In 2000, my best friend Amy took a job here at the Democrat-Gazette. We’d worked together once already in a Beaumont, Texas, newsroom and I was thrilled when she moved to Arkansas.
Still in our 20s, we immediately pounced on the party scene, along with several other young reporters in the newsroom.
One night, we dropped by the Underground Pub, where we met a brand-new Dem-Gaz reporter named Traci.
We bonded over tales of a boy-cub reporter who already had cornered and hit on Traci. He had a habit of pursuing new female reporters. Amy and I shared tips for avoiding awkward encounters.
And thus a friendship was formed.
We compared bad dates, stalked errant boyfriends, went dancing and ate a lot of Taco Bell. One night, we decided to hold a sage-burning ceremony after one of us read an article on “cleansing” oneself of self-recrimination and regrets.
We sat on Amy’s apartment patio with a bottle of wine and wrote down everything we’d ever said or done that still troubled us. Then we burned sage and our little notes. Some things we shared, others we didn’t. And it worked! There’s something about acknowledging past actions that still bother you and then doing something that literally reduces those actions to ashes.
When Hubs and I decided to elope, Amy and Traci were the only ones who knew ahead of time. We took a celebratory trip to Austin. It was Traci’s first trip to Texas, and Amy and I laughed throughout the road trip over her wry observations.
“What is it with this place? Everything either has “Texas” or “Lone Star” in its name,” she said as we whizzed through town after town.
(Note: Traci now LIVES in Texas!)
When my Tootie had to be delivered early due to my pre-eclampsia, Amy and Traci raced out to buy preemie clothes for my baby girl. They brought them to the hospital within hours of Tootie’s birth.
During my second pregnancy, they listened patiently to my hormonal rants — although I’m sure they cackled over them later, just as Amy and I did when Traci ranted during her first pregnancy about her husband’s demon-cat.
Traci’s first baby was a boy.
Late last year, she had a little girl. And in February, Amy gave birth to her first baby, also a little girl.
The weekend before last, Traci and her husband came to visit.
At one point, she and Amy brought wee Darcy and Josie over to my house.
Tootie, who loves babies, immediately plopped on the floor. Watching her play with my friends’ daughters was so, so sweet.
After the visit, I emailed Traci:
“I’m so glad we got to see you and that sweet baby. One day, years from now, my daughter will lead yours in burning sage and confessing all …”
Traci quickly replied:
“What? My baby? No way. She’s going to stay away from bad boys and I’m counting on big brother Will to keep them away from her! She can wait until she meets the man of her dreams on her first day of work at the hospital (where she’ll be a doctor).”
But while I hope the girls don’t make some of the mistakes their mamas did, I do hope they will forge friendships like the one I share with Amy and Traci.
And now — photos!
Thanks for allowing me my trip down memory lane.
Tomorrow, we travel to a Buddhist temple in Bauxite.
(psst … Amy, Traci: I have a ton of other photos. I’ll get Hubs to burn disks for you!)