by Ann Ipock
I’ve been thinking lately how wonderful it is that a woman can strike up a conversation with another woman, a total stranger even, at any given time, place, or circumstance and become instant friends.
Take tonight for example. Hubby Russell and I were sitting in a local restaurant when two women came inside and were seated next to us. I overheard some chatter about their night out on the town and saw no husbands or children — no wonder they were downright giddy. When I caught their eye, I smiled, and they smiled back. Eventually, we introduced ourselves — in such small quarters, it seemed the natural thing to do. Their names were Eileen and Stella. Such a small world -- they read my column!
Eileen used to own a coffee shop where I visited. We all cracked up when Stella made reference to the “Seinfeld” episode where Elaine — who had too much to drink at a banquet — screams “Stella!” over and over. See how easily we women bond? Girrrrrlfriend!
But the funniest thing happened. Just as the waiter brought dessert, Stella was making a huge gesturing motion, and her hand collided with the waiter’s arm. Have you ever seen a cannoli flying through the air? What followed was a gasp, then silence, apologies, and laughter, to the point where Eileen couldn’t catch her breath and Stella was dabbing her running mascara. Almost as funny: the waiter was still holding the plate.
After the waiter left, Stella politely took her napkin to pick up the squished cream and pastry. Russell tried to stop her, citing “The 3-second rule.” Was he going to eat it?
I think not!
We laughed harder, and by now other diners were doing the same. Eileen made Stella promise not to use her hands any more, saying, “You can talk, but DO NOT use your hands!” After the waiter brought the cannoli replacement, Stella told me she was so sorry and embarrassed. I told her I’ve done worse things and not to worry about it. (Just last week I laid out my debit card, didn’t realize it hadn’t been scanned, then signed the receipt and left. A phone call from the restaurant straightened it out.)
After dinner, Russell paid the bill and went out the door. I stayed behind chatting and having fun, wondering what might happen next. Maybe that’s why men don’t meet new friends like we women do? They’re too impatient and not nosy enough. When I turned to leave I couldn’t find my cell phone. Just then he walked in, saying, “Looking for something?” Argh!
But, wait! Another funny: The squished, napkin-wrapped cannoli was still on their table! I mentioned that to them. Eileen said she was going to take it home, preserve it and send it to Martha you-know-who to examine and come up with the recipe to share with us.
More girlfriend fun ensued after that. We stopped at the Piggly Wiggly for some groceries and our own dessert (that being a steaming cup of cappuccino from the deli). In there, I met a group of women on a Girls’ Weekend Getaway; nine third-grade teachers from Rock Hill. Paulette, the “ring leader” — there’s always one — was the one I met first. She was in the dairy section talking about baking a quiche.
I swear, not five minutes earlier, I had told Hubby I wanted to bake a quiche with smoked Gouda cheese. He said he wouldn’t eat it. “Because of the cheese?” I said. “No, because real men don’t eat quiche.” I wanted to say, “Where do you see a REAL MAN?”
He’s always saying, “Real men don’t use straws.” One day I’m going to ask him exactly WHAT real men do.
But back to Paulette — the cute little blonde with the most Southern accent I’ve ever heard, except for Tennessee folks. I pushed my buggy right up beside her and said, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but did I hear you say quiche?”
“Yes,” she said, “I’m making one at the condo.” Her friends said her quiche is legendary, so I asked for the recipe. She quickly rattled off the ingredients (which I forgot in less then 10 seconds). Hearing their excitement and laughter reminded me of my book and the story inside it, Girls’ Weekend Getaway.
As we were leaving, I saw them flipping through my book. “Is this really yours?” they asked. I answered “yes,” but couldn’t stop thinking about that awesome-sounding recipe. I couldn’t get it out of my mind, but I also couldn’t get it in my mind (poor memory and all). Well, no one had a pen to write it down. So I thought of a pneumonic device, using the letters. After all, schoolteachers use this method to teach all the time. CMOTS: Cheese, mushrooms, spring onions, tomatoes and — uh oh, what was the “S” for? Oh, and Paulette emphasized you HAVE to use Cracker Barrel Vermont Country Cheddar. When she realized she needed another pack, I asked her to pick up one for me. (She did.) Now we’re all best friends.
Men don’t get it — but it’s the sharing we enjoy: Whether it’s recipes, laughter or good memories. Truly, girlfriends are like diamonds! You can never have too many!
MORE STORIES FROM IPOCK!
Leaving Plane Phobia Behind
Salute to SouthMouth
That blame gossip
Ann is a biweekly humor columnist with the Georgetown Times, South Carolina’s oldest newspaper.
Whether we are hearing about Ann’s unspeakable accident—the time she got the mayor’s mustache caught up in her dental hygiene polisher, her view on prissy Southern women who actually resort to toothpicks after meals—(those thick fake nails just can’t possibly remove spinach from one’s front teeth), or her frustration with sticking to a budget—the normally-$100 supper club night she hosted which turned into a $2400 remodeling job (blame it on the new carpet), we can only think of one thing to say, “Tell us more!”
Life Is Short, But It’s Wide (In the Southern State of Reality) is Ann’s second book of humor columns. Published by Carolina Avenue Press, the book was released in September, 2003. Her first book was entitled What Was It I Was Saying? She is a regular contributor to Sasee Magazine, and she also writes for Pee Dee Magazine, Strand, and Gateway Publications. She is active in community theatre, where her favorite role to date was that of Truvy Jones in Steel Magnolias. Her day job consists of being a home-based, self-employed medical transcriptionist for twelve years.
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