"If you ain't got team work, you ain't got diddly." (Laverne)
"Words to live by, ay?" (Shirley)
I’ve only had one in my lifetime. Best friend that is. Her name is Kim. She has been my best friend for over 30 years. Over the years our relationship evolved beyond friendship. She is my sister. The only sister I have ever had.
Where were you when Elvis died? Well I was talking to Kim on the phone, when she suddenly said, “Elvis just died”. I replied, “So what?” She has chided me about my lack of respect for “The King” since and I kid her back about even marking the date. I still can’t stand him.
During our tweenster years we shared the same obsessions over Leif Garrett, Donnie Osmond, Parker Stevenson, Shaun Cassidy, Robby Benson, and the “Bay City Rollers”. Tiger Beat centre folds papered our bedroom walls...our bedrooms were masterpieces.
I moved to Toronto from Peterborough when I was 13. We rotated weekend visitation. I went to Peterborough on the Grey Hound weekends 1 & 3 and Kim alternated from Peterborough to Toronto on weekends 2 & 4. We were like peanut butter and jelly or Kids and Kam; “you can’t have one without the other.” Her parents became mine and mine became hers.
We weathered our first loves together. All I can say is “thank God for shoulder pads”. They absorbed the tears we cried on each other. We were camp and youth convention mates. Labour Day weekend, which is, also Kim’s birthday marked our annual pilgrimage to the CNE, which always resulted in Kim barfing after one of the rides. I still go to the CNE every Labour Day weekend. Old habits die-hard.
There were the graduations from grade 6, grade 8, high school, nursing college & university. We became roommates when we moved back to Toronto in our early 20’s. She and I are as different as Laverne & Shirley or Oscar & Felix. Our differences are what unite us in the centre. She collects shoes. She has more shoes than the Bata Shoe Museum and the bloody purses to match. I love coats, coats and more coats. She’s a night owl and I’m a sun riser. I hate blue and it’s her favourite colour. My favourite food is spaghetti. She prefers meat, potatoes, and veggies. She loves Royal Doulton figurines and was the first to have a “hope chest". I always referred to it as the “hopeless chest”. By the way, I have never used the china in my hopeless chest. She was traditional, I was out there. She was obedient and respectful; I wanted to challenge the establishment. So back and forth, we danced with life while vehemently keeping each other in check.
She stood with me on my wedding day. She was there when my dad died. She was my Samson and suffered to hold the pillars while the winds around me blew. She celebrated the birth of my daughter as if she actually had something to do with it.
For some strange reason something happened and we lost our way for a while. This past week we found each other again. As we chatted, it seemed like we had just been apart for a day. The conversation picked up where it left off. I will not let separation ever happen to us again. “What’s peanut butter without jelly?” Besides, I have to try out this damn china and who better on than “my best friend”? Some things aren’t hopeless after all.
It sure feels good to be home again!