Manuel likes to eat the enormous crayons in the wooden box. First he bites off a chunk of the yellow one, swallows it, grins and reaches for the red one.
I’m 6 years old, in Miss Allison’s first grade class and I like to observe my world.
Between bites of crayon, Manuel spoons thick, white paste from the jar that sits on our little table. The paste smells nice I think, like parakeet feathers. Manuel eats the paste. He only eats paste and crayons when I am at his table.
My friend Lancey is in my class and she and I are in love with our friend Darice’s cousin, Little Frankie. (It’s a small town.)
At recess and lunch my girlfriends and I turn into big horses. We slap our legs and race wildly across the vast, hard dirt playground. We are shiny brown horses who whinny and chase the boys who scatter before us.
I hate being a horse. I hate chasing boys. I can’t see the point to this mad galloping and racing and boy chasing.
But, I am 6 years old and this is what my country girl friends love to do. I want to be with my friends.
This is how it starts:
The 7 of us girls meet in school in a tiny town and we grow up together. Some of us are here in kindergarten, others join us along the way.
When we are 9 years old and in the 4th grade, our teacher Mrs. Cooper, tells me to go to the girl’s restroom with Lancey and help her get into her hula outfit.
Lancey is very intense and has long brown braids and freckles. She works hard to be excellent at everything she does. She knows how to hula and she hulas at all events.
In the bathroom, Lancey is stripping off her dress and pulling her dry, brown hula skirt over her little white underpants. Then, she puts 2 halved coconut shells over her flat chest. I tie the strings attached to the coconuts, behind her back.
I look at her as she raises her arms and puts a ring of festive, plastic flowers on her head.
She is watching herself in the mirror. We both see the same thing at the same time.
There is dark hair in her armpits.
Lancey says, ‘This is the last time I do the hula.”
She is prophetic. She never hulas, again.
Next, we girls are in junior high. We’re 13 and in 7th grade.
We are popular. We are popular because there isn’t much competition in this little town.
We’ve been chosen to be in the staged musical, ‘Cinderella.’ The performance will be in the cafeteria.
Here is the cast:
Nancee: Beautiful Fairy Godmother. She is one year younger then we are, and will always be. She can sing.
Lancey : Cinderella’s Step Mother
Chips and me: We are The Ugly Step Sisters. It’s not until we are so grown up that we are teetering on old age, that we look at each other one day and say,”…Wait a minute. Why were we chosen to be The Ugly Step-sisters!”
Darice-The Beautiful Cinderella. Darice is a beauty queen and lives in a real life castle up the road from our tiny houses.
Brenda: Is The Stage Hand
Patti: Patti is part of The Enthusiastic Audience.
One day we are all rehearsing The Play in the school cafeteria. There is a stage in here with a red velvet curtain.
Brenda is busy doing her stage hand work. She is painting and hanging cardboard with a wad of straight pins held in her mouth.
Her back is turned when Greg (Lancey’s cousin; it’s a small town) comes up behind her and swats her on the back.
Gulp! Brenda swallows the bunch of silver straight pins.
Nobody panics because we didn’t do that back then. No one calls 911 or hauls Brenda off to Emergency.
Nobody says, “Maybe you will die.”
Somebody says, “Maybe you should eat some bread.”
Brenda tells us the outcome, later.
“I’m 13 years old and my parents have to shovel through my poop every day looking for those straight pins. They must have collected them all because I am still alive.”
We are all Song Leaders and Cheerleaders.
I faint in parades when it gets too hot. I shimmy to the ground and the girls have to pick me up and haul me to the curbs. Usually, I get dragged through wet horse manure. There are a lot of horses in our lives.
We all have lots of memories and things to think about from all the years we have known each other.
Every year the 7 of us go off together for a Big Adventure. This year we’re are all going to Napa, California to do wine tasting.
Every year we make big plans for wherever we are. We plan to see all the sights, take trains and sight seeing buses, go to museums and gardens and see the area’s culture but here is what we actually do:
We Eat, Drink, Talk and Walk and then we Eat, Drink, Talk and Walk.
Then, we do it some more.
Chips makes marvelous margaritas.
Maybe a Blog will come out of the trip we are taking in a few days. But, maybe not. Not much happens when all you do is Eat, Drink, Talk and Walk.
But, we like it this way. We have all pledged that we are going to do as much of it as we can before the The Day’s Dark End and we all go to School Girl Heaven.
*Do you know the kind of work I do when I’m not busy having Adventures? Look here for details. It’s a great time to have a phone reading with me! Visit me at www.GodIsAlwaysHappy.com for rates and availability.