Sunday, March 22, 2009

FRIENDS UNMET

I'm about to meet an online friend for the first time---she's been following little pieces I've written for almost five years now, and has been so nice as to write little compliments and comments. She reads them to her HUSBAND and sends them to her Mom and Dad, with links and quotes.

Now HE'S written me and said how much they both enjoy the stuff---I'm the cushy Grandma of the group, the Southern Voice, in all its permutations, and I've chattered on about everything from fried chicken to Church Suppers to squirrels to great long descriptions of family gatherings and little moments we've shared. He says they talk at dinner about our little family doings and the old times I remember, and read things to each other.

He e-mailed to ask would it be OK if he put a trip to our city into her Christmas Stocking, with a stay at a B&B, and a couple of days for us to meet and visit. What a wonderful, charming compliment, for someone to think that, merely from words on a page. And she's not looking at me as a Mom, so to speak; she has a perfectly wonderful one of her own, whom she praises and speaks of lovingly and proudly. I do believe I might look on her as another daughter, and think she'll fit right into our comfy clan.

And she seems delighted, so we'll be meeting after Easter. We chose a B&B for them, not too far from our house, mainly for the lovely house and beautiful gardens, which Chris and I just toured this sunny afternoon. We strolled the leafless paths of stone and wood and mulch, and crossed a bridge with a rippling stone watercourse flowing beneath; the pond with its bullfrog fountain tinkled merrily as we passed, and the trees and shrubs held the ripe promise of quick leafing and full bud soon to come.

I know they’ll enjoy their visit there, and hope that they will find our home as warm as the welcome in our hearts for these newfound friends, as we’re known only to each other through the Internet thus far. We have not heard each others’ voices, have not smiled into each others’ eyes, have not hugged in joy at first meeting.

And I don't want her to be disappointed, not in place and time and circumstance, and certainly not in ME. So I've been reading back and back into the things I’ve written, hoping that I've not put anything out there that's too flowery or plumped-up to meet expectations. I'm really looking forward to this, as she's a sweet, kind young woman who shares my love of family and friends, of meals around the family table, of little silly moments with the Grandchildren and memories of my own childhood in the hot, small-ltown South.

I think the visit will bring home the REAL of it, the ME of it, the true aspect of the warts-and-all, the dark, cloudy moments of some days, and the home-is-wonderful/home-is-refuge persona of my self. I'll be telling her a lot more before her visit, of the low times not mentioned, but perhaps I should save those confidings for the afternoons of iced-tea-in-the-arbor, whilst the menfolk are off doing man things to give us ladies some time to visit.

I’d love to be totally out there, totally exposed and naked and pure, with all my moments and days---even the drift from bright quicker than thought, and the return slow and stubborn.

I think the writing of the good times, with too much flower to it, too much lace, flows much easier than the dark, and there is the dark. Not shruggable, not shaking off the droplets from the tips of your hair as you emerge from the pool, not snap-out-of-it---I neither fear nor dread the telling, but I hope I haven't built a house I can't stand in.

7 comments:

Keetha said...

This sounds great - I bet you two are kindred spirits.

Rebecca said...

I'm envious! Have a wonderful time- you're both great souls!

racheld said...

Thank you Rebecca---and I yearn for the day that we waft the scents of all your wonderful spices through the rooms of my house, as we stir and sip and talk the day through, cooking your exotic food and my plain old Southern fare. What a day that will be!!! And there's always a room waiting for you---even a small girl-one down the hall with a bed for Kiddle.

And yes, Keetha, I think we are---we've shared fun things and serious things and very private moments of our lives. She cheers when I send news of what the Grands have accomplished or learned, and I wept with her lately, when her beloved Otis died at sixteen. I can't wait to meet her, and we'll probably blog together for a day or two.

Kim Shook said...

No worries, Rachel. Your heart shows through everything. I am not at all concerned about you not living up to your writing. Just thrilled that I finally get to know you for real. And I can't wait for an actual hug - after all the 'virtual' ones!

Rebecca said...

Now, wait, dear, MY cooking is plebian, YOURS is the exotic fare of corn meal and butter, those fascinating biscuits( I am going to eat an entire pan of them all by MYSELF) and sparkling glass dishes full of pickles and fruit salads, potatoes made into dreamy and creamy mayonnaise enhanced concoctions- chicken dipped into who-knows-what and flour and fried into a luscious decadent meal... the beans you've spoken about, that unusual iced tea- the cakes with fancy icings and such- my simple ancient meals are NOTHING compared to all of that exotic Southern cooking!

racheld said...

Au contraire, my dear Rebecca---it is YOUR cooking that I long to try, the amalgams and the mixtures and the carefully-chosen spices, ground just SO, and added with your practiced hand and the wisdom of generations.

You DO make Sunday Dinner sound totally delicious and beautiful, recipes perfected and passed down for decades, but your "simple ancient meals"---those are the ones which have stood the taste tests of centuries. I bow to your rich heritage of flavors and dedication to the art.

racheld said...

PS to Rebecca again:

DO see if your grocery store has Pillsbury biscuits in the FREEZER section. They come in a blue bag, and there are a dozen in there, just waiting to meet a hot oven and a pat of butter. You can cook them all-at-once, or just take out a couple for a quick supper.

They're real, osh-to-gosh rolled-out-and-cut biscuits, not the layery flaky ones in a can.

And be sure to get SOUTHERN style.