Tag Archives: Best Friends

Just Testing

Bloggers know this, but today I’m just reminding us all that best friends need not always be close at hand or even living in the same country. I’m leaving in a few hours to fly back to Mexico. My bags are packed and for the first time, although they are stuffed to the zippers, I’m leaving the U.S. with the same number of bags with which I left Mexico. What I’m not taking back with me are all the close friends and relatives who have made the rigors of traveling worth it. Prime among them is someone you’ve gotten to know a bit during these last few weeks of my trip. A bit of an agoraphobe, he has nonetheless not only paid host to me in his home but has also driven me through six states to visit other loved ones. I release him now, back to his computer and the grass that I am sure he’ll be mowing tomorrow.  Oh, and to Little Duck, for whom he has sole custody, while I merely have visiting rights. Although he goes by the name of okcforgottenman on his blog, he is far from forgotten.


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Just Testing

If I were to choose from all the rest,
you are the one who’d ace the test.
You left your warm and comfy nest
to drive around at my behest.
I do not say it often, lest
you come to see me as a pest,
but though we tease and joke and jest,
you are the one I love the best.

 

The prompt word today was “test.”

To Gather Together

img_5823Over the river

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and through the woods. to our good friends’ house we go.

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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!

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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.”

 

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We knew we were in the right place when Allenda served up her famous lasagne,

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when Tony fell alseep in his chair before the night was over,

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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.”

Smoothing Out Life

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One of my two dearest friends once told me that the two of them thought I had always had an air of entitlement.  This was a shock to me as from the inside out, I’ve always felt like I had to earn every bit of success or recognition I’ve ever received and that I’ve worked hard towards it. In trying to remember the exact conversation that led up to this statement, I have remembered   that I had written an angry letter to my boyfriend who had totally overlooked my birthday, merely jotting his name down on a card someone else had provided for my birthday party.  Luckily, I decided to read the letter to my friend before sending it to my boyfriend, and the statement above was her reaction to my complete disappointment in that. (No, I never did send the letter.)

Let me say first off that I harbor no resentment against my friend for her statement.  I think it is the purpose of friends to occasionally bring these blunt truths  and perceptions to light, and there was no malice in her statement––just a wish to furnish me with some insight into myself and to perhaps stay my action in sending the angry and heartbroken letter. She went on to say she’d never had a birthday party in her life. Now that got me to thinking, because I’m sure if I have ever been with her on her birthday, that I would have thrown some kind of a party, even if it was just for the two of us; but perhaps she meant as a child and if this is so––and if expecting some sort of celebration of one’s existence on earth means one projects an air of entitlement––then she is correct, because I am a great believer in celebrations for whomever and for whatever purpose.

Christmas is a big deal to me, even if it means making a crepe paper tree by twisting streamers from a central place on the ceiling overhead down to the various corners and edges of the tiny desk on an ocean liner–which I did when I happened to be on a boat mid-ocean one year for Christmas.  Another time, when I was on another cruise with my sister and mother for Christmas, I even packed wrapped presents and a tiny foldable tree  in my luggage.

I believe that there are enough days to “rue” in this life, so given any excuse to celebrate, I’m going to take it.  On Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, Valentines Day, May Day, Halloween, Easter, New years and Day of the Dead––I’m going to use it as a reason to do something creative and something celebratory. Yes, I admit, over the years I’ve forgotten a few birthdays  of friends and relatives not physically present.  One other year, everyone forgot mine–even my mother––but when you are with me on your birthday, believe me, we’re going to celebrate it!

Such events smooth out the choppy seas of life and give us something on which to pin our memories.  Think back.  How many of the best memories of your life involve celebrations of some sort?  If I tried hard enough, I could probably remember more childhood events centering around holidays and celebrations than any other factor.  I vividly remember the costume party my sister had when she turned 13 and the complete southern belle ruffled hoop-skirted  costume  (complete with picture hat) that Kitty Reynolds made for Cheryl Lillibridge to wear to it–out of crepe paper!  My sister went in our older sister’s prom dress, complete with a wrist corsage and dance book (remember those–with a tiny pencil attached for the guys who wanted to dance with you to sign up for a certain place in line on your list?) I went as Alice in Wonderland, accompanied by my sister’s giant yellow “white” rabbit.

The only photo I have of the party shows me, as Alice in Wonderland, in the foreground, but you can see Cheryl in her remarkable southern belle costume in the background as well as Patti in the polka dot prom dress. Perhaps because we have recorded them with photos, we remember these events the best, but so what? if they weren’t memorable enough to take photos, there wouldn’t be any photos to  help us remember. (Now that is a cyclical statement if I ever heard one.) And yes, Patti, I do remember that you are the one who reminded me that dress was made out of crepe paper when I mentioned it in a comment on Murdo Girl’s blog.)

