An Ode To "Girlfriends"
Whether You Have One Of Them, Or Many Of Them, Consider Yourself Lucky!
Ever since childhood, I've had girlfriends come and go in my life. But the one constant throughout life is that we as women cannot live without our purely platonic, kindred spirits - girlfriends, those who make us laugh until milk comes out our nose, and when we grow up (IF we ever do) coffee comes out our nose. Those whom you can share a good cry with or just laugh with until tears are falling down your face.
You know the kind, those you got in trouble with (you know who you are!) The one from back when I was a teenager and I used to do things (dumb things) with, but now I look back on those times humorously and think to myself "what WERE we thinking!" All those experiences helped me to become the person I am today with the values and beliefs that I still hold dear today.
I can remember sneaking out one night with my girlfriend back in the 1970's, telling our parents we were going to go see the latest "Disney" movie. What did we REALLY go see? THE EXORCIST! Linda Blair in her hugely FRIGHTENING role of a young woman possessed who needed an exorcist to remove the demons from her soul... I had nightmares for months after that one. I guess I deserved 'em! I never would have been brave enough to even go SEE a movie like that if it wasn't for my friend.
Another time, we snuck out into a field where there were abandoned old rusty parked cars that obviously hadn't seen a road in years, and we "smoked" our first cigarette. We hacked and coughed until we thought we were going to puke, and thought we were "cool" holding those cigarettes. Boy, were we ever just plain DUMB! Took us a MONTH to get through just that one pack of cigarettes, and thank GOD that was the ONLY pack (1/2 pack) that I ever smoked. I am thankful to this day that neither one of us ever got hooked on cigarettes, and 37 years later neither one of us is a smoker.
The funny thing is, I was the one who was sent into the "White Hen Pantry" (our town's version of a "kwik mart") to BUY those gawd-awful things. I remember it as if it was yesterday! The clerk asking me "regular or menthol" (note to self - act COOL like you've done this a thousand times before - maybe now would be the time to yawn and say "menthol".) I did say menthol, but I had no idea what the difference was. Heck, I was petrified that I would be CAUGHT buying the dang things, you were supposed to be 16 to buy them and I was just a few months shy of 16. Crazy stupid things we did "back then." Today my friend from high school and I can still laugh about those crazy times.
And the crazy times didn't just stop with the teenage years, oh no, they went on even after I had supposedly grown up. I became friends with a bunch of friends I had met... of all places... on the Internet!! You know the place everyone warns you about... don't become friends with Internet people....as if that was the worst thing you could possibly do. I guess I became friends with them simply out of ignorance... it was when home computers were first coming out. Luckily, none of my girlfriends turned out to really be 50 year old guys sitting in their underwear on the computer saying that they were 25 year old women.
We all became friends out of a love for country music, and a love for country music singer Alan Jackson in particular. We would find out that he was playing a concert somewhere, and horror of horrors, we MET up with one another, and became best friends in person, as well as online. We would even share hotel rooms (hence the story I like to tell about the "snoring cowboy.")
We were in a hotel room in Nashville one summer. A bunch of us had gathered to spend the week together at what used to be known as "Fan Fair" in Nashville. It was a time when country music stars would have what they would call Fan Club Parties which were held during that week, and you would get to spend a very personal hour or so with that star and hear stories from their travels on the road as well as family stories. You felt like you were almost a part of their family for that hour or so. It was such a fun time, but it seems that a lot of the stars have stopped having these parties now (some still have them, but I think it's mostly the young ones who are just starting out in their careers).
But, back to the "snoring cowboy." We had just woke up, and one of my friends said to me "what was THAT??" "Huh?? What??" I said, just arising from a bleary-eyed dream filled sleep... "What was WHAT?" "That NOISE"... "I don't know" said I... "What kind of noise?" She looked at me and said "SNORING!! Who in the world was doing that SNORING!!" Pfffft, "wasn't me!" Nope, couldn't have been ME... I don't snore. Must be someone else.
One of the girls in our group was a very pretty single girl, dimples when she smiled (you know who you are!) So what did I do? I blamed it on her!! It was Becky (Name changed to protect... whatever it is I'm tryin' to protect here!) It had to be Becky... she SNUCK a COWBOY into the room, yep, it was a SNORING COWBOY! I don't think I've lived that one down yet, and the sad part is (confession time - note to self - don't ADMIT to stuff) it might have been me... I don't know... I'm not awake when I supposedly DO snore, so I don't know!
Now another time, probably that same week, I'm not sure! A bunch of us decided to get in the rental car and drive out to see Alan Jackson's beautiful home south of Nashville out in the country. It was so pretty. Just a gorgeous, rural, pastoral, peaceful, serene setting filled with beautiful flowers (ummm, really Officer, we are his biggest fans... no, we won't step on his flowers, promise!)... Oh wait, that was a different time.
THIS time we drove past his home and almost all of the girls decided that we should get OUT of the rental car right in front of his home to take a picture - yep, let's get out NOW!! Well, the lady driving, Myrtle (name changed again to protect - aww heck, what was it I'm tryin' to protect again?) SO, Myrtle waits until most of the girls are out of the car, and I am hangin' in a place someplace between "in" and "out" of the car, and she STEPS ON THE GAS... like she is Bonnie without the Clyde, like we're all gonna get arrested for stopping to take a dang picture in front of Alan's house...and I ever so gracefully fall OUT of the car right in front of Alan Jackson's house.
