I met this friend at a 50th Wedding Anniversary, her own actually, many years ago. I had just successfully managed to spill brown gravy down the front of my white, knit sweater. For those of you who personally know me or follow my blogs on a regular basis, you're aware it's unnecessary to bring any additional attention to my burgeoning chest size. It was particularly important at this party because my fiance, Eric, was introducing me to the entire side of his mother's family. Add the additional pressure that I was my dear one's first and only great love, well - there was a huge amount of curiosity about me. Yes, that's right...the overweight girl with the huge blob of brown gravy down her enormous breasts.
"You must be Bri?" I'd never seen so many wrinkles in my life but every one of them lit up with her smile. I knew this must be Eric's Grandmother.
"The one and only. It's so nice to meet you."
"Well, what are ya doin' standing over here in the corner?"
She was right on the money. I was doing my best to hide behind a large, flowering urn in the restaurant's patio but either the urn was too small or my hips were too big. I told her the truth, "I spilled some gravy on my boobs and I'm in hiding."
Her eyes opened wide like big, blue marbles and then she said very matter-of-factly, "Oh Hell, at least you have boobs to spill gravy on!" She laughed - a warm, deep, smoker's laugh. I was in love.
I believe things happen for a reason; that life doesn't take us places without a plan. When Eric and I eventually bought our first home, we were within 15 minutes of Grammy (my nickname for Bernice). Her only son, Eric's Uncle Jim, who had been born with Down Syndrome, lived in a group home less than 8 minutes from us. During our ten years in Aliso Viejo, California, my husband and I were able to spend quality time every week with both of them. On his way home from work, Eric would pick the two up and we'd have family meals together. Other times, we would take her son back home for a visit.
When Grammy had been placed in a rehabilitation hospital after a series of falls, amazingly - she was located 5 minutes away from my work place. I would purchase cups of coffee (strong, lots of cream - NO SUGAR!) for Bernice and I would spend my lunch hours with her. I looked forward to these alone times; just the two of us. There were days when I felt sorry for myself but she wouldn't let me get away with it. She'd just laugh at me (which now that I think about it, I know where my husband gets it from). Her favorite response was, "Bri, it will always work itself out in the end."
Well, Grammy - the brown gravy never came out of that damn sweater, but I hated it anyway. As far as everything else, I'm just taking things one day at a time and trying to relax. I wish I could be there for you but you'll be home with Grandpa and Jimmy soon. Thank you for the laughter, your friendship, and our special coffee breaks.