Cruising into a new year

It seems it is time to cruise into a new year.

I welcome it. Like many of you, I’m kind of tired of 2017 and think I’ll see it more clearly in the rearview mirror.

One of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert, put it in terms I can wrap my head around. Highly paraphrased, she said that new years are great because you get a shiny new one every single year no matter how badly you jacked up the last one.

This gives people like me hope.

It’s like trading in a car at the end of the year, all dinged up with cigarette burns in the seat and an engine that’s knocking. And then we get a brand new one! No miles, so clean, so incredibly undeserved.

And at the end of this new year, what our car looks like will be totally up to us.

I’m kind of fond of this car, but it’s time for a new one.

This year has been interesting, which is an elusive way of saying it has been full of friends, family, worries, surprises, understanding and unimaginable gratitude. And still, my car is a little dinged up. This scenario is probably like most everyone’s, I think.

Some months I’ve slid into sideways on two wheels; and others the most ambitious thing I did was get my tires rotated.

But come Monday, I’m going to wake up and there it will be – my brand new car. I think this is called Grace.

At any rate, this year my new car is a mythical Toyota Land Cruiser I’ve ordered in my mind due to the aura of adventure it has around it, as well as a large seating and towing capacity. I have big plans for the new year.

The best parts of 2017, after I thought about it, were the times I wandered furthest from my comfort zone. That was when I made my greatest strides, wrote the best parts of my story and learned the most about myself and others.

I met the most beautiful people, had the best talks, and took some of my greatest personal risks. And while I took some dings in the process, I still wouldn’t change it.

I haven’t made resolutions since about 1976 when I vowed I would meet Shawn Cassidy while I placed my left hand on the Tiger Beat poster on my bedroom wall. It didn’t work, and I lost trust in the process. But I’m thinking about trying it again.

So if I have any resolutions in the new year, it would be to continue to see what my new car is capable of.

I’m ready for my Land Cruiser, and for 2018.

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Christmas is on the radar (Also, this *is* your card)

It was my favorite Christmas growing up.

It was in 1971, and I was six years old. Our parents let us stay up late to watch the weather on KFDX because they had the Santa Claus tracker on radar. The radar in those days looked like a record album with a straight-line laser circling it and it blinked red when it detected Rudolph, who we all knew was leading the team of Christmas joy.

This particular Christmas at around 10:15 p.m., the local authority on such things was the meteorologist, known to me at the time as the weatherman.  He told us that Rudolph was taking off from Chicago, which meant he was in the country and on his way to the greater Wichita Falls area.

I knew enough to know that Santa wouldn’t stop at my house if I was awake, so I willed myself to be tired. Like super tired, only I wasn’t.

I shared a room with my three older sisters, and I had the top bunk so  I crawled up the ladder and got in bed with my stuffed gingerbread man, Clyde. Normal six-year-olds slept with teddy bears. I slept with a large gingerbread man … named Clyde.

The fabulous television program about the lovable and caring doctor, Marcus Welby, M.D., was on the TV and the last thing I remember was him talking to a patient with a concerned, yet caring look on his face.

The next thing I remember was I woke up and it was daylight. My only hope was that Santa didn’t show up before the unfortunate diagnosis the night before.

A glorious blue quilted-side baby carriage under the Christmas tree told me I had maintained a six-year streak of falling asleep before Santa made it to Texas.  I also received a blue and green plaid poncho that year, the perfect accessory for the new six-year-old mother of a plastic baby.

A lot of Chistmases have passed since then, but the local TV stations are still the go-to place to locate the exact whereabouts of the jolly one, only with more advanced radars.

It’s a tradition that I’m happy to see has stuck around, and also I hear that ponchos are making a comeback.

I no longer have a poncho or a baby carriage, but I still check on Santa’s whereabouts every year.

I love traditions, and even with people I love in different locations, I try to observe as many as I can.

