FlashBack Friday – Fred and Red

Warning: This FlashBack Friday is a conglomeration of reminiscences, not one story.

When I was nine my mother enrolled me in a church youth group (perhaps thats why I’m so cynical about organized religion). I didn’t much care for it. Even at the tender age of nine I knew that creating Noah’s Ark sock puppets was a waste of time. I mean, really, who cares. Why did I have to waste a Tuesday night doing that crap? There was an upside however. I met her. (Although yesterday I did use her proper name, for the purposes of this post I will refer to “her” as Mom’s Tinfoil Hat or MTFH.) She was two years older than me and the coolest kid I had ever met.

We hit it off immediately. I had literally found a soul mate (in the platonic sense) walking from one activity to another. To be honest, I don’t recall which activities they were, but what I do recall is stumbling along the sidewalk, play acting like we were drunk singing, “I’m an alcoholic *hic*”. Why that was funny, I have no idea, but we were both in stitches. We were friends from that point on.

We both had a penchant for bad jokes, more specifically Shaggy Dog Jokes. I’m sure that many my family members and, well, to be honest, everyone we knew was sick to death of hearing about Fred and Red. After all, they were brothers, they grew up together, eating out of the same feedbag, drinking out of the same trough, chasing the same fillies. Do I remember the punchline? No. I do not. MTFH, do you? All I remember was repeating that line ad infinitum during the course of that “joke”. I admit it. I’ve got a strange sense of humor. Luckily for me, so does she. In fact, to be quite honest, she may even be stranger.

One of the most exciting days was when my family move because we moved into her neighborhood. In fact, we moved to close that our backyards bordered each other. For years we debated/argued over whether she lived behind me or I lived behind her. She lived behind me. Plain and simple. She says I lived behind her because she lived there first. Bah! Technicality. In either case, it made hanging out and playing together much much easier. I could just hop the fence and there I was.

As probably happens with anyone who has a overexercised sense of humor and finds a soul mate, we ended up collecting literally hundreds of inside (mmmm mmrrmmm mmmmmm mmrrrmmm) jokes. Keeping track of all of them became rather difficult, so one night we decided to sit down and write them all out. It took up four sheets of college ruled paper, front and back. I wish I still had those sheets. We’ve talked about them many times in the past few years, but when a person moves around as much as I do (8 addresses in the past 10 years) things get lost. I distinctly recall that we kept that list in a tin under my bed. I can’t remember exactly what the tin was, but it was something I had swiped from my father and had formerly held some sort of wicked expensive bottle of alcohol. In addition to the joke list, the tin held much contraband such as the pack of clove cigarettes we thought were so cool.

As I mentioned above, she was two years older than I am so, not only was she cool but she could drive. We spent many a weekend night out in the Grove (to anyone who knows Miami, that comment will make sense, to anyone who doesn’t, let’s just say it was a part of town) up to no good, bumming around, smoking pot and watching Mental Floss. The Grove was good for bumming around and getting into trouble. I spent a large part of my teen years getting into trouble in the Grove.

In high school MTFH ran into, shall we say, a difference of opinion with her parents. She thought she should be able to live her life, they did not. They kicked her out and she moved in with me. Did it suck that her parents had kicked her out? Hell yes. Was I thrilled that the person who was closer to me than a sister was now sharing my room? Hell yes.

I can only think of one argument we’ve had in our 20+ year friendship and that was because of a boy. I do specify because of a boy and not over a boy. Let’s see, this was my sophomore and her senior year of high school and she was dating a person I had introduced her to. As one does when one has a new significant other in his/her life, she was spending a lot of time with him. No, he was not the reason for our fight. In fact, it’s more stupid than that. Dumbass Boy, whom we both knew but who didn’t know her new boyfriend, and I were spending a bit of time together. Yeah, I was using him. He was taking up the slack in the space she left while hanging out with her new beau (did I just use the word “beau”?). He was a mutual “friend”. Yeah, right. Well, this “friend” was telling me shit about her behind her back and telling her shit about me behind my back and since we hadn’t been spending much time together it wasn’t getting resolved. I regret to admit that we each believed the slanderous propaganda and spent many months not talking to each other. We’re both stubborn bitches and refused to be the first one to approach. I can’t remember exactly how it was resolved, but I do remember that we didn’t clear the air until after she had already left for college. When we both understood the cause for our separation we forgave each other and soundly cursed Dumbass Boy’s name. That was our one fight, such as it was.

I was supremely sad that my best friend was no longer around when she moved away. She was in Tallahassee and I was in Miami, at the best of times at least a 5 hour drive.

But, I did visit her. The first time I did so, she was my first stop on a 3 month long road trip (yes, Lilacspecs, this is, yet again, a story for another time) up and down the east coast. I was greeted at her house by a huge party complete with bonfire out back and plenty of illicit substances for my perusal and consumption. Yummy! Just what I wanted after 6 hours in the car. Nothing beats (or beat since it’s no longer my style) large quantities of hallucinogens and a bonfire. I stayed on her couch for a few days before her roommate’s pet spider drove me out. (Have I ever mentioned how ridiculously arachnophobic I am?) We spent a few nights hanging out with friends of hers who had a band called the Mustard Seeds. They were a bar band, but they were loads of fun. The best part of a bar band? Hanging out in the bar drinking excessively (stumbling distance from the bar, great housing choice, no?).

