Sunday, March 28, 2010

oh, friends

Tonight our friends Dan and Denise came for supper. They came to help us reconnect some wires that were accidentally severed in a clothesline-moving incident.

(I asked Jay to move the clothesline. It was my idea.)

But this is the thing about them. If you need them? There they are.

These guys were our neighbors across the back yard in another city, another neighborhood, from 1985-1988 when we moved away to here.

They helped us move. I had the notion that the kids should pack their own room, to help reduce their moving stress. Okay, that was a bright idea. They packed dirty socks and garbage. And also Dan and Denise's kids' toys.

I looked at the stuff coming out of the boxes and said, "Denise. These are your toys. These may even be your socks." We laughed. We laugh a lot because we have seven boys between us and that's our best option.

At the time we met, we had two boys a piece and we were trying to civilize these four squirrels. They're all grown up now, fine respectable men. Either we worried for nothing or our efforts were rewarded. We're not sure which.

But we loved each other, and each other's kids, and it seemed enough at the time, and now I know for sure it was.

Anyway, a year or two after we moved away, they did too. Denise said, and this is up there with the most touching things friends have ever said: "After you guys moved away, there wasn't much reason for us to stay either."

They're Maria's godparents, as devoted as any ever were. Maria was the sixth child, and we were hearing a lot of rumbling about how many kids we had, but they just hugged Maria and said good things about family.

So tonight there were Jay's perfect hamburgers on the grill, cheesy potatoes, spinach salad,and a giant fruit salad Denise made with fruit and marshmallows and everything that makes a kid swoon. And chocolate chip bars. (She's good.)

We laughed a lot over the old dumb stories and the new dumb stories. (Lots of both.)

Back in 19, oh 86? This is an old story... We lived in a housing development and our sliding glass doors faced each other across our yards. It was just after breakfast and her two boys were heading down the hill to the swamp, and she was on the deck hollering at them. They paused in the tall grass and had a conversation, glancing up at her occasionally as they spoke.

I couldn't hear any of this, but I saw her wave her arm and storm into the house to get dressed, whamming shut the door as she left. I thought, "Oh go get 'em in your robe!"

But after she left to get dressed, they conferred again and then came slowly up the hill after all.

Here are some pictures.

This first one is a photo Jay took, back in the 35 mm days. There I am in the foreground with Maria, blurry. And to the side is their son and our own taller son Dan talking. But in the middle, we have Kirsten and our friend, Dan.

I have no idea what they were talking about, but I absolutely love this picture. It says everything.

Here they are cropped closer.

About this age, Kirsten asked Dan what he did at work? What was his job? (Her dad is a plumber and that's a very tangible, literal thing.)

Dan considered her question, and then looked down at her beside him on the couch and said, "You know Kirsten? Basically I'm an excuse."

Oh the truth. Kirsten looked puzzled, and we all laughed. Who hasn't felt like that at work at least once or twice? There's a reason they call it work and have to pay people to do it.

This next picture is of my son Dan in the middle and their hilarious boys. Those two cute blonde kids once ran up a $25 phone bill talking to the Easter Bunny. It was a 900 number advertised on television, and they used the phone in the family room. Oh yeah. That was not very good, but we've sure laughed a lot about it later.

And this last one is of Denise hugging my grandchild on the patio last summer. We've come all the way around to the beginning again.

Oh gosh. love, Val


  1. Beautiful life and friends you got there, Val. I love Kirsten's toes, in that picture. :o) K

  2. I never noticed her toes until you pointed them out. love you so, V