Every year, I bake Christmas cookies, which I consider to be my spiritual Xanax. I bake them, I ice them and I take pictures of them to text to my daughter. Twenty years ago, I would have had to send her a letter after the film was processed.

We used to bake together every year, now we bake in different states. Same tradition, modified execution.

And there are some traditions I’m just bad at, like sending Christmas cards (or if I’m being honest, cards in general). Exhibit A:  this is your Christmas card and it has been for close to 20 years. I suppose this in itself is a tradition, which means I don’t totally suck at it.

But while we are on the subject, Merry Christmas. I truly wish for you a beautiful Christmas filled with traditions, old and new.

So turn off the TV and get some sleep. I hear Santa Claus is coming to town

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I need pantsuits and pink Nikes

It’s December in the news biz, and congruent thoughts are hard to come by right now, at least for me.

So, this week I hope you forgive me for sharing the random thoughts I had while trying to think of a good topic to write about, instead of writing an actual blog. It’s an accidental invitation into what my brain looks like on the daily.

This happens occasionally, and on this occasion, I’m blaming it on Bossanova.

If I get a sweet pair of these for Christmas, I might run … for office.

• I don’t own enough pantsuits or pink Nikes to run for public office.

• If it becomes illegal to drive and eat fast food burritos, I will feel partially responsible.

• Equanimous is my new word of the week. It means calm and composed. It is also my goal of the week.

• Every day on my way to work, I pass by a commercial softball field that sits off the road a bit. It was built just a couple years ago, I believe. (If I make any mistakes in this thought, don’t send angry letters\emails, I only go to ballgames to be entertained by the drunks in the right field stands.)

Monday I noticed a big “For Sale” sign in front of it, and my first thought was “who would be in the market to buy a giant softball field?” After ticking off a list of potential buyers – a semi-pro softball team is the only thing that came to mind – I realized that I would think about buying it if I had 10 or more children. We could be our own league.

Or I might buy it if I was a budding bull fighter in north Texas, or had dreams of a dog park with spectator seating and indoor bathrooms.

• Men sometimes have ridiculous expectations. A man told me this week that he likes it when a woman has painted fingernails because, “it looks like she cares.” I looked at my plain fingernails and said, “Oh, I care. Just not about painting my nails.”

• My dog, Erma, has serious boundary issues. As I type this, her nose is a quarter inch from my face, and she is staring at me without blinking or changing facial expressions. It’s creepy and unsettling.

I am trying to remain equanimous.

May your week be good, your Christmas preparations equanimous, and your thoughts congruent.

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P.S.: It’s not my year for paper plates

I see a lot of people these days practicing gratitude – some as a daily practice and some for the month of November on Facebook.

Daily gratitude posts, along with the occasional puppy video and pictures of my grandson are the only things that have kept social media from morphing into the seventh circle of hell this year.

And since I don’t apparently feel thankful enough on a daily basis to make those posts I will do my whole month of gratitude right here, right now.

It is more important than ever, I believe, to turn toward acknowledging what is currently making our lives good.

Times like this – holidays like this – are specifically designed to make us stop and look up and find the victories in our beautiful lives and acknowledge them … with gratitude. And it’s probably even more important to do this if your life doesn’t feel so beautiful. Either way, remember the reason for the season, and that is giving gratitude.

Even if your family ain’t right.

I am thankful for a family that developed a tradition we have trademarked the “Annual Paper Plate Walk of Shame.” We are nothing if not tradition-filled as a family.

The big tradition is, if you jack up a dish you bring to Thanksgiving, the next year you will be the bearer of paper goods for the celebration.  It’s a beautiful and passive-aggressive tradition my entire family appreciates. It’s kind of like our less medieval version of the Scarlet Letter, only with way less pearl clutching and the letter is “C” for Chinet.

The precipitating event for this punishment of culinary indiscretion was exacted by a member of my own family who shall remain nameless … for now. This person (they know who they are) was in charge of one of our family’s Thanksgiving necessities – rolls, many and hot and with a lot of butter.

