Monday, January 28, 2013

Best friends - crazy with a capital "C"; AKA "Tam & Michele's Excellent Adventure"

From my experience, men can go for years without venturing from their homes for anything other than beer or a football game. If it can be brought into their homes via post, dropped from a helicopter or delivered on horseback, they’ll live happily in their caves.

Women, on the other hand, need outside contact. More than that, we crave friends. But nothing in this world beats a best friend.  A best friend knows you for all your charms and warts and pretends that you have more charm than warts.

I’ve been fortunate to have many friends. I’ve also been blessed to have a best friend. In fact, people call my friend, Michele, the “Ethel” to my Lucy. For good reason.

Back in 2009, as part of a story asking for supplies to send to our deployed troops, Michele accompanied me to Philadelphia to photograph my interviews with Scott Palmer of the Philadelphia Phillies as well Derek Boyko of the Eagles. Michele loves baseball and could identify the players, while I’m the same way with football. We figured we had all our bases covered; forgive the pun.

My Matt and Michele’s husband, Alex, were concerned; we are not known to have uneventful outings. Driving to the city together qualified as an all out Code Blue.

So Matt bought a Garmin GPS system, and patiently explained to the two of us how it worked. Sadly, I thought she was paying attention and she thought I was; neither of us remembered a word he said. Still, we plugged our destination into the GPS, and were off.

It probably won’t surprise you when I tell you that we hadn’t programmed the Garmin correctly; thankfully, Michele figured that out early on. Had we followed the directions the snooty computer lady kept screaming at us, we would have unintentionally turned into Thelma and Louse. We were certain it would have launched us off a bridge and into the Schuylkill River.

A trip that would normally take a little over an hour took us 3 hours, but we finally made it to the NovaCare center to speak with Derek.

As we walked up the steps to the complex, Michele suggested I take a picture of me standing in front of the building. That is, after “that guy” got out of the way. In her estimation, he was taking entirely too much time going down the stairs, and Michele began to get annoyed. She whispered, “How long does it take to walk down a stupid set of stairs?”

And that’s when it hit me - I knew who he was. I stuck my hand out and said, “Mr. McNabb? My name is Tamara Kells; the crazy blond isn’t with me.”

Yup; he was THE Donovan McNabb, who at the time, was the quarterback for the Eagles. He was very kind, and we had a nice conversation.

Derek came down, & brought out a big ol’ box, filled with Eagles t-shirts.  We pulled the car up, & he loaded it into the trunk.  He was very sweet, told me that what we were doing was really nice, & that if I needed anything else, to let him know (he doesn’t know me very well, does he?). 

It was too early to go to the Phillies, so Michele took me to Tony Luke’s.  Apparently, I was supposed to be impressed, but I’d never heard of this place.  This quickly became evident to Michele, who thought I should be admitted to the nearest hospital for crazy people (not that she would have been far from wrong).

Still, good food.

After we grabbed some lunch we went in search of the Phillies’ offices; and promptly got lost again. If you’re familiar with the sports complexes, you’ll understand why that’s such an amazing feat – they’re both within blocks of each other. However, the loud mouthed Garmin lady kept barking directions, which confused us. We knew we’d plugged in the wrong address once; we didn’t think we’d done it again.

But we had.

We went into the wrong parking lot at first.  A really, really sweet girl helped me by taking me into the building to an office where I was directed to the right place.  At this point, I should note that the gate I went through to go into said office was one way only.  I was on the wrong side of the gate, while Michele & the car were on the other.  Thankfully, she noticed my plight, & opened the door for me.  If not, I’d still be wandering around aimlessly, begging for alms.

We finally get to the right area, but, sadly, the office was a good clip from where we’d parked.  Normally, a light walk wouldn’t have been a problem.  But, noooo.  I’d decided to wear a wedged pair of heels.  My feet were killing me, & I was wobbling all the way there.  I kept glancing at Michele, wondering if she was strong enough to give me a piggy back ride.  I decided against it, since I couldn’t guarantee Alex that I’d get her home safe & sound as it was (due to traffic, the long drive & my driving “skills”).  However, if I delivered her with a sprained or paralyzed spine, I somehow doubt he’d let her accompany me on any future excellent adventures.  I carried on like a trooper - a big, whiney trooper.

