Monday, November 7, 2022

We Meet Again


I am home. I am back from the beach, from the sweetness of being with such long-time loves. And I do not use that word lightly. What I had with these women so very long ago in nursing school was indeed love and the bond we formed then has not been loosened the least as the years and decades have passed. 

It was really only Terry (who is beside me) and Vicky, across from me, who were nursing school students together. Mary, behind Vicky, has been a ride-or-die of hers since perhaps before that time but we have enfolded her into our love. 

This year was a bit different from last year because we hadn't seen each other in eons when we met up then. This year, we'd only made one trip around the sun since last seeing each other and so it was not quite as emotional but it was as joyful and much can happen in a year. 
And has. 

We had thought we'd go out that first night but after we'd unloaded everything we'd brought and hauled it up steps to the little condo-cottage, we decided that we'd just stay put and I'm so glad we did. We went down to the beach and sat in a circle and talked and talked, took up where we'd left off last year, and re-formed ourselves into ourselves as the sun set, as the sky did it's miracle thing. 

I'd brought salad greens from the garden and bought some shrimp on the way to the island and I made Anne-Helene's shrimp salad for our supper. I remembered everything I needed- the avocados, the corn, the little seashell pasta, the boiled eggs, the olives, the Havarti cheese. We all sat at the table and ate and I told them the story of Anne-Helene and how she came into my life in Cozumel, me thinking she and her traveling companion were some sort of celebrities on holiday because they were so beautiful, and how a Norwegian woman ended up showing me, a Florida woman, how to make shrimp salad. I had also brought sourdough dough to let rise and bake. It had been refrigerated and then transported in a cooler and I knew it was going to take hours for that process so we saved that for another time. 

We sipped and talked until relatively late after supper and shared stories, secrets, and all the things that we still, somehow feel safe sharing with each other. We are such different women but essentially, we are all the same women as we were forty years ago. 

We have changed, of course, in many ways. We all had our daily pill containers, we all groaned and bitched and laughed about our aching joints and bones. None of us can remember a damn thing when it comes to names and sometimes words. The entire weekend was like a guessing game or a game of charades.
"You know- that guy. That guy that was in the movie with that woman and there was a dog? Come one- YOU know. THAT GUY!"
I have to say that google was employed frequently. Thank god for the google. 
It was reassuring to us all, I think, that we are going through all of this together. If one of us is in early-stage dementia then we are all in early stage dementia. 

On Friday we stayed home all day, just enjoying the beach and doing more talking and laughing. The water was quite choppy and even Terry and I didn't get in. Terry's from Colorado and last year she was the first to brave the November gulf and I jumped in after her because I would follow Terry anywhere and I have to tell you that it felt so good I will never forget it. It was, as I said at the time, exquisite". 
That evening we did go out, first to a place for beer and appetizers. Mary and I split some oysters. 

If you love oysters, that picture will set your mouth watering. If you do not love oysters...never mind.

Then we went to another restaurant where we had supper and big-girl drinks and then we went on back to the house. I had gotten the sourdough sponge out of the refrigerator that morning and had been tending to it all day like a baby and when we got home, it was risen and ready to bake and so...we baked it! Eight o'clock at night we baked a loaf of sourdough and by nine-thirty, half of it had been eaten. 

More talking, more laughing. 

Saturday we decided to go to Apalachicola to shop and walk about. It hit me just as we were getting ready that it might quite possibly be the weekend of the Apalachicola Seafood Festival and I used the google and found out that indeed, it was. 
Oh shit. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. 
The Apalachicola Seafood Festival is a big deal and has been a big deal for many, many years. Billy's mama was crowned Miss Florida Seafood there fifty years ago! There would be thousands of people. And you know me- ones and ones of people is about as much as I can deal with at a time. 
I announced the fact of the festival to my girls with the vague hope that they would say, "Oh, yeah, let's skip that," but no. 
"There won't be a place to park!" I said. 
"We'll find a place!" said Vicky.
"There will be so many people!" I said. 
"You'll be fine," they told me. "Take an Ativan."
"It'll be all country music bands and Christian bands!" I said. 
They didn't even bother to answer that one.

