I’m a creature of habit.
I’m not sure how this strange event occurred.
I haven’t always been that way. I drove across the country when I was 21 with TWO people I barely knew for God’s sake. We left Ocean City, Maryland after a summer of working and playing hard, ready for an adventure. We stopped at every watering hole, town and city from here to Hollywood- and it took us over TWO WEEKS.
I’m also the person who, after landing in San Diego, was convinced to attend the “all-call” for Playboy Bunny wannabes at the new San Diego club. I stood for twelve hours in high heels and a crazy bathing suit, along with a gazillion other GORGEOUS people, and had a blast.
I sailed in boats to Catalina Isle, Mexico, and dove off of the top of yachts while moored at Yacht clubs. I became a private investigator and tracked down people committing insurance fraud and evading subpoenas.
And now I sit home each night wrapped in the comfort of my home, my pets and my children. I have my nightie on by 8:00, and enjoy watering plants in the garden and screaming at my dog when he runs up the road.
I’ve decided, after taking responsibility for my own life, that I need to live each day. I need to be present, and say, “yes” to any invitation that might come my way. Frankly, I need LIVE LIFE and experience more things - things that are right in my backyard!
And last night, I did.
I have a lovely friend – who I’ve known since 6th grade - SIXTH GRADE for God’s sake. She’s a beautiful woman- inside AND out. She tells it like it is, listens intently, has experienced her own struggles, offers great advice and reminds me of what friends do; they listen, they don’t judge, they hand you a glass of wine and they help you laugh like crazy.
She emailed me yesterday and invited me to make the forty-minute drive to my hometown to watch the annual County Fair Parade with her. Sassy encouraged me. (GO GO GO, Mom!!!)
And so it was that two giggling fifty-year old women sat along a curb and watched as American tradition marched by.
We were drenched in sweat and memories as we saw well-worn fire trucks and marching bands filled with young people in uniforms that were too large and bulky for their youthful frames. We watched young girls twirl batons with all their hearts, and moms trailing along side spraying water into their excited faces. We saw white patent leather boots by the hundreds, vendors selling various light-up contraptions and parents opening their wallets.
We saw Shriners on their four-wheelers, and little league teams riding atop flatbeds waving to their neighbors and friends. We saw dance teams, drill teams, football teams and softball teams.
But in the end, I saw something more.
I saw and felt the spirit and soul of small town America. It was MY small town America, and it made me proud.
(And Elaine? Thank you for kicking this fifty year olds’ butt, and reminding me that each day is important. But this time it’s your turn to make the drive. )