We made it into the building & met Scott Palmer.  He took us into the elevator, & the next thing we knew, we were on a behind the scenes tour of the ballpark.  A very, very quick paced tour.  Mr. Palmer, aka Jesse Owens, seemed to think we were prepared for a nice jog.

We went into the clubhouse, & Michele took pictures of all of the guy’s (I don't know what they’re called) locker thingys.  We saw the batting cages, went out onto the ball park, & Michele was able to take a picture with the World Series trophy.  Thankfully, Mr. Palmer took the picture, as I couldn’t take a clear picture of a snail taking a nap.  I think I may have annoyed Mr. Palmer, though, because the first thing that came out of my unedited mouth was, "Gee, this is a lot smaller than a football field".    

Michele was able to keep up the brisk pace.  I (however) was lagging behind, concentrating on not falling off my shoes & breaking my ankle.  And if that wasn’t enough to keep me occupied, I began to have heat flashes.  But a good scout is never unprepared, so I fished a fan out of my purse.  I was able to surreptitiously fan myself until we rounded a corner.  I dropped the fan. 

Michele should really consider trying out for the Phillies.  That girl practically dove to pick it up before our guide could see.  But, ever the spry guy, he turned around & noticed.  Good times.

We FINALLY made it to Palmer’s office for, “the interview”.  He left & brought back some woman, who is their veteran’s affairs representative.  We sat & listened to the stories of what they do for soldiers. And honestly, it’s impressive the work they do behind the scenes.  I have to give them that.  They listed all the good things they do; & all without recognition.  So, kudos to them – seriously.

That was when I decided to ask if they would at least send something over to Rick & his unit.  And they said YES!!! 

They even went one step further.  Mr. Palmer would like Rick’s 
APO address, & they’ll see to it that his unit receives some type of care package.  My paper wouldn’t even have to pay the postage.  I’ll send that to him (Palmer, aka Jesse Owens) tomorrow, with a reminder that a lot of people’s eyes will be on him.  Hopefully, the kids will get some cool stuff.

We made it home in one piece, much to the surprise of our family and friends. But let's just say that the next time we head down to annoy sports figures, we'll have chaperones - also known as our husbands. And if they're not available, they'll probably send replacements - in the form of our kids. Yikes! Smells like teen supervision.

And more crazy . . .

Like most women, Michele and I can talk on the phone for hours; sometimes several times in one day. Men, if they bother to call, will usually say a few words and grunt several times, then hang up. But according to our spouses, we speak our own language – crazy.

Matt says our conversations, at the beginning, are like watching a tennis match. At first, you follow the game & like tennis, the back and forth make sense. Then, one of us remembers something, and out pops a subject that has nothing to do with what we were talking about. The two of us know what happened, but people listening to us claim it’s like trying to understand every conversation going on at a busy restaurant.

We both run large homeschool groups, and sometimes, when we’re at a function, I’ll be speaking to someone but can’t for the life of me remember their name. Michele knows the look, and comes over to say hello, then mentions the person’s name at least twice. She also has a look that I’m familiar with that lets me know she needs a reason to walk away. I don’t think that many people notice these “looks”, as they’re brief and subtle. But to us, they’re like bullhorns.

Best friends don’t come around every day and when they do, they’re worth more than their weight in gold. A BFF is the keeper of your secrets, has been given the password to your Facebook account (even if she can’t remember it), worries when you’re sick, understands that if you don’t call there’s a reason, will tell you that you’re wrong or that something you did was stupid (but if anyone else does, watch out!).

There have been times when I didn’t have a best friend; I’ve certainly never had one like Michele. I have to tell you, though, that I much prefer having a best friend to not. I hope that you, too, are blessed with a friend who knows and loves you, even if your warts outnumber your charms. Like my beloved mother in law, Gretchen always says, “Everyone should have a Michele”.

She’s never wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy
She was pretty dumb.