There Was This One Time . . .

November 21, 2010 at 6:34 am 3 comments

Last night we celebrated friend Julie’s 50th Birthday. A strange occasion.

Strange, not because it was held at a Croatian Club. Strange, not because she made us drink some traditional Croatian shot (not sure how to spell it, but I’ll try:  t-u-r-p-e-n-t-i-n-e). Strange, not because we toilet papered the guest of honor. Strange, not because she allowed us to do so.

But strange because it really seems impossible that anyone in this group of friends could be 50. Wasn’t it just a couple of years ago that we met?

Our paths crossed initially because of softball. I can remember the first practice I went to, and I know, rationally, that I arrived there alone and introduced myself to a bunch of people I didn’t know, but, in the brain succotash of 30 years of memories with the cells sacrificed to good cause, I can’t quite recall not being friends with these women.

But. Well.

We made plans to go out 3 and 4 times a week—without having cell phones. We remembered each other’s Birthdays without email reminders. I could, on my way to meet you all with a 20 in my pocket, stop and fill up the tank and still have beer money left. And, once with you, I could hand the bartender a driver’s license made of paper that had no photo on it.

(Our friend Julie, the first to turn 50, was also the first to turn 21. You can sort out the relevance of the last sentence of the previous paragraph on your own.)

So, yes, I guess it has been a while since that day I borrowed my parents’ car to drive to the field on Scott Rd. in Shaler. And stereotypical jokes about aging aside, I’m proud to think that we’ve been friends through boyfriends, breakups, marriages, children, divorce, endings, beginnings, moves across town, moves out of state, scares, loss, and joys.

It’s true. I am on the verge of breaking into a loud rendition of Dionne Warwick’s “That’s What Friends Are For”? (As we did when that song was Top-40.)

Yes, that video is sappy and corny. And, if you want to tell me you didn’t get teared up listening to it and that I’m a big dork, that’s okay. I can freely admit my dorkitude because (A) I’m not a teenager anymore and (B) I know you know and you love me anyway.

I could, if I chose to, blog non-stop until Julie’s 51st, beginning each paragraph with “There Was This One Time. . . .”

But. Those who don’t know us would be bored. Those who know us have heard them all. And there may be those who would want us arrested. So. I’ll skip the long, sentimental, hilarious ramble that has been running through my head since the Birthday Party Invitation arrived and just note that There Was This One Time . . . last night. And There Was This One Time a few weeks ago. And There Will Be This One Time around Christmas.

It is human nature, on significant occasions in a time when we are (just slightly) beyond our prime youth, to look back. And, if you are lucky, the looking back is freakin’ awesome. But that is not what makes this friendship special. All human contact has a past. Not all has continuation. Whether fate or dumb luck, we have an unbreakable connection, a no matter what, a You’re stuck with me; deal with it, and an Of course, I do so gladly even if you are a big dork, even if you do get a cramp doing The Twist, even if you used to run really really slowly, even if you lost the Jimmy Buffett tickets, even if you are tall and blonde and we only see you once in a rare while, even if you are 50.

So, to Julie, who was once so much older than the rest of us, who led the way, who shared her I.D., who, as one of the first to own a car, did a lot of the driving, who, as the first home-owner, hostess-ed more than her share of the early day parties and did so again last night:  50 really is just a number. If it is significant, it is that it gave us a good reason to meet up once again. And it gave us a reason to celebrate you.

Yes, we gave you Bingo and colon cleanse and curlers. But, you know, that’s only funny because you won’t need such things until far into the future. A future, perhaps, like the one pictured below, in the card you made for me when I turned 30.

Happy Birthday, Jules. Great party. Thanks.

A previous post about these Life Preservers. 

Entry filed under: Life Preservers. Tags: , .

Happy Halloween, Kids Thanksgiving

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kateshrewsday  |  November 21, 2010 at 6:41 am

    What a fabulous post! Friends are timeless, and they make our worlds go round. You write about yours so beautifully – thanks!


  • 2. Julie  |  November 21, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    You are the Best! !! So are the rest of Yinz. I LOVE my new book. I am reading it while having some – sljivovica.

    It is my favorite kind of book, lots of pictures and not too many words. However, those pictures tell so many stories.

    Puno vam hvala – (Thanks to all of you)


  • 3. mel  |  November 24, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    OK, I am cracking up as I write this because I live on the hill opposite the Croatian Club and I am forever hearing the celebratory happenings over there because acoustics must be perfect to bounce it across the road below and into our back yard! (I even wrote about it here NOW I can picture some of the recent celebrating, with all you crazy gals reliving moments, injuries, silliness, and the like! I am also feeling a bit of jealousy… I honestly don’t have a group of women like this. I often think what a blessing that would be. Alas, it’s just not part of my life right now. Must I play softball to find it? I am feebly un-athletic….?

    Oh well–party on! 50 is the new 30!



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