What?!

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My friend, Kate, has been making me laugh.

I’ve known Kate since grade school…though she was Kathleen then.

We all went by our full names at Bishop Kelley School. I’m not sure, but I think we may have gotten extra credit if the given name was an actual saint’s name. In any case, no shortened versions. Twice, in the eight years I attended, I had to bring a note from home, verifying that – in fact – Cindy was not short for Cynthia or Lucinda, but my given name just like that (I was actually named after Cinderella, but my mother had the good sense to keep that off the birth record!). I’m fairly sure my younger brother – we called him Teddy back then – would not have had to repeat the first grade if he hadn’t had to spend so much time trying to write Theodore Ricksgers on every paper!

When we transferred, after grade eight, from our small Catholic school (90 students divided among eight classrooms)to the large, city-wide high school (1200 students in four grades with dozens of different classes), it was easy to lose track of people. Depending on scheduling and class plans, it was possible to have six classes with not one single familiar face. There were many more options for activities and interests; without the ever-vigilant nuns overseeing our choices, a whole new world of clothing and hairstyle options opened up to us. Names were shortened. It took me two years of high school to realize that Bill, the funny, loud boy with longish hair and cool attitude, was the same shirt-and-tie and crew-cut wearing William that I’d sat in the same classroom with from first through eighth grade!

So, in the larger world of high school, Kate and I lost touch. When we re-connected last year through the internet (and its magical ability to make the world a smaller place), we had hardly spoken to each other since the eighth grade! Still, there are strong connections between people that were children together. The years tend to downplay differences and accentuate similarities. Through her wonderful blog, I’ve learned about her family, her interests and her life. Through messages she has sent, I have benefited from her understanding and sympathy. I have been surprised and pleased by her wonderful sense of humor.

Most updates on social media are pretty dry, aimed at a specific audience, and remind me just a bit of notes passed in high school: “sick today…UGH!”, or “headed for the mall – new dress!”.

Not Kate’s! Every single post is a gem. She is brilliantly funny, a master of understated hilarity, simply profound:

“Procrastinate zealously…Put it off until there are penalties.”

“I like the way “Peace be with you” gives everybody smiley faces.”

“It kind of hurts my feelings to hear other people talking about how smart their phones are. My phone is smart, too…It just never applies itself.”

I read any one of her offerings, and I grin about it for hours…or sometimes days. Most recently, I’ve been chuckling over this entry:

“So, I said to myself, “Kate, you have too many pairs of flip flops!” Then I said, a little bit louder, “What?! You can never have too many pairs of flip flops!” ”

Silly, yes, but so very applicable to my life!

This week, crawling around on hands and knees to clear weeds and debris from my garden, I thought, “Too many flower beds!”, then thought of Kate, smiled, and thought, “You can never have too many flower beds!”

Picking up yet another package at the Post Office, I chastise myself, thinking, “You really have too many books already…” then I imagine the twinkle in Kate’s eye as I say, “What?! You can never have too many books!”

This morning, I put the long bench out in front of the forsythia bush. I dragged the old metal chair to its spot under the big maple tree. I pulled the benches out of the shed and sat them on either side of the outdoor table. I moved the red folding chair to the back yard, and the sling chair to it’s spot near the vegetable garden. I thought, “Really, Cindy, for one person, you have way too many things to sit down on!”

And the distance from Greensboro, North Carolina to Beaver Island, Michigan disappeared, and more than forty-five years fell away, and Kate and I could have been two children giggling together as I said “What?!”

5 responses »

  1. Cindy, I just love reading your blog! My favorite part of this one is that I can picture myself sitting with you on one of your many sitting places and giggling like children!

  2. Oh, thanks so much…that’s exactly how I pictured it!
    …and it continues…today I picked up a case of macaroni (amazon.com has great prices on staples, and free shipping when you spend $25.00). When I told them what my giant box contained, the women behind the counter gave me a funny look. “What?!” I said, “you can never have too much pasta!”
    Kate, you have added laughter to my days, and meaning to all my obsessive-compulsive habits!

  3. Reblogged this on cindyricksgers and commented:

    My friend, Kate, died last week. In the wake of that event, and knowing some of the struggle she and her family have endured over the course of the last two years, my thoughts have turned to life, and quality of life, and death. From my long distance view, it has seemed sometimes that Kate was already lost, as she struggled to get back to the life she loved. Her intelligence, wit, and tremendous loving presence in this world continued to shine, though, throughout her physical struggles and too many hospital gowns. I wrote this piece several years ago. It makes me smile today.

  4. Cindy,

    This is wonderful! I wish I could have known Kate. Her sense of humor is delightful. I look forward to reading more of your blog and to seeing you on BI.

    Dave

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