It's been quite a year for us, this 2007 - a red-letter year in so many respects. Jethro ditched his widow-maker of a boss in a unexpectedly timely manner. That in and of itself makes the year worthy of note. But on top of that, we bought our own business, moved cities, and renovated our tiny monstrosity of a home. It will definitely stand out for many years to come for all the wonderful things that came out of it.
And yet I'd trade every good thing in an instant to erase the one bad thing.
Jethro and I went to the cemetery to visit Charles again on Christmas Eve. There were so many things we needed to do that day, but that just seemed to be the most important. And am I ever glad we did. His mom and fiance had gone the day before and put up a wreath and an ornament which the wind had blown down and strewn all over. Jeth and I collected it all and put it back. I found some Christmas ribbon in the car and tied everything down so the wind couldn't knock it over again. I felt better knowing that his grave would be the way his mom and his girl wanted it for Christmas. It's funny the comfort we take in such small things.
Ah well. I don't love ending the year with such a somber post, but I must remember our friend. He is definitely worth it. I'll make up for it with a funny story about him, or actually just involving him. It's mostly about a large girl who was another friend of ours.
I'll call her Tina, and I'll say it again. She was large.
When we were in college, Tina used to throw these crazy parties. We'd fill a Rubbermaid trashcan (designated solely for that purpose) with Trashcan Punch, buy a few cases of beer, and have some fun. We had several awesome parties there including one where we watched the Rockets sweep the Magic in the '95 NBA Finals, loaded 20 people, a keg, and a couple of brooms into the back of someone's pick-up......but I digress.
Tina's apartment complex was in a shady part of town, and not terribly well kept. But it did have a swimming pool. And swimming pools have a bad habit of luring in drunken young college chicks. And drunken young college chicks have a bad habit of removing their clothing, once succumbing to the lure.
On this particular occasion, being a chaste and virtuous maiden, I had passed out in a pool chair after having only removed my top.
When I came to, I found myself alone except for Tina who was happily cavorting in the pool all by herself. Since it was her apartment complex, she was afforded the luxury of a swimsuit, and so had not felt the need to return with the others. Apparently I was chopped liver. No one had bothered to wake me up to go get dry.
I had misplaced my glasses as was usual for me at these parties, but had enough clarity to realize that I was pretty drunk and all alone with a 300 lb. girl who was similarly inebriated. I was pretty sure, should she start to drown, that I could not save her. And I wanted to save her. I liked her a lot, and her parties were great.
"Tina!" I called. "Come backatha party! I need nonother drink. Drinkiepoo. Y'know. Drink."
"But I'm having fun out here," Tina said, floatily. "Tell the others to come back!"
It took a minute or two for this to sink in, but I was pretty sure by the time I thought of a good reply, I could go back to the party and bring a few more people out.
"'Kay, Tina. I'll bre righ-back," I shouted as soberly as I could. "Shtay by th' pool shteps an' I'll go bring 'um back here."
I wobbled back to the party where I procured the help of Charles and tall, skinny girl named Kara. Charles, having lost his own glasses (he wore glasses back then), let Kara lead the way. We chatted merrily, if not coherently, until we got to the pool.
Suddenly, without warning, Kara stopped short and flung her arms out. Charles and I were nearly clotheslined.
"Stop," Kara said in a low voice. "Y'all turn around right now."
Frightened, we obeyed.
"Tina! Tina, sweetie!" Kara chirped in her most endearing southern twang. "You might want to put your swimsuit back on now, honey!"
"But I'm free! FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" sang Tina as she splashed joyfully through the white water of her own wake.
Charles and I clawed at each other for a minute in a mutual frenzy of horror and mirth, and immediately congratulated ourselves not only on having lost our eyewear, but on having need for it in the first place.
I don't remember much after that. I think Tina ended up putting back on her swimsuit, but not before someone called out an order to "man the harpoooooons!" which I thought was very rude. I do know that not once did Charles so much as squint in her direction - a temptation that surprisingly few were able to resist.
Just one of many strange, fond memories...