Posted tagged ‘old friends’

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”

July 12, 2016

The weather is glorious this morning. It is sunny, still and warm. The street is quiet. Last night the street was filled with kids, noisy kids. Gracie went to the door to see what was going on. She found it boring so she went back to the couch and fell asleep.

Yesterday I finally planted the flowers which have been sitting on the brick walk for nearly two weeks. I filled the front step pot and three pots for the deck railing to replace the ones the spawns broke. By the time I was done, I wasn’t fit for social interaction. Sweat poured down each cheek and my hair was soaked, but I didn’t mind. I felt accomplished. I even swept the step and walkway. It was a productive afternoon.

Today will be nonproductive. I have to go to the library. It’s the big event of the day. I’ll take my shower later, the second big event. I never mind days like today. I figure most of my life before retirement was spent being busy every day so I have earned idle time. I have come to love an empty dance card.

All my animals, the two cats and the dog, are considered elderly by the vets. I’m thinking I might just be in the same category. Fern takes four medicines a day and the dog takes one. Maddie would also take one if she weren’t so feisty. I take more than all of them.

I don’t see many people, but my friends and I keep in touch by calling each other. The other day it was my friend Maria who called. She and I have been friends for almost sixty years. I saw her three or four months ago for the first time in a long time, but our connection has stayed so strong it is always as if we had been together a day or two before. We have so many stories starring each other, and we laugh every time we tell them. They never get old. When I taught, I used to spend just about every summer traveling, usually in Europe. I’d be gone four to six weeks. Those summers always went by in a flash. Traveling does that: makes the days short and quick.

My next trip is back to Ghana for my third visit. The two and a half weeks will be gone in the blink of an eye, but I’ll hold close everyone I see and every place I go. Ghana is also home for me.

“They talked in the shorthand of old friends and shared memories.”

November 6, 2015

My friends have left. The house is just so quiet without them, but luckily Gracie is snoring which is sort of keeping me company. We had a wonderful time together. The weather was perfect, nearly 70˚ each day. Today is raining but ever so lightly. It is still warm. I have had the heat off and windows open the last three days. The cold will start returning tomorrow.

On Wednesday we rode around Hyannis and Hyannisport. We went by the Kennedy Compound then drove a different road back, all the more to see. That night we had dinner at Karoo’s, a South African restaurant with a cuisine quite different from Ghana’s. Two of my other friends joined us. We stayed talking and laughing long after we had finished dinner. Yesterday we went to the Kennedy Museum and the Kennedy Memorial then I took my friends to lunch at Jerry’s where I’ve been eating since high school days. The original Jerry is long gone, but the name and the good food remain. I showed my friends where my family lived, and we did a nostalgia tour. Last night was dinner at home.

The three of us, Bill, Peg and I, will be going back to Ghana together next October. We’ve already started talking about the trip. Grace, a former student, is building a house in Bolga and hopes to have it finished so we can stay there. We’re making a list of places we want to see. I mean, really, it’s only a year away!

Being with my friends is always comfortable. They are family. We shared a unique experience which created a bond so strong that time can never break it. We have stories which still make us laugh and we have a history. We met during staging in Philadelphia at the Hotel Sylvania. Staging is when the trainees get together for the first time, meet each other, have all our paperwork checked and see slides and hear lectures about Ghana. Bill and Peg were my kindred spirits as we skipped the large group events and went sightseeing. In Ghana we were first posted far apart as Peg was pregnant and PC wanted her near a decent hospital. They stayed there for a year then I talked my principal into asking Peace Corps to transfer them to my school. The three of them, Bill, Peg and Kevin, came and we lived in a duplex. That was the beginning of all our adventures.

“A lawn is nature under totalitarian rule.”

October 23, 2014

The visit was spectacular. We laughed and reminisced. We ate the great food Peg brought and I had made. We went up Cape sightseeing, stopped at the Coast Guard Museum, the Old Jail and in Sandwich for lunch. The weather cooperated, and we missed rain everywhere. They left yesterday afternoon and the house got too quiet. I miss them. Gracie does too. She loved her walks with Bill.

