When Old Friends visit, we eat at Ivanhoe’s, a restaurant boasting 100 sundaes and shakes.
Still, I’m the star attraction, you understand.
I come to Ivanhoe’s early, where I hoard the last empty table and chairs like a miser. Seventy-three people lined up at the counter glare.
My mean face warns every Harley rider, professor, farmer, mommy, pastor and sixth-grader: Go ahead, make my day. Grab this table, and I’ll dance on it to the loudspeaker music.
You don’t want to see that.
Old Friends arrive! We hug, and they join the line. I remain at my post, teeth bared.
Finally seated, we catch up on marrying and burying news. The crowd’s noise makes it difficult to hear, but we fix that. We yell.
Old Friend #1: Our 401k tanked.
Old Friend #2: (louder) My son’s driving an army tank, too.
O. F. #3 (louder) My last tank of gas cost a second mortgage.
O.F. (LOUD) Your septic tank overflowed?
The dining room clears. We don’t have to stand in line for dessert.
We study the menu as if it determines our eternal destiny and choose Moose Tracks, Mocha Almond Crumb, Fudge Mint, Butterscotch, Raspberry, and Boston Cream Pie Sundaes. Sacred silence prevails as we dig in.
Even after ice cream, we fit in the van — if we bunch like celery and don’t breathe. But Jaws of Life has to free us.
As we yak at my house, I remember when my husband and I sang at one Old Friend’s wedding. Another O.F. and I, having daughters of similar ages, braved training bras, driving lessons and wedding planning together. A third O.F. created an over-the-hill cake, complete with open grave, for my 40th birthday.
We prayed together throughout decades. About real estate, wars, car break-downs, pregnancies, weird relatives, the President, potty training, abortion, teen drivers and last, but not least, our husbands. No one could — or can — escape our prayers.
All too soon, they leave. But I’ll travel to one Old Friend’s feast in December, when she prepares homemade soups and breads with melt-in-your-mouth Christmas cookies of every size, shape and flavor.
I can’t wait to see Old Friends again.
They’re the star attraction, you understand.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What old friends are special to you?