On Tuesday I drove to Amarillo and met up with my friends, Bear and Anny to drive on to RR for Janetta’s memorial service. We drove straight to the Sitzmark where we stayed with old friends. More old friends met us there bringing some wine and silliness. At one point one of my long time girlfriends said, "Did you see so-and-so? Her hair…." That is when I stepped in with, "Stop it now! We need to make a pact that we are not going to discuss how everyone looks. ‘Cause when I step out of this room, I don’t want to think someone is saying, ‘Did you see Lou…She has gotten really…" I was going to say "gotten really fat," but my friend George finished my sentence with, "She has gotten really short." Thank you George. The truth is that we had all gotten older, fatter, grayer, etc. Some looked great; some not so great, but it was wonderful to see everyone.
We came together like a family reunion – a family that has had loves and hurts and heartaches, but hung in there together. Although saying good bye to Janetta was very sad, the hurts were healed with old friendships renewed. We met at the Community House early before the funeral. This was the sight I saw where we used to play as kids. After the memorial service and much visiting at the Community House, we walked across the street to the Riverside Inn to do some reminiscing. And yes, some people did drink beer. Such is life in the pines. The day turned out beautiful. The sun was warm and there was no wind – such a perfect spring day in the mountains.
It reminded me of a spring day years ago when I was about ten years old – that was a beautiful spring day too. All us RR kids met at the Lonesome Pine, which is long gone. The Lonesome Pine had one of the few grassy areas where we could play. During the summer it would be full of tourist staying in the cabins that surrounded the grassy area, but in the off-season there was no one there but us kids. We played tag, capture the flag, hide-n-seek, snipe hunt, etc. We got in trouble for climbing up on one of the cabins and jumping off. Actually I got caught on the cabin roof, because all my friends jumped and ran when they saw Mr. Lamb coming. I didn’t know we were not supposed to be up there. We played hard all day. No one wanted to go home, but as the sun set, I can remember riding my bike home. The day had gotten cooler, and the wind had picked up. When I got home I was tired, dirty, and chapped in places where no one should be chapped. Chapped was actually a way of life for me – that is why the smell of Chapstick always reminds me of RR. Mom was constantly scrubbing the dried crusty dirt off our elbows, knees, and ankles and smearing on the lanolin. It was a losing battle.
Wednesday after the service was much like that day. The Riverside Inn was another one of our old playgrounds, but this time we did not play. Now we were married, divorced, parents, and grandparents This time we just stood around visiting in the sunshine, soaking up the mountain air, and remembering old times. No one wanted to go home, but the sun went down and the day got cooler. This time I was not chapped and dirty, but I was the designated driver. Some things change and some things don’t.
I do have to blog this. While standing around visiting with my friend, Stevie, there was a very flirtatious conversation going on between two other old friends. The conversation was not sexual or dirty or any of those things, but just wild and very funny. I wish I could explain why it was so crazy, but maybe in part it was their ages (mid 50’s to early 60’s) and that some things in RR never change. With my mouth hanging open and tears in my eyes from laughing, I turned to Stevie, whose mouth was also hanging open. I told him that this was the most entertainment I had had in a long time – maybe ever. He agreed. When I said, "I’m blogging this and taking a picture!" everyone burst out laughing. They probably thought I was just joking :)