I am up in Colorado this week. Up, in altitude, although not so much in latitude. The drive from rural Kansas to Breckenridge, Colorado is nearly a straight shot on I-70. I left home last Sunday, and drove all acorss Kansas in mild/coolish temperatures. As I neared Denver, I heard on the radio that I-70 was closed at my exits due to snowstorm. What??!
Happily, they reopened the freeway before I left Denver, and I made it through the mountain pass without incident.
As opposed to last year's 2013 4th of July Mountain Pass Incident:
You know what? I feel like I am an OK driver, even after the 2013 "4th of July Fiasco". That Spouse o' Mine begs to differ. He thinks I have some post-traumatic stress going on, particularly while driving through the Rockies, where this unlicensed kid rear-ended my station wagon. And his SUV, full of teenagers, held the remnants of "weed" (the police vernacular, not mine), and empty bottles of tequila. I am OK. Really. I am a white-knuckle driver now, on I-70 from DEN to the mountains, but, yes: I am OK.
But this Throwback Thursday is about my childhood friends back in Pryor Creek, Oklahoma. Sarah and Melissa. Pryor Creek was (and is) a small, small town, and everyone knew you and your parents and therefore a child had that proverbial village by which to be raised. This was good. And sometimes, trying. But, good.
My two oldest friends are also the two from Pryor Creek with whom I still keep in peripatetic touch. Facebook has enabled more contact, and that has been very nice. Melissa and Sarah. Buddies. Buds. I can wax poetic about our friendships, but I won't. Suffice to say that it is such a comfort that I can get in touch with either of these, my oldest friends, and magically, we can pick up right from wherever we opt to in our decades-old lives.
We three began our friendships, even before Kindergarten together. I was the youngest of five kids. Whew! Did my mother ever want or need a playdate for me? NO! There were too many kids of her own, and too many other kids from our neighborhood, to ask for "playdates".
But Melissa and Sarah? Two kids whose only siblings were nine years older than them? Their mothers probably looked at the Webster passel of brats (us) and immediately thought, "Let's call Merlene (my Mom) and get these kiddos together!"
And so, they did.
And my childhood was enriched by virtue of these two families. I hope, conversely, my two friends' childhoods were, too.
Both Melissa and Sarah had playhouses built in their backyards. For them. I was always amazed at these playhouses. Melissa and Sarah were nonchalant about them. I adored playing in the playhouses as a young kid. It's funny, too, to look back at the toys we three had. In my mind's eye, Melissa and Sarah seemed to have nifty, new toys and games at hand when a play date came around. I had 5th-time-around toys and games. A Chatty Cathy that, when one pulled her string, uttered "uhh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-garble-garble-garble". And an old Casper doll that called out time and time again, when his string was pulled, "I'm afraid".
Sarah's Dad was a civil engineer and he took Sarah (and sometimes, lucky me as well) out for drives into the countryside for his work. If we ever saw a turtle, he would stop and pick it up. Sarah ended up with an enviable turtle compound in her back yard, by her playhouse. Her turtles would overwinter, breed, lay eggs, hatch, and for years she had a little colony of terrapins in her backyard.
We moved through K-12, and into college. We spent time together, Sarah and I, and Melissa and I. After college, we left each other's lives for a space of several years, but for the odd "I'm getting married." "I'm having a baby." and so on. After college, the three of us sprouted roots all over the place, and none of the three of us had like lifestyles. Yet, I kept in touch and embraced my Pryor Creek friendships.
Now, here, some 35+ years later, I still lean on these two friendships. It's certainly nice to know that I can call either friend, and will always, without any hesitation be welcomed with opened arms.