When we were little, Rachel used to grab the microphone in primary and yell, “Hey folks! It’s Howdy Doody time!” I, on the other hand, was a freakishly shy introvert possessed of a nervous grimace—turning down my bottom lip repeatedly which caused severe chapping. Rachel frightened me. I don’t know how it happened, but we hooked up around 4th grade and it’s lucky for me that we did. She was an important part of my social development. At 5th grade camp I shined my flashlight on her while she (willingly) performed a (partial) striptease and we all sang the song,"Day is Done," from the previous night’s flag ceremony in mock reverence. She’s brash. She’s bossy. She’s wild. She’s wonderful. (But she doesn’t strip anymore.)
Rachel recently built a house in a very fancy neighborhood. I have been nervous about this because right on her street lives a person with whom we went to high school—a person with whom I have just a little bit of history. At this point I must proceed with caution. There is a family in my ward (I may have mentioned them before) who occasionally reads my blog. Well, said family knows this person so I will go against my general practice and be discrete. Discretion is, after all, the better part of valor.
In high school, for some reason, I thought that I could actually run for student government. I was naïve enough to run against Rachel’s future neighbor who belonged to one of those PHS dynasty families. Belonging to the proletariat myself, I underestimated the role this would play in the election. I worked hard on clever and catchy slogans, hung up posters—the whole nine yards. This was a big deal for me. Recall, a few short years ago I was chapping it up pre-Rachel style. My opponent’s posters said, of course, “Vote For ___ ___.” She won.
Apparently this is how high school politics work. In my case, I was a dork and I lost. But I have actually heard of people who are well-liked, funny, good looking, and even athletic who lost to the stupid dynasty candidate. So if you have lost to an unworthy opponent, take heart. Look at me: it’s been 15 years and I am so totally over it!
But my story with Rachel’s neighbor doesn’t end with the election. On the last day of school we were in overlapping groups exchanging year books and we came face to face. We exchanged books, though we would not have sought each other out to do this otherwise. I (the loser) didn’t have hard feelings. It’s just embarrassing to be the loser. She (the winner) had no reason to feel awkward but in my mind I thought I needed to dispel the awkwardness with humor. So in her yearbook I wrote, “No hard feelings about the election! When I toilet papered your house and slashed your tires it wasn’t out of spite, just good fun! From, Kacy” Later I turned to the page she had signed in my yearbook to find that she had written, of course, “You’re so cute. Have a great summer.” I’ve worried from time to time that she may not have “gotten” the conciliatory spirit of my yearbook entry; alas.
So I recently went to lunch with Rachel and was relieved to find that her allegiance has not shifted. Rachel moved into the neighborhood in all her “hillbilly glory” (her words) 9 months pregnant, with no counter tops, no dishwasher, no stove, or yard to speak of. When the welcoming committee came by with gifts Rachel was dripping with sweat because the AC wasn’t installed either. Her baby is born now and the house is finished (with all appliances—but still no yard. Scandalous!). The cool thing about Rachel, which most of her neighbors don’t know, is that her fancy house is completely paid for. And the yard will be too. Her neighbors who are “just so unsatisfied with the way things are going and will probably be moving into a gated community soon,” don’t know what to make of Rachel, who sends her kids to the “not so good” school with their cousins even though she’s zoned for a much “better” school. “I don’t want my kids growing up with THOSE people!” she shrieks. She also told me they have bottled water for the kids in nursery at church, but that has to be an exaggeration, even though she did seem serious when she said it.
Anyway, I am thankful for Rachel. Her loyalty is in tact and I am glad. I don’t know, if I moved into a fancy neighborhood I might totally blow off my old friends. If I had any.