Sunday, August 27, 2006

Kudzu Kweens

I cannot say enough about the totally uplifting experience of drinking beer with one's posse, AKA "the girlfriends." Some wise old Southern lady at some time or another uttered this great truth: "It's good for the soul to cluck like a hen." Back when we were all young and homebound through kids and tradition, my session was a regular Friday after work meeting of great minds in somebody's carport to gripe about who'd done who wrong at work that week. It was a date that most didn't miss except for funeral home duty or sick children. That period of decompression was what helped us keep our sanity during the sobering reality of the rest of our crazy dang lives. Women who were born in the fifties and grew up in the eighties had it mighty hard, if I do so say myself. June Cleaver and Gloria Steinem make strange bedfellows for the men who love us. Our own mamas had grown up playing bridge together and fussin' over how hard it was to do it all, bless their hearts.

As the kids grew and got more busy, our schedules rarely included time to bask in the sisterly glow of that circle of friends who knows the deepest, darkest most disgusting secret tucked within that little heart. Next thing I knew my girlfriends were the mommas of my daughter's friends, and eventually they became my own southern sisters for years. Most still are. We split off and kept in touch when our teenagers started roaming from house to home and pillar to porch. One of us always knew what was up with the litter, thanks be to Jesus, Bill Gates and cellphones.

The threads that bind friendship are often very easily tangled during the younger years. Someone has a baby or dies or moves to Outer Mongolia with her serviceman hubby, leaving her buddies behind with a lingering feeling that someday....someday, they'll cackle together again, on the other side of that next big life event that looks so frightful. Mama said there'd be times like this, and she was right as rain.

My girlfriends and I have a regular meeting place, but the date varies according to the price of the brew and our respective life dramas at that point in time. Our rustic clubhouse is surrounded by Forked Deere River fed kudzu that creeps and crawls over the edge of the parking lot and up to the dumpster. Beverly and Terry own the place, bought and paid for with her retirement money. That bar has seen some history, I'm tellin' you. I suspect there's lots more coming up as long as the cast continues to gather there. One ladies night, there was a group there that had such an extensive collection of shared history that we decided to form a society of women-who-like-each-other and know how to have fun in a smartass genteel sort of way. Remind me to tell you about those gals...they're a hoot!

bev and terry

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