At any rate, I was going to list a number of other examples of memories associated with Christmas and other holidays, but I think I’ve proven my point as clearly as I would have if I were to give twenty more examples, so I won’t.  The point is that life is going to furnish us with countless choppy seas. In the past few months, this has been especially true with friends and friends of friends suffering terrible tragedies. In some cases, it has been almost too much to bear, but in the midst of all this sadness, we continue to plan these special life events:  Easter egg hunts, reunions, summer camps for kids, special dinners with friends, birthday celebrations, writing retreats and trips to far-off places to visit friends we’ve been promising to take for years.  Because life on its own doesn’t furnish us with very many smooth spaces, I think we need to furnish them for ourselves!

Recently I quoted this statement by Will Durant to a  blogger friend in the comments section of his blog.  It is probably one of the quotes I’ve requoted most in life, and forgive me if you’ve heard it before, but I’m gonna do it again:

“Civilization is a stream with banks. The stream is sometimes filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shouting and doing things historians usually record, while on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing songs, write poetry.
The story of civilization is the story of what happened on the banks. Historians are pessimists because they ignore the banks for the river.”

I think Mr. Durant will forgive me if I add one item to his riverbank list of activities.  The word I would add is “celebrate.” It is one more everyday occurrence between people living their ordinary lives that helps to smooth out the bumps that the “big things” provide.

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Billy Sorenson and I dressed up as characters from fiction for our town’s 50th anniversary parade.  Why Robin Hood looks terrified of Little Bo Peep and why she looks like the cat who has swallowed the canary is lost in the annals of history. If my sisters hadn’t been fond of very large stuffed animals, I would have been limited in my costume props.  The sheep was won for my sister Betty by her boyfriend who spent a lot of quarters and got a sore arm tossing balls to win her favor. The big rabbit in the first photo was my sister Patti’s.

P.S. Remember that little twig in the ground I was sitting next to as a two year old in “Dreams of Flying” ? It is the same tree pictured in the first picture above. It took seven years to grow even that big–which is how slowly trees grow in  the dry climate of South Dakota, even though I’m sure my dad or mom probably watered it daily. It would have been that size in less than a year in Mexico.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/smooth/

Music Man

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For the most part, the men I have met over the seven years I’ve participated in social introduction sites have fizzled out–either through lack of interest, lack of memory or just plain lack of fuel to keep a long distance relationship going. There is just one who has lasted as our relationship has evolved from friendship to seduction to love affair to a best friend relationship where we are crazy about each other from a distance––willing to do anything for each other that can be done from 1500 miles away––including advising each other over other romantic relationships as we share heartbreaks, frustrations and all the problems of daily life.

In this strange cyber world we are all slipping into by varying degrees, he has become one of the most important people in my life, even though it has been two years since we’ve met in person. He is my blog administrator, copy editor and computer tech. He reminds me to pay my helpers, lock my doors at night and turn the lights out. When I lost my camera, he found it from 1500 miles away in Missouri by checking the message boards in my hometown in Mexico! Once, when I was at the beach, when a friend came by and handed me something as I lay on a hammock on my front porch, he Skyped me asking me what she had handed me—having seen it on the beach cam of my next door neighbor which just happened to pick up the corner of the porch I rent every year! (I know. Sounds creepy, but it wasn’t.)

Since he hardly ever leaves his house or his computer screen, unless he is asleep he is usually available within a few minutes via Skype. He checks my computers from afar, patrolling for viruses or needed updates. He is there when I receive good news and bad. Because I live up on a mountain above a small town in Mexico and because all of the houses around me are homes used as vacation homes and usually empty, he monitors my after-midnight swims in the pool or my journeys down to the studio, waiting online to check that I am safely back in bed within a reasonable amount of time–one hour or two, depending on how ensconced I become in my late night/early morning adventures. But with all of the roles he has assumed in my life over the years we’ve know each other, one of his most important roles right from the first is as my “Music Man”!

For the first four months I knew him, he played his guitar and sang me to sleep every night over Skype, the camera of my laptop trained on my face so he could see when I slept and say goodnight and go back into his own world where few strayed. Those serenades continued off and on for the next year, but since then, he has been my music man in other ways: sending favorite songs I request as well as songs I’ve never heard before that I open like Christmas packages.

On the CD’s he has made for me or the iTunes he’s sent are my own favorites: Emmylou, Rickie Lee Jones, Tom Waits, Stacey Earle, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Dan Bern, Chris Smither, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Lila Downs, and Janice Joplin. Joining them are his favorites, some of whom I’d never heard of before: Brett Dennen, Joe Purdy, Steve Earle, and Nanci Griffith. He has created a new world for me comprised of Towns Van Zandt, Eva Cassidy, Jolie Holland, the Wailin’ Jennys and Iris DeMent along with songs discovered via movie soundtracks or the background music of favorite TV shows. The Avett Brothers we discovered  together––I no longer remember which one of us first stumbled across them on a Youtube video of the Letterman show.

