Saturday, 30 May 2009

Alexandria, VA

There’s just nothing like reuniting with old friends.  The taxi drops you off at the front door and you pick right up where you left off.  Someone to laugh at even the stupidest of your jokes.  Who chuckles at your silly dances.  Knows you love margaritas.  Picks up blue corn chips at the store to have waiting for you.  

Old friends who sit on back porches--no matter where in the world the back porch sits.  Talking, praying, laughing, or crying.  Pontificating.  Listening.  Asking the hard questions and knowing when to just leave you be.  Recommending good books and stupidly hilarious movies.  Challenging your thinking.  Expecting your best and accepting you in your worst.  

Outdoor cafes line the side walk of the small Virginia town where they live.  Shorts and sundresses the uniform of the patrons.  Pitchers of sangria and margaritas the size of your head.  The parks are full of dozens of strollers toting sun-hatted cutie pies with sippy cups and sleepy chubby cheeks.  Flower beds are filled with elephant-eared hostas and waxy leafed day lilies, variegated grasses and a star-flowered tree I don’t recognize but instantly love.  

The Dairy Godmother on the main street serves up ‘nostalgic treats,’ and I feel like I’ve been enjoying them everyday since I got here.  This little town takes me back to my Oklahoma childhood.  Old school houses with front porches.  Porch swings and gliding chairs with people actually sitting in them!  Flowering trees and fresh-cut grass that smells to my heart like bike rides and ice cream trucks.  

The air is sticky and damp.  The rain comes down warm and it makes me want to run outside in my swimming suit to make stick-dams in the gutter.  Laughing and splashing and then wrapping up in towels on the front porch and eating popsicles when it cools down.  I find myself going barefoot and wishing to goodness I could do it every day of my life.  

We eat hamburgers and kick-ass french fries.  Guacamole and homemade salsa (with the yummy blue corn chips!)  Tacos and sodas and Heinz catchup.  I have a Dr. Pepper for old times sake.

People say “good mornin’” and “how you doin’?” and “nice day, isn’t it?” and it almost makes me cry with relief.  These too, these smells, and sounds and foods and spoken phrases are like old friends.  I say, “Well, thank you!  How you?” and “Sure is a gorgeous day we’re havin’!” and it feels like picking up right where I left off.  

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