Clowns in the front seat, joined at the heart

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 7, 2014

I met my friend Ann the first time as we waited to pick up our kids from school.
Like me, she had two in elementary and one in the car. We hit it off immediately, mostly because we shared the same warped sense of humor. By summertime we piled the kids in the car and headed to Morrow Mountain for swimming lessons and PB&Js several times a week. We were at best a six ring circus on wheels. Make that eight, counting the clowns in the front seat. Angels flew low surrounding her station wagon on all those trips up and down the mountain. Not one mishap! We won’t speak of the twenty-five mile per hour zone and the park ranger with nothing else to do. I’m sure he’s gone to Glory by now and is happily handing out tickets to all those zipping past his little cabin doing thirty two.
One day I spotted Ann’s car in a parking lot. This was BW [before Walmart] so maybe it was Roses at the Rowan Mall or Sky City at the Towne Mall. The particulars are fuzzy. But I do remember seeing a nasty disposable diaper in the space where she had parked. Just for fun, I scribbled a note and placed it on her windshield.
“Hey Lady- Is that your dirty diaper? Don’t be a litter bug!”
Since we were rather new friends, she had no idea that it was my handwriting and was quite insulted. All manner of unpleasantries rattled around in her head. It took a while before I confessed my mischief. It’s a wonder she ever accepted me back into the beloved.
Our children are grown and now we share a different bond. We’re both Grammys. Oh the joy! However, piling the kids in the car and heading to the park takes a lot more energy. Not because we’re about a hundred years older, but now we have to deal with all those pesky car seats. Back in the day we just stacked the six kids in like loaf bread with halfhearted instructions not to kill each other.
Recently as I cleaned out my desk, I came to grips with the fact that I cannot keep everything. Sadly, stacks of cards from kind people over the years needed to be tossed. However, all of Ann’s notes made the cut. Often she has written just a small word of encouragement at exactly the right time. How does she know? About the same time she was also going through some stuff and found my windshield note from yesteryear. She sent me a picture of it saying, “The things we choose to keep.”
Through the years we’ve endured a lot of life. Together we’ve learned the power of friendship, encouragement, and humor. While I tend toward mischief, she leans more to the kinder side. I’m just glad I made the cut. Maybe because we’re still just a couple clowns joined at the heart.
Lynna Clark lives and writes in Salisbury.