The suspect over-kneaded the rolls that year and what resulted was an impromptu war with tiny flying bread missiles after dinner. Later, the neighborhood kids used the rolls for a pickup game of street hockey.

That was the year paper shaming became a valued and time-honored tradition.

Since then, we’ve had cherry cream cheese pie with imaginary cherries; deviled eggs with questionable lineage; the near-disaster with the rolls of 2016;  and dryer-sheet fresh broccoli rice casserole. You read that right – somehow a dryer sheet ended up in a casserole a few years ago. It’s a mystery to this day, and now part of the legend of the tradition.

Everyone in our family pulled together last year when in an unheard of move where nobody was assigned the rolls and nobody noticed it until Thanksgiving Eve. Then we ALL noticed it and went shopping again and ended up with like 200 rolls. It was seriously like all our secret decoder rings went off and we sprung into action like the bread fiends we are.

In other words, we may not even have paper goods this year. But we better have rolls.

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Help me go to the movies again

It had been five years since I reluctantly stepped into a movie theatre.

In 2012, my Mom and I watched the movie  Lincoln in one theatre, while my husband and brother watched something featuring Tom Cruise in another.

Lincoln was a good movie – an excellent one, even – but I still spent as much time in the lobby as the theatre because movies give me anxiety.

People don’t ask me to go to movies, because the answer is always no, usually preceded with me looking like I have smelled something horrible.

Only my mother continues to ask. About once a quarter she says, “you wanna go see (insert name of movie I don’t want to see here)?” The answer is no, always no.

I’m not a conflict person. The first sign of conflict in a movie has me leaving for an unscheduled bathroom break or a $15 package of Milk Duds. I’ve even hung out in the arcade in the lobby. I don’t fare well.

At my first viewing of the Wizard of Oz  and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang some 50 years ago, my bathroom break never ended and I would not come back into the theatre, beginning a life-long habit of avoidance.

Last week, a well-meaning friend who didn’t know of my allergy to actual movies told me about a movie that he thought I  must see.

On this rare occasion, I didn’t ask him if he understood who he was talking to. I didn’t make a face, start humming “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” in my head or run in the other direction screaming, “NO, NO, NOOOOO!”.

I listened politely. Then  I went home and looked up the movie and watched the trailer, which gave me goosebumps. That’s never happened before so I shocked my husband, my mother and our two friends Shane and Kelly and said possibly for the first time in over two decades, “I want to go to the movies.”

Saturday afternoon, we hit the matinee at Cinemark to see the movie,  Same Kind of Different as Me. Given the fact it wasn’t about war, the mafia or flying monkeys I didn’t even need a Xanax to go into the parking lot. It was going to be a banner day, l sensed it. Little Kari was growing up.

Cradling my super-sized popcorn like a toddler with my husband carrying my bucket of Coke, we carefully selected seats for maximum viewing pleasure, as well as a quick exit for me should war or any discomfort break out.

Just before the movie began a woman sat right behind us although there were plenty of other places to sit – plenty of secluded and private places.

I’ve only been to a couple  movies in the last 20 years, and never stayed in the theatre long enough to know, or even care, if anyone was talking.

That’s how good this particular movie was – I never moved, except to crane my neck to give this woman behind us the stink eye.

She set the tone at the beginning of the movie by engaging with the scene, “You gave me this painting for free. Now it’s worth a million dollars.” The lady, who lacked what we self-aware folks call an indoor voice, said, “Well, I’d ask for it back.” She was indignant and aghast.

The rest of the movie was spent with my husband’s patented and time-tested you have got to be kidding me look, Shane actually  muttering “you’ve got to be kidding me!,” and Kelly  saying “seriously?” – All in reaction to Chatty Cathy behind us.  I continued to crane my head in her direction and shake it in a slow, but firm, “no” direction.

To no avail. The lady continued to play out her internal dialogue for our row to consider, free with the cost of the movie.

