"I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
These are my girls, Marcie and Michele. We were on St. Pete Beach for my brother's memorial service, where friends and family gathered to remember him with poems, champagne, toasts and lighted Chinese lanterns. It was very windy, so things didn't turn out quite as we'd planned, and I know my brother was laughing from above as we all chased the lighted fireballs down the beach.
This isn't about my brother, though; it's about my girls. I met Marcie when we were in the fourth grade, and then a few years later, at 14, we met Michele when we all worked together as hostesses at The Naples Dinner Theater. We've shared decades of friendship that have sustained me through many tough times. I thank you for being my friends, for always being there and for showing up when I need you. It's been said that 80% of success is showing up. I think this is true of friendship, as well. Once again, my girls were there for me when I needed them and it meant the world to me.
After the memorial I tried, ineptly, to explain how much I've appreciated the support of my girls over the years, through the good and bad times. Sometimes I feel like being my friend must be a lot of work. First my mom, then my dad, now my brother. As I struggled to explain what I felt were the inequities of our friendship, Marcie insisted that I was being ridiculous. She remarked that "We all have sh** to deal with." I guess that's true, and one of the many blessings of long friendships. History. These girls knew me when. We know each other's stories.
I've been ruminating about what and how to write about my love for them. After many failed attempts, I realized my words would never be enough because our friendship has not been defined by words, but by actions. I was flooded with so many memories -- good, bad and funny. What would my story be like, if not for the cornucopia of moments we've shared?
Marcie taping "Eye of the Tiger" on a tape recorder, from the radio, so I could learn the words (and be as cool as she was).
The Naples Dinner Theater.
Bussing tables at Ferrara's.
"Welcome to the Jungle."
The "Born in the USA" concert with Michele, her dad and her little brother
Singing "Like a Virgin," standing with our heads out the sunroof of that red Impulse. Whose car was that? What stupid thing to do, by the way.
When Michele and I ran into my mom at the Kiss concert, where I was NOT supposed to be -- nor was she, I should add.
Grad Night, High School Graduation, Senior Cruise.
Marcie picking me up at the airport after Mom died.
The two of them holding me in the bathroom, just before my mother's funeral, when I'd became completely unglued.
Spending my first Christmas after Mom died with Michele's family.
Road trips to Gainesville.
The Penn State/Miami game.
Many, many memorable post-New England Patriots game phone calls from an irate (and sometimes tipsy) Marcie.
Late night, middle-of-the-night phone calls, when someone just needed to vent.
Drinking scorpions in Quincy Market and then racing up and down the aisle of the "T" on our way home.
- Popcorn Fridays in Mr. Williams' Portable at Naples Park Elementary.
July 4th in Fort Lauderdale.
Marcie was in the car the first time I ever drove and I almost took us into a ditch!
New Year's Eve on the Naples Trolley.
Marcie flying to Atlanta to go wedding dress shopping with me, so I didn't have to do it alone.
One of my girls calling me every day when I was on bed rest for three months with the twins.
Tears, lots of tears and more tears over stupid boys.
Tears, lots of tears and more tears over children.
Lots of giggles over beer and eventually good wine.
Epic practical jokes (remember the one that ended with Mrs. V bringing Marcie flowers at the hospital?).
Weddings, baby showers, baptisms, birthdays, more babies, funerals.
When Marcie and I, along with four children and multiple strollers, navigated the streets of downtown DC, in a valiant quest for Starbucks.
Family dramas, so many dramas. At least we all knew and understood the players and therefore -- no explanations or backstory was needed.
Autism, epilepsy, cancer, aging parents.
Aqua Net, Poison perfume, Liz Claiborne, Jordashe Jeans, Izods, aqua blue eyeliner.
From the playgrounds of Naples Park to the battlefields of middle age, from Tickle Pink to Veuve Clicquot, from shoulder pads to maternity clothes, spiral perms to highlights hiding grey hair, Clearasil to La Mer, from the hair rock bands of the 1980s to, well, the hair rock bands of the millennium. Who would have ever imagined, as we cruised around Palm River, in Michele's candy apple red Mustang, that we'd be where we are today?
I love you both very much and I hope and pray that I've been as good a friend to each of you, as you've both been to me. As the song goes, "You can't make old friends." This is true, because even though I have many new friends, who I love as old friends, we don't have pictures like this!