Two of my favorite people on the planet celebrate their birthdays tomorrow. Being able to call even one of these ladies friend would be more than I deserve, but I’m doubly blessed and consider them both to be among my very dearest friends. I’m a lousy card sender, but I thought that maybe I could pay tribute to them here at Snoodlings. Today I’d like to introduce you to my friend Stacey.
I didn’t want to move to Louisiana. In fact, if you look closely, you can probably still see the claw marks I left on westbound I-20 when my family dragged me there from South Carolina the summer before my junior year of high school.
She didn’t want to move to Louisiana either. She hadn’t been dragged quite as far as I had, she was an East Texas girl, but she was just as unhappy about her lot in life as I was. We met and began commiserating together in our junior year English class. Soon we’d developed a plan: On graduation day, we would get our diplomas, walk off the stage and out of the auditorium, and we would each hop into a waiting U-Haul, packed with our stuff, ready and waiting to take her back to Texas and me back to South Carolina.
Who was it who said that life is what happens when you’re making other plans?
Somewhere along the way we forgot that we were supposed to be miserable in Louisiana and we became the best of friends. On graduation night we found ourselves, not barreling in separate directions down the highway, but in a Waffle House on Airline Drive trying to decide whether we wanted our hash browns scattered, covered, or smothered. Eventually we both did make good on our plan to Louisiana, only to both come back and then to leave again.
Can we all pause for a moment in a moment of tribute to the hair? And the miracle that we fit both those heads into one picture? Then let’s take another moment for the sweater and the sweatshirt. Amazing.
In between we covered a lot of ground. We survived one of the worst double dates the world has known. (At one point we excused ourselves to the bathroom and at least one of us broke into tears while the other plotted an elaborate escape plan that involved sneaking out back exits.) I was in her wedding, she was in mine. Over the years, we’ve cried over broken hearts and bad hair…..
…and the ones who got away and the ones we wished would just go away.
But mostly we have laughed. How can you help but laugh at a friend who can sing both Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” and do a perfect Luther Vandross imitation in a five-minute span? Someone who does Oprah’s character from The Color Purple better than Oprah herself.
We were the “good girls” in a graduating class of “hell raisers” so we spent a lot of time coming up with alternate forms of entertainment while our classmates. One Friday night we drank a six pack of Jolt Cola just to see what would happen. In case you are wondering, nothing happened.
I don’t remember the details, but we had planned some sort of surprise party for her. I do remember my colorful jeans.
I don’t have any recent pictures of Stacey and me because the years brought kids that kept us moving too fast to stop for a picture. Time and life stuff make it increasingly hard to stay in touch, but she’s one of those rare friends with whom the conversation never really ends. We just pick it right back up where we left off whenever we get a chance to talk. That’s why although I was incredibly touched, I wasn’t a bit surprised that she drove all the way from Texas (yep, she eventually made it back there!) to be at my dad’s funeral and then drove all the way back the same day. She is a true friend.
Everyone who knows her loves her and I think every one of her friends probably thinks he or she is her best friend because that’s how she makes each of us feel. She’s the kind of friend who will always have your back but isn’t afraid to tell you what you need to hear if she knows that in telling you, you will become more of the person God made you to be. Still, she accepts people as they are and makes people feel at ease in her presence. She has always given me room to be myself and I feel like a better me when I talk to her. She knows me and she loves me anyway.
Oh, Spacey Crash, every year you are even more beautiful to me, inside and out. I miss you desperately and I hope that this is the best year you’ve ever had. (And I hope after the pictures-from-the-past posting that you still consider me a friend!)
Tomorrow I’ll introduce you to my other January 25th birthday friend!