We always easily connect. I think it is the friendship of years and the experience we shared in Ghana. The other night we listened to a song called Poop in a Hole about being a Peace Corps volunteer. The country wasn’t Ghana, but it didn’t matter. It was a universal experience we all accepted and mastered. The three of us laughed several times. I have no other close friends who would think that song funny, gross maybe, but not funny. Bill, Peg and I are experts at pooping in a hole.

Last night the rainstorm and the wind were tremendous. As I was going to bed, I saw lightning through the windows on the front door. The thunder was next. It was loud and it rumbled often. The rain was heavy and I could hear it hitting the windows and the roof. When I woke up this morning, it was sunny, but now it is cloudy again. It is warmer than I expected.

Pine needles cover my grass. They are all brown and would have fallen eventually but they were rushed by the wind. For some people on the Cape, pine needles are their front lawns. They buy and spread them mostly at seasonal homes. Crushed white sea shells too act as lawns. When I was young, there were very few lawns. Keeping them healthy and green was just too much trouble. The house I lived in had a weedy front yard so it was a lawn of sorts, the same with the back. I don’t know remember when grass reared its ugly head and having a beautiful lawn became a matter of pride. It was like importing suburbia. I do have a beautiful lawn now, but I also have a landscaper who takes care of it. I write a check and take compliments on how green and lush my lawn is: that’s my only contribution.

‘Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused – in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened – by the recurrence of Christmas.’

December 19, 2013

Yesterday what usually takes an hour and thirty minutes or, at most, an hour and forty-five minutes took three hours and forty-five minutes. I went from the Cape to a town about 15 miles from Boston to pick up my sister to go out to dinner. Along the way were electronic signs saying things like Exit 12, seven miles-forty five minutes. My favorite was the five miles, fifty-five minutes warning. They weren’t wrong. On the radio, the traffic guy kept saying he hadn’t seen the like of these traffic jams in and out of the city ever before on a normal day. The traffic was the same the day before but a snow storm was the cause. By the time I got to my sister’s, my body was permanently molded in the shape of my car seat. I got out and stretched but to little avail.

My sister came right out as we were pretty late for our reservation and off we went. I decided not to look for a parking spot and, instead, parked in a lot right by the restaurant which a sign explained was not for patrons of the restaurant. The sign in front of where I parked my car threatened towing. I threw caution to the wind figuring I had already had my hell on Earth for that day. The hostess didn’t look up until after we had given our name. When she did, we both let out a happy, surprised shout. We hugged. She, Sully, explained to my sister we had known each other since the first grade at St. Patrick’s and then told a story about Sister Hildegard, the nun about whom we all still tell stories. Sully got whacked by her for talking in line. Sully’s mother took the stance all parents did when it came to the nuns, “You must have deserved it.”

Dinner was delicious. Mine was lobster ravioli in a light brandy tomato cream sauce. My sister dined on sautéed shrimp with mushrooms and artichoke hearts in a white wine sauce over penne. I had them make me a cosmo with pomegranate juice instead of cranberry. That first sip alone almost made the trip worthwhile.

I amazed myself by not being crazed. What could I do? I listened to Christmas music and sang along. When I got off the highway, it was to more traffic at a red light, but I was at Spot Pond and across the way I could see the colored lights from the zoo, an every year attraction. A huge lit tree with swags of lights was right next to the road. I didn’t go through town but went the back way through streets I used to walk as a kid. I saw two of the most decorated houses I’ve seen all year. They were so amazing I drove that way to my sister’s house after dinner so she could see them.

The ride home was at g-force. I was a red flash on the highway and made it home in under an hour and a half. Gracie was thrilled to see me. I immediately changed into slippers and comfy clothes. I must have had a Pollyanna moment because when I thought about the trip I decided seeing my sister made it worthwhile. Dinner too was delicious, and it was a wonderful surprise seeing Sully again. Christmas sneaks up on us in most unusual ways.