I expected a cell phone to ring, not a play-by-play of Harry Carey’s private thoughts. A cell phone never did ring, not that I would have heard it.

Since I haven’t been to the movie in literally years, I need to know if this is the new normal?

I honestly don’t think she had a clue that everyone within earshot of her was plotting her demise. And by demise, I mean removal from the theatre – I hate violence, remember?

I seriously want to know how to kindly handle that situation by somebody who actually goes to a movie every once in a while, because I saw a trailer for a really good one about Charles Dickens  that I want to see.

And it’s probably illegal to carry a chlorophormed-soaked rag into a theatre anyway nowadays. But I’m thinking about it.

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Traveling B.O.B.s: That time we babysat a horse

Well, it’s that time of the week again.

The time where I bang my head against stationary objects until I think of something remotely entertaining to write. Sometimes I even bang it on stationery objects, like a pen.

That is just the first phase of the process for a writer like myself. Eventually I move on to sitting down at a keyboard and typing, crying optional.

It’s not that I lack subject matter – my life is usually highly entertaining, just not reportable to the masses.

Still, I am surrounded by the most amazing women – every one of them – and I have stories for days, maybe years. With that in mind, I gave the stationary objects a break.

I have a group of friends I travel with every year, and we just returned from our 16th annual weekend away.

We call ourselves the B.O.B. Club, pay dues every month and use that money to fund the weekend trips.

In the past 16 years we’ve travelled through Texas and Oklahoma. We have seen and done things that prove real life is, indeed, stranger than fiction.

One of those trip was to the Fort Worth Stockyards a few years ago. We stayed at a hotel in the the middle of the stockyards, all five of us in one room.

For some reason, there was no hot water that morning for showers, which was noted by a shrill scream of the first one in and followed by four more.

We left the hotel around noon, looking like we hadn’t seen daylight since 1642.

After lunch, we parked ourselves on a large picnic bench in front of the famous White Elephant Saloon armed with a Michael Jackson t-shirt we bought on a clearance rack for $2 and a fresh Sharpie. We then proceeded to ask strangers to sign the shirt as their favorite celebrity with plans to give it to somebody really gullible or list it on Ebay next to the Virgin Mary cheese toast.


One of our celebrities

B.O.B. Lynda pets the dog of another celebrity

We had more takers than anyone could believe, and thought we were going to get Wyatt Earp for sure when a cowboy rode up on his horse and dismounted in front of our picnic bench.

Shawnee, the clairvoyant of our group, said, “I hope he doesn’t ask me to babysit his horse.”

So, he did.

A reasonable facsimile of the horse we cared for

We babysat a horse in the Fort Worth Stockyards while his chaps and spurs wearing owner went into the White Elephant Saloon for a cold one. I guess we technically horsesat.

While Shawnee charged a fee for people to pet the strange horse, the rest of us continued asking strangers to sign the t-shirt that was eventually lost anyway.

Things like this are why we keep doing it year after year.

These memories, and so many more, are the tapestry my highly entertaining life is made of.

B.O.B.s Shawnee and Janice during one of our more serious discussions

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Iowa Park – 48 years in our hometown

It was 48 years ago this week that my family moved to Iowa Park and started this newspaper, the Iowa Park Leader.

I was four.

You could say I grew up in the midst of all things journalism and  Iowa Park, and both are part of who I am.

In these 48 years, we as a family and staff,  have been honored to serve this beautiful, quirky and proud town – what we call our hometown – through some bright and beautiful times, as well as a few dark and desperate ones. The latter is always hard, but history has a right to have honest record of those as well.

In this almost half-century, we have made, and a few times sadly, lost, life-long friends. We have been inside almost every business in town, attended close to every public meeting, and have served on councils and boards to do our part to inform and be a part of the fabric of  Iowa Park. We have recorded Iowa Park’s history as it has heppened and is happening, and it makes us proud.

Like most newspapers, we’ve have had death threats – luckily, few – and we have seen people at their worst. That makes us sober and I think, pragmatic.