My next visit was a few years later. I was in the habit of driving from Miami to Boston (from visiting my parents to going back to college). Most frequently I’d drive straight through to DC, where my brother lived, but on one occasion I stopped in Tallahassee first. It was a brief overnight lay over, as it were, but there was much partying to be done.

MTFH never made it up to visit me in Boston, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. On one occasion she and her boyfriend attempted to make the journey, but the cops in Georgia had other ideas. Yeah, they were pulled over for something random and found in possession of… non-transportables. You can imagine my dismay when I found out that not only was my best friend not going to make it but neither was my …taste of home.

Many people complain about the hassle of having to be a bridesmaid. Not me. Wanna know why? Because my best friend knew well enough to pick a cool dress (long dark red velvety) Of course, the fact that her parents hated me (ok, her mother still does. Funny, I seem to have that effect on parents with a fair amount of frequency) and wanted me nowhere near the event made it a bit more entertaining. That and the huge party we had in the honeymoon suite…

After that we sort of lost touch for awhile. I moved to Dublin and she had a baby and did the mothering thing, something that at the time I knew nothing about. I missed the first few years of her older son’s life, a fact that I regret but can do nothing about now.

That all changed, however, when I moved back to Miami after my grandfather died and my grandmother got sick. The only upside to that move (if you except the fact that it was during that time that I met CableDad) was that I was now back in the same city as my best friend. She and her (then) husband, whom I prefer to call Mr. Sleaze, had weekly poker games at their house on Friday nights. My roommate SoulGlow and I had monthly raver parties at ours and frequently MTFH and Mr Sleaze were able to get a babysitter and party with us. Remind me sometime to tell about the “spoon” incident.

I’m glad I was back in Miami at that time because MTFH and Mr Sleaze, started having troubles. She and I had been apart for so long but I was very happy to be there for her when she needed it. Sometimes there is nothing better than to be the ear on the other end of the phone. However, since I was in town I could be the ear on the other side of the couch.

Fast forward a few years. I missed her wedding to her current husband but that didn’t stop her from getting on a plane and coming to visit me in Toronto for my wedding. She was at least 6 months pregnant but flew to see me anyway.

When CableDad and I returned to Miami it was because I was pregnant with MJ. MTFH was, at that time, training as a midwife at the birth center where I planned to have my baby. To be honest, after CableDad she was the first person I told. From the moment we decided to move back to Miami I knew I was going to give birth at the birth center at which she worked and I knew she was going to be my doula. Actually, we wanted her to be the assisting midwife, but the fact that she was a doula instead worked out better in the long run. (In case you’re interested in such things, here is MJ’s birth story. MTFH looms large in it.)

And that brings us to the present. Wednesday was her birthday and thank you everyone who visited her for saying Happy Birthday and tonight I’m going to see her in a production of The Vagina Monologues.

If you’re still with me, thanks for sticking out my long ramble about my oldest and dearest friend. This has been quite a trip down memory lane for me.

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~ by CableGirl on Friday, March 7, 2008.

14 Responses to “FlashBack Friday – Fred and Red”

  1. It sounds like the sort of friendship that a really great novel could be born from. We are lucky to have those…

  2. Weird. I wrote about a friend this week too. She sounds like the most awesome friend ever – hope VM was awesome

    Also. Why did everyone get to go to Boston for college except me? So not fair. 😛

  3. Jeez, I should’ve read yours and Ella’s posts before doing mine…seems the theme this week was oldest, dearest friends who also blog…hrm…actually, I guess it’s better that I wrote about the cat, seeing as I have no life-long friends.

    And no, that’s not as sad as it sounds.

  4. 111% pure awesomeness! Let the fabuliciousness abounds!

  5. Sounds like a very special friendship – have fun tonight!

  6. This is a great Flashback Friday day for friendship tributes!

  7. Wow, what a great friend!! And I have to tell you, all four of my babies were born at home with a midwife. I’m going to go read MJ’s birth story now!

  8. Wow. Awesome story, awesome friendship. I throughly enjoyed reading every last word. You know, I adore coming across a post like this one and realizing that in a mommy blog world, I’m not the only former hardcore partier that isn’t afraid to divulge the badass details. You seriously rock CableGirl!

  9. how great it is to have a friend for a lifetime! Congrats! Wonderful story, thanks for sharing.

  10. Awww, this is a great post. Hope you have a great weekend

    Blog hopping by

  11. What a fantastic post! I wish I got to it yesterday. Ahhhh, fond memories. Trouble making.

    The punchline is: “Holy shit! Forget racing. A talking rabbit??”

  12. Nonna wasn’t informed about most of CG’s antics…learning so much recently *hehe*. Having MTFH living with us, her special birthing relationship to MJ, and her place as “one of my daughters” has and will continue to be a joy in my life.

  13. Sounds like a wonderful friendship! One of my best friends and I were really close in high school and then drifted apart for about a year during the end of high school beginning of college and then became really close again and we still are. When did you live in Boston?

  14. That was a really great tale about a really great friendship. I have one friend like that. Although our lives have gone off in completely different directions (he’s a banjo playing musician living in rural Maine and I’m… well you know about me), whenever we talk or write, it is LOADED with all the private (really sophomoric – because we were actually sophomores in HS at the time) jokes that we shared. And I do believe that one of us has actually documented them all on paper as well. I need to find that gem of a document!!

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