Strong broth and rare bird


Jimmie Batchelor

Guest Columnist


Marjorie Orr and Sara Troutman met back in second grade. They both turn 80 this year. When they were 16, their friendship took a hiatus when Sara ran away to elope and escape being sent to Parochial school. She really did that, right out her window!

Then, in 2011, as fate would have it, they reunited at Walgreen’s and have been pals again ever since! Both volunteer at Hidden Valley Senior Center and participate in various activities, such as Bingo and weekly card games at HV and Heritage Senior Center.

Marjorie came up with a cross-country road trip for the pair. Sara was all for the idea and after 9 months of planning, one weak moment of maybe backing out; she went along for the ride. I was a bit nervous over this huge undertaking they planned, but I was promised check-in phone calls once in a while. Marjorie was to drive while Sara relaxed and took in the view.

I have perfect nicknames for my friends. Marjorie’s is Strong Broth, from a Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees) quote, “She’s been boiled down to a good, strong broth.” Sara is Rare Bird, a delicate beauty who is stronger than she appears and up to any adventure. Also, I noticed that a majority of her photos were of the vast wide sky.

Come April 24, they were off on the road!

Marjorie advised me that she had inherited her wanderlust from an adventurous mother who was the trip scheduler for their family and once scheduled a 3-month, 16,000 mile trip. The family camped out for that entire trip. Rare Bird and Strong Broth’s excursion was “only” 11,000 miles. They traveled 350-400 miles per day and did stay in hotels.

Before this adventure, Marjorie had traveled through Alaska twice (Alaska wasn’t a state at the time.) and every state except N. Dakota and Hawaii; however, Sara had seen only the Carolinas, Ala., Fla. and Ga. They had too many stops on this trip to mention here, but traveling out to their western destination, they visited 16 states. Most of those had site-seeing and points of interest. They both agree their favorite state was Utah and “you’d have to see it in person to appreciate it.”

Another favorite was Four Corners, a place where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona come together. Indian tribes from each state sold their own jewelry, pottery, and other art made by their tribes.

Arriving in Seattle, Washington on May 31, they started their Alaskan cruise Marjorie had added a month before the trip. Returning to shore on June 7, they headed home, making 6 stops on the way.

When asked what was the most fun, they replied “people watching, the countryside was awesome, seeing all the different customs, food, language, accents from all the different regions, to name a few,” spilled out of them so fast, I hope I got it all.

They were very conservative with their meals. Plenty of food was packed that could be prepared in their hotel microwave for dinner and, as for lunch; they hunted down Dairy Queens to have their favorite, a medium vanilla cone. Let’s just say, they never went hungry.

These two ladies had a great time and highly recommend venturing out, if not as far as they did, to wherever is comfortable for you. Marjorie says she is capable and willing to help you plan and schedule your own trip, if you’re game. I’m thinking of taking her up on that!


Jimmie recently retired from Henry Co. Senior Services in Stockbridge, where she managed Hidden Valley Senior Center and resided for 38 years. She plans to use her new found time writing (for The Times) and enjoying life!