More often, we catch people at their best – this is what keeps us in the newsroom, and around the community. The generosity and spirit of our students; the outpouring of love, time and resources I have personally witnessed consistently in my time here when someone local or not needs a helping hand. Iowa Park has quite a heart, we are happy to report.

Both are what keep the balance, I’m just glad the good side of the scales are always heavier.

 

Because this is my space, I get to brag on our staff just a little.

The publisher, Dolores Hamilton, has been at the helm the entirety of our existence. As she is my mother, I have seen her during this time not only raise five extreeeemely well-behaved children, but also work the tremendously long hours required to keep a budding newspaper afloat and feed a family. I am proud of her for this. She has, in her career, done every single job in this newspaper and done them well.

Some other things most people don’t know, but I do, make me even prouder than this. When I was young, in the middle of all of this, Mom also took painting and piano lessons for herself. She planted the seed that made the Gordon Lake Walking Track project grow, and then continued to water it. I know because she made me help. I don’t know if she has ever known how much those things impacted my life.

Kevin Hamilton, editor, sports editor, photographer and another heir apparent of many hats, is always the guy in the background with a camera. But never in a creepy way. He captures the best moments Iowa Park has to offer and records them here, each week. He is, I say with great confidence, one of the best photographers in the state of Texas and has the hardware to prove it. During his time here, Kevin has covered meetings, banquets, assemblies and spent thousands of hours at sporting events covering our athletes all the way to state competition, much of that in his personal time. In addition, he is a helluva writer.

Also, he’s my brother and he didn’t pay me to say any of that. Seriously, Iowa Park, you are lucky to have him.

Last but not least is reporter and feature writer, Sherrie Williams. She is also a photographer and circulation manager. We have a small office with many jobs, and she has managed to be worth five times her weight in gold.

Sherrie has worked with us for 20 years and covers events, writes features, serves on the city council and some state boards. Over the years I regularly see her work all day at the paper, then work several evenings a week either for the newspaper, or for civic organizations to raise money to help other people. She has headed up 9/11 ceremonies, July Fourth events, and worked more Whoop-T-Do’s than anyone I know. She truly loves Iowa Park. She also has the best memory of anyone I know – it’s scary.

This week also happens to be my 33rd anniversary at the paper.  For those wondering, I got a brand new iMac on my desk.

But, so did Kevin, so … I’m still working out what that means.

I also publish these columns on my blog, www.onefunnybroad.com. I encourage you to check it out.

I mention this because I was looking at my stats for the year this weekend, and I noticed that I have readers from literally all over the world.

I’m not bragging, though. It was cool because some of my most-read blogs are those about Iowa Park, which means people from around the United States and  dozens of countries around the world have heard of Iowa Park, Texas.

My hometown.

Our hometown.

Thank you for a fun and heartfelt 48 years with you. It is a pleasure to be a voice for our community.

 

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It’s not what you ask, it’s who you ask

I try, I really do. But I am ‘that mom’.

Last week after Hurricane Irma hit Florida and continued on a northwestern bend, I was talking to my daughter on FaceTime. She told me about how they were expecting high winds in South Carolina, a lot of rain and probably a tornado or two because there were “on the tornado side of the hurricane.”

The fact that a hurricane is a all-you-can-eat buffet of natural disasters did not escape me, which caused me to say the words no mother should probably utter.

“Do you have a plan in place in the event of a tornado?,” I asked my daughter as I caught a glance of my two-year-old grandson sprinting behind her with an apple he appeared to have just stolen in an effort to not starve in the aftermath of the tornado.

She gave me this look, one that lay steadily in the space between exasperation and anger management in action. One that I have had on my face before when I felt someone had underestimated my immeasurable skills.

“I’m 31. I have a plan,” she managed to say without opening her teeth.

In my defense, I contacted every friend and family member I had on both coasts to make sure they had a plan. I just can’t help myself.

