Friday, July 23, 2010

Life in My World--There's no friend like an old friend . . .

I haven’t seen or heard from Rhonda in twenty years.  A few months ago she e-mailed me and when we realized we both had kids living in Seattle and would be visiting them the same week we planned to meet. 

Rhonda and Jane 2010 version

We decided to meet at a bakery about five miles from where Ray and Cali live.  Since Ray and Cali both had to work I planned to take the bus.  Last night we realized it was over an hour long bus ride – plus it would require a transfer.  I doubted I could successfully navigate a transfer with only one try, so I decided to walk to the bakery and call that my exercise for the day.  Cali gave me a walking map, Ray gave me his secretary’s phone number (and assured me she knew just what to do for situation lost), and Grace insisted I take a water bottle.  My only worry was what my walking shoes look like.  I’ve been wearing Calvin’s tennis shoes and you just don’t greet a friend you haven’t seen in twenty years wearing male shoes that are three or four inches too long.  I packed some sandals in a sack (with my water bottle) and switched shoes a block from our meeting place.  Senseless worry.  Rhonda is the same wonderful Rhonda and I could have been barefoot or wearing snowboots and she wouldn’t have even noticed or cared.  Rhonda is one good friend, always has been.

Rhonda, Jane, and earthworm parts 1978 version

Rhonda was good at biology.  She helped us find ALL of the worm parts and correctly identify them.  I wasn’t interested in biology, but I was interested in good grades.  Rhonda was a perfect bio partner because she was interested in both.

Rhonda was an incredible athlete, the kind the newspaper writes a full page article on and puts on the cover page of the sports section.  I loved being Rhonda’s teammate.  She was competitive.  She was compassionate.  Rhonda could throw a softball or hit a volleyball harder than anyone I knew and could throw a basketball the length of the court, no sweat.  I had some nerve damage in my right arm our senior year.  Rhonda would get behind me in practice drills and throw the ball for me when the coach wasn’t looking so I could save my arm and keep the coach from hollering at me.  On the other hand, Rhonda had serious knee injuries so I would get behind her in dribbling drills and promise to make us look good, but promised to never steal the ball from her so she could save her knees for the games.  We never tried to exploit each other and yet we both loved to win so gave it all we had.  She was a perfect teammate.

It just felt so good to see Rhonda and catch up with her.  It was fun to see her toss her head back and laugh that old familiar laugh (she’s always been a good sport and laughed at things I say that aren’t very funny).  It was good to see her son and meet his wife and to sit on the sidewalk in the sun near the beach. 

After we parted I stopped to eat some fish and chips down by the water.  A nervy seagull came and stood three feet away from me with his beak wide open.  He thought he could shame me into sharing, but seagulls aren’t supposed to eat deep fried fish with tartar sauce and potatoes with ketchup; they’re supposed to eat fish from the sea that they catch themselves.  I like to think he’ll be glad I helped him be self-sufficient today.

Then I walked back home – grateful to be alive, spend a few hours with a dear friend, smell the sea, walk a block with a little boy with bifocals (we be mates) and hear him tell me about his new red wheelchair, listen to Vitamin String Quartet, and think and think and think.  Grace greeted me when I got home and then after a nap (I’m not marathon material) we ate a bowl of ice cream on the deck.  Life in my world today was salty, sweet, wonderful, and one of a kind.


Susan said...

What a wonderful, wonderful day...

Deanna/Mimi said...

You, through the gift of your words, transported me to your beautiful, charming experience. Life is so good for deserve that blessing.

Jill said...

Wow, I'm impressed you decided to walk all the way there. I don't think that option would have popped into my mind.

What is up with wearing Calvin's tennis shoes? How do you keep them on.

It's so great that you could reconnect with Rhonda after all these years!

Ande Payne said...

THAT does sound like a good day! I could hear you say every word of it. Especially the part where you decided to make the seagull self-sufficient.

I loved the story of you and Rhonda trying to save each other in sports. That was a sweet story.

And I agree with Jill. What's up with wearing Dad's tennis shoes?! :)

I'm glad you had such a great day.

deidra said...

Love the reference to gullible gulls. You showed him!

It sounds like you're having a great time in Seattle. Fun to catch up with a dear friend!

Michelle said...

sounds like such a nice day and how wonderful to reconnect with an old friend and to realize that it seems that time stops and resumes without a hitch when old friends reconnect

Emma J said...

Mmm! I love the pictures spanning the years. And the celebration of old friendships!

Katie said...

I love friendships like that. There is nothing like spending the day with a person you haven't seen in years, and finding them just as you remember them. I'm glad you got the chance to reunite with one of your buddies. Also, I can't believe how much you look like Cali and Ande in the photo from your biology class!

Tyler - Danielle - Emree said...

It sounds so serene...sometimes you just need days like that.

Marie said...

That sounds like an ideal day, indeed. How nice to reconnect with someone after so long.

Carolyn said...

What a perfect day. And I'm glad you helped the seagull work for himself. He probably appreciates it.

clarkperrins said...

going uot utah we miss you we come
home soon on day going see my family
utah my family good you kids miss
me my family we come home soon
souday1 all kids bassingon 1
we sarry im be home soon we miss
you all you kids my class you kids
be home soon on day

love clark