"Were we ever this young?"
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REMEMBERING OLD FRIENDS
1 December 2005
How did it get to be December already? I'm barely comfortable with putting 2005 on my documents and suddenly it's almost 2006!
December has come to Davis with the first real rain we've had this year, and I'm discovering the joy of muddy paw prints on the Pergo. So far I'm not too unhappy about it, as it seems much easier to clean up than the linoleum was. Again, a good choice was made.
With the Christmas season in full swing, we have had our very first Christmas card/letter. My friend/former boss Ann gets her annual letter out even earlier than I do each year.
I haven't seen her in years and somehow in the interim, she has had the audicity to move relentlessly forward to where she is staring age 70 smack dab in the eye. I wouldn't mind her turning 70 so much if it didn't mean that it's on the distant horizon for me as well.
She has a good outlook on end-of-life issues. She wants to be "exterminated," and points out that her son, the police officer, carries a gun and her daughter, the lawyer, could convince a jury that he was merely carrying out his mother's wishes.
Merry Christmas! LOL.
But speaking of The Dreaded Christmas Letter, I have written mine and it will be a link on this journal from today until the holiday. Wouldn't want anybody to miss it at all!
And then there is today's vlog, which I debated about posting or not, wondering if Char would ever forgive me, but since she hasn't recoiled in horror--and since it is such a funny movie--and since she almost sounded like she expected me to post it, what the hell.
I think this movie shows not only what she was afraid would get out -- how truly crazy we were when we were young mothers -- but what a wonderful friendship we have had all through the years.
Some of my most cherished memories...in fact most of my cherished memories...have Char in them. Most of the stories from earlier days that I tell that are funny have Char somewhere in them. She says that there are people who are convinced she is a composite. But no, there's just Char, and how much more dull my life would have been without her!
At Christmas time, I remember the crazy things we did around the holidays. The pumpkin pie toss started the holiday in fine fashion (part 2 of that movie is coming, if I ever find it!).
I remember the two of us going to a Christmas tree lot and each buying the biggest trees we could find, thrilled at the good deal that we found.
Then we stood at the door of her little Saab and tried to figure out how were were going to get both of us and the two trees inside (naturally we hadn't thought to bring rope to tie the trees to the roof). Somehow, the later years when I had a van large enough that two trees would easily slide in the back, it just weren't quite the same as climbing in the passenger seat and essentially wearing the trees as we drove across town to our homes.
Then there was decorating the house(s) in wax the year we decided to get together with our friend Michèle to make candles -- lots of candles -- for Christmas. We melted wax, poured wax, whipped wax, spilled ice all over the kitchen and generally had a fantastic time.
There were all the trips our families took together--their 5 kids, our 5 kids--riding down unpaved roads off to nowhere. Watching the kids stand alongside a dry creek bed, backside to the cameras, peeing on the rocks (that would be the boys, not the girls). Riding miles and miles out in the middle of the desert just to stand at a hole in the ground because somewhere, way down at the bottom of the hole where we couldn't see them, there were some rare fish. Or so they told us.
Icthyosaur State Park, where their daughter Jenny teethed on a fish fossil, millions of years old.
Balancing precariously on a hillside, filling buckets with incredibly tiny huckleberries, doing "quality control" at the end of the day, and having huckleberry sourdough pancakes in the morning, using sourdough starter Char had slept with during the night to keep it warm.
Driving out to the orchards of Brentwood, with all those kids, to pick apricots or cherries and then bring them home and wonder how we were going to process them.
An ecumenical seder in the desert on Easter in Death Valley. Not being Jewish, we didn't adhere to any strict seder traditions and when the wind whipped up and we couldn't cook the way we expected to, we ended up having lamb kabobs huddled in our tent and drinking lots of wine. No matter what seder traditions have to go by the wayside, always keep the wine drinking.
Watching the kids play ball in the desert, and then picking cactus quills out of (Ned's? Paul's--I can never remember) backside when he fell into a cactus.
That same trip, we arrived in Death Valley in the middle of the night in a windstorm. Campgrounds were filled, so we ended up sneaking onto government land (Mike, a seismologist, had the key to the gate) and half of the group slept underground with all the seismographic equipment while Char and I slept in the cars with the younger kids. The next night our tent blew down and we carried our sleeping kids to Mike and Char's tent while we weighted our tent down with rocks and climbed into the car for the rest of the night.
("Why did you knock your tent down by throwing rocks at it?" asked precocious Jenny the next morning)
It was a different trip where we landed in Bodie, a ghost town on the east side of the Sierras, after a harrowing ride on a road that the park rangers informed us was impossible to navigate--after we'd already done it. We found ourselves in the middle of an electrical storm and I took the famous photo of 12 people huddled in an outhouse together (a 2-holer).
Char was Paul's godmother, so she had to love him, even when he cried for hours when left in her care. (Char's husband Mike is Tom's godfather. I am godmother for their daughter Jenny--it's all very incestuous)
Char was there when David was born, rushing down to our house at the crack of dawn so she could watch the other kids while Walt ran me off to the hospital.
We shared a birth of a different kind at midnight in a barn in Palmer, Alaska, when we were visiting them (they were living in Alaska at that time). The girls were working at the state fair and called us to come down and witness the birth of a litter of piglets.
The memories go on and on...and films like the pumpkin pie video start me remembering, and laughing, and recalling the really fun times. Life would have been significantly less interesting without Char in my life.
It's a day to remember all of our friends and acquaintences who have died or been otherwise affected by this pandemic, and to work to eradicate HIV in our lifetime.
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PHOTO OF THE DAY
Char's kids--all grown up