I was leaving the parking lot at work on Tuesday when my daughter called. She was calling from her car phone asking if I would like to have dinner with her and the little boys. I was disappointed not to eat with my youngest grandchildren but I had a dinner reservation at the Cottonwood with a friend. With regret I told her that I already had a dinner date. Teasingly she said, “ Boys, Grandma said she doesn’t want to have dinner with you tonight.” Four year old Maxton could be heard in the background crying out, “Whyyyyyy?” I was adamantly refuting her statement and admonished Paige to tell them the truth. She was laughing. The next thing I heard over the car phone was Maxton’s voice exclaiming, “I don’t like you any more, Grandma!” That statement from Maxton really made my daughter laugh. I on the other end of the phone wanted to beat his mother! Paige can be such a tease sometimes. The two of us were both laughing at the boy’s reactions. She finally explained why I could not go to dinner. It hurt Maxton’s feelings and although disappointed he got over it rather quickly.
I continued my drive home. Turning onto Blackpool Drive I could see my friend was already parked outside my house ready to taxi me to the restaurant. I parked in the garage, ran through the house flipping on the porch lights and opened the door to her car. Once seated and buckled up she commented on my hat. “I love your hat. That looks so good on you.” I flung my wool hat aside and said, “You will like this even more!” She squealed with delight, “Oh, look at your hair!” I have gotten bold and finally removed my hat while I am at work. It is extremely short; only one half to three quarters of an inch long on the top. My hair is salt and pepper in color (more salt than pepper) but my head is completely covered and it finally lies down nicely. I look like a man but I don’t care. I have hair. I wear it proudly.
I remember my friend, Pam and her words ring in my ears, “It is only hair, Nick and it will grow back.” I look upwards and think to myself and Pam, “You are right, Pammy. It did grow back. I wish you were here to see it.”
Vicky is my childhood chum that I have not seen in years. We have been friends since the fourth grade. She and I used to stand proudly in front of the class and sing duets together. We thought we were so good. I shared in my last blog that I am not musical but you couldn’t convince me of that when I was ten years old. I thought the world should be delighted to hear Vicky and I sing. Oh the innocence of childhood thinking.
Vicky now likes to be called by her nickname, Vika. I am trying to remember that. Vika is the Hawaiian name that her father in law gave to her when she first met him and I must admit the name fits her personality. Like me, she prefers her nickname to her birth name.
When we were younger other children would taunt and tease her. They were disrespectful and extremely hurtful. My daddy would always say to me, “Juanita, be ‘bery ‘nice to, ‘Bicky’.” My father was from the Philippines as was Vicky’s dad and he spoke with broken English. I wanted to protect my new friend. As a child I was not as bold as I am now but I could be Vicky’s fiercest defender.
Vika was born with a birth defect. Her arms are not fully formed. At the end of her short arms, her hands curl inward towards her body and she is missing both thumbs. Without thumbs she holds an ink pen between two fingers and her penmanship is superb. Vika is a smart, confident and extremely compassionate woman. She is beautiful to me.
We were best friends in grade school but went our separate ways in junior and high school. Although we remained friends we lost track of each other after graduation and would only see one another at class reunions. Vika re-entered my life last spring when I was diagnosed with cancer. Her eyes twinkle when she is recanting something funny we did as children and they mist when she speaks of our friendship and what it means to her today. She always brings a smile to my face. Vika is a true friend and a very special blessing to me. As children we walked hand in hand together. As adults we are walking heart to heart.