I spent last week with my best friend of 40 years. Ladies and gentlemen, if you have a BFF, having one for forty years is a blessing and a liability. You know absolutely everything about one another. You have literally been through life and death together. There are no secrets-at all. It is a wonderful thing!
One of her gifts is dancing. Since she retired from forty years of teaching, she has continued to be a part of a weekly tap group. Among the members are some of the young women she taught with. Another of her gifts is making diaper cakes and giving baby showers. I went to visit her to help with a shower for one of the young women.
My friend lives in a large city several hours from the coast and I usually stay as long as four days when I go. We had such a good time making finger sandwiches, little tarts, arranging trays of fruit and vegetables and wrapping presents. The lovely baby cake, arrayed with sparkling baby blue and mint green ribbon was the table’s centrepiece. With Mimosa’s in the pitcher and wine chilled, all was ready.
The mother and tiny baby boy arrived along with the guests, laden with gifts. We all know how this ancient tradition goes. Everyone oowd and aahd over the baby and commented on how wonderful the mother looked, exclaimed upon the uniqueness of the gifts as they were passed around.
The shower was, without a doubt, a success, all leaving happily. The mother and her baby thanked my friend and me graciously as we helped her into her car with her many boxes.
Later that evening we were reading the paper, the Sunday edition, and came across an ad for a play being done by a Broadway touring company. It was one we both had not seen but loved. We looked at one another and said at the same time, “You want to go?” A smile came over both our faces and we began to giggle like two little girls! We tried to call the box office that night, but it was closed. It was decided. We would call in the morning.
My friend grew up in a household filled with theatre music. She knows all the lyrics and tunes to every song you can name to any of the musicals. She, of course wanted to go for the music!
I, on the other hand, grew up in a family of readers. Plays were read. Literature in our family was American, both novels and poetry. I was also told “stories” from the Old South, “Uncle Remus”, “The Tar Baby” and “Jack Rabbit and the Hare”. Those are the ones I remember off the top of my head. Of course I had recording of musicals like “Mary Poppins” and “The Sound of Music”, but no adult musicals. I was given piano lessons from age seven through high school and taught in the classics. Organ came along in high school, as well, which included chorales, chants, service music, and free score/non-tempo. I learned improvisation in middle adulthood.
My friend taught math for forty years. I was an English major. She is a dancer. I am a musician. Our taste in music is latitudes apart. My point being-she wanted to see the play for the music, I wanted to see it for the story.
Our seats were assigned. We were dressed. She wore all black with pearls. I wore all white with crystals. We were so excited. The curtain opened. It was just as we imagined. The ancient romantic story; The King and his queen, All is perfect, The curious magician, giving warning of darker days, The silly knight who comes searching for his wayward steed providing comic relief, The King’s Knight makes his entrance, The King and Queen both fall in love with him, The betrayal is set up. My friend is in heaven, singing along with every single song. I am a bit bored. This is same story, only told by different people.
Suddenly, the Queen and The King’s Knight are on stage alone. He opens his mouth and begins to sing “If Ever I Would Leave You” and I am transported to another dimension. I cannot catch my breath. No one is in the theatre but me. I cannot close my eyes, but I cannot keep them open! I hope with all that is in me this never ends. I am numb.
I don’t remember the rest of the play. I just know that hearing that one song changed me somehow. My friend and I drove home, made supper and talked about how happy we were that we had done one more special thing together. BFF’s are few and far between. If you have one, do you very best to keep your relationship strong.