Sunday, January 23, 2011

Miss Elaine and Me

(a sidewalk card from my kids)

Today is Miss Elaine's birthday. How old or young she is, does not matter here.

What matters, among other things about her, is the simple fact that we share a birthday and she is my friend.

Miss Elaine never, EVER forgets my birthday. Every year, a card with a personal note arrives in the mail to let me know she was thinking of me on our shared, special day.

Every year, around January 10th, I say to myself, "Gotta get a card and get it in the mail by January 20th so it gets there on time."

Lots of years I do just that. Some years I drop the ball and then call her on the day.

Occasionally, I am able to drop in on her on January 23rd and sit in her parlor and chat.

We talk about family, hers and mine.

(Here's mine)

I thought that was going to happen today. I was home in St. Augustine for a family birthday at Mom and Dads and I had figured I could swing by and either surprise her or drop a card in her door so she would know I remembered.

That's the thing about best laid plans, ... what you thought would happen sometimes gets derailed.

As it did today.

I'm home now ... just got in about an hour ago. My bags are unpacked, the house is quiet, so let me share a little about Miss Elaine.

Miss Elaine's daughter is one of my best friends and I have known Miss Elaine since I met her baby girl back in 7th grade.

Her daughter and I became part of a circle of close friends that made it all the way through junior high, high school, college, and real life while remaining good friends, even if we rarely see each other anymore.

If you think back to your teen years, there were probably some adults, other than your parents who played important roles in your life. Maybe they listened to you, maybe they advised you, or maybe they were just always there, rock solid and supportive.

Miss Elaine was that to a lot of teens who passed through her house.

I learned a lot of things from Miss Elaine way back then.

This is only a small sample ....

I learned poodles just may be the smartest dog on the planet. Miss Elaine had a poodle named Angelique that, when I think back upon it, may have been smarter than some of my middle school students.

Yes, I'm sure of it.

For a young FC, whose wonderful mixed mutts could not even comprehend a simple "sit" command, Angelique was a canine Einstein.

(of course, MY dog is an artist)

I had my first caviar at Miss Elaine's house. I wasn't going to even try it, but she made me and now I can honestly say, "I don't like caviar". I don't think she cared if I liked it or not, but she cared about me not trying it.

I had my first steamed oyster via microwave oven at Miss Elaine's house too.

I did like them.

Usually, steamed oysters are a big messy outside event with a fire, sheet metal, and wet croaker sacks.

This was a glass corning ware dish and some saran wrap.

They were delicious.

I worked on a farm as a teenager and once I showed up with a passel of other teens at Miss Elaines . I had just finished a 16 hour shift ... I worked the harvest season in a packing house.

Miss Elaine was a Registered Nurse and I had no sooner whined about how sore my shoulders were than she ordered me to lie down on the floor and in about 3 minutes she had rubbed all the soreness out of my neck and shoulders.

It was amazing.

These are little things on the surface, and probably not memorable to Miss Elaine, but here I am 30 years later and I can see them clear as a bell.

You never know what's sinking in when you talk to kids, what bounces off, ... what sticks.
So, grown ups, ... do a good job like Miss Elaine did.

Maybe somebody will remember those moments 30 years from now.

... even if you don't share a common birthday.

Happy Birthday Miss Elaine.

It's 11:41 pm ,so I did get your card on time.


threecollie said...

That is beautiful. Wonderful folks who shine a beacon on down through the years for impressionable teenagers.

Sayre said...

I call those people my other mothers. We lost a couple this past year and it's sad. I still have a couple left, though - and I treasure them. Took one some soup and a loaf of french bread this past weekend because things are a little rough for her right now. There's not much I can do to help, but I can bring her soup.

Happy birthday, Miss Elaine!

Miz S said...

Aw. Does Miss Elaine read your blog? I hope so.

Miz S said...

Oh. Duh. Of course she reads your blog. This is your birthday card to her.

Double Duh. I forgot to say...Happy Birthday to one of my all-time favorite bloggers! I believe you and I were born the same year? 1958? I am right on your heels, just a few weeks from now :)

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Miss Elaine.

kevin said...

Yes, Happy Birthday Miss Elaine.

Tree Hugger said...

I don't know if Miss Elaine can read your blog or has it saved???? She's 80 today and JUST got a computer. I'll send her an email to make sure she does. Feel free to read mine to copy and paste.

Dani said...

Happy Birthday to you my friend!

Dani said...

Poodles Rock!

robin andrea said...

Happy birthday to you and to the lovely Miss Elaine! What a wonderful birthday card.

roger said...

a nice paean to alternate moms, addressed to your own alt mom, and a reminder to us of our own alt moms. thanks.

happy b'day to you both.

Karl said...

Good afternoon FC,

A fine tribute. Happy Birthday to you both.

cndymkr / jean said...

Happy Birthday to the both of you. Enjoy the day.

Ericka said...


happy birthday to you and your miss elaine. :-)

kathy a. said...

belated happy birthday, FC, and a long-distance happy birthday to miss elaine!

it is so incredibly special when someone becomes our "other" mom. mine is long gone, but she meant [means] the world to me.

Sayre said...

Oh, and happy birthday! In reading about Miss Elaine, I totally missed the "We share a birthday" part!!!

Caroline said...

Bless the Miss Elaines of the World!
Hope both of your birthday cakes were yummy and festive.

Floridacracker said...

Thanks y'all!

The family got me a sweet little toy that could spice things up here cinematically once I get through reading the manual and figuring out proper usage.

Thunder Dave said...

Happy Birthday (late)!
Had issues the past few days getting on the internet!

How about some company again in a few weeks?

Bill said...

Happy birthday FC,Miss Elaine, Kevin and Kelly. Been down with the flu this week so missed everyone. Saw Miss Elaine at Publix not long ago. She still has it.


Floridacracker said...

Yes. Your beer is still here.

Buddy, get your flu shot next year.
Glad you are feeling better.

lesle said ... said...

FC, thank you for your present to us, your blog, most every day of the year.