08 August 2008

I go bearing gifts

Two things I really like to do are buy gifts for people and wrap them as cute as possible. I am excited to be going back to Cassville, the town of 2000 people I grew up in, for a bridal shower for one of my childhood friends tomorrow. A bunch of the girls who knew me way back when will be there. Unfortunately, due to all the worry and stress I've been dealing with lately, my skin has gone wackadoodle (I got that word from Suede off Project Runway) and I might be looking the worst I've looked all summer. But these are the girls who knew me flat-chested (that lasted for a while, sadly) and in Jellies that didn't match the Jams (Jellies and Jams! I've never put that together before...) and too-short jeans we all lived in back then. They've seen me better; they've seen me worse. I couldn't find the towels Kandi registered for at Target so I got a few with similar color names (put those in the big bag) and then, since I was also invited to her personal shower but can't make it, I got her a cute little PJ set and some undies (something bright and funky like her, not lacy and cheesy) which I wrapped in the leopard print. I tied it with some black tulle and then hot-glued a vintage gold button in the center of the bow for added flair. Kandi is one of my oldest, fieriest, most fashionable friends and I have missed seeing her since she and her twin sister relocated to St. Louis. I used to spend the night at her house all the time and we always went to the Trojan PQ, the convenience store her parents owned in nearby Washburn (population 10, I think) and loaded up on junk food and VHS rentals. We often reached the convenience store by way of the red Firebird her parents bought for her before she was 16, even though she was a few months shy of being a licensed driver and I was barely 14. The night we watched Halloween, we got so scared creeping back down the hallway from our snack run to the kitchen (for Little Debbies, I remember) that we both took off running and dived on her bed, breaking off two of the legs and sending it crashing to the floor. Her poor dad James, jarred from a sound sleep by furniture hitting the floor and teenage girls screaming, had a little trouble understanding when we said we just both instantly saw Michael Myers' white face at the end of the hall and had to run. Her sister Brandi had a boyfriend our freshman year when Kandi and I did not, and we would always pester the guy to drive us into town to cruise and look for boyfriends of our own. (Kandi was "allowed" to drive the Firebird down the backroads to the store because she worked there regularly, but she wasn't allowed to drive much of anywhere else until she got the license, although she might have anyway...) Brendan and Brandi were in her room with the door closed one Friday night, and desperate to escape the house in the boonies for the bustling social scene of the Cassville square and the Sonic, and after already trying to lure them out by obnoxiously singing show tunes while Kandi pounded on their piano, we finally unfolded a clothes hanger and attached a pleading note ("Take us to town, Brendan--PLEASE!!!") to the end and waved it back and forth under the bedroom door until the exasperated couple took pity on us (or finished making out, maybe!). It wasn't too long before I found those boys I was looking for, and now that I am older and wiser, I really regret that I later got pretty wrapped up in teenage romances, some silly and some not, and neglected or wronged my friends like Kandi. I was that girl. The one who always chose the boy...and I wish I hadn't been. Brandi later took over the Firebird and Kandi got a charcoal Camaro that was equally awesome, if not awesomer, and she picked me up for school almost every day in it, early enough to stop at Casey's General Store for Mini-Middles. Funyuns and Mountain Dew to get our day at CHS started. I haven't met this Chris who has won the heart of my dear old friend, but I am glad that Kandi has found him and plans to marry him the day of my 32nd birthday in St. Louis. I still smile when I think of all the immature and hilarious things we did growing up in that sweet little town, and I can't wait to see those girls tomorrow. I don't think we've changed all that much...

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