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Old friendships chase the blues away
by Beth Boswell Jacks

“Are we going to be friends forever?” asked Piglet.
“Even longer,” Pooh answered.
-- A. A. Milne

The weekend began in a most inauspicious manner when I found myself locked in the garage.

No, my physical self was not locked in such tight quarters--my vehicle was. The automatic garage door at daughter Emily’s home in Mobile decided to open only partially. This was frustrating because I was due in Jackson, Mississippi, that afternoon to participate in festivities surrounding the wedding of a friend’s son.

Fuming, I pulled and tugged and threatened savage vengeance, but no luck. Finally I called a garage door repairman who came and worked his hocus pocus. Cost me one hundred bucks to get out of the garage.

Also, wrestling with the dumb door mechanism cost me more than a C-note. I was left with two broken fingernails to complement the busted toenail I’d suffered earlier after a can of frozen orange juice concentrate fell on my tootsie. I’d had no time to shower and had grabbed the top layer of clothing on a bedroom chair to throw on my body that morning as I awaited the repairman with his trusty garage door tools.

No question, I looked like the last rose of summer . . . and I was heading to Jackson to reunite with six childhood friends for this wedding--friends for whom I really wanted to look smashing. This girl was not happy.

Fortunately, arriving in Jackson before the others, I was able to bathe and repair the fingernails, but the toe remained a mess. The first girlfriend on the scene assured me nobody would notice. “They will not be gathering in corners to discuss your big toe,” she said.

To be sure, there was nowhere to go but up with this weekend, and I’m happy to report that is exactly what happened.

The other girls arrived amid much hugging and squealing, and we added two pals of our wedding hostess to round out the group. (What better for a crew of women reconnecting with their silly centers than to have an audience?)

So we lounged, downing cashews and chocolate chip cookies and anything edible within reach. We chatted at length, screaming with laughter at our jokes and stories.

We had lots of years to cover. The seven of us could boast of a dozen husbands, 20 kids, a stack of graduate degrees, and a crazy array of odd twists and turns in our lives.

“Yeah,” said T, who’s been single for several years following her third divorce. “I used to have a little black book with pages of men’s names and phone numbers. Now I have a list of my doctors and pharmacies.”

“Let’s not discuss our aches and pains, including husbands,” said S. “Tell us about your kids, M.”

“Well, my son sells monkeys and other exotic animals,” began M. “Recently he had a deformed camel. The hump was bad because the camel was malnourished in infancy and he was going to require a special saddle--not to mention his snout was crooked. So my son wasn’t sure he could sell this animal, but he did. A lady in Dallas bought the camel and taught him to catch a Frisbee.”

We looked at her.

“Well,” W spoke finally, “I WAS going to say that my son is a dentist, but nevermind.”

We nodded. How can you best a son who sells a crooked-mouthed, hump-deprived, Frisbee-catching camel?

To make a short story even longer, the wedding/reunion weekend was positively grand. The bride and groom were elegant, the ceremony was lovely, and the reception was a hoo-hah-hah affair with music by the “Gents.” We girls danced wildly together till our feet “swoled up” big as douche bags.

Benjamin Disraeli is quoted as saying there’s magic in childhood friendships. “They soften the heart,” he wrote. And, oh, how often we let these friendships slip away.

I’m determined not to let so many years go by before we old friends get together again. Gurus in medical circles all maintain that making merry is important for our health and sanity.

And reunions are good therapy--safe times to cry and threaten and fuss about those significant others. (“Really, y’all, how do you get over your first love?” asked M. “You marry him,” said T, as we all fell out in convulsions of laughter.)

I pulled away from the hotel early Sunday morning, reflecting on how the weekend had blessed me with the blithest of spirits--even as I faced a long drive home. A simple reunion of a few old pals can chase far, far away the blues of everyday life, contrary garage doors and broken nails.

Viva la friendship!


Editor of USADEEPSOUTH, Beth Boswell Jacks is the author of 3 books (Grit, Guts, and Baseball and Snippets I and II) and is also a weekly columnist for a number of Southern newspapers. Readers and editors may contact her at bethjacks@hotmail.com

Read about Beth's SNIPPETS books -- two collections of her columns.

For a list of Beth’s newspaper columns published at USADS, click here:

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