When we lived on the island, people would come to visit us. When we lived in West Berlin, people would come to visit us. Now I live in the Southwest corner of Minnesota and no one ever comes to visit unless they’re on their way to somewhere else.
The good thing about this is that even though my own town has very little to recommend it to those in search of adventure, it is at least very close to a major east-west route across the United States and so people DO stop sometimes, at least long enough for dinner. It also means that I have no fear of anyone staying so long that they’ll begin to smell like fish…right, Benjamin Franklin? (He is the “fish and company begin to smell in 3 days” guy, right?)
The bad thing is that it gets a little lonely.
Well, this week I benefitted from living on the way to somewhere else in that one of my good college friends, Jen, stopped by (on her way to South Dakota) with her three nice boys and sweet wee girl for lunch, and we had a lovely time. She and my friend Susan last summer are the only ones who have ever stopped. THANK YOU!!!*
So, as I was mentally preparing for a rare visit from a friend, I got to thinking about what I remember about Jen, circa our college years, 1988-1992. Here’s my list: (I remember a little more, but this will do to be going on with.)
THE TOP 10 THINGS I REMEMBER ABOUT MY COLLEGE FRIEND, JEN
1) She chugs ½ and ½ straight from the tiny restaurant coffee creamer containers when you find yourselves at Perkins at 11:00p.m., on a study break while in college. (She probably does this anytime, that’s just the first time I remember witnessing such a thing.)
2) She has a tremendous laugh. And when I say “tremendous” I mean truly spectacular. So wonderful that a complete stranger came up to us in a busy restaurant and gave us all free cassette tapes of his music (this was 1992) simply because he liked her laugh.) It’s an awesome tape – I even bought the CD years later!
3) She is sole accessory to the fact that I had ONE all-nighter in college – what we were studying for I have no idea, but we managed to last – all night in the cold basement of her dorm…
4) She used to drive a yellow 1960′s-era Ford Mustang. I am not a car person, and never will be, but even I thought that was a cool ride.
5) She wears bright red lipstick. And when I say “bright”, I mean like a stoplight, cops pulling you over, redder than a fire engine.
6) She is adventurous, funny, kind, wise, interesting, steadfast in her friendships and beliefs.
7) She is a good companion (along with another friend, Danielle) on a road from Oregon to Colorado and back again. She is also a good companion for going on a Senior Year Spring Break Week-Long Extravaganza (along with two other friends) when we went from Eugene, Oregon, to her parents in Salem, OR, to our friend Cindy’s parents in Gig Harbor, Washington, to our friend Marti’s parents in Auburn, WA, to Orcas Island, to Victoria, British Colombia, Canada, for a night, then back to WA, OR and ultimately got back in time for class on Monday morning.
8) She likes to sleep in, in the morning. So if you ever go on a road trip with her, keep this in mind.
9) She likes to sing and does it well.
10) She likes to play cards. I, who grew up in a family where Scottish Grandparents instilled the belief into their daughter (my mother) that card-playing was wicked, didn’t know how to play cards and found the whole thing suspicious. I missed out on a lot of Jen-time because of it. Sadly.
So that’s my Top Ten of Jen!
We had a lovely visit – our kids seemed to like each other and got along, and it was great seeing Jen in Mom Mode, as opposed to carefree college kid (I’d seen her a few other times since college, but this was the first time with all her kids). It’s always so good to catch up with a friend – and even more fun to do so way out here in the boondocks of our home.
We may not live in France or England or even New York, but if my friends come to visit us out here on the prairie, I promise you won’t be sorry.
Note I said friends. Mosquitoes are not welcome.
*I do have to give credit to a few people who, over the 16 years we’ve lived here, have come JUST SO SEE US. Stacey and Margaret, my husband’s aunt and uncle, and my sister. It’s a special feeling to know that people are driving a few hours (or flying) JUST FOR YOU, isn’t it?