Toni - she just gets life.

I have a friend, Toni. We've known each other for about 14 years, maybe more, maybe less. We get to meet every seven weeks or so. It was probably every five weeks earlier on.

The meeting is optional, but it usually happens. Sometimes she'll bring coffee. Since I don't drink coffee, I sometimes have water. It's very friendly meeting. Sometimes it's catty.  I remember it took some time to warm up to her. We have several people who know us but they don't see us together.

But she is the salt of the earth, and heaven too. We've gone through so much together.  Her single-mother-ness, her marriage, her divorce, our kids, their sports, the money, deaths in our families, our cars, our jobs, our money (again), our dreams.  

When my husband passed on, it was the quietest I had ever heard her. I mean, she hardly whispered, and she's usually quite vocal. She never asked about the circumstances...and I didn't volunteer much of anything.  I think she was afraid to speak.  All she knew that it was sudden and unexpected, at home on the couch while we were sitting together. And a shock.

I've watched her raise her first son (since I entered the picture), single-handed and he's 23 now, I think.  Then she married and had a second son.  Now they're divorced and she is raising that kid the same way as her first son.  He's a junior in high school.   She figures out how to get those kids in private school and completely motivates them.  Education is her fame, and it becomes her kids' game.

We talk about organized religion and then we make it unorganized.  She's been a Baptist holy roller, the white girl in an all black church.  Then that was over.  She returned to her roots as a recovering Catholic...where her kids went/go to school.  She is super spiritual.  Her deceased sister is coming to her in an orb these days.  Who am I to say?  I know people just continue on...at least in my world. 

She reminds me of Forrest Gump.  He ran all over the country.  People were following him.  They wanted to know what he was thinking, what he was doing.  And then he stopped.  It was just over.  That's how she is.  She just stops, thinks about things and moves on...all about the same time.

I've watched her open up a baby-type store.  It was lovely.  Then she stopped.  She opened a shabby chic store because she loves collectables.  Then she stopped.  Recently she had a home based jewelry business and it was going gang-busters.  Then she stopped.  Usually she stops between our visits.  Everything is always new.  And it all happens during her 'regular' job.

She tells me about her uncle, her deceased mom, her deceased sister. It is one amazing extended family...offering the low-lights and high-lights of life, between smoking and booze and drugs and varying types of sex.

We live near each other.  We don't see each other much out side of our scheduled visits.  We don't have lunch or dinner together.

She loves Barbra Streisand and her oldest son bought her one ticket to her concert.  That's all he could afford. It was $200.  He knows how much she loves Barbra.  She is going by herself.  She told me what she will wear.  She is getting dolled up and I know she'll look great.  She always looks great.  She doesn't want to go with anybody.  She is sure she'll sing and cry herself into oblivion.  That must be done solo.

One day, years ago, at work, she just yelled out...."CURRENT EVENTS!"   And she lead a discussion about Bill and Hillary Clinton, back in the day when Bill was a bad President/man-boy.  Toni, you are a current event.

I keep thinking there should be a movie or a book about her.  She is strong but she just gets life.  It's been a good run for us.  I hope it continues a long while.  It should.  I made an appointment to see her between November and December.

Everybody should have someone in his or her life like Toni.  She's my hairdresser.

Life richly,  marilyn


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