Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The thread of friendship stretches, but will not be broken--



I was born in West Virginia, but I have also lived in (no particular order because that’s how we sometimes moved): Virginia; Alpha and Dayton Ohio; Jacksonville (or was it Jackson?) and Fort Worth Texas, Shreveport and then Baton Rouge, Louisiana (where I lived in at least eleven different homes); and my Final Home, the little log house in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Home is important to me. Belonging. Finding roots to set far into the earth.


Visiting South Louisiana brings out varied emotions—I feel like a tourist, but at the same time, I lived there for many years. And, I left behind good friends there—a solid group of friends it took me into my forties to find, and a teenaged friend I have found again after not seeing each other for years. But it is always with a sense of relief when I see those mountains rising up in front of me as I round a corner in my BoopMobile. Just as I feel a sad seep into my bones when I see the mountains retreating in my rearview.


Even so, I can now feel excitement when I cross into the Louisiana State Line and know I’ll see my friends and know the food will be good and those granddaddy oaks will rise above me with their Spanish moss hanging, and the egrets flying over water water water water, slooowww moving water, the LSU flags, the cars and people and, well, all those things from the post below.


This trip was with a purpose—the Louisiana Book Festival. I can’t tell you how honored and happy I was to be invited. I’d attended a few of them myself, when I lived in Louisiana, and always in the back of my brain was the thought, “I hope I can do this one day as an author.” Getting that invitation from the Book Festival folks had me yippe yo kai yaying and whoohoooing!


On Friday night, at the author’s party, I stood in my black dress and heels, lipsticked and mascaraed, a glass of wine in my hand, a big ole grin slipping round my lips, and I looked out over the crowd of people. I had a badge on! I was an author this time! I saw Wally Lamb across the room and knowing our friend Angie Ledbetter (Gumbo Writer) loves him, and also knowing Angie was coming to the author’s party, I stepped over to him and said, “I have a friend in love with you and she’ll be here soon . . .” He smiled, introduced me to his wife, we said whatever we said, and then I said my goodbyes. Later, when Angie and I were standing around, eating from a heaping plate of fried fish and other Louisiana delicacies (oh, all the food was good – including the chocolate fountain we later found); I glanced across the room and saw Wally Lamb and his lovely wife listening to another gentleman. I said, “Come on; I told him you loved him . . .” Angie and I headed over there and as soon as Mr. Lamb turned to us (which was quick as a flea's blink!), I introduced Angie to him and stepped back to watch. Teeheehee. Angie said, “I can cross this off my bucket list now…” Made me laugh and smile.



Later in the evening, Angie and I escaped outside to sit in the cooling Louisiana night. The jazz band’s music and the lights from the State Library filtered out in that way that gives the impression of the party, but leaves it separate. I knew the next day I’d have my panel and book signing, and I admit I was a bit nervous. But right then, it was just my friend and me, sitting on the concrete steps, looking out at that night, being friends, wishing we didn’t live so far apart. For a moment, I could almost forget I lived 11 or so hours away; almost forget I didn’t leave my friend far behind to find my Home. The thread of friendship stretches far but never breaks. Still. I miss her greatly. We chatted a while, in our dressy clothes, our make-up, our missing each other.
The Louisiana night sky hovered above those two friends and covered them. The next day’s activities were far enough off to leave the evening peaceful, but filled with anticipation. But then, right then, it was all about the friends, nothing else was important.


I turned to my good friend; she turned to me. We smiled, wistful. That thread between friends is strong and will never be broken. I sit here now writing this and feel a bit like crying. Her Home is South Louisiana. My Home is the Mountains. Our thread is stretched far and wide.

22 comments:

~JarieLyn~ said...

Kathryn, the more I visit your blog, the more I enjoy it. I love your stories about friendship and Louisiana. It reminds me of my own thread of friendships stretched far and wide, yet unbreakable.

I think I would like living in North Carolina. I dream of living in the south, somewhere.....

Angie Ledbetter said...

Well, now I got tears in my coffee mug (the one from Maggie Valley with the general store's name on it). *sniff*

Miss you, and it WAS a great visit, and yes, our thread (more like a rope) won't ever get stretched thin enough to break. And that makes me happy.

Lurve ya

Susan R. Mills said...

There is nothing better than the strong thread of friendship.

Angie Ledbetter said...

PS Can I be Laverne? She's the big goofy one anyway, so it fits. LOL

Just saw the Oceans contest. Will put link up tomorrow at my blog. (Running the artists/artisans post again Thursday if you have any new links to send.) Dontcha love the way some people fill up ya commentation section with stuff that shoulda been sent in an email? heheeeee AWOOOOOOOOO

Tamika: said...

Friends are like family, the live in our hearts forever.

I'm so happy you were able to live your dream and attend this festival as an Author. Wow.

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Awhhhh I wanted so much to be with you girls!I'm so sad now! :(

Meghann LittleStudio said...

What a party! It is always nice to see friends. Though parting is sad, the reunions are always that much better, and you always make sure to say the important things when you do get together.
I hope you had a great time :)

Suldog said...

You almost had me shedding a tear there. What a lovely post this was.

Bonus points for including a photo of the young Penny Marshall. I had such a crush on her when I was a teenager! :-)

Diane said...

Very sweet! Gotta say, I love Laverne and Shirley.... :O)

Titus said...

Fabulous post, congratulations on the Book Festival but bigger congratulations on keeping friendships strong and true.

And reminds me I need to get my mental USA geography sorted out.

Deb@RGRamblings said...

Great post! I've got a big lump in my throat now :)

Sheila Deeth said...

Our threads stretch from here to England and back. Lovely story.

Karen said...

What a sweet tribute to your friend and how true relationships remain no matter what the distance.

Made me think of my friends who live all over the states. Thanks.

Char said...

what a blessing is friendship.

Sandra Leigh said...

First of all - My daughter used to live about twelve hours away from me. Now she has moved back to Ontario, and I haven't seen her in a couple of years. I long for her to move back out west and be "only" twelve hours away. Eleven hours? Pshaw! You two should take turns visiting -- quarterly.

Second of all, I'm trying to imagine what it was like for Wally Lamb to be introduced to Angie and find out that meeting him was on her bucket list. What an incredible compliment.

Judith Mercado said...

Kathryn, you give new meaning to the term, Voice. Your distinctive voice leaps, slides, smiles off the page and you take us wherever you're going each and every time. It is such a joy to read you. Thank you.

smiles4u said...

Oh Kat, how very beautiful! How beautiful to have a friend such as this. Friends like this are priceless and worth crying over.

t i m said...

aww, glad to hear you have such a good friend :)

Janna Qualman said...

I love how tight those threads can be pulled without breaking.

Deb Shucka said...

These friendships grow even more important over time. I love knowing the two of you have such a powerful friendship.

Marguerite said...

You two had better join a frequent flyers club or you could meet half- way for a fun weekend. I want to come, too! Great, moving post, cher!

Michelle said...

Someone once told me to think of it as cosmic chewing gum. It made the distance seem a little less serious :)