We got in Vicky's Jeep vehicle and drive across the bridges and yes, there were many, many people and yes, we found an excellent parking spot, and thankfully, they did not force me to go to the part of town where the booths were all set up selling all the food and arts and whatever. I was texting Billy about this the whole time and he did ask me to buy him a white straw cowboy hat with a purple feather roach clip if I saw one. In the biggest size they had. 
Unfortunately, I did not see one. 

Ay-yi. I survived. We had a beer at the brewery, shopped in shops that were not there last time I was there, and shops that I have known and loved forever where I calmed down and felt at home. 
I bought nothing. 
Oh god. I was so disappointed not to be able to go there. I just gazed through the window in sorrow, seeing all the lovely books that I could not buy.
I was absolutely amazed at the number of new little shops in Apalach that have sprung up recently. Let me just say that the little fishing village I have loved for so long is not the same. Not the same at all. 

But. I got this picture of the sky. 

I also bitched the entire day about many things. So many things. Shops with potpourri that gives me a headache. Cutesy signs with supposedly funny and witty sayings on them that people can buy and put up in their homes and mass-produced tchotchkes that are meaningless and will only collect dust. And of course, the mass of humanity that was there. 
I can't believe that Vicky, Mary, and Terry didn't tell me to shut the fuck up and kick me in the ass. 
They must love me. 

But we had a delicious lunch where the view looked like this-

Which is the Apalachicola River and I ate the best fried flounder I've ever had in my life. 

When we got back to the house, Mary and Terry took naps and I went down to the beach and saw things like this.

This jellyfish was bigger around than a dinner plate.

The sky just kept on amazing me. 

A seagull, trying to use his hypno-stare to force me to give him food.

A sandpiper, striding across the sand. 

That night we sat on the deck and random delicious food and the moon did things like this, weaving itself in and out of the scuttering lace of clouds.

Sunday morning we packed it all up and went our ways. But not before I insisted on this shot. 

I stopped in Eastpoint for breakfast at the Mexican restaurant which was excellent, as always, then took my time driving home. 

When I left Lloyd on Thursday, I saw a sign at the corner in the midst of all the election signs that I could not believe. I fretted over it all weekend. So when I drove in today and passed that little corner, I saw that it was still there. 

I pulled into the parking lot of Israel's old store and got out and pulled it. As I was doing so, one of my neighbors, an older Black man riding past on his bicycle saw me and asked, "Are you running for something?"
"NO!" I said. "I'm just getting rid of this."
He read it and said, "Yeah, that's awful."
"It's horrible evil," I said. He nodded his head. "Yes. It is. I agree with you." 
It's in my trash can now. 

Lordy, Lordy. What a world we live in. 

I started this last night but it got late and I was tired. 

Back to real life again. Lloyd is quiet for now. There is a storm in the Atlantic that may well affect us in some way this week. Mr. Moon is leaving again for Canada tomorrow. I feel unsettled and unfocused. 
As grateful as I am for the experience of getting to see these women, of our time together in such a beautiful place, even the act of leaving my routine for that is difficult. 
How I wish I were not this way but I am. 

But I wouldn't have not gone for anything. 

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. Sounds like a wonderful weekend! I'm glad you got some time to hang with your "sisters" and soak up some coastal Florida beauty. I tried to convince Dave to go with me to Apalachicola while we're in Florida but he thought it would be too out of our way -- which is probably true. Now I'm thinking maybe that's OK, given the tchotchke shops etc. (I guess they're everywhere, though, aren't they?)

    It's hard to watch places we love change.

    That sign is just ridiculous. Honestly.

    1. Actually, though, now that I think about it -- I DO hate guns, and I'm ambivalent about God and borders! I don't mind babies, though.

    2. I think the "babies" part was what got me the most. Also, there are a good number of hunters in the south who are Democrats. Handguns are one thing to them, hunting rifles are another.

  2. I’m with Steve. Borders are suss, guns are suss, and Republican god is suss as heck. Guess I’ll vote Democrat. :)

  3. What a marvelous time with your buds! Skies, everything. And thank you for tearing down that sign. Hate speech isn't free speech, it's destructive.
    Glad you're back!

