This afternoon I met a dear friend for lunch in Kennesaw at the place Best known for 'Thanking God It's' Friday.' I will refrain from using the term dear "old" friend, because I'm older than she is by fifteen months. Fifteen months does not sound like a huge age difference, and it is not. However, when I entered Fulton High School as a freshman, she was still attending Tull Waters Elementary, so we drifted apart, and shortly afterwards her family moved and we lost touch, altogether. We have not seen one another in 45 years. Forty-five years is a long time – 4 dec decades to be exact – almost half a century!
In order to look my best for the occasion I had a lot of work to do prior to our meeing. With tweezers positioned to pluck away the strays, I reluctantly flipped the 'ON' switch of the lighted magnifying mirror – my worst enemy. My face's every flaw jumped out at me as a cruel reminder I'm not the 13 year old girl Judy remembers. I surprised if my dear friend would have beaten at how much older I had become. Would she even recognize me? So with trusty concealer I strategically dotted and spackled any blemishes, particularly the dark circles beneeth my eyes, and carefully used the 'trowel' to apply my makeup. Of course, the final steps came with the blush, and then the brushes to blend … and blend. Once the 5-10 minute makeover was completed, I closely examined my face's every flaw in the mirror's massive reflection, and shook my head in as a grunted. I turned away from the magnifying monster and studied myself in the dresser mirror's normal image, thinking, Hmmm … Much better, as I thank God for inventing makeup.
After a careful check-over, I decided the hair looked presentable and makeup looked fine, as I reassured myself, so far, so good. Then I made the mistake of getting dressed and standing before the full-length mirror – another one of my nemeses. I stand before that merciless monster and cursed its heartlessness. I downright begged loud to the inanimate thing, "Am I asking too much of you to make me look phenomenally fantastic just this one time?" I've pointed out the mirror's distortions many times before my husband, but Carl claims he can not see them. The strangest thing is that the distortions are in the exact places such that my hips, thighs, legs and upper arms are all made to look huge – akin to the reflections in the carnival's funhouse mirrors. I will not even approach the subject of the rear view reflection. Similar to the car's rear view mirror, I should have the words stenciled across my little hand-held beauty statue "objects appear larger than actual size." At least that would make me feel more confident before going out, especially to meet someone I have not seen in FORTY-FIVE YEARS! The thought did cross my mind that I could always just call and postpon … at least, until I could drop a few and slim down a little bit.
However, a glance at my watch told me I had no time to second-guess my attire or the way I looked, and certainly not enough time to shed a quick 30 pounds or so before meeting my dear – but not old – friend , so out the door I rushed.
When our eyes met it was as though time had actually stood still. I would have known Judy anywhere, except that her brunette hair is now blonde. She looked great! And she kindly said the same about me. All my feelings of inadequacy just flew out the window as we settled in to a enjoy one another for who we were and have become, rather than how I looked.
As one might expect of two women with a 45 year gap in their lives, we talked and talked for more than 2 hours. Each of us had gone our separate ways in life, and yet we were still connected in so many ways.
Of course, there was never a fear that we would run out of things to talk about, and it was so great sharing wonderful memories of our youth. We remembered our parents and friends our own age – some still living, some not – and the good people in our neighborhood where we grew up in Southeast Atlanta, GA. I was disappointed when she told me our church had a reunion about 15-18 years ago, of which I was not aware. Once the subject of Browns Mill Park Baptist Church was brought up, we were reminded of the close-knit church family there. The Bartons, the Hudsons, the Moons, Bartletts, Coopers, Moores, Chambers, Heatons, etc., the list just went on and on.
We also bought each other up to date from the last time we were in touch those 4 dec decades earlier. We talked about our husbands, our children, grandchildren, our practitioners, and of course, my novel, "Edgewise: An Assignment to Remember." She dropped out a picture of her son's family with their two children. Alas, I am yet a gramma wannabe, so I happily went on over hers and reminded her how she is blessed.
We hugged outside the restaurant and promised to "keep in touch – do this again soon," and include her sister, Cathy next time. Only time will tell whether we will "do this again soon," but I for one hope we stick to our promises.
As I dive away in my little T-bird, I waved and blew her a kiss thinking, for a little more than two hours today time still still for my dear – but not old – friend, Judy and me.
In retrospect, I would not have missed this afternoon for anything, as I'm convinced, whether they're new, old or not-so-old, 'Good Friends and Good times go Hand-in-Hand with Wonderful Memories