The Posse Rides Again

by Valerie Nusbaum

My husband and my mother will always be my best friends, but I’m blessed and happy to have a group of close women friends as well.  Randy refers to my friends as “The Posse.”

The posse is made up of eight women, and it’s a very diverse group. Four of the women are older than I am, one is exactly my age, and three are younger. There’s an age span of nearly twenty years. Three of the women are grandmothers, two have sons in college, and two have stepsons.  One of these ladies is the mother of quintuplets. Seriously.

One thing we all have in common is that each of us has a husband. We girls could spend hours trading stories about our spouses, but we don’t because that wouldn’t be right. Randy, if you’re reading this, don’t worry. I didn’t tell any of my friends about how you licked maple syrup off your shirt the other morning.

I became friends with three of these ladies through my arts and crafts adventures. Of the eight, three own and operate very successful businesses, three have full-time jobs, three are retired from the education field, two are partnered with their husbands in business, two have crafts businesses, and all of them volunteer and do charity work. If you were to add up the numbers I’ve just given you, you’d come up with more than eight, but these ladies are ambitious, hard-working and inspired to make the world a better place, so they do more than one thing. 

One friend makes purses, one makes soap, one makes absolutely everything, and one throws mega-parties. All of them are great cooks and bakers, which is probably why we talk about food so much and go out to eat a LOT. One of my friends and I attempted to visit restaurants that feature foods from all over the world, but after about twenty different places and cuisines, we settled on Mexican and Chinese.  In an aside, I’d like to advise you to never, ever eat something called “oily chili.”

One friend lives in Pennsylvania, and one in Virginia. One lives in the metro area and one in West Virginia. We make the time for each other, even if it means traveling.

Two of my friends have known me all my life, one began first grade with me, one married my cousin, and one dated my brother. One of my friends is my actual cousin, and two members of this group are sisters. These women are as different from each other as day and night; yet, I know that when I need a friend, at least one of them will be there to provide a shoulder or a laugh.

An added bonus is that our husbands get along well, and we’re able to double-date or have couples’ outings. Randy does occasionally feel as though he’s cheating on Wayne with Frank, but it all works out. I worry sometimes when I see Randy and Lou with their heads together, and I fear what might happen if the whole group of husbands got together to build something.

Of late, one of our topics of conversation is the fact that we’re all getting older and forgetting things. We blame it, alternately, on having too much to think about and on menopause.

Menopause is a great blame-all, isn’t it? No man alive will argue with us if we tell him we have “female” problems.

I was having lunch with my mother earlier this week at one of her favorite restaurants. The place is decorated with a lot of artwork and handmade items, and I happened to spy a framed piece of embroidery on the wall that hit home.

One of my friends and I had recently discussed the fear of really losing our memories. The little sampler was embroidered with the words “We’ll be friends until we’re old and senile. And then we’ll be NEW friends!”

I took a photo of the sampler and texted it to each member of the posse. Their responses were typical of each of them.

Joanie responded immediately with a smiley face and “I love that!”

Teresa was next with a laugh and “You got that right!”

Gail warned that “That could be sooner than we expect.” Then she texted about a movie she’d seen and a previous discussion that I don’t remember.

Linda agreed that “This is us!” and she loved it.

Susie agreed “So true” and added a separate thought about a note I had written her and we discussed her upcoming trip to Italy.

Cathy asked, “Where are you?” and then we discussed the restaurant.

Tricia (my cousin) responded that she loved the sample and me.

I didn’t hear back from Anita right away, but I knew that she was at work and could possibly be in a meeting or traveling. Two days later, I got this response:

“So old and senile that I forgot to respond. Hope you have a great day my old and new friend!”

I told Anita not to worry about not responding right away to the funny photo I had texted her about being old and senile. I’d turned off my phone and forgotten where I put it.

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