August 12th

August 12th was a beautiful day. We’re in Florida so it was 98,000 degrees, but it was a beautiful 98,000 degrees because my friend, Tarra had just returned from China. She’d been singing in a Shanghai nightclub for the past eight months.

WhatsApp kept us close. Text messages, videos and voice-recordings preserved our relationship.

“Plan a day for us,” she texted before her arrival.

I agreed, but I forgot to tell her that I rarely plan things anymore, not entire days at least. She’d find out soon enough.

We began that Saturday with breakfast at our favorite spot, Another Broken Egg.

“Do you mind if I invite John?” she asked.

I didn’t mind. I’d visited John’s home with her last year. Blue crab and conversation permeated the air and left me with a fondness for him. It was fine.

img_4677We talked and laughed over fried green tomatoes, lobster and Brie omelets, and shrimp and grits. Tarra’s overseas stories captivated my imagination, and reminded me of every other artist’s story; the opportunity to sing in another country was fascinating, but underhanded business practices seem to be the norm.

Once breakfast was over, a girl outside agreed to photograph our mini photo shoot:

Tarra by herself.

Tarra and me.

Tarra and John.

John and me.

Tarra, John, and me.

I’m grateful for younger people who understand the importance of documenting events. She didn’t ask questions or look annoyed.

A few weeks prior, I’d asked Tarra if she wanted to do a wine tasting.

“I’d love to,” she responded. “I’ve never been to one.”

Doing things that someone has never done before excites me. I dusted off my Cooper’s Hawk wine tasting gift card and we headed ten minutes up the street. My friend had only had an African Shiraz and hadn’t been very impressed. Now, we were on a red wine mission.

As the sommelier poured and explained each glass, I laughed as Tarra’s former educator-self shone through. Check + for Rosé. Check – for Lux Pinot Noir.

We talked about over-40 lady issues, her relationships, and my children. I shared my latest writing projects with her. We high-fived and toasted to achievements and marveled at how we’d attained them in the first place. That’s the type of friend she is. We’ve deemed one another Dream Partners. She was there when I completed my PhD and I was there before she stepped into her calling. Everyone needs someone to say, “You can do it,” especially when you’re not so sure you should, much less can. She’s that friend.

I checked my phone. It was two o’clock already.

“I have a confession,” I began, “I know it’s not like me, but I didn’t plan the rest of the day. I’ve changed quite a bit…not as anal as I used to be. I figured we’d just find something to do.”

“You know. That’s not like you at all, but we can do whatever.”

A thought popped into my mind. “Let’s take a riverboat tour!”

She agreed. Twenty minutes later, we were downtown and looking for the loading dock. We’d also lucked out and could do an hour tour with another group.

st_johns_river_artworkBy now it was 158,000 degrees outside, plus those eight tastings were slowly taking effect. I fell asleep about 15 minutes in, so much so that when Tarra woke me up just in time to take this picture, I didn’t even remember that I was on a boat. My photog instinct kicked in just in time. And I’m grateful because this is something I’ve only seen from the water.

“You’re welcome!” She said. “I thought you wouldn’t want to miss this.”

“Thank you,” I said, wiping my forehead with the toilet tissue the tour guide had handed me when we first boarded.

Our water taxi lasted much longer than an hour. The captain’s and tour guide’s shifts ended, and somehow, we ended up taking another lap around the St. Johns River with the new crew.

img_4725We disembarked by five o’clock and headed to her friend’s get together. There, three other women welcomed Tarra back to the States. One of the lady’s husbands had made blue crab, shrimp, sausage, and eggs, a Jacksonville staple. We sat around the round, glass table and reveled in Tarra’s growth and presence. It’s hard not to leap spiritual bounds when you’ve been living independently overseas.

My phone read 9:00. It was time for me to hug Tarra good-bye and head back home.

I reflected on the twelve hours we’d shared. They were easy. They were calm. They were relaxing. They were exactly how I would expect spending the day with a friend should be.

65 thoughts on “August 12th

  1. Sounds like a perfect day out together. It’s a blessing to have friends like these, who, even after being physically apart for such a time, can make you feel right at home when you see them 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It really was! Neil. That is the only thing I order whenever I go there lol. I can’t bring myself to try anything else for fear of it being inadequate. And yes. She’s pretty awesome. Right now she’s in New York.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You know it is pleasure rather than obligation when you lose track of the time, want to stay and talk all day. One sister and a couple friends are in that category, comfortable relationships where we have fun no matter what we do. I love the idea of being “dream partners” to support each others goals–everybody needs one of those! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Most definitely Joan and that’s where I’ve tried to kind of live my life over the past 3-4 years, out of pleasure. If I feel as if I have to do something out of obligation, then I stop for a minute and assess.

      Glad to hear you also have a few people who are not in the obligation category too!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Kathy, it sounds like a day to treasure, which you certainly did. Writing about it is so beautiful because it will brings it all back when you read it again someday in the future.
    More and more as I’ve gotten older, I realize how important reconnecting with friends is.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I guess that’s why I like to schedule at least a day/time for people because I want to be able to fully invest in activity (ies). But I hear you…it’s not for everyone. She’s actually working on a one-woman show she’ll be running in October, and then after that a few plays/musicals. I probably won’t be conducting any interviews with her lol If you Google her name: Tarra Conner Jones, then you’ll probably find a few others who have. Here’s a YouTube video from one:

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oooh…thanks for sharing, I’ll have a look tonight. I kid- it just depends on the person. Sounds like you could just be you, including napping without fear of offending so that wouldn’t be too draining.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. What a wonderful day Kathy, I can sense your joy and contentment. Yes, we all need a friend like that.
    Generous and positive – and we need to be.
    I love unplanned days too whenever there is a chance….and that food, ………

    Liked by 3 people

  5. There’s nothing better than sharing a day with a dear friend 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    I especially loved your observation: “Everyone needs someone to say, “You can do it,” especially when you’re not so sure you should, much less can. She’s that friend.”
    ~ I totally agree. It was such a friend that set me off on my writing career.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Most definitely Rosaliene! Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, although I wholeheartedly believe that we should find strength in ourselves, the importance of outside motivation (in the form of relationships) hasn’t escaped me; it’s also important. Glad you recognized this to be true in your own life as well 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That sounds like a wonderful visit and day. I’m like you, I don’t like planning the whole day either. I know too many people who want to plan the party and the outcome… jc

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Love this, Kathy! Go with the flow – I’m working on that too. 🙂 I’m about to go on vacation – at the airport. Please send blessings. And have a beautiful few weeks (wrote a blog late last night for Forgiving Fridays!!) Love Love Love, Debbie

    Liked by 3 people

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