Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Cup of Tea and a Good Friend

One of the highlights of my trip home was getting to see my bestest bud, A. We were roommates in college, both majoring in journalism, both not sure why, but both too far in our studies to change majors. We went to high school together, but that wasn’t where we became friends. We ran with different crowds then: she in the almost popular crowd, me in the how-fast-can-I-get-out-of-here crowd of one. But high school horror is something my therapist has to listen to, so I won’t delve into it here. Besides, it’s too hard to write from a fetal position.

So, A and I get together any time I’m back home and she comes to visit me when she can. She’s one of those friends that we just pick up where we left off. I can talk about anything with her and she understands completely; she empathizes but still gives an objective opinion. And she has a wicked sense of humor.

Quick story to give you an idea of what A is like. When her daughter, HJ, was about 3 or 4, they got a dog—a Boykin Spaniel, named Ruby. Ruby is a combination hunting/house dog. So, being a hunting spaniel, she retrieves things—shoes, hats, socks. And being a young dog, she was chewing and eating things she shouldn’t. They told HJ repeatedly to pick up her socks because Ruby would take them. Well, HJ being a kid, she kept leaving them around, and Ruby being a dog, she ate one of them. Everyone was in a tizzy, but a call to the vet told them that she would probably pass it. So, they gave her something to help move things along, so to speak, and finally out came the sock, which had been stretched to about a foot long and was just gross. Dad decided this was the perfect opportunity to teach daughter an important lesson, so he began his sermon. When he was done, A said, “Hey HJ. Ya want your sock back?” Not the serious tone Dad was going for.

A and her hubby have built a new house out in the country, so I went out for a tour. As I expected, it’s a gorgeous home. I keep telling her that when I finally have a house that I’m going to live in for more than 3 years, I’m going to hire her as my interior decorator. The house reflects country charm but not too rustic or too girlie, and all pulled together by A herself. She has one of those rare breeds of husbands—one who really doesn’t care how his wife decorates the home and trusts her to do a beautiful job. My experience is that a man will say he doesn’t care but what he really wants is for me to guess what he wants so that he doesn’t have to waste time with decisions. Either that, or he doesn’t care, he just wouldn’t have picked out anything that I did. Of course, it helps that A has exquisite taste. She can mix and match colors and patterns that I would never dream would go together. But then again, I miss Garanimals because it was so much easier to match clothes with a code system.

Anyway, the other thing we did while I was home was go to War Eagle Craft Fair. This craft fair in War Eagle, Ark, has been going on since 1954 and has over 130,000 attendees over a 4-day period. We went on the first day, a cold, damp, windy day. I hadn’t prepared for this properly. Oh, I had layered clothing and I had my raincoat on, which is also my best wind-breaker, but I had no gloves and no hat. The temperatures were supposed to be in the low 50s, but it didn’t reach that until close to 5:00 that evening, after I was back home. But did we let that stop us? Of course not! What kind of self-respecting power-shopper would I be if I let a little thing like blue fingers stop me? Besides, being the experienced craft fair-goer, A had a thermos of hot tea to warm us up.

It had poured down rain all through the night before, but it was surprisingly dry. I guess the cold froze the mud so that it was pretty solid while we were there. We parked out in the field and had a cup of tea to fortify ourselves. We sat in the back of her Chevy Tahoe and watched groups of women, giddy with the excitement of what unique treasures they were going to find. The hunt, after all, is half the fun.

A has been to this craft fair several times and has her favorite booths. But there’s no fun in just going to one or two booths, picking up what we came for, then leaving. That would mean we were shopping like men. We can’t have that. So, we headed for the first of at least 7 tents, before walking over the bridge to all the booths on the other side of the river. As we went through the tents we had that kind of walk-and-sway pattern so that we’d be ready to get around someone who decided to stop in the middle of the aisle, which happened a lot. We looked from side-to-side, quickly scanning what was available, waiting for something to catch our eyes. We like the same kinds of things, so we stopped at the hammered-copper sculptures, the wrought iron, the yarns, the herbal stuff, and the dried flowers. The rest we just did a kind of drive-by. It was easy for me because there was only so much room I had left in my suitcase, so I wasn’t planning on buying much of anything. But A had a Chevy Tahoe should could fill up. She showed great restraint, I thought. Of course she did have to tempt me with, “If you find somethings you really like, we’ll load up the Tahoe and go on a road trip to Omaha.” I should have found some huge piece of furniture to fall in love with so that we could've done that.

The only thing I bought was some wonderful herbal soaps by Ozark Herbals. I bought a Loofa Soap Sponge with “Rain” soap in it. I also got a bar of Patchouli-Rose, which smelled better out in nature than it does in my bathroom. Maybe I should shower outside? And I got a bar of Rosemary Rose Geranium for Mom, but really it was for me to try. And it’s wonderful, so now I have to order some for myself. They also had lotions, shampoo bars, room deodorizers, and lavender. That was definitely my favorite booth. Well, that and the Kettle Corn booth. One can’t live on crafts alone.

When we couldn’t feel our toes and couldn’t make a fist because of the cold, we headed back to the truck. The tea in the thermos was still warm, and soon we were able to wrap our fingers around the mugs. The tea plus the seat warmers thawed us out pretty quickly.

Here are a few photos.


Newt said...

Those are the best types of freindships. No strings, they aren't "work" and no matter how much time in between seeing each other it feels like just yesterday.

Jay said...

Looks like a lot of fun. Well, for some people. I would be miserable. But, for other people, a great time.

Ok, I can't stand it. I would like to point out that you knit. A LOT! And there you were without a hat, scarf or mits. *shakes head*

Remember: I kid because I care.

susan said...

I haven't been to a craft fair in forever. It sounds like you had a great time, even if you froze to death!

A sounds like a "forever friend"...certainly the best kind in my book

The Murphmeister said...

I could get on with Ruby... she looks a socksy little critter!

Kell said...

Jay--I give all my knitting away! Then someone take picture of himself wearing it and calls it goofy ;p

Murph--She'd give you quite a chase. But she does walk in a circle 3 times before she lies down.

Tink said...

"Besides, it’s too hard to write from a fetal position." *Snort*

I envy your friendship with A. I don't have a friend like that, and I can't ever remember having one before. It's truly a special gift!

Anonymous said...
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digital janitor said...

Seat heaters are a wonderful thing. It's the only way leather seats are tolerable in cold weather.