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While waiting for our table, a man who earlier had been chatting with us in the parking lot gestured for us to come over and meet his friend, Effie.

Valentine's Day, 2012. My husband and I were in a special spot we loved. The lowest spot below sea level in the United States. Zillions of wildflowers if you're lucky enough to know when they'll pop up. But it's like Russian roulette to pinpoint that wintertime. Death Valley. Serene. Silent. Spectacular.

Dinner reservations were for 6:30 at the Furnace Creek Inn. I wore a red sweater. While waiting for our table, a man who earlier had been chatting with us in the parking lot while washing the white borax off his late model Mercedes, gestured for us to come over and meet his friend, Effie. Effie, who had about three face lifts too many, was dressed in a lovely silk blouse, tight black skirt and high heels. Heels, an admirable, but strange, piece of clothing in Death Valley. Have I mentioned that she was pencil thin?

Her much younger companion asked if we remembered the commercial from the 50s — "Which twin has the Toni?" Of course, we nodded. He then introduced us to Effie, the twin who had the Toni! She was charming and delightful as was Mark, her driver, but I did wonder how she could talk so well after all those face lifts.

During dinner I glanced over at them and noticed that they only ordered appetizers. I never saw Effie take a bite. The following day Effie and her companion were gone, on their way to a round of parties in Beverly Hills. Her hair, I'm sure, looked perfect.

Pat Perkins is a member of the Jottings Group at The Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.


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