This has been one of those odd weeks that has zoomed by and yet simultaneously seemed to last forever. Weather-wise, it started with fog, which made way for ice, but ultimately the sunshine won out.
Emotion-wise, it's been a week of highs and lows as well.
At the end of the week, like a glowing beacon, a mini-high school reunion loomed. A bunch of us planned to meet at a club in Pasadena to listen to one of our 'old' classmates play his guitar and sing with his band (Mission Texas Live.) E-mails and Facebook messages were flying back and forth all week.
But...my screenwriting project hung over my head...I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around the best way to tell my great-great grandfather's story. How do you fit a man's life from age 17 to 80 into three neat acts across 120 pages (at the most) - a life that included crossing the Red River into Texas with a wagon train, a life full of conflict including settler vs. native Americans; cowboy vs. horse thieves; Confederate vs. Yankee; life and love vs. death; husband vs. wife; neighbor vs. neighbor; and freedom vs. prison? Where do I begin? Where do I end? What do I include and what do I leave out? I managed to send 20 pages to my teacher at about 2am Saturday morning, but they are pages I wrote last semester - a beginning I've changed my mind about. But it's something, anyway.
I couldn't let that stop me from seeing my cousins Sherlyn and Muttsy (her name is actually Lugenia, but I've never known her by anything but Muttsy). They drove in from their small town near Abilene to watch Sherlyn's daughter Kenzie's basketball game. She plays for Hardin-Simmons University and they were playing Concordia, which is just around the corner...well, the lake...from us. Yes, I had pages to write, but they're my cousins and they came all this way! And I'm glad I did it...it was a close game and Hardin-Simmons won!
And there was Tom's truck...it decided it was tired of its needs being ignored and demanded immediate attention Wednesday morning - he had to take off work and tear the steering column apart... and THEN, after several hours of aggravation, when it was in a million pieces, he read online (trying to find information on how to put it back together because the expensive mechanic's manual he bought for it was of NO value) that mechanics usually only charge $100 to fix this particular problem. Live and learn...
On Friday I learned that my friend Tamara's older sister was in intensive care, from a stroke or aneurysm, and not expected to live. It turns out Marla passed away about the same time I was emailing my pages Saturday morning. I was still excited about seeing all of my friends - in fact, Marla's death made a reunion with friends seem more important, more urgent.
One reason, I guess, is because I had been hoping for a reunion with Marla herself this year - it's the 10th anniversary of our first girls' weekend to Port Aransas...we planned to make sure everyone that had ever gone with us joined us again, and Marla and Tamara were part of that first group.
But my first trip with Marla was back in high school. All of two, maybe three years older than us, she chaperoned me and Tamara on a trip to Garner State Park at the end of our junior year - our boyfriends had just graduated and their class was heading there to celebrate. (I'm not going to write anymore about this, except to say we had a LOT of fun, and made it back home, safe and sound.)
The reunion this past Saturday night was a lot of fun, just as I expected. The sorrow I felt about Marla's death didn't diminish my joy at seeing my friends - the sorrow and joy merely entwined each other - existing together, perhaps even augmenting each other by contrast.
Besides my high school friends, Tom and I reunited with another 'old' friend, David...the best man at our wedding. He had been in the Coast Guard with Tom and they were roommates when we met. For a brief time, we were ALL roommates. But once we moved to Lago Vista, we rarely saw him. In fact, I think it had been over ten years. Ann, one of my matrons of honor (the other was my sister, Brenda) surprised us by flying in from Missouri - so we got a picture of all of us together, 26 years, some gray hairs and a few wrinkles later.
All of us laughed till we cried, talked, danced, sang, and took tons of pictures (well, my friend Rae did...I forgot to charge my camera...) Several of us shut the place down, and still unwilling to say goodnight, we reverted to high school habits and wrapped a house for old times' sake. Not just anyone's, of course, but one of the guys...one of our friends. He caught us, but was a great sport and let us finish and even take pictures. Now, THAT'S friendship.
And if that's not enough for one week, an email waited for me when I got home from another person I haven't seen since we moved...Jennifer King Moody. I was in a writing workshop she taught - she helped me with my second essay. But I already knew of her from a wonderful essay she wrote that was published in the Houston Chronicle before I ever started writing..."Bury Me in the Country." It's still one of my favorites...probably the one that inspired me to try writing my own. She had been digging through some old files and came across my name, and on a whim, Googled me. I'm so glad she did!
That was plenty for one week. I'm hoping this one levels out, slows down, gives me a chance to catch my breath. But judging from today, I don't think it's going to happen...I'll just try to hold on and enjoy, well, at least appreciate, the ride.