This month’s    featured grownups      topic is “friendship.”  Write about a friend who has meant something in your life.  It could be about your first friend, or your best friend, or that special someone who has always been there for you.  It could be about that friend who went through tough times with you, or the friend that ditched you when times got tough.  It can be happy or sad, serious or light-hearted.  The only requirement is to have fun!

 

I have known Jennifer since Kindergarten.  She always had an idea for something fun to do, from checking out her newly dead horse, Shasta “a la” Red Sky at Morning to attempting to hypnotize our school bus driver (her mother). Jennifer spent the night with me once when we were about 11.  The next morning we took my brother hiking in the canyons behind my house.  Eleven is a very adventurous age, and Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea were our adventurers. Jennifer-1

 

In the early spring the canyons were covered with a carpet of the freshest green. The sunlight filtered through the cottonwood leaves, making the ground dappled. The creek bottom smelled like the beginning of life, raw, damp, fresh, pungent.  A trickle of a stream wandered indolently among the trees, pausing here and there to form a pond. Joint grass and reeds grew in the murky shallows of the pools.  Tiny water-skiers spirited themselves across the ponds in search of food.  Grapevines crawled across the cliffs, reaching to embrace the scraggly Ponderosa Pines.

 

We ventured into unexplored canyons and found ancient initials, dating back to the 1930s, carved into the sandstone.  Exploring is hard work, and by mid- afternoon we were sweaty and tired.  We located a frog pond in which to sink our sodas and waded in the edges of the pond.  The water was actually snow melt and was freezing.  Shivering we giggled as the supersaturated mud sucked at our feet.  We waded over to inspect a minuscule waterfall and experimented dropping leaves at the top to watch them travel to the bottom. 

 

“Hey, Sher! Watch me!”  I looked over to see Jennifer standing on a one foot by one foot peninsula, arms up pretending to dive.  She bounced on the diving board and it collapsed under her, sending her screaming into the water, butt first.  When she came up she grabbed a frog and launched it at me starting an amphibious assault which lasted just until the frogs caught on.

 

In 1990, one year after high school graduation, we met at Cheyenne Frontier Days to see Alabama.  We had two free rodeo tickets and standing room to the concert.  Jennifer was being a good sport, because she does not listen to country music.  We tried to get to our cheap rodeo seats, at the far end of the oval arena from all the action, but they wouldn’t let us in at the obvious gate, so we tried another gate.  For some unknown reason our freebie tickets had granted us entrance to the $15 dollar seats under the grandstand.  It was a new experience to see this particular rodeo with the aristocracy!  Now $15 seems like a bargain, but those seats would have been just behind the box seats at the edge of the arena.  We spent about that much on the Alabama tickets.  The seats were in the cool shade and they weren’t sticky from previous beer spills, but we were out of our league.  The ladies behind us were animal rights activists, until the bull riding started, then they became human rights activists.

 

At the concert we ran into a 26 year-old Air Force Lieutenant who procured beer and cigarettes for those of us in need of such.  Thus anesthetized Jennifer was able to enjoy the concert.  She joined the Navy that fall and now drives a forklift at the local elevator and lives in her home town. 

 

We have seen ourselves through our parents’ divorces and all the other problems associated with growing up.  We keep in touch a few times a year, with an assist from Facebook.  Unfortunately we just don’t get together like we used to, however much I would like to flirt with a 26 year-old Air Force Lieutenant it just isn’t appropriate anymore. 

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