Also, my son lived in Boston during historic snowfalls, so I eat worry for breakfast. This time, to her brother’s relief, it was my daughter’s turn.

I didn’t ask her to send me bullet points of her plan. Instead, I went over her house plan in my head and surmised the hall closet was the best place to go. I never told her because I’m sure she already thought of it, Plus … that look.

I just hope she remembers to move the bowling ball she keeps in there for posterity – to California or somewhere equally as far away from a tornado.

When I talked to her the next day, businesses in South Carolina had shut down, so her husband was home from work and taking a nap with their tiny force of nature and his emergency apple.

My daughter was calmly decorating cookies in this rare peace, except the wind was blowing like a gazillion miles an hour outside. Still, she talked to me on FaceTime using zen-like motions to decorate cookies, the bowling ball clearly not in her thoughts.

She was on top of her cookie game, so I assumed she would wake up her crew and calmly herd them toward the bowling ball-free closet in the event that a tornado meandered through their part of South Carolina. She was never called to do that, and I will never know about the bowling ball.

Two hurricanes of massive proportion within two weeks of each other is insanity. I am certain I’m not the only mother this month who asked their child if they were prepared in the event of  hurricane-related shenanigans.

And I won’t be the last, I’ll just ask my son-in-law next time.

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Welcome to Iowa, Park in Texas (where commas are important)

Although I moved to the fair community of Iowa Park, Texas when I was a worldly four years old, I consider it my hometown.

For some people reading this, it will be preaching to the choir to lay out the logistical nightmare of ordering something on the phone when the town you’re from has the name of a state in it, just not the state you reside in.

When the early settlers from Iowa arrived in what is now known as Iowa Park, Texas, their first inclination was to name the town Daggett Switch, which had something to do with the railroad but sounds suspiciously in the same neighborhood as Possum Holler.

Ultimately, it was decided that a nod to their home state was warranted, and tacked “Park” onto the end because the original city plat boasted nine. Iowa Park today officially has 8.

The year all that took place was 1888, and how were they to know that more than a century later it would cause people like … us … massive confusion any time you have to order something over the phone and have it shipped.

My experience while ordering things to be shipped to our office in the past month has been:

Order Taker: City, please?

Me: Iowa …

Order Taker: No, city first please.

Me: The city is Iowa Park.

OT: Iowa Park?

Me: Yes.

OT: (Deep sigh) Zip Code?

Me: 76367

OT: But, that’s in Texas. I thought you were in Iowa?

That my friends, is why commas are important. As are patience and forgiveness for our town fathers and mothers, in my experience.

For instance, I want to scream my zip code right after I give the company name but decorum prevents that. They also won’t let you give your zip code first and work backward. I’ve tried.

I thought one time about pitching the current city council a few different ideas for memorable, yet un-confusing names. My favorite, yet unsustainable, name was “I’m From.” That way you can answer anyone who asks you where you live with “I’m From, Texas”. It’s efficient, right in your face and equally confusing.

It just won’t work because the next question will always be “Where in Texas?” It would be like Abbott and Costello’s* Who’s on First routine, only with a heavy drawl and weaponry. I’m getting old and I don’t have any more time for that than I do the original problem.

So, Iowa Park it is.

Salute!

Seriously though, we love visitors. Our official slogan is truly “The Town of Friendly Living.”

We don’t care where you park – Welcome to Iowa Park, in Texas.

In the spirit of give what you’ve got, your prayers, love and thoughts are sought and needed by those affected by Hurricane Harvey in the coast of Texas and Louisiana, as well as Puerto Rico, Haiti and Florida which is expected to bear the brunt of Hurricane Irma this week..

I have friends and family affected by both, and it is heart-breaking and life-changing. In that spirit, please give what you can of things people need. Lately when I’ve been shopping I’ve been asked if I want to give a dollar of my purchase to hurricane relief. I do, and I do. It’s not much, but if enough people do it, it adds up. And the need is great, and about to be greater.