Music was our courtship: Since he is too much a rebel to participate in the regular celebrations of society, songs became my valentines, my birthday gifts and Christmas stockings. Where others gave flowers, he gave songs. “I and Love and You” was declared to me by the Avett Brothers.  When Amy Lavere sang to me, “Lucky boy, lucky boy, ’cause I’m your lovely girl,” I got the message that I was the lovely girl and he the lucky boy, even though in the past he had advised me not to interpret all the songs as messages.

I now have over 471 songs on my computer—most of them sent by him. They are the songs I listen to every time I have guests, when I am in my car or in my studio. They keep me company at night in the pool or my studio. The first thing the man who comes to my house to give me a weekly massage does when he enters the room is to click on my iPod in its speaker/holder. He says this is his favorite place to come—partly because of the calm and the art, but more so because of the music.

My music man. I’ll see him in person in September and it will be wonderful to give him a hug and a kiss, to travel up to Minnesota together to see my sister and nieces and to Alabama to see other friends; but this man who has been by turns my serenader, my computer tech, my editor, my confidant, my lover and my best friend has, in addition to everything else, given me one invaluable gift. He has created the soundtrack to my life.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/music/

R.S.V.P.: Partying with Best Friends

R.S.V.P.: Partying with Best Friends

For four good friends, if they would come,
I’d just serve wine and Coke and rum.
Three would have to travel far
and couldn’t come by foot or car.

On the plane, while flying in,
they’d begin their  life of sin––
ordering drinks to get in training.
Meanwhile, airline food disdaining.

Only one could get here quickly.
She could be here lickety splickly.
We’d have a bit of wine and rum
so when the others finally come,

we’d be caught up and go right on
and keep this up till all are gone.
Gone my friends and gone the wine.
Time to get back into line!!!!!

On the run to get the the Feria, but you know who you are!!!   https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/rsvp/ Plan the perfect party for someone you like best.

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Although this is a picture of my childhood friend and me, it is used for illustrative purposes only. The poem is fictional and in no way describes either one of us.

Fidelity

“We’ve been friends since we were skinny!”
–Anonymous

Yes, we grew up friends and stood up at each others’ weddings.
She was there for all my break-ups. I was there for all her beddings.
And though she thinks I’m poorly dressed and I think she’s a snob
who only talks about her “things,” fashion and her job.
And though she lets her eyes stray, like she finds my talk is boring,
and puts polish on her fingernails  while mine are apple coring.

Though she prefers the opera while I like the Avett Brothers,
and dines on caviar while Burger King is more my druthers.
While she shops for Michael Kors, Yves Saint Laurent and Fendi,
Ross Dress for Less is where I shop for clothes that are less trendy.
She drives a new Mercedes while I drive a beat-up Chevy.
While she works out at her health spa, I have let myself get heavy.

Yet none of this has ever put our friendship in the skids.
I pat her little yappy dog. She puts up with my kids.
For though we’ve evolved differently,  she still is my best friend,
and the history between us means our bond will never end.
Though she lives in a mansion and my house is a dump,
Just one thing could divide us. That is–if she votes for Trump!!!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Delayed Contact.” How would you get along with your sibling(s), parent(s), or any other person you’ve known for a long time — if you only met them for the first time today?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Celebrate Good Times.” You receive some wonderful, improbable, hoped-for good news.  How do you celebrate?DSC00212208171_1653270418343_3518364_n
Idyllic Schemata

If I won the lottery–just scads and scads of money,
I’d take my friends off to some isle beautiful and sunny.
I’d hire a house with many rooms where everyone could sleep.
I’d hire a housekeeper and cook, a chauffeur and a Jeep!
We’d swim and snorkel every day, take walks and collect things:
shells, driftwood and starfish–whatever the sea brings.
At night we’d drink and eat and sing, play dice or Mexican Train.
Next morning we would sleep in late and do it all again.

We’d rent a boat and captain and sail away to sea
to examine the horizon–to have fun and merely “be.”
When we’d stop at island markets, I’d give everybody money
to shop for anything they want–beautiful or funny,
delicious or fantastic, things to wear or play or see
and then I would give prizes for what most pleases me.
What I would buy are paint and tools, wood and nails and glue–
all the things needed to do what we could do

to transform all our treasures into jewelry or art.
Each person choosing just one thing closest to their heart
and letting it draw other things with which to tell a tale,
then joining them together with glue or cord or nail.
Then I’d mount an exhibition and ask everyone around.
Food and drink and music and good humor would abound.
Everyone could tell us what they make of all our art,
Which pieces touch their funnybone, which pieces touch their heart.

And we’d give the pieces all away to those who love them most.
We’d dine and raise our glasses in a final toast:
Here’s to all good friends that are and friends who are meant to be.
Here’s to the sand and sunshine, moonlight and the sea.
Here’s to all the luck we share in being here today,
to the freedom that we all possess to simply sail away.
And then I’d build a house somewhere and all could live there free–
each doing what we want and being who we want to be.

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