I have a weird memory, really, I don't forget anything. But it also is inlaid with songs, so when I hear a song, a memory from 20 years ago will pop into my head and I can be right back in the moment. It is fantastic as it helps me remember many wonderful memories from over the years. My husband has a horrendous memory, and I often joke that he just keeps me around so I can tell him about his past life. In preparation of Matt Minglewood coming to town this week, I have been listening to every single one of his cds and tapes(yes, I still have some of his tapes), and the memories are overwhelming. But when I think of Matt Minglewood, Valentine's Day and a snow storm the thoughts of all my girlfriends over my life are the ones that come back the strongest. Yeah, I never said I was normal. So my love note today is going out to all my girlfriends, past and present and the good times we had, the good times to come, and all the listening you did over they years.
Where to start? As women, we all have wonderful friends, and they all come and go in our lives, so my challenge to you this week is to acknowledge some of them that you may have not seen for years, but who you would love to talk to or see. You know the ones, the girlfriend who when you see each other again you fall into each others arms, and laugh, and cry, and wonder why you don't keep in better in touch. Sadly, I have quite a few of those girlfriends, distance keeps us apart, and lack of time keeps us all busy. We say we will keep in touch, and then the phone calls dwindle, but if something happened, they would be the first to call and it would be like no time at all had gone by.
Picture this...it is 24 years ago, and I am just about to turn 16. It is Valentine's Day, and the weather forecast does not look good. It is also Carnival Week in Port Hood, and I am determined to go to a coffee house, or some such thing on a Thursday night. I don't remember how we got there, but Shannon MacNeil(now Beaton) was somehow talked into being my sidekick for the night. Someone dropped us off early and we went to babysit first with my other best friend at the time, Elaine Murphy(MacDonald). By the time we got back to Elaine's to get ready for the night, we found out it was cancelled, the roads were all ice. And when I say they were all ice, I mean that we could barely stand. But we somehow convinced Elaine's brothers to take us home and it took them a half hour just to get the truck out of the yard. Shannon had white pants on, and we both had on the suede boots that were so cool at the time, you remember the ones that laced up and were as thin as anything? Yeah, those. There was no way the boys would make it up my lane when we arrived in the Harbour, and we convinced them that we would be fine walking up. Well, by that time it was raining, kind of like sleet, and there we were on Valentine's Day, holding each other up, trying to find a piece of gravel on the "big hill" so we wouldn't slide back to the bottom. By the time we got to my parents house, we were frozen to the bone, and exhausted. But my god, we laughed, and when she reads this, she will laugh again. What the hell were we thinking?
Elaine was beyond far my best friend through high school. She was the first friend I had that made me voice my opinion, even when I didn't want to. She shared my love of reading, and we had the best con versations, hands down. But we could also be together, and we were together a lot, and not say a word, and we were comfortable with that. When we went our "separate" ways at college, I thought my heart would break, we wrote each other every day. I am hoping to see her this summer, and if I do, it will be the first time in about 12 years. Holy, where does the time go? Wow, I didn't realize it was that long.
Colleen MacDonald-Novak and I went to more Matt Minglewood dances together than I can even remember. But now sadly, it has been about 16 years since the last time we went to any dance together. The last one was in Port Hood, the long weekend of May in 1997, I was eight months pregnant, and when Matt started playing Whiz Kids, we still got up and danced together. Two best friends who never care what others thought when we were at Matt, we were there to dance, and have fun, and we always did! I must have looked cute with my huge belly ready to pop dancing like a fool, but we danced like no one was watching.
Tracey MacDonald(MacDonnell) and Shelley Cummings worked with me, and grew up in the Harbour. My god, all us girls from the Harbour were so proud to say we were from there. We have history that no one can take away, and we laugh at silly things that even if I told you the story, you would not think it was as funny as we always do. We "get" each other, and no matter how much time goes by, we literally can send a message, have a visit, or make a phone call and it is like we have never stopped.
Tammy Kersten was my absolute best friend, rock and all round amazing person in my life after I had kids. I actually thought about not leaving Cape Breton because I was going to miss her friendship so much. I can remember her telling me, "You will make other friends in Fort McMurray, and they will be as good or better than me." So I moved, and at first I called her religiously, and we still knew every aspect of each other's lives. But life started taking new turns, and I would forget to tell her some news. But I still love her fiercely, and we won't be spending Valentine's together this year baking for a class party, but the next time I go home, you can bet that we will be together, and I will say, I wish we could be together more.
And now my life is different again. Again last year, I "lost" my best friend. Tim's sister, Michelle was my Fort McMurray rock, we celebrated with the kids during pretty much every holiday/event, and I called or texted her about the most mundane things that would get on someone else's nerves. When she left, I had a huge gaping hole in my life, that I still have not gotten use to, and I will always miss sitting on the deck in the summer evenings with her. She, like Tammy told me I would be fine, and I am, but the change was difficult.
I never realized I had someone standing beside me the whole time, listening to me cry about losing Michelle and how much I missed her kids. It was really not until Tim's accident in July when my eyes popped open, and I realized that Kerin MacLean had quietly stepped up the plate of putting up with my insane way of being a friend...she knows I hate the phone and has learned she will get a better response by texting me...we can go a week without chatting but we know what is going on with each other. She did things during those first few weeks of Tim's accident for me that I did not even realize I needed. She lent a hand however she could, but even more importantly for me, she gives me a total kick in the arse when I need it. You know you have a best friend when they say, "What the hell are you doing?" or, "You need a break."
I am the first to admit I am not an "easy" friend. I can be weird in my ways, I don't like the phone, like I mentioned, I don't like to talk about being sick when I am sick, and I am constantly on the run with the kids, and generally don't take time to do girl evenings, even though I love them when I am usually forced to take one. But I will tell you one thing, I treasure my friends, and what they have done with me, or for me over the years. I still love the ones I don't see anymore, and still consider them wonderful friends.
Did any of my memories remind you of some of your friends? I hope you call them, or send them a message this week. I will be going with some of my girlfriends to the casino, and I hope we make more great memories, it will be my first time without Michelle out here for Matt, so I will be thinking of you girl, and still missing you!