A year later, Grizel and I were good friends and walking buddies. We discussed our problems and our blessings on those 3 mile walks through the neighborhood at least 4 or 5 times a week. Our friendship grew stronger and my thighs got thinner. We were so devoted to walking and never let each other down. I have never, EVER, found that kind of walking buddy again.
Fonzie, Baby Tony, Cameron, Me, Will, and Grizel.
Our families went to Corpus Christi the summer of '91 together.
These two girls are now 26 year old women.
Because Grizel lived on another street, I soon met more people...her neighbors. Within months Chuck and I had found a new group of families to hang out with on Friday nights. The parents played Pictionary and all the kids destroyed the game room of whoever's home we were in. We ate chili con queso and drank margaritas and called it supper.
I remember knowing then that what I had was good. So good. You know "knock on wood"..."don't jinx it by saying it out loud" GOOD.
Grizel, Tawnya (the only one still living on that street), me and Debbie...
'92 wants their big earrings back.
For my 35th birthday, the girls hosted a surprise party for me at Grizel's home. I was totally shocked. Clueless. I knew "the girls" were all going out that night for dinner....but I was so tired and almost called and bowed out. Chuck kept telling me to go....that I would have fun....I would get a second wind. So I waited for my friend Debbie to come pick me up. Looking back now, I should have been suspicious when Debbie wanted to go fill her car up with gas before heading one street away to pick up Grizel.
Then one by one, these precious families moved away. One to California. One to Georgia. And then Grizel to Florida. By the time Grizel moved away, I had pulled my head in like a turtle because I just couldn't take any more goodbyes. If I just stayed in my house and stayed busy, I could pretend "the girls" still lived there. I could pretend Grizel didn't move to Florida. I could keep the sadness at bay.
But she did move to Florida. And our kids grew up. And the other day she messaged me on face book to see if we could get together while she was in town visiting her sister. I worked that day so I suggested maybe they could drive out to my store. And so she and her sister Cassandra did just that.
It was not possible to just say hi after 16 years so I asked my boss if I could check out for awhile and go to lunch. (Thank you Chrissy! You're the best.) Grizel, Cassandra and I talked non-stop for the next hour. And thank goodness for cell phones cameras, I have proof.
Thanks Grizel and Cassandra for making the drive over and taking me to lunch. And for your lasting friendship.
Before I end this post about my friend Grizel....just one more story to share.
Shortly after Grizel and her family moved to Florida, they came back to Houston for a brief visit. Grizel and Fonzie and the kids showed up at my house and knocked on my door that summer weekday unannounced around 10 a.m. It was summertime so we had no agenda and I had just gotten out of the shower....towel wrapped around my head. I sat there and visited with them for a while (so self conscious in my robe, toweled head and no make-up) and then Fonzie suggested we all go eat lunch out. (I didn't even offer them something to eat or drink...because I wasn't thinking...and I was in my robe and toweled head.) Fonzie must have been hungry and here was my chance to go get dressed fast!
I ran upstairs, dried my hair, dressed, slapped on make-up and
As we were leaving, Will's hair was bad. Bed head bad....and the kid's car was already loading up and waiting. With no time to wet it and try to make it stick down, I sent him upstairs to get his baseball cap....then headed out the back to get in my car with Grizel.
We arrive at the restaurant a few minutes apart and Fonzie looks at me and says......
Fonzie: Will's with you, right?
Me: No, Will's with you.
Fonzie: No, he wasn't with me.
Me: Yeah, right...Fonzie. (thinking he's kidding) You had the kids.
Fonzie: No, really.......
My head starts whipping around....looking at all the kids and realize that my 6 year old WILL GOT LEFT AT HOME ALONE!
Grizel and I get back in the car and take the 15 minute drive back to my house in 7 minutes. I call Will on my cell....
Will: hello (pouty, low voice)
Me: Hey Will! (happy, trying to fake him out voice)
Will: ulefme (You left me.)
Me: Hey I'm coming to get you now....stay right there! (happy, happy Day Camp Counselor voice....like this was all part of the plan)
Later....I asked Will what he did when he realized he was at home alone. He said he watched Cartoon Network.
This story is etched in my brain. But it's not the only time I left Will. Nope.
Another day. But Grizel was there that time, too.