Holli Bragg-020911Listen to Holli Deal Bragg read her column.
Having been on "the outside looking in" recently, I learned a valuable lesson. Time may change a lot of things, but it doesn't change true friendship, it doesn't change memories, and it doesn't change history.
Like most people, I grew up hearing stories of my parents' childhoods. Names of people I never thought I would meet were as familiar as my own, and I formed mental images to go along with the tales I heard.
One story I loved was how my parents met. My mother, just a teenager, threw rocks at my Dad when he flirted with her. My grandmother insisted on calling Dad "Eggbert" instead of his name, Elbert. Pair that with Granddad's stern demeanor, and it's a wonder they ever married.
I was able to enjoy some of those familiar tales, as well as a few new ones, recently Mom and I met her childhood best friend, Gail Arnold (Winge); Gail's brother Gary and his wife Judy at a local hot spot and had an absolute ball.
I was the "odd one out," being 20-something years younger and having not grown up with these four, but they were so much fun I was not a bit bored. It was one reminiscence after another, and I was once again fascinated with the stories from the ‘50's about life on Hildon Circle in Chamblee, Ga.
They talked about the bridge several fathers got together to build over a creek, and the fun times they had on Flexible Flyers. Mom would ride hers down the steep driveway, right underneath Grandmom's car. When Granddaddy made her give her sister Jean a ride, Mom didn't figure the added height (Jean was on her back) until the last millisecond before going under the car.
I think we all knew what happened next. Poor Aunt Jean.
Gary had everybody laughing when he remembered how he (a typical younger brother) aggravated and harassed Gail and Mom. He recalled how his father threw a particular young man out the door one day because of a minor infraction. The offender - gasp - was in Gail's ROOM looking at photos (with the door open) but Mr. Arnold was having none of that.
My own Grandfather was just as fearsome to the young men who called upon his daughters. Mom shared a story about one of her beaus who tapped nervously on his shoe while waiting for her to get ready for a date. It seems the boy looked like a character in a commercial, and Granddaddy secretly called him by the name "Solstice" after the product.
When the tapping got too much, Granddaddy snatched his newspaper down and said "What's with the tapping there, Solstice?" Mom said the boy wasted no time going outside to wait for her.
As I sat, listened and laughed, I was caught up in a time where life was more simple, morals were more important, and families were closer. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
I think we all have found ourselves in situations where years have gone by, but friendships, much like soap operas, pick up where they left off. You can watch a soap for the first time in ages and quickly catch on to the plot. You can also meet up with an old friend and suddenly be transported back in time to the last time you saw them.
It has been around 40 years since Mom saw her friend Gail, in spite of them coincidentally having lived in the same county for years. In spite of that time - almost a lifetime for me - it was obvious there was no awkwardness in their reunion.
Sandwiched between Gary and Judy, I felt like I was at a lively party. With Mom and Gail across the table, it was a whirlwind of conversation, giggles, recollections and observations.
People , precious moments and special places were brought back to life through their memories - the odd family whose patriarch scared everybody; the water drainage pipe where Mom once found a dollar bill and Gary almost lost his head (another Flexible Flyer incident); and the time some silly woman pestered Granddaddy while he painted the house and he flicked paint from the paintbrush at her.
The reunion of friends made me wish I could go back in time and enjoy some of those experiences with them. It was such a pleasant night, and it makes me look forward to one day in the future when I too will meet old friends and relive the treasures of the past.
Holli Deal Bragg maybe reached at (912) 489-9414.