Over the river
and through the woods. to our good friends’ house we go.
When we stopped for lunch, if we hadn’t known it before, we would have known by the menu that we were in the south!
And when we passed the rockets, we knew we were in Huntsville!
It is most appropriate that the prompt word today was “Together,” for yesterday, Forgottenman and I drove from Missouri to Huntsville, Alabama, to be with two of our favorite people–our friends Tony and Allenda who lived right next door to me in Mexico for eight years before they moved back to the states. We had a wonderful time during those eight years, talking daily, meeting a few times weekly for Allenda’s incredible cooking or games of Mexican Train.
Tony and I wrote a book together and Allenda and I were in two different art groups together. With our friends Audrey and Linda, (Forgottenman and Ron when they visited,) we formed a tight “posse” that gathered at the drop of a hat or an invitation. And when we gathered, the one given was lots of laughter. Side-splitting, aching laughter that feels so good and that seems now to be the most necessary ingredient in friendship–coming right after trust and loyalty, which was certainly there as well.
Unfortunately, they all left Mexico on the same year, and I’ve been missing them ever since. Luckily, Audrey eventually came back, but two isn’t a posse, and we miss the rest of them. Always will. Hopefully just once more before all of our leaves fall from the tree, we’ll be together en masse at my house, as it should be! In the meantime, I’ll wander over the border now and then to come check up on them. This time, it was Tony and Allenda and Forgottenman I’ve herded together. Not the entire flock, but what lovely wooly creatures they are!
To Gather Together
To gather together, I flew on a plane
for seventeen hours, then flew once again
for another nine hours, then got in a car
and drove for five hours and now here we are!
Gathered together with three old time friends.
Now we’ll be together until our time ends.
Allenda’s lasagna and laughter with Tony
and all of Forgottenman’s verbal baloney.
I have been missing this madness for years.
All of their banter falls on my ears
like light verbal rain that gives birth to attention.
I soak in the comfort of each thing they mention.
There’s no time like idle time spent with a buddy.
We may not be sprightly, our memories muddy.
We tried to share book titles that we forgot,
Yet Google remembers all we have not.
Movies and TV and sports scores and then
we start to remember all over again
past times with invites thrown like a ball
with no prior warning, over the wall
that was all that divided us three years ago
when life was easier–free-flowing, slow.
“Let’s get together for a meal or a game.”
No prior planning, no traffic to tame.
The folks in our posse would gather like sheep.
The talk wasn’t serious, organized, deep.
Light chatter and silliness, cleverness, joking.
Side-splitting laughter ’til we were all choking.
Linda and Audrey, Tony and Allenda.
Forgottenman (when we were on his agenda)
and me like a housemother, guiding them all
so they didn’t wander, stumble or fall.
A sterling example when I wasn’t stumbling
or tripping or falling, forgetting or mumbling!
For the value of good friends you’ve formerly had
is that they remember the good, not the bad:
the train games that lasted far into the night,
driven in by the moths drawn in by the light.
Hot tubs at midnight, margaritas or rum,
counting up tiles until minds were numb.
Ridiculous movies of Allenda’s choosing,
raunchy and scandalous, but most amusing.
Collaborations over writing or art.
When we weren’t silly, damn, we were smart!
All of these pastimes special and shared—
All of the truths of our hearts that we bared
didn’t all end when you all went away,
for all of the memories have chosen to stay.
Now I’m handing them back to you, right here and now
and hoping you’ll all make a pledge, take a vow
that next year you’ll make the journey to me
so all of the “us’s” can once more be “we.”
We knew we were in the right place when Allenda served up her famous lasagne,
when Tony fell alseep in his chair before the night was over,
and when we found the flowers and chocolates our gracious hostess had left on our bed table.
Good night. All’s well in this world. We are together.
Appropriately, the prompt today is “Together.”