“Okay, who ate the last Snicker’s bar?” I yelled at my girlfriends, hovering like vultures over the coffee table laden with junk food. It was our annual girl’s weekend at the beach house, in Santa Cruz. The event was planned as it was every year with massages, facials, walks by the water’s edge and our favorite deadly sin, gluttony.
“Relax Jackie. We bought a box of thirty-six from Costco. We also have a case of M&M’s, Starbursts, Butterfingers and 3 Musketeers. There is more than enough garbage here to satisfy your candy craving, plus every other craving as well,” my petite, raven haired friend, Jean, said.
Every March, four close women rendezvoused for three days. It was a time to forget our troubles, bond without children screaming from the room next door and to let out hair down. We devoted ourselves to girl talk, giggling, silly jokes and lots of gossip.
“Did you see what Barbara was wearing the other night at the charity function?” I critically stated. “She looked like she belonged on some street corner in the red light district of New York or on the pages of a Frederick’s of Hollywood catalog!” Grabbing my glass of wine and settling back on the couch, I hissed, “God she’s brazen. She’s no spring chicken, you know.”
For a brief moment, my blond, blue eyed friend, Sally, looked at me quizzically. “Jackie, sounds like you’re a little jealous.” Then, defending her friend’s honor, she added said, “at sixty-years-old, she’s still got it. I think she should flaunt it.”
But all this frivolity would not be complete without cases of wine and the various food groups we never eat at any other time – chips, dip, cookies, crackers, cheese, nuts, candy, candy, and candy. Whenever we decided it was cocktail hour, and let’s face it, it is always five o’clock somewhere in the world, we descended upon that table. A chair would be too dignified to sit on. Plus, a chair would pull you that much further away from the “party” so we sat on the floor with our chins right up to the edge of the Formica slab ready to dive in. For three days we stuffed, got sloshed, got sick to our tummies and did it all over again.
“Oh God, I feel like I am about to throw up,” Sally cried as she doubled over in pain into a ball on the over stuffed leather couch.
“Just give your stomach a rest.” Knowing this was customary to Sally’s behavior, Lisa, our largest friend in the group standing at six feet tall, assured her best friend, “you’ll be back for round two in a couple of hours.”
“I think I have gained ten pounds and it is only the first day,” exclaimed Jean.
“Oh shut-up! You say that every trip.” I exclaimed, exasperated. “You know there’s always tomorrow to get back on our diets.” Pushing aside the various empty bags and wrappers, I added, “So let’s not worry and just have fun. Now what haven’t I eaten. Would someone please pass me the Oreos.”
Tomorrow. That gift we’re given to make all the wrongs of today right again. We have tomorrow to finish that project at work that has been sitting there for days. We have tomorrow to clean our filthy house. We also have tomorrow to go grocery shopping and do the laundry (that is if we have enough clean underwear). We even have until tomorrow to tell someone “I love you” or to say “I’m sorry” for being mean, rude or inattentive.
I’m still so mad. I’ll apologize tomorrow – if I feel like it. I think I will make them suffer for one more day.
But what if we didn’t get that tomorrow? We often take for granted that it will just show up, not only for ourselves but for everyone around us. We feel as if time is forever. That we have “all the time in the world” so what is all the fuss about? I know I have been guilty of that.
I need to renew my real estate license. It is due in April, but what is the hurry. I still have 4 months. I can do it tomorrow. Four months can go by very quickly and then I find myself scrambling at the last moment to complete the paperwork.
A couple of years ago, I was given the phone call that my favorite uncle was deathly ill and probably had only six months to live. The last time I’d seen him was at my mom’s funeral and I’d vowed everyday that I was going to visit him and his family soon. Without paying attention, two years flew by a lot faster than four months.
“Jackie, Uncle Dave has cancer,” my older brother, David, sadly informed me. They just discovered it and they are sure it is pancreatic. They don’t give him much time to live.”
“I’m going to go down this weekend. I stated, determined to make up for lost time. “I want to spend time with him before he gets really sick,”
The next day he was gone.
I never got that one last chance to spend a precious moment with the man who greatly influenced my life. He was the man who instilled my love of music and art. It was my Uncle Dave who took me by the hand as little girl to study paintings in the local art galleries of Laguna Beach. Seeing how fascinated I was with the use of color and design, he gave me my first art set of pens and paper which sent me on the path of being an artist in San Francisco where I sold my own paintings in the 1970’s.
It was also my Uncle Dave who gave me my first guitar. Placing my young ten-year-old body on a chair next to him, he taught me how to form my uncoordinated fingers on the bars to make chords which ultimately produced music. As the years passed, this not only provided me with personal enjoyment, but allowed me to share this talent with others as I played in musical groups at weddings and teaching songs to my children and their friends.
Uncle Dave was also this superb individual who made me realize that even though we grow up physically, it’s okay to keep that child in your heart alive and running free. Watching him play with his daughter, nieces and nephews, as if he was still eight-years-old, rolling in the sand or swinging on swings, took away any fears I had about growing older. Becoming a grown-up didn’t mean you became a dud.
Since then, I have made it my mission not to wait for the really important things in life. Chores can wait. That is just a vicious cycle anyways. Once you clean a room, it just becomes dirty again. Maybe that project at work doesn’t have to be done today and as far as that never ending diet goes, well if tomorrow doesn’t come what does it matter? I’ll no longer have to lay on my bed wiggling and squirming to squeeze my Jello-like thighs into “painted on jeans.” God will welcome me at those pearly gates fat and happy (I hope that is where I am going). At least my last day on earth will be spent doing what I love to do most – eating and drinking with family and friends!
So, on my next girl’s weekend I will uphold our yearly tradition and stuff myself with everything I rarely allow to enter this temple I call my body for fear of gaining a few pounds. I’ll go to bed that Sunday night thinking, I can’t believe I ate the whole thing, but hope there’s a tomorrow so I can walk a million miles on the treadmill (going no where), lift weights heavier than I ever thought I could handle and drink an ocean of water to flush out all the fats and toxins.
If tomorrow doesn’t come it will truly be okay. I know there will be a white, “one size fits all” angel moo moo waiting for me . Thank God the archangels don’t believe in waistlines. I’ll never have to worry about my blubber hanging over my belt line again. For all my truly important gifts, those people I love, I plan to live as if tomorrow is not promised, treasure each moment and make sure they never doubt there is a special place in my heart just for them.
Live each day as if it were your last and make each a memory