Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category
I hadn’t spoke to Barbara for, oh, probably a good thirteen, fourteen years. I almost didn’t speak to her today. Thanks to an internet beta phone thingy, when Barbara called my home phone, it rang through to my cell and my office phone. I chose the option to put it through to the voice mail and listen in, since I didn’t know who was calling. I hesitated before opting in to talk when I learned who was calling – why only became evident as the conversation ensued.
We were good friends back in the latter few years of my twelve year life on Faerie Queen Lane. She was a horse-woman and helped rid me of my fear of horses. She boarded her horse on a farm south by the river known then as Potts Farm. It was a milk farm and even up into the late ’70s there were places you could still buy Potts dairy milk here in town.
Her horse, Wendy, was an Appaloosa and shared the acreage with a few other horses, one of which was a champion Ap – a stud named Shoshone. Barabara taught me to ride by getting me up on Shoshone, bareback, while she shadowed me on Wendy. One whole summer were down on the river-bottom three or four times a week. After I gained confidence bareback, she taught me how to saddle Shoshone, sit a western saddle and rein.
There’s nothing I loved more then going for a ride. Eventually she got me to pick up speed and it didn’t take long before I was perfectly comfortable at a gallop. There is nothing, I mean nothing, that compares to being on the back of a horse at full speed. Who needs drugs – that was an adrenaline high I couldn’t get enough of.
Talking with her today brought back those memories. But my anxiety, and the reason for my phone hesitation, rose when it came to the “What have you been doing” portion of the conversation.
Barbara married and moved to Texas (I was one of a trio that sang at her wedding). I listened to her as she caught me up… daughter entering first year of college… still married to Chris…. taught school for thirteen years… volunteered with the police department and developed, wrote, and directed a video project…. (cue the hollow sound as the voice goes on and on).
I was impressed with all her accomplishments, but, well, it’s this part of the “catching up” with people that has kept me far from reunions and such. It has the feel of “top this” about it. I could list my accomplishments and the things of which I’m proud, but the cruel fact is, I lose the competition without even getting out of the gate. No husband to boast of, no kids to brag on. Anything else coming out of my mouth is the cue for the auto response: “That’s nice…. (blink, blink).”
Nonetheless, it was good to hear from her if for no other reason than I got to trek back to a time that was pretty darn good. I haven’t ridden a horse since Barbara moved away. I seriously doubt I could last very long now – no “legs” to speak of. Doubt I could even hoist myself into the saddle let alone charge off at a full gallop. She was a good friend during an extraordinary part of my life – those years on Faerie Queen Lane. Some great memories were made there – and some not so great. Fodder for future posts, now that they’ve been stirred up….
…maybe one day I’ll tell you about the time Barbara and I conned our way in to the fair and then conned our way into the rodeo – all for free. Or, no, wait, how about the time the south end of Faerie Queen Lane – including the baby – piled into Mary’s van to take a tall-boy Coors and a straw – by request – to a DJ at a radio station in OKC… or the time a spontaneous party broke out a my duplex and we improvised and recorded a “Perils of Pauline” story while plowing through a case or two of beer… or the time – damn – so many great times.
Tough times for friends. Puts my petty problems into sharp perspective. My dear, dear buddy Mark’s marriage has fizzled. Another friend dropped dead Sunday. Barely into his fortieth decade on the planet.
I am heartbroken, and yet, a celebration is planned for buddy Mark’s fiftieth birthday this weekend. It’ll be here at my abode. Bittersweet. It’ll be good for him to have his friends around him. But there will those who will be missed….