My dear friend Allie came for a visit last week.
We have been friends since the days when we both wore bikinis while "laying out" at the beach all day. We tanned our Celtic skins to a deep, burnished bronze with nothing else but a little Coppertone deep tanning oil, (SPF's and skin cancer had not been invented, yet), obliviously setting the path for cell mutations and sun damaged skin. (I will note, she fared much better than me over time, in the bikini and glowy skin dept.) We wore our football sized shoulder pads in our micro mini dresses when we went out at night, without the thought of wrestling on some Spanx, ever crossing our minds. (Nowadays, if I had to be stranded on a desert island with only five possessions, Spanx, hair product and an unlimited supply of wine would be definite must-have's on the list.) And we danced, our Spanx-free bodies, shimmying to the Bee-Gee's and the Go-Go's and a cute little girl named after the Virgin Mother, who I thought just might be able to make a go of a little career with her song, "Holiday." That's Allie, back in the day. It should be considered a crime to age that well. Note the big shoulder pads. We became friends because of our then boyfriends- guys who were best friends from high school and still brothers, even though the miles between them had stretched apart. Our boyfriends turned into men and we both married those best friends. Along the way, their family grew to three boys, all the same ages as our three girls. Our kids have been friends since the days they had no teeth and did not yet have the ability to walk. Here's my Victoria with Allie's middle boy when they were super adorable tykes, (now, they're just super adorable teenagers) in Cleveland, Georgia at the Cabbage Patch Hospital where all Cabbage Patch Babies are born. And let me tell you, if you haven't been there and observed the giant Mother Cabbage delivering another ugly doll baby, well then, you, my friend, haven't lived! It is something, all right, especially when the whole Cabbage Patch staff is shouting in encouragement, "Push, Mother Cabbage, Push!" Which, by the way, I'm sorry, but I think if you've delivered, thousands upon thousands of baby dolls, there probably isn't too much pushing necessary. I would think those Cabbage Kids would just come shooting out by now- like they were just sliding down the big giant slide at the fair. Just my opinion. And even though the miles separate us, we have always been able to pick up right where we left off. They are some of our best vacation friends. Which means a lot. I have found in life there are two types of friends- those you can vacation with and those you simply can not. Vacation friends have to have the same priorities, the same mindset and our little families are a perfect match when it comes to that. Our kids are all simply fantastic and well behaved and have the really cool ability to let the day take them to whatever impulsive adventures we might find. I remember this one time in the Smoky Mountain National Park in a lovely place called Cades Cove, on a steamy July day, we found this wide babbling stream. It was off the beaten path through a thick bramble of trees. We spent the afternoon in that cool refreshing stream, all of us, in the shallow water, building a dam out of river stones and then laying underneath the little waterfall we created-we moms, slathering ourselves in the rich river mud, hoping it would give us the same benefits as spa mud. A perfect day, made perfect by the ability to just be. No video games or TV's or trips to the kids museums, involved. And we grownups know how to scramble up some fun, ourselves. I'm really not going to go into that here, but just know that we've had adult only vacations involving life-size Bill Clinton punching bags, capturing pigeons off the streets for photo documentations of the cities we've visited and the drinking of wine from buffalo horns. I'm just sayin', you gotta find the right people to vacation with. Not only could Allie be Annette Bening's movie double, she's also led a really cool life, (she's the only person I know who's hung out for awhile on the Isle of Man with John Malkovich, nonetheless. And by the way, she says he's just as weird as he seems.). She's also an amazing artist, a sexy, gypsy/pirate girl during the month of February, really creative, smart and wickedly funny. (The Bill Clinton punching bag was all her.) I love her. The last few years have led her to a crossroads in her life, a fork in the road where she never expected to find herself. I won't talk about it. It is not my story to tell. But, last week she drove several hundred miles with her boys to come be with us. And it was lovely. She kindly mentions us in her blog today which is, of course, just a gorgeous blog, full of her loveliness. So, if you'd like to see pictures of my backyard, you can check it out here. I've gotta run. I did NO laundry while they were here because we girls know how to kick up some fun. Allie did a load, though and she agreed with me, when she saw my laundry room, that MY laundry would hurt anyone's feelings. I told you. Today's Gotta Have It Download: Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al" for Allie.