Posts Tagged ‘friends’

I Lost My Friend….To Gossip

graveyardLosing a friend, when you are an adult, is terrible, seriously something horrible, especially if you are a woman.  When you are a kid you have a gang, so losing one …plus or minus…is bad but it’s ok.

I lost a very dear and cherished friend about a year ago and I still ache. I have a million “friends” but very few (maybe two) friends I let into the inner circle of my family, that I trust with secrets and worries and concerns. And I only had one that I trusted with the truth about my life and my children and my family. Just one. Some people are blessed with a gaggle.

So, I found out one day because a loud mouth  twenty something chef said something like, “oh, your best friend said your daughter is a habitual liar, charming, but can’t be trusted.” When I asked my dear and beautiful friend she said yes, it was true.  Late at night, at a party and lots of beers she had made that kind of statement.

At first, I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t have anyone to talk to because she was gone.  I knew I could no longer trust her with my worries and concerns.  I knew I loved her so much I would always tell her the truth and share my life with her. So I had to “divorce” a friend I loved and needed so much.  It’s a friendly divorce, because I still lover her desperately and wish her well. But I can never trust again.

My husband is a dude. When he heard the story he was quick to say, “cut her off,” but he doesn’t seem to need friends.  Family is all he needs.  I needed her.

To this day I still don’t have any one like her. I don’t have a dear dear friend that I can trust one hundred percent.There is a gaping hole in my life and heart.She is lucky and lovely and has moved on and has lots of friends and pals and support.  We are different animals.

So, bottom line. If you have a friend, don’t take that for granted, especially if you are an adult. Cherish and protect that friendship.  Some of us are lucky and have a whole gang of grown up pals, some of us only have a select and coveted few.

Always take care.


Bubba and Louella…Strange and Dear Friends

bubba louellaFor more than thirty years a woman named Louella Thomas worked for my family. She split her week working at our house and at my grandmother’s big white house on Prospect Avenue.

We called my grandmother Bubba, but her real name was Ruth Stell. She was the widow of a surgeon and spent her days trying to help people and keep her life just as it had been when her husband Dr. Jack Stell was still alive.

Louella was my best friend.  She was  my grandmother’s best friend too, Bubba just didn’t  know it.

When I was seven years old Louella saved up enough money to take a three week tour of the Holy Lands with her church group. Bubba was furious, indigent and shocked.  Her maid traveled overseas before she did!  Louella brought me a camel made of straw from Jerusalem. Bubba said it was ugly and made me keep it at our house.

During the sixties, when there was so much racial tension and turmoil, Louella took great care to keep Bubba out of harms way.  Sometimes Bubba drove her all the way home, to the housing projects on Spring Street. But when things were really bad, Louella only let my grandfather drive her half way home, then she took a cab.   She didn’t want anybody yelling at Bubba and upsetting her.

Louella was probably ten years younger than Bubba and over the years she began moving  a little more slowly. When she was close to sixty, Bubba became very concerned because Louella had to drag the vacuum cleaner up and down the big stair case.  So she bought a second vacuum, one for upstairs, one for down stairs. Over the next ten years Bubba ended up buying four or five more vacuums, one for almost every room because she didn’t want Louella lugging them around.

Every afternoon the soap opera The Doctors came on at one o’clock. It was “their story”. Louella would take her lunch at one o’clock and the two old women would sit in Bubba’s bedroom and watch “their show” together.  Bubba’s room was the only room with a tv and it was the only air conditioned room in the house.

If I walked in and interrupted both women would turn  and  “shhhh” me together, almost violently.  Then Louella would wink at me and I knew I wasn’t really in trouble.  As years passed, Louella got too old to work every day. But The Doctors continued. The two old ladies would stay on the phone for exactly an hour watching their show together and talking about the details and plot twists during the commercials. Everyone in the family knew calling Bubba between one and two was useless.

As they got older more of their friends died until they were just about the only ones left. Then the ladies would sit on the side porch together, Bubba in her dress, Louella in her white uniform and they would send to the kitchen for ice tea and ice cream.

