At the northwest corner, where the road met the state route, stood a four bedroom, two bathroom bluish-grayish farmhouse and a big, old white barn. In the house lived a family, the parents with a son, the oldest, and two daughters. The youngest daughter was a mischievous child with brown hair, brown eyes and a strong willed spirit that took her on many adventures and got her into plenty of trouble.
The summers of her elementary school years were spent playing jump rope, football with the few neighborhood boys and girls, and playing school (as nutty as that sounds, so many girls spend their summers playing school, when they couldn’t wait for the school year to end). The kids drank Kool-Aid by the gallon and ate popsicles wear cut-offs while swinging on either the tire swing or rope swing that hung from the Black Walnut and Northern Catalpa trees in the neighbor’s yard.
When life was moving by too slowly, the girl and her friends would smash large Catalpa worms, spraying green caterpillar goo on each other. Or, without permission, the kids would swim in the ponds located in the quarry behind the neighborhood, taking care to pull the leaches off of one another after a quick dip in the cool water. Or, if trapped in the house, reading her older sister’s diary was always thrilling. The kids felt like they owned the world, that is, until the older siblings got involved.
The girl’s brother once turned the farm rooster loose in the yard. He chased the rooster and the rooster, wings spread, standing tall, chased the girl and her friend. The girl and her friend ended up cowering on top of the picnic table as her brother, close to ten years older, kept the rooster near as he mimicked an old Ritz Cracker commercial starring Andy Griffith (of the Andy Griffith Show, you know, with Don Knotts and Opie and Aunt Bee). In the commercial, Andy Griffith said, “Everything tastes better on a Ritz Cracker.” In real life, the crazed brother and that frightening rooster ran around the table chanting in a wicked witch voice “You girls would taste GREAT on a burnt Ritz Cracker.” The girl and her friend paid back the brother when he was stuck babysitting during a sleepover. The girls were rummaging through the bathroom looking for makeup to try on and accidently broke the mercurial thermometer. The brother was convinced he was going to die from mercury poisoning.
The girl grew into a teenager, into a woman, a wife, a mom and a grandmother. The girl and her friend separated near the end of their elementary years as the friend moved away. By the Power of Facebook, the friends reunited in the past few years.
The girl is my oldest friend. The above story was conjured up from pasted together fragments of my memory and may or may not be true. What is sadly true is that I learned yesterday that my friend has breast cancer. She spent today being tested to see if the cancer had metastasized anywhere else in her body. Thoughts of her filled my mind today. Be well my friend.