Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Smuddy from another.... wait, what's a Smuddy?

No one is safe from my mad blogging skills. Not even my best friend Julie, although I do not talk about her much. She is my best kept secret, the ying to my yang and a true treasure. Maybe that's why I also call her Jules. Julie and I met in 1994, our freshman year of college at good ole' Garden City Community College, taking one of those stupid required Frosh classes that no one can escape.

It was an accidental friendship, one that just occurred. Julie's gorgeous, big blue eyes, long brown hair and skinny frame matched my small, green eyes, blondish hair and skinny frame. She had grown up in Garden City her whole life as the middle child of three siblings (a younger brother and an older sister). Julie is the smart, sensible one- resembling her mom in all aspects of beauty, grace and intelligence and possessing both parents' business sense. And if you know me at all, well then, no further explanation is needed.

Julie loved performing on stage with her flair for the dramatic while maintaining a steady ground. This while I did not perform on stage, but rather as a cheerleader with my drama queen tendencies. Julie was (and is) a natural leader, holding an assistant manager position at the local theater while I grudgingly worked as a waitress.

Julie's upper- middle class family was a sharp contrast to my..... not so middle class upbringing. The good Catholic girl who held firm to her morals and beliefs while my loose, Christian (by choice) life was already tainted. Julie dated, but was never promiscuous. I had one boyfriend, always loyal, no matter how horrible the relationship.

I don't remember how it started, but I remember Jeremy, the guy she pined for since high school (and what a jerk he was). Julie had a party one weekend while her parents were away. The night ended not that great and I was quick to clean up so that when she awoke, there was no added stress. Let's just say lots of alcohol, some puking, a broken key in the doorknob and her parents' bedroom incurring some small damages. What does this have to do with Jeremy? Julie wanted him to come over and there was some issue with another girl and Julie got into a spat on the phone with the girl.

Me taking care of her sealed the deal for our friendship. We were inseparable. We made trips to McDonald's, wearing the plastic bibs and ordering food in high- pitched, stupid voices. We previewed moves before they were open to the public, sitting in the exact center of the theater, because that was where Julie liked to sit. Julie had driven a sweet, 1965 Corvair through high school and then her dad sold it after a family member passed away and left behind a 1970- something Monte Carlo... the color? A goldish- brown. Julie was NOT happy, but it had something to do with gas and insurance. We signed up for an 8 a.m. College Algebra class and on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, Julie would pick me up for school and we would go through the drive- through of Mickey D's and order two medium Cokes and two apple pies each. Yummy. Julie got The Rachel cut and sported it well, as only Julie could. I was jealous. I mean, hello, who didn't want The Rachel.

There was the Halloween where I dressed up as Genie and Julie did my hair and makeup, walking around campus with me as I granted wishes. There was the New Year's Eve where we ended up catching up right before midnight to open a bottle of champagne together. There was the youth group club we belonged to in which we signed up to deliver flowers and balloons on Valentine's Day for the local grocery store. During that time, we saw a woman wearing an ill- fitting and looking dress (moo- moo?) with sunflowers all over it. This began our Suuuuunflooooweeeerrrr conversation and our nickname for each other. This began years and years of sending each other things in the mail, from books to pictures to cards, to one another with sunflowers. There was the day we were cleaning out her bedroom and found the Smud. Spackled Smud. Smud from Nickelodeon.

The infamous Smud nickname came to be. No one ever knew what the hell we were talking about. Sunflower, Smud...... and oh dear lord if there is not an organization in San Francisco named Smud and we shall become employed there. There was the year that the Newman Club had to decide which one of us would represent them for homecoming queen candidate. She won, but not after we choked each other out, slammed one another against the door... all in good fun people! I ended up being nominated for another organization. Ultimately, Julie was a finalist and represented quite beautifully. Our fun together was had that night when we sang the National Anthem before the start of the basketball game. That same year was spent going on a mission trip and skiing during Spring Break. We spent the first few days on an Indian Reservation in New Mexico. Here we helped to repair the small community and participated in some traditions.

Such as the Smoke.

Yes, the Smoke. Sort of like a sweat lodge, or sauna. Normally the members would sit naked together while sweating out the demons in a small teepee. Julie and I being the only girls, we opted to buy a couple of towels from Kmart and wear those. Of course, we ran through the Kmart with various towels wrapped around our clothes, arms flailing and crazy voices protruding our mouths. We had a picture taken of us after the Smoke, white towels filthy and skin red as lobsters. We smoked peyote and even watched Joe's Apartment with the group. We left to Colorado to go skiing, where Julie mastered snowboarding while I just continued up to the black diamond trails with the guys. We spent time soaking in the jacuzzi at our hotel and yukking it up with the other members of the group.

