Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Damn Fine Friendship

She slides the swim cap off of her head. Her damp light brown hair is cut in a bob that rests below her ears. She dangles thin, lanky arms with a sweeping reach to grab her beach towel that is lazily draped over the chain link fence. She stands on long muscular swimmers legs that hold a deep tan as she dries herself off and easily slips into perfectly fitted Teva sandals.

I met her just after my thirteenth birthday when I began to attend our shared summer camp. Since that moment she has been in my life. She has always been my friend yet, I do not remember meeting her. Her family has always been an extension of mine and she is more than a best friend. She is my sister.

"All the kids are in the dorms from General Swim. We better get to the chalet to take showers if we're going to make it to dinner on time," a wicked grin spreads across her face. She yells, "I'll race you," as she shoots out of the pool gate, leaving me to lock the gate of the pool. She scampers across the street, and scrambles up the outdoor, rusty, iron staircase. When she reaches the top of the stairs she rips her towel off in a pseudo striptease, waving it over her head, she yells "Yeah-ahhh!"

She turns her attention into the chalet. Yelling through the open door and down the hallway, "Hey you Bitches, I get dibs on the the next shower!" She hangs her towel over the deck's banister then disappears into the chalet followed by uproarious laughter.

She can be abrasively jovial. She is mischievous. She is wildly sensational. She exudes adventure. You can tell that whatever her plan is with the slightest twinkle in her eyes it is going to be righteous.

Together we have confiscated Cheetos. We have searched for bear towels. We have made "The Patented Ho-Catcher 2000." We sang songs as lullabies that were clearly not lullabies to 50 girls at summer camp. We stood with our arms around each other at an outdoor Counting Crows concert where it spontaneously rained throughout their performance of "Rain King." We have skinny dipped, or in my case chunky dunked. We have gone night skiing. We have hunted snipe. We have stayed in a hostel in the Appalachian Mountains - talk about terrifying. We have been OOTC, Out of the Circle, and she has tucked me into a drunken sleep on a Bud Light Mattress or two. She has held my hair back and reminded me of every drunken, asinine idea I attempted the night before. I can tell you a myriad of other stories and tidbits with the photographs to prove it all, but I will not implicate myself more than I already have.

Our friendship has lasted through always living at least five hours away from each other, being middle school pen pals - I still have those letters, high school, sporadic weekend visits, shopping trips on Forbes Aveunu, our Grandmothers lighting candles for our protection, spending summers together, cars breaking down on the interstate, colleges, transferring colleges across the country, her overseas adventure with college abroad, countless Mr. Wrongs, road trips, concerts, changing cities, and her spectacularly lively country RamCat wedding and marriage to her equally rambunctious, audacious, thrill-seeking husband. Our most recent reunion occurred this month when she and J2 secretly planned a hurried visit on a two-night stopover from a cross country drive. After seeing each other five years ago at her RamCat One Year Wedding Anniversary we were back together.

She is exactly as my memory holds her. One moment she debates the latest methods of pedagogy and in the next moment she is masterminding saving the world through activism and the benefits of recycling. Two minutes later she is proudly expressing herself in the lyrics of 1980's rock anthems at the top of her lungs. She lives in the moment and loves wholeheartedly.

This is Chelsea.

Although we rarely see each other, when we do, we pick up exactly where we left off. That is damn fine friendship.

Jeep riding through the ghettos and barrios of Memphis. Alright, this was taken in Bartlett.

We stopped for lunch Downtown.  Can you guess where?

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken.

The extremely polite and sophisticated Ladies Who Lunch at Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken.
We then took a leisurely stroll to Beale Street. 

If only I had known!!  We got a giggle out of the posted signs in Tater Red's Lucky Mojos.

Figuring out our Blues Names upstairs in A. Schwab.

Chelsea is a Nordic Goddess, trying on hats in A. Schwab.

EAT, incase you forget. Phaedra at the old-timey soda fountain and ice cream parlor in A. Schwab.

Chelsea and Phae on Beale Street.

Chelsea on Beale St.

Yep, it is Chelsea and I on Beale Street.

Chelsea tells me a story over a beer or two at Young Avenue Deli in the heart of the Memphis neighborhood Cooper Young. 

"Are you taking my picture?" "Yes." "Why?" "Because you are beautiful."


Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Favorite Brother

The little sister The Silver Fox promised me was born a week late with a penis. I was eight years old and devastated, but she let me put him in dresses and hair bows anyway. Trey and I told him he was adopted - his real parents are Aliens. I dared Trey he could not fit in the dryer, Blaise begged to try it himself and climbed in and held on for dear life as I let it roll with the door open, "That was fun!" he laughed as he lunged out of the spinning dryer. He happily tied ropes around his waist to fling himself off the top of our two-story deck. He holds a spirit of adventure matched by no other. He is always a prankster, quick-witted, and spontaneous with laughter, but he is even more noble and swift to help when someone is in a bind. He completed our family in perfection. Happy birthday to my favorite brother, Blaise!  

I hope your day is filled with tickles and delight! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Nightmares Yet to Come

On Saturday evening I play wrestle with J2. I crawl up the bed from his feet towards his face. He stops me by hip checking me off the bed and saying, "Get off of me; I can see the rape in your eyes." 

I laugh uncontrollably until I snort and lose my breath. 

The second time I try to wrestle him I sweetly cuddle up and locked my arms around his neck. As he stands up with me attached to him like a little money he says, "Your eyes are rapey."

Plenty of giggling ensues. 

Tonight, I am the last one to bed. I turn the tv off and switch off the lamp on my nightstand. As he is gently snoring in the pitch black of night I cuddle into him, rest my lips near his ears, and whisper in the tone of nightmares yet to be had, "You can't see the rape in my eyes now."

Sweet dreams, y'all! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Jeff wakes me up at 5:45 coming to bed after working until he fell asleep on the sofa, "Phaedra's already up getting ready for school."

I got up at 6am to take the back to school picture. 

Phaedra is blaring music from her iPhone as she is applying make-up in the bathroom, "Did I wake you up?"

My head is pounding.

I try to take a cat nap on the Lazy Boy. I pry one eyeball open to see Maverick getting ready to fall back asleep in the living room, "Did you brush your teeth?"

He growls at me as he stomps back to the bathroom. 

At 6:30am the three of us go outside for the Back to School photo. Maverick leaves the storm door open as he goes back inside to retrieve his backpack. Mayor McCheese rips off throught the open door and down around the block. 

I am dealing with a three day sinus migraine and I get mad, "If y'all took the damn dog on a walk like you're supposed to he wouldn't tear off down the street every chance he gets."

Maverick begrudgingly poses for the Back to School photo, blaming me for the dog getting out. 

Here is the blurry result: 

Phaedra, the fashionista, is starting her Freshman year of high school on the Cross Country running team at an Honors Academy. Maverick, who has no interest in new, back to school clothes is participating in a garage band and starting his Junior year of high school.