    1. That is hate speech. You're right. Weren't those skies amazing?

  4. What beautiful skies! I do envy you these women and this time. Never had anything like that myself. Never had a 'posse'.

    And good for you for taking down that sign. I'd have wanted to but wouldn't have acted on it. Unless I'd been with you. It is evil, no doubt.

    1. Nursing school is tough and filled with difficult first experiences. We got through it with each other's help in every way. That's pretty huge.
      I had no qualms about taking down that sign. It didn't come from a candidate or at least not a named one. And that little piece of dirt no more belongs to the people who post signs there than it does to me which is to say- not at all.

  5. That sky, that ocean, that beach, sigh. I wish I could wander along that beach right now. I'm glad you got to visit your friends. I had to laugh when they told you, you'd be fine, take an ativan. As for taking down that sign, well done.

    1. You know nurses! A practical bunch for the most part.

  6. "Billy's mama was crowned Miss Florida Seafood there fifty years ago" that is the best thing today!! Miss Florida SEAFOOD- my new goal in this life!! Hilarious.
    How did you manage to tear yourself away from that sky- wow! and the sunset over the sand- unreal!! Life is treating you all well looks like, lovely bunch of coconuts!

    1. If you are born and raised in Apalachicola, which Billy's mama was, becoming Miss Florida Seafood was the apex of it all for a young woman. I'm serious.
      I am a lucky woman. As you know.

  7. Thank you for pulling that sign! Exquisite artwork by Mother Nature and the sweetness of being with long time friends. I’m doing a bit of that myself this week and it’s immensely restoring, especially during election week. Much love.

    1. Enjoy your friends. It's the best, isn't it?
      Love back to you.

  8. The skies certainly put on a wonderful show for you and your friends! Glad you had so much fun!

  9. Susan Wolfe, an acquaintance of mine owns a book store in Apalachicola!😳

    1. The Downtown Books and Purl? I love that woman.

    2. I know that it was a store that focused on the history of the area. She is married to a judge and winters there. The place struggled I know. The next time you're n that store, can you maybe ask? Perhaps Susan had to sell it.

  10. what a lovely weekend for you and your dears......... photos are spectacular. Who needs more than that? Food, friends, nature.......and sharing life ....... so glad you were able to do this. And yes for yanking down that sign! I love babies.....the rest.....NO, but it was offensive all around (an understatement). Good for you! Glad you are back......and now will be *widowed* again? Lordy. Bake some bread and eat peas!
    Susan M

    1. Yes. Widowed again. I've already bought salmon and cauliflower.

  11. Your time away sounds just what you needed although I do sense an underling angst. Coming back to that sign wouldn't help. 3 out of 4 - guess that makes me a democrat although I really don't understand American politics.

    1. I am indeed feeling angsty. Ugh. I'll try to get over it quickly.

  12. A great account of a great long weekend. Thanks for sharing and for taking me back to Apalachicola. I may never be there again in person.

    1. It's always interesting to me when I am writing a comment on someone's blog and at the same time I get a notification that that person has just left a comment on my blog. This is exactly what just happened.
      Yeah. You're right about the "Vote Republican" motto. Also you'd have to add, IF YOU HATE GAYS, PEOPLE OF OTHER RACES, AND THE MOTHERS IN POVERTY WITH LIVING BABIES.

  13. Too many friends are gone! Just the way my world is.

    1. Many of mine are too which is one more reason I am grateful for these women.

  14. 37paddington:
    Women friends nurture our woman selves in ways husband and children cannot. I’m so glad you have these women in your life. Re-entry can be hard sometimes. You’ll settle soon. Hugs.

    1. You are so right, my love! Having these women is one of the blessings of my life.

  15. Those cloudy skies are pretty spectacular, the blazing sunsets too. I'm glad you went and had a wonderful time. I can't believe you carried along a sourdough to rise and bake and share! what a wonderful thing to do. I hope you all get to meet again and again for many years.

    1. Thank you, sweet River! Yeah, it was pretty weird to take bread dough but everyone seemed to enjoy it a lot.

  16. You are so fortunate to have such nice longstanding friendships with these women. I'm glad you enjoyed your time with them. Very fortunate!


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