Bubba was in her late eighties, maybe even ninety when my brother, Jack, was killed. He was twenty three years old and in college. My father had died just two or three weeks earlier.  I remember that night so clearly. I was sitting with my mother when she got the news. And after just a few moments of thought, Mom picked up the phone and called Louella Thomas. She asked Louella to please take a taxi to my grandmother’s home.  She knew Bubba wouldn’t be able to bear the news of my brother’s death without her dearest friend at her side.

(If you enjoyed this story or hampoland please help my daughter out with her fundraising efforts. Take a look at this link it’s really funny and any little bit would be wonderful. Thanks! DH)



Strange Friends In Gay Places

fishnetI have a client who’s turned into a friend.

This man, I’ll call him Reagan, is a walking contradiction. A wall to wall, coast to coast conundrum.

Reagan  he owns a chain of very successful sex stores in central Arkansas (a very conservative state). These stores have videos and linger, novelty items and “toys”. When I meet Reagan in one of his stores, to work on his advertising options, I never know where to look. I don’t want to make eye contact with the creepy dude looking at weird videos.  I don’t want to study the “toys”.  Generally I poke through the fish net nighties until he appears and we sit down in his office.

Many consider Reagan the “porn king” of Central Arkansas.

Reagan is also openly gay and has been for more than twenty five years. But never, once, have we had a sexually explicit, graphic or dirty conversation. He’s just not that kind of man.

Reagan is one of the smartest men I know and we have great discussions about current political issues, our similar family histories (both of us had brilliant Southern  diva moms), bad literature, civil rights, herbs, recipes and my children. When my daughter, Mary, needed  sponsors to attend a  political workshop in Atlanta, he was one of the first to write her a check.

Finally, Reagan is a dedicated, had core Republican. We have great debates over policy and voter trends.  He generally wins because he’s more well read. But I try to keep up.

Once I told him finding a gay-Republican guy was like discovering a unicorn or  mermaid. I thought they were mythological creatures and didn’t actually exist in this reality. But Reagan is a conservative. He votes his wallet.

In reading this, it’s obvious Reagan and I have virtually nothing in common. But we are humans and we are friends that’s about it.

We all want to put people into one box, with one name. But most of us crawl out of our stereotypical box and find homes in a bunch of other boxes.  Reagan is all kinds of stuff but most importantly he’s my friend and adds to the complexity and beauty of my life. I’m lucky to have him.

I Feel Sorry For My Daughter

My daughter Lexie takes a beattongueing sometimes, but I don’t think there’s anything I can do to help her.

Here’s the problem. She’s sixteen and has lots of wonderful friends who have boat loads of issues, troubles, stresses and concerns.  I’m not talking the garden variety  problems, these kids have to deal with so much bad stuff.  Some have moronic  moms who stay out at bars all night, then come home  falling down drunk. There are really mean step dads, jealous and greedy step moms and biological fathers who have been missing for years. A lot of times Lexie’s friends are the actual adults in these households. They constantly worry about their little brothers or sisters, they make sure mom gets up and goes to work. and these guys generally have to work and keep up their grades and take care of things at home.

Lexie’s life, our life, isn’t perfect…it’s not even in the same zip code as perfect. But it’s not terrible. She has a beat up car to drive around, clothes, food, a little spending money. Lexie knows how much we love her and how proud we are. She knows Alex and I will get up and go to work every morning and take care of her little brother. So, compared to her friends…she’s got nothing to bitch about.  Several of her buddies have said to me, “I’d give anything to have Lexie’s life.”

But Lexie’s life is absolutely not stress free. There are mammoth pressures on the kid. We expect excellent grades, an excellent attitude and we demand to know where she is all the time. Alex and I screw up constantly because we are human.
There’s a long history of crazy in our family that’s not always easy to deal with.The house is falling apart and there’s never enough money. She has a little brother who can be annoying because he’s a ten year old boy and she has puppy poop to clean up ALL THE TIME. I get stressed out, tense and mean, Alex gets worried about things and clams up. She doesn’t have a closet in her room and there’s only one bathroom for all of us.

