Sunday, November 11, 2007

Old Friends

This past week we had our second visitor, a wonderful friend from our youth. I met Gay our sophomore year high school at Will Rogers in Tulsa. Gay sat behind me in Ms. Edwards' Latin Class while we struggled through translations of the writings of Julius Caeser about the Gallic Wars. If you took Latin you know that: "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres" or All of Gaul is divided into three parts; the opening words of his writings. For those of you who took something more useful like Spanish or French, congratulations on studying a language that you can actually use in communication. For those of us that took Latin, we can enjoy old Catholic Masses or just be proud that we can read the writing around University emblems, or understand some obscure legal jargon.

I was 12 years old- and starting a new school- junior high. And I was in BAND- playing the clarinet. And there was Gay- so animated- so outgoing- so blond- so filled with life and enthusiasm. I was mesmerized with her energy to race right into the middle of life- not timid, not quiet, not retiring- so not me. And I loved it. It is of course true that opposites attract and there was Gay- so opposite of my timidness- and she played the clarinet too. We grew together as we moved to high school. Gay had a car and drove me to school everyday (and still reminds me that I made her late almost everyday as well). We wore our BIG curlers to marching band practice at 7am- which meant a great many bad hair days. We marched at halftime- cried when the team lost at state- and can still sing the school fight song. I was in that same Latin class and let me assure you- Don looked GREAT in the toga at the annual TOGA party.

But that was our beginnings with Gay. She and Max have longer history than me and they both went to nursing school at O.U. It's amazing how acquaintance with old friends always seems so natural. Sure, we always catch up on each other's lives and children, but getting together was like we haven't been separated for however many years. It's always like that with Gay. We settle into a comfortable atmosphere in which she might as well been our next door neighbor who just dropped in. Gay was at a conference in L.A. and caught a flight to SF to spend a few days with us. So we made serious plans to not really do anything but get caught up, and eat and drink well. Since I still have lots of vacation I can't possible take this year, I took 2 days off. Max had to work the weekend, so she also had Friday off.

Sometimes Gay and I don't talk for months (and during some of our past- even years)- yet we pick up mid sentence where we left off before. I can tell her anything- and have. She can tell me anything- and has. It is better than confession and forgiveness- it is love- And I am most grateful.

Don and Gay had a day off together- and did what you might expect- they went to our high school class web site- yes our high school- Will Rogers High School- Class of 1967- has a web site. We were a class of a bit over 700- big urban campus- in a beautiful school built by the WPA. So Don and Gay went to the web site (at the site you can learn that our class flowers were the mum and daisies) and since we are of course also a class that is "aging" the list of "Memorials" is getting longer and longer. A little over 60 of our class have died since those years together as a "Ropers". We lost two good friends in the first wave of the AIDS epidemic- when AIDS was a terminal disease rather than chronic. And then there were car crashes and cancer and heart attack and diabetes, and two in Viet Nam- and many, many listed as unknown. But one did catch the eye. It said "Executed". Now that stops you in your tracks. So of course that is a "google it" moment. Ron Fluke was the football quarterback- and certainly in the "popular" crowd- a "joc". He was in the state championship for wrestling every year in high school. Don knew him the most- they played football together- and Don even wrestled against him (rather you might say that Don was quickly pinned by him) before Don had his growth spurt and gave up wrestling. So who could have expected- "executed". See one night Ron Fluke came home late and bludgeoned his wife with a hatchet and then finished her off with a pistol before going upstairs and killing both of his daughters- age 11 and 13. He then sat in his home with them until the next morning when he drove himself to the police station and confessed. He explained that he was in financial ruins- why even his cell phone and car was about to be repossessed- seems he was quite a gambler- and so killed his wife and daughters to spare them the embarrassment of financial ruin. He pleaded guilty at his trial and asked to be executed. The Oklahoma judge obliged and he was executed in 2001. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around this one- it still seems a story from TV-not the story of your high school quarterback- a cute kid you remember from the halls of your youth.

Friday we were off to Sausilito and our favorite restaurant on the Bay- Horizons.

Horizons began in 1898 as a yacht club- and after being abandoned during the 20's, 30's and 40's, reopened as a restaurant. During the 60's it was frequented by Janis Joplin (Don and my favorite) and the Beatles and then later the Rolling Stones. The mural on the ceiling was painted by the same artist that painted Janis' car:


And then we traveled on to wine country and the St. Francis Winery for a tasting.

Don was our designated driver- now I don't want anyone feeling "sorry" for him- you see Don doesn't like "tastes"- he like the WHOLE thing. So the idea of "tasting" just has no appeal to Don- But Gay I got into the experience- and could taste the citrus, and the chocolate and the oak and the pepper and the earth- in the "tastes"- What fun!

And then we decided that if we didn't dawdle anymore we could make it back to San Fran for the sunset- and we did- looking out over the Pacific Ocean at the glorious end to a beautiful day!

Our time together was drawing to a close. We walked to our neighborhood Italian restaurant-
And enjoyed fine food and wine together before saying good bye. What fun we had- again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe if Don were ever given the chance to be a "taster" and not the DD, he might take it!