The last three weekends have been wild. First, my son Rob bringing his three friends from Vandy. One football game, a breakfast brunch on the patio, three pies, three dozen oatmeal cookies, two casseroles, and one huge pot of chili later , they piled back into Barry’s car and sailed away. It was wonderful and it was hard to let go again. I think I still have garlic under my fingernails.
I saw a high school friend Susan that same weekend. She brought me a gift, a Southern thing. A cute snowman and musical Christmas napkins honoring my musical past (old friends remember those things!). She told my husband the funny story of how when we were in “Home Ec” as we used to call it, I refused to cook because I had a cashmere sweater on and wouldn’t roll up the sleeves for fear of making a crease in it.
How times have changed.
Last weekend, more wonderful high school friends arrived, Martha and Melissa. I made the tragic error of staying up until 2:30 Friday night with them, all the more tragic because I decided that a glass of wine would taste good at 1:00 am. Not a good decision. We found out a lot about the past that night, most of which even I am not going to share on the Internet, as much as that might surprise some of you. Martha remembered me being put on “vocal silence ” by my Mother for swearing in the tenth grade. Tenth grade mind you. What in the heck was “vocal silence”? I barely remember that!!! Melissa and I are first cousins and we were together a lot, our mothers great friends for many years. Martha and Melissa were roommates in college their freshman year. Lots of memories there. Melissa’s husband was home making crappe condos (that’s pronounced crop-ee for those of you not knowing your Southern fish types). This fact intrigued me and Martha and we had to look these “condos” up on the Internet. All that trouble just to catch a fish. They sell these dern things for over a thousand dollars!!!! Hilarious at two o’clock in the morning!
They also brought gifts. Hostess gifts. A beautiful pen and a gorgeous perfume bottle.
I cannot tell you what a warm, engaging, meaningful, funny time I had with all of these friends.
Then came Book Club which I was hosting. Nine of us sat down at the dining table and talked about the book “Crazy” by Pete Earley. This book is a post in and of itself. More later. Such intelligent, thoughtful women. Love my new book club.
One of the members of the Club, Gina, brought a hostess gift. Beautiful cards with a big M on them.
This weekend? My friend Amy from Dallas arrived with her family. She stayed up in Bentonville and I traveled to stay with them at the fairly new 21C Hotel. Very cool. They have these green penguins that are all over the hotel, along with fabulous art. I guess the point is that they are to be used as people wish at the hotel Someone had put one of them staring into the door of a guest’s room early Saturday morning with a note on it, “I am looking for Larry. Is he in here?”. Pretty amusing.
And now, it was the last straw. Amy also brought lovely gifts. Fantastic wine! Although I had sworn not to drink wine again after that one 0’clock glass. So much for that.
I was delighted to have Amy here as well. A fantastic friendship from my graduate school days. One of my younger friends, as she likes to remind me.
The universe has given me at least two messages. Obviously, I am very blessed with friends! Past and present.
The other is not so kind. I read Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady by Florence King years ago, a book that I resonated with to be honest and think is hilarious. “No matter which sex I went to bed with, I never smoked on the street” is a well-known quote from the book. Now I am not lesbian, nor have I ever smoked. Well, that’s not true. I tried smoking for a few months. I looked absolutely stupid. I could never figure out how to tap the cigarette ashes right and the whole ritual made me cough. I quit. Back to the quote. iIf you have ever been trained to be a Southern magnolia flower, you know EXACTLY what that comment is all about. It’s all about manners and how you present yourself in public.
I have pushed against that “lady-ness” in my lifetime, especially if it meant demeaning yourself as a person. Taking an inferior position somehow. Not being assertive or being sincere or speaking up.
But I want to remember hostess gifts. I felt very special receiving them. Maybe I am a failed Southern woman but I have to get my act together.
So thank you, Susan, Martha, Melissa, Gina and Amy for my gifts. Not just the tangible ones. Especially the intangible ones.
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