But Lex can’t whine and complain to her friends because they just sigh and roll their eyes. They figure puppy poop, a stoic dad and a crappy car are nothing compared to their problems…and they are right….kind of.  Lexie never tells them what’s really upsetting or about the pressure she puts on herself. Because she know, in their eyes, she has no right to complain.

Thankfully she does have a big brother and sister she can talk to. They will listen to her bitch and moan and whine,sometimes.

I  really do feel sorry for Lex because whining about your life and parents is kind of a right of passage. Her friends think her life is shiny and flawless but they are wrong.

As a family we rarely sit around blowing bubbles and holding hands, though this morning, during breakfast we did turn off the lights and  chop open a bunch of glow sticks just to see what kind of shiny mess we could make.



Your Daughter’s New Friend Is A B*#ch

There is a terrible moment moment when your daughter introduces you to her new friend and you know, instantly, she’s a backstabber,a user and a bitch.

Her hand shake is fine, she is pretty and smiles. She has nice teeth. But you know because the ultra-developed mom radar starts pinging as though the Soviet Army is about to strike.

Your daughter doesn’t see it. She can’t feel that the bitch switch has been flipped and insists Heather is a sweetie and lots of fun and a good friend.

This is a sickening situation for any parent because we know this Heather, at some point, will become hateful. She’s one of those kids who tries to influence weaker students and if she can’t take over their life she starts trash talking. These girls are a nickel a dozen and every high school has pods of them.

This one, Heather, is not the traditional “mean girl” who owns the school. She’s a lot more manipulative. Boys suck up to her because she wears a lot of eye liner and that makes them think they will get some. Girls want her to like them because she’s got all the guys sniffing around.

You let her come over with several other girls, but you watch her very carefully. She’s good.  Her eye rolls are so subtle the other girls miss them.  Her sighs when somebody asks a silly question speak volumes. When one of the girls goes home early she starts making tiny comments that make the other girls, including your daughter, giggle. Then they bump against her and tell her to stop because they know what she is doing is wrong. Still, they are intrigues. Heather is choosing them over the other girl. She’s culling girls out.

In the car Heather tells you about her classes, she makes good grades but she says really disrespectful things about her teachers like, “Mr South is such a moron” and she makes comments about her parents that lead a mom to think they are shady. “They always stay out really late on Friday night” or “thanks for driving me home, my parents hate driving me anywhere.”

Then it really starts. Heather encourages girls to break up with their boyfriends. She tells them they  can do so much better. When the break up happens, she starts flirting, hard core, with the boy, saying, “Well you broke up with him I figured you wouldn’t care.”

Eventually, Heather will have two or three allies, they are her body guards and comrades, who have fallen under the troll’s spell. She’s cut everyone else out because they started to see the evil bitch shining through like a red light. And if  girls are not on her side they have giant targets super glued to their backs.

You want to warn your daughter, you want to tell her exactly what kind of person Heather is and forbid their friendship. But that will not work. She will think you are wrong and old. Heather will become Romeo and you will loose. The best you can do is counsel your child when you see Heather doing something bitchy. Make sure she sees it too. I’m not very good at being subtle so I say stuff like, “Hey, if she’s talking ugly about Julie when she leaves, she’s probably talking about you guys too,” or “She rolls her eyes and sighs like she thinks she’s better than everyone else. Doesn’t that make you crazy?”

In saying this super obvious stuff I’m hoping my girls will see the train and jump off the tracks before it runs her over. And, if Heather has her way, and turns on your kid, the best you can do is help her regroup, figure out who her real friends are and start all over.  Try to reach out to the other girls who got hit by shrapnel And generally saying something really snarky makes everybody feel better like, “Honey, she’s got funny looking ears, fat ankles and she’ll never make it through college. You can do way better.”