I think that last year of school at Garden, before we went our separate ways, was the most eventful. This was the year her parents separated after 25 years of marriage. Julie and I had spent many, many afternoons cuddled up together on the couch in the Green Room of the theater department and people would often walk in on us, stop and stare in a stumped manner, only to turn and walk away. This was where I consoled her as she cried over this crappy decision they had made. She and I participated in a production together, where she played "bartender", wearing her cute little hot pants and black vest with white shirt and black tie. We bought matching bikinis, hers a metallic blue and mine a metallic purple and we were spotted playing put- put in our swimsuits and shorts. On graduation day, her graduation, Julie took meticulous measures to perfectly construct a sunflower on her cap. That was Julie, everything she did was well thought out and perfect.

But that was the last year we were together. 1997. I would be moving to Phoenix with John. Julie was applying to airlines to be a flight attendant, wanting to travel the world. I was not done with school and would continue with my bachelor's degree when he and I settled in wherever. Julie and I said our goodbyes the night before and at noon that day, as John and I headed west out of Kansas, I broke down in tears because I already missed her. I would later find out that she started crying at the same time. Julie went to work for Delta and later United. The scariest day of my life was September 11, 2001. John had picked me up from work, but I was on his cell phone trying to reach her, unable to do so. When I found out that there was a United flight which had gone down in Pennyslvania, I was horrified. I would later be contacted by her and advised that they had just taken off from Atlanta when everything occurred and were immediately grounded.

Julie had visited me when we moved to Ohio. Her goal: Cedar Point. We spent an evening riding roller coasters, demon drops and water rides. We gorged ourselves on alcohol, Wendy's and bar food. We played pool, we laughed, we lounged. Julie was there for my baby shower, sitting by my side as I opened gifts. We talked for hours on end on the phone. No conversation was shorter than 4 hours. Julie was now living in Denver, after leaving Delta and Portland. Here, she was reunited with someone she knew from high school. She made me promise that no proposal would be given to her on a "holiday" such as Christmas or Valentine's. Brett and Julie were engaged on Valentine's Day 2002. The wedding was set for July 2003, only being pushed up to November of 2002 to ensure Brett's grandfather could make the wedding. I was pregnant with Zach, but would not miss out on this day to stand up with my best friend. And of course, who would have wanted to miss out on me reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "How Do I Love Thee" to them and dancing to our song with Julie- Wind Beneath My Wings? I would not have missed Julie sticking her tongue to the ice sculpture at the end of the night, leaving the ballroom with her yelling "I'm thtuck! I'm thtuck!"

Julie no longer works for the airlines. After the attacks and her marriage, Brett and Julie moved back to Kansas to pursue bachelor's degrees- Brett's second and Julie's first. They have been married for nine years now. The purpose of this long, hilarious story of ours is my gift (sort of) to her upon completion of her Master's degree and graduation from Kansas State University on December 9th. She worked so long and hard for this, originally intending on going to PA school, but instead going for a Public Health degree. They just moved to Kansas City to finally begin the life they have been working toward for the last six or seven years.

Julie is a person who spends a lot of time thoroughly planning what she wants. And I mean right down to the last detail. Julie sticks to her convictions and beliefs. She is well educated on topics and most people think her to be a snob, but she's not. Julie is well rounded with enjoying hobbies such as golf, ballets, symphonies and has put her entire being into her marriage. When the time comes for her to have children, she will be one of the best moms I know and won't do so until she has her house. And a dog. Julie will never drive a minivan, but will drive an SUV, like an Escalade. Julie is classy with tastes running modern, but classic. Her styles will never die out and she never does anything conventional, but often traditional. You won't find her on Facebook, Twitter or Google+, refusing to give in to living a "social network life". Julie listens to country or classic rock. She is not like me with my Eminem, Buckcherry and Kid Rock. But given the chance, you would most definitely find us at a Keith Urban or Tom Petty concert.

Fun facts about Julie and I: My birthday is April 10, her mom's is April 12. Julie's birthday is June 24, my mom's is June 26th.

We were both married in November, a year apart. Both of our wedding days were unseasonably warm, sunny and NO SNOW considering where we lived.

We will have completed a Master's degree six months apart. We both attended KSU, although mine was only for a semester :) Both our schools' (college) colors are purple and white.

We made a pact to travel to Greece when we turned 30. I think we may have to wait until we are 40.

Favorite shows: Friends, Grey's Anatomy

We once made a will for each other in a drunken stupor, sitting at Denny's smoking cigarettes. The waitress was our signed witness.

I have no idea what her favorite color is.

Her favorite flower is the Calla Lily. Mine is the tulip.

The last time we saw each other was at her wedding in 2002. That's 9 years ago. That's too long. Lord help the city stuck with us reuniting.

We both have maiden names that were always mispronounced, despite the spellings being very easy. Duh.

I love her very much, she is like a sister to me. Even though she has her own sister. She understands me and never judges. Yes, we've had a couple fights, but dammit, who hasn't?

She refused to call me on my birthday because she was upset about something happening in her life and didn't want to ruin my day. HELLO! Call me anytime you goof!

She is the most beautiful person I know.