Sunday, October 23, 2011

Curbs and legs and around-the-corner

Tomorrow I'll get back to the Beatitudes, I promise.  It's like we're treading water right in the middle, with the pure in heart, peace-makers and persecuted still ahead of us. Some pretty big ones.  Life-altering ones, though they all should be, come to think of it.

But today is the birthday of another of 'the girls.' For those of you just joining us, these are my closest friends from high school, whom I'm blessed enough to continue to love and be in relationship with.

I was always a very social girl.  Even as a small child, I had gift for relationships.  When my parents began the process of applying for adoption, my mother wrote an essay about us, and about me, she wrote of my out-going, social gifts.  But until I began high school, I never had a close friend in my own neighborhood, a girlfriend  around the corner to walk to school with and just generally hang just about every day of the week.  But when LG and her family moved to Pullman right before we started our freshman year of high school, she became that friend.  I don't actually remember how we became acquainted with each other, but by the spring of our freshman year, we were practically inseparable.

Then the summer of 1972--the summer after our freshman year--our friendship cemented.  The town council had decided to revise EVERY address in Pullman, to add NW, NE, SE, SW according to the four hills of the town, and each house actually had their address changed. For example, the 113 W Janet St address of our home became NW 365 Janet St that summer.  So our Young Life club was given the contract of painting the new house numbers on the curbs in front of each home. It was a fund raiser for us, helped pay our way to Malibu, and saved the city a host of problems for mail-deliverers and lost people.

What began as quite a large curb painting crew quickly (after just a couple of days, I believe) into a foursome.  And the four of us became so close we were inseparable that summer, not merely all day every day, but in the evenings as well.  Each morning, LG and I would be picked up by the guys, KC and EE, and we'd spend the day with masking tape, black spray paint, and stencils.  We laughed a whole lot, listened to a ridiculous amount of music on the radio in KC's old station wagon, which included such oldies as "Mandy," "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" (by the Raspberries), and "Saturday In the Park." Not to mention a host of others I can't remember now.  We went to A&W practically every single day, where we drank a whole lot of...rootbeer.
Oh, and both boys fell madly infatuated with LG.

Because I'm here to tell you she was something to  behold in those days.  Willow thin, with gorgeous runner legs and a practically-perfect body.  She wasn't too loud--like I was--or awkward--like I ABSOLUTELY was. She was every boy's dream and I felt very envious of their interest; at the same time that I was well aware that she had all the things I had no hope of never having. It just wasn't in my bone structure or DNA. Sigh.  But the harder part of the whole thing, I think, was actually hers.  Because they liked her, they actually felt more comfortable talking to me. Safer, somehow.  There was less to worry about. But all in all, we had the time of our lives that summer.  Oh there were bad moments.  There was one,  just down the street from my house (if my mom had been sitting on our deck she could have heard the whole thing, I'm sure, and she might well have put the kabash on me spending another moment in their company!), when for some reason which I cannot remember, EE, LG and I thought it would be quite the joke to put masking tape in KC's longish strawberry-blond hair.  Then pull it out.  He let out a couple of words I'd never heard put together before.  I was shocked out of my rather innocent, very young soul.  He did NOT find it funny. And his anger didn't make us laugh either.

One night (though I'm not sure this was that same summer, but the next one) we were sleeping out on her deck above her family's garage when these same boys came walking up.  They'd walked all the way across town (they lived in SW and we in NW). We stood up, walked to the railing, looked down on them as they spoke rather heatedly to each other.  Then one of them turned and marched off down the hill. The other turned and followed.  Neither of them had spoken a single word to us.  LG and I looked at each other, our jaws dropped enough that every bug in the night could have flown in.  Then we laid back down in our sleeping bags and tried to sleep.

But that summer was only the beginning.  From there, LG and I were really joined at the hip.  We were lab partners in chemistry at school, and partners-in-crime (though there was never any crime) in just about everything outside of school.

When LG was a junior in high school, she began dating ST.  Inevitably, our relationship changed.  These things happen.  But it didn't change essentially. And that relationship with ST, begun so young, when clearly neither really knew, God knew. God knew what He was doing, because they've been together ever since.  In September, they celebrated 32 years of marriage.  ST is a good man, the right man for her. God continues to form them into His likeness both individually and together.

LG has always been a loyal friend to me. Just recently, LG (now LT) and I had the opportunity to talk about the one situation in our friendship that was difficult between us. We had a chance to heal something that has long been healed, without either of us ever having said it.  Sometimes it only takes the speaking of things to finish them well. I feel greater love for her now than I ever have, and that's saying a whole lot--because I've always loved her.   She's has passion and deep convictions about what she believes.  She knows who she believes and what she knows is right, and when she feels she's wrong, she's troubled by that as well.  She worries about her children, worries about her siblings, worries about her parents. She wants the world to know Christ, to be whole and Holy, and to that end, she thinks and works and invests herself.   I've known as much as I know anything that LG is someone I can count on.  When the chips are down, I am certain  I can call her, and she'll be there.

She's still willow thin, with gorgeous legs and a fabulous figure. I could still envy that as much as I did when I was 14.  But I don't. I am just glad. Glad that she was my around-the-corner friend, indeed, my best friend in those days, and a go-to friend now.
Happy Birthday, L. I love you.

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