’s hard to not like her. Our friendship solidified in our evening walks with our dogs…aka “the f***kers” A few times a week, more when life is stressful, we leash them up and move it down Forest Street. Bentley, her dog who adores her, is a fluffy puff of attitude – he barks at the sticks, the acorns and any other dog. He gazes at her adoringly – Terrie says she’d like another dog but after Ben ate the down comforter, she’ll hold off for a little bit…anyways (squirrel – me), we walk and we talk talk talk and every step we take bonds our friendship and is filled with laughter, swear words and support for each other.
Thank you, my dear friend, for being such a good sport and shining your radiant light on the world. This world needs more Hill Girls.. I absolutely adore you.