Give what you can, when you can. It is showing me the good in this country in the midst of political discord. No questions are asked because people need help.

In that vein, I want to thank the people from Iowa Park who have worked to help people – some they might know, most they do not – in a time of dire need. There are far too many to name, and I would leave out a name (I know me), and they don’t do it for a pat on the back anyway.

Our city has given money, and generously. They have filled a semi-truck and more, and they have offered their homes for refuge, all of which is the primary spirit of this country.

Many communities are doing this, thankfully. But I don’t come from most communities,

I come from Iowa Park, Texas, The Town of Friendly Living. A town that is not in Iowa.

 

**** For six hours, everyone who read this knew that I don’t know my comedy acts from days of yore. My hero was Gilda Radner. Thanks to my now editor-at-large Richard for  setting me straight that it was not, in fact, the Three Stooges who did that brilliant bit. This isn’t the first time he has saved me from myself.

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Call that friend, today

The general foul mood of our countrymen continues this week, along with the ongoing shortage of unicorns and rainbows.

This kind of week reminds me  to keep reminding myself – as it did last week – that love bats last. It also laughs last.

So I call a friend, or two or three. It always does the trick.

I think we all should call a friend whose parents have been sick and see how everyone is. Or, call the one who has survived cancer because she reminds you she has faced death and your problems are not so bad.

Call the one who suffers from depression, because she is having a good day, or because she isn’t. Call the one who figuratively wants to wrap her fingers around the necks of her lazy children. All involved will thank you.

Or, call the one who lost her husband a few years ago, because she still misses him.

My friends and I have all these contingency plans in place because, life happens.

So we call each other, we travel, we meet for dinner, drinks and laughter.

When things get rough, we can throw together an impromptu weekend getaway with a text message, as we have this week.

We are just that good.

This weekend, a bunch of us are getting together for a weekend swim because the suckage of life has been great, according to us, and this is how we survive it.

We also survive it like this … (shout out to the Boston Fire Department!)


… and this. (shout out to Medicine Park….remember us?)

And this. (Shout out to a tipsy Christmas Lights trolley extravaganza)

The next weekend, I will probably repeat the same with another group of friends. One good thing about friendship is it’s totally polyamorous. You can have as many as you want or can handle, and it’s legal and encouraged. Win/win.

I also have a totally different type of rarified friends whom I know through the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop that only meets every two years in Dayton, Ohio. Our friendship is definitely long distance most of the time, but when we get together to write it is like no time has passed. We are just a bunch of hilariously and beautifully-matched friends who happen to meet every two years and will probably be lifelong friends.

Because of these wonderful women in my life I have experienced things I would not have otherwise. Many I cannot publish because of some statute of limitations mumbo-jumbo, but several priceless ones I can.

We’ve had a pre-hysterectomy going away party for a uterus.

I have been witness to the holding of horse reigns by one of us during a girls trip to the Stockyards while a thirsty and trusting  cowboy went into the White Elephant Saloon for a beer. You can’t make this stuff up.

I have hiked the Lost Lake in the Wichita Mountains, something I would never have done without a friend to say, “Hey, let’s do this.”

The ninth hole at midnight

We have hunted for ghosts here at home in Iowa Park, Texas and as far as Jefferson, Texas. We’ve  sung “You Don’t Have To Call  Me Darlin’ (Darlin’) at full volume on karaoke night five hours from home. We’ve taken selfies laying our backs on the ninth hole of the Cliffs Golf Course at midnight; and I have personally watched a woman laugh so hard she threw up in the bushes – it was a proud moment in my life.

Judy and Gina at Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop – they know about the bush incident.

This is all recently, and I am getting old, y’all. The older I get, the clearer it becomes that these women remind me the world does not, technically, suck and it’s because of them. In fact, the love is palpable.

I’m betting on that.

So get on the phone and call a friend, get together and laugh. Your world will look better instantly.

My happy hope for the future … my daughter and her beautiful tribe. Keep it going.

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