June 23, 2018
I treasure my girlfriends like heart-shaped pots of pure gold. The countless times I’ve relied on them to lift me out of shattered despair, or come to my rescue when it seemed the entire world was out to get me, has made this cockeyed journey more bearable, even delightful at times. When some careless dude has led me down the primrose path of least resistance, then skedaddled, leaving me heartsick and fragile, a dear galpal made sure to point out his obvious flaws, reminding me of things he said or did that proved her point. There’s nothing like having friend for decades, one who knows just how to yank you from your usual angst-pit. I can be all tense about a situation and after an hour-long chat with my beloved Catherine, my shoulders relax and I can breathe more deeply, facing the issue with a clearer head. Even though she doesn’t hesitate to point out a hard truth, we may even wind up laughing about it. The comfort level of a longtime friendship is profound.
I’ve known Iva since the fourth grade when she approached me on the playground to ask how I got the spankin’ new box of 64 Crayola Crayons with attached sharpener. “My mom gave them to me for being good,” I replied. We’ve been friends ever since. I’ve attended her parents’ funerals, and she, mine. And everything in between the crayons and the graves. She can sometimes tell by the tone of my voice when I’m concerned about my complex, brilliant boy, Nick. She’s known him all his life, of course, and it helps that she understands him almost as well as I do. He calls her Aunt Iva. After I had a chemical peel several years ago, my darling Patti kindly picked me up at the doctor’s office. At a stoplight on Wilshire Boulevard, the two guys next to us started laughing, pointing at my goopy gauze covered face. Enraged, Patti jumped out of the car, raced over and pounded on their windshield, cursing them out while traffic stopped and horns honked behind us. Another memorable time, Patti and I shared the biggest laugh I can remember when we decorated my patient cat, Magnet, in pieces of my costume jewelry.
When Patti placed a wide rhinestone bracelet atop Magnet’s head, and she sat there like a longsuffering feline queen, we laughed so hard and so long that the memory still cracks me up a decade later. When I first laid eyes on Miss Mercy, I couldn’t have imagined we’d wind up the best of friends, lo these fifty years later. Her scary raccoon-eyed visual and gruff demeanor belied a gentle heart and remarkable intelligence that can still knock me off guard. Trying to follow her thought process is like being trapped in a psychedelic maze, but the trip is always worth the effort. She’s been a bandmate, sidekick, cohort and witness to serious shenanigans. When my adored mama became ill, Mercy helped me take care of her, and she was right beside me as Margaret Miller drew her final breath. What can I add to that? Mercy has saved me and I’ve saved her.
Here’s a little smidgen of advice. Please don’t neglect your galpals in favor of the man of the month, yob of the year, or even dude of the decade. When they call you, call them back. When they need you, be there. When they want to dance, dance with them. Because there’s no comfort like girlfriend comfort, no honesty like girlfriend honesty, no acceptance like girlfriend acceptance. No laughter like girlfriend laughter.
Girlfriends. Hold ‘em dear to you, dolls.
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August 10, 2018
Oh how I love the way Miss P weaves together words: “…a gentle heart and remarkable intelligence that can still knock me off guard. Trying to follow her thought process is like being trapped in a psychedelic maze, but the trip is always worth the effort.”
Beautifully written, as always. And what great advice.
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