Our book club met Thursday night at Kathy’s house, and although we were few in number, we had a great meeting. Translation: The discussion was healthy, dynamic, and “on track,” and the refreshments were yummy. The book Kathy chose was The Same Sweet Girls by Cassandra King, and I highly recommend it for anyone (female, that is) who’s looking for a summer read. It’s not deep or rife with philosophical ponderings, but it struck a cord with those of us who were present that night. We’re all Southern women “of a certain age” who’ve had many life experiences, thus enabling us to identify with the “same sweet girls” in the book.
Although there are several directions this blog could take, I’m going to write briefly (sort of) about the importance of friendship and the commonalities of our female experiences. In King’s novel, six women who met in college have remained friends over the years, and they meet twice a year to have a long girls’ weekend. The dynamics between them seem pretty fascinating at first, and then you realize, “Hey, that’s just like me and my friends.”
One of the things we discussed was how likely it would be for six people to remain fast friends for 30 years, so close that they actually sought out each other’s company year after year. Plus, despite their rivalries and “pairings,” they all seemed to genuinely care about each other. Do you know anyone who gets together twice a year with five other friends from college? Sometimes life gets in the way of those get-togethers. Then too, choices (too many to go into tonight) lead people in different directions. My college roommate lives in Montana, and we see each other for a weekend once every two years.
Back to the story. Connie brought up the fact that while we might not have decades-old friends that we get together with regularly, we all have friends whose lives we share. She has some fun-loving SSGs that she regularly goes on jaunts with. She also has “us,” her church friends. Then there are work friends, high school friends, neighborhood friends, family friends, and the list goes on. In thinking about my life at the moment, my work and church friends make life in the midlands much richer than it would be without them. Oh, and lest I forget, my facebook and blogging friends are phenomenal. In fact, I got more birthday greetings on facebook than I ever have in my entire life!
I love my friends, old and new, but it’s the old ones I’m thinking about tonight. The five of us in the picture above have known each other since we were children. Between us we have 11 children, several grandchildren, some broken marriages (of which we aren’t proud). Judy is the only one who’s still married to the same man she said yes to 40 years ago. Well, that’s not entirely true. Jeanita is still married to the same man, but they divorced for a few years until he realized what a gem she was and begged her to come to Texas. That’s my interpretation anyway.
We all walk different paths in life and have different careers, styles, interests, hobbies, personalities, and religious beliefs (at least I do). We know each other’s families and histories. That seems like a little thing, but it’s not. It’s cool knowing that Jeanita’s father looked like a movie star, second only to my own father. It’s great thinking about Joan Ella’s mother singing in the choir with mine and that she had younger brothers named Benny and Kenny. Speaking of singing, Patty had a wonderful voice and often sang solos at church. We both had dark hair, cut straight with bangs, and once Mr. Monty, the minister, got me confused with her and asked me if I would be singing that morning. Ha ha. Judy too had brothers, three of them, and since we went to different churches and schools, I didn’t get to know her well until our high school years.
Gee whiz. It’s time to get ready for bed, and I haven’t even gotten to the important part of this blog…the part about whether or not the women in the book were crazy and whether all women are crazy or just Southern women. I say their lives are not that different from all of us. Who hasn’t got a skeleton in her closet? Who hasn’t had her heart broken slap open? Who hasn’t cried over a child? Who hasn’t suffered disappointment or looked sickness, death, or tremendous loss right in the eye? Guess I’m going a little overboard. Maybe I’ll get more into this tomorrow.
Connie, if you’re reading this, could you share your two cents’ worth about crazy Southern women?