Yep, I still have the road rash to prove it... so to this day, I am the proud owner of the nickname "speed-bump." That's me! Now, NOBODY was hurt when this happened, especially me, but it IS funny to re-tell the story, and each time it is told, it becomes a bit more shall we say... embellished... so it sounds even better!
The latest "incident" happened a few years ago with some girlfriends from work. We worked in retail and sometimes the work was just boring. We would be busy putting those blasted RED TICKETS all over everything, marking stuff clearance. Every week we would be in the ladies department scanning every item on the clearance racks to see if anything needed to be marked down further. Every week, scanning, scanning, boring.... we'd talk about everything under the sun and look at the clothing on those racks.
One week, we came across the most HIDEOUS monstrosity of a "dress" we had ever SEEN in our lives! It was horrendous, how in the WORLD could anyone WEAR such a hideous looking THING! And every week, it would not go down any more in price.
We used to tease each other "you just have to have that DRESS! Imagine the fashion statement you'd make in THAT!" Now my girlfriend had college age kids, and I told her she should buy it and wear it for Thanksgiving when they came home "yeah, sure, they'll think I've LOST it for SURE!" "Mom is definitely ready for the looney bin" is what they'd say!
Well, one week she wasn't there with me on the day we were marking down ready to wear in ladies. And then it happened... FINALLY!! "The dress" that hideous monstrosity went to 75% off! I just HAD to have it because you see, I was on a MISSION!! I had to dress up Clarabelle ***not her real name, you know , that protection thing again*** Her BIRTHDAY was coming up next week boy did I EVER have the "Perfect gift". I just had to figure out how to BUY it without her catching me, so when break time came around, I snuck up to the register and purchased the "frock" for my good friend. You'll see, I told myself, she will thank me for this!
Now this thing had to be the most hideous "garment" I had ever seen. It was a light orange color, kind of like an unhealthy salmon color, and the fabric was similar to a bedspread you would have found years ago in your Grandmother's house... you know that bumpy "chenille" or "candlewick" embroidery kind of fabric. Not much shape to this dress either, she's probably gonna need a belt or something to go with it, but I'll just wrap it up and give it to her and let her "accessorize" it for herself (IF she doesn't BURN it first!). She is sooooo going to... thank me for this! NOT!
A couple weeks later, FINALLY!! It was "Clarabelle's" birthday!! Oh JOY!! I finally got to give her... THE DRESS!! We were in the break room and she opened my card first, "that is sooo funny" she tells me (all the while I am thinking just WAIT until you see your "gift" girlie!)
Then she rips the package open and breaks into absolute HYSTERICS!! She was laughing so hard and she made ME laugh so hard that if we'd been drinking coffee it would have been coming out of BOTH of our noses!! She had tears streaming down her face and was clutching her sides "Just WAIT until my HUSBAND sees this (note to self - I better move and change my name cuz Clarabelle's husband is going to think I am a NUT JOB!) To this day, we still laugh about the hideous (I mean GORGEOUS) birthday "gift" that I gave to her.
Well, the reason I decided to write this "ode to friendship" is this... just a few days ago, it was my birthday! I'm not gonna state my age to protect... something... what was it I was gonna protect anyway? Age is just a state of mind anyway, right? Age is mind over matter, if you don't mind, it don't matter.
So, it's a real pretty day outside, about 70 degrees and sunny. And for those who know me, we just moved here to Las Vegas, Nevada (at least I just moved here) about five months ago. I am enjoying living here so far, but sometimes I would think back on my "working days" in retail with fond memories, of the times we would laugh together and nearly feel like crying together. I walk out to the mailbox. I find a KEY in the mailbox, oh COOL!! Someone has sent me something!! I open the lock-box... I see that it's from some of my former co-workers, how SWEET of them!! I don't even work there any more, and even though I moved five months ago, they remembered my birthday!!
How wonderful to be remembered, friendship sure is a neat thing! No matter how far away you move, you take the beautiful memories of those days along with you to pull out any time you want to remember your dear friends! I open the box and what is in it?
Only the most HIDEOUS DRESS (I think that's what it is??) I have EVER seen in my life! No, it's not the same one I gave to Clarabelle... I think she might have OUTDONE me with this one. She picked it out with my other dear friend, Maybelline (name change again). See what teamwork can do? It is a horrid yellow monstrosity with a HUGE ballerina type "skirt" thing on it. I decide I'm gonna get them, I'm gonna put the dang thing on and take a picture!!
Oh GAWD, I think to myself, "I look like a deranged cupcake in this ... thing!! A deranged cupcake from lemon meringue hell!!" I am laughing so hard I almost have tears going down my face... my husband snaps a pic... and NO, I am NOT sharing THAT picture!! I will share a picture of the lemon meringue nightmare though to illustrate this story.
And that, my friends, is my "ode to girlfriends"... not a day goes by that I don't thank the good Lord above for the beautiful gift that I have of my female friends. They have been there for me through laughter and tears, we've helped each other through hard times, helped one another to raise wonderful children, and I will love them always.
Oh, and the deranged cupcake dress? I will keep it... if nothing else, just to remember the beautiful gift that I have been blessed with... the gift of friendship!