When the boy was eighteen months old, Sister and I and a gaggle of our closest girlfriends were involved in a play group.
We were ten mothers, with fourteen children between us.
Fourteen children, WHO WERE UNDER THE AGE OF FOUR. And every single Friday morning, come rain, sleet, sunshine or raging blizzard, we met at someone’s house for a play date, with all fourteen children in tow, and if you don’t think that was a RATHER LOUD EXPERIENCE, then think again. Our kids learned to share their toys and their juice boxes. If someone was poopy, his diaper was changed, and not always by his own mama, because we gathered those babies in close about us, and we all mothered them.
It didn’t take a village to raise our brood; it took a play group.
And the mothers would gather around a dining room table, week after week, for bottomless pots of coffee and fancy cinnamon rolls, and we talked and we talked and we talked.
Because we were all so good at the talking.
(And also? I think we’re STILL all good at the talking!)
Hubs mentioned once that we sounded exactly like a bunch of chickens, as we cackled and flapped our wings over our tiny chicks, and THAT is how we came to call our little Friday morning group The Chicken Fest.
Chicken Fest. Every Friday. At precisely 9 AM. We never missed a week; we grown-up girls needed one another as much as our babies needed to interact with one another. We were a group of friends. A support group. A therapy session. A sounding board.
And the love was thick between us all.
One day, Sister and Sierra, who lived mighty close to one another, introduced themselves to their new neighbor, who had just moved to Small Town, USA from Picturesque Lake Town, USA. They invited her to become a part of The Chicken Fest. Her name was Elaine, and she was sweet.
And she had the most incredible long, naturally curly hair any of us had ever seen, and we all made vows right then and there to regrow our hair out and reconsider the spiral perm as a viable Hair Option.
Just a couple of weeks after Elaine joined The Chicken Fest, the play group was meeting at my house. I had coffee cake and frothy mugs of chai tea for everyone, and while our kids argued nonstop over the Little People farm, we ten girls sat around my dining room table, talking up a storm.
And then IT happened.
Elaine was busy telling a story, which had us all in stitches, and then lo! The Bounty paper towel, which she’d been using as a napkin (because I was high class enough to offer only the finest in coarse paper towels to my guests for their napkin usages), came too close to the candle that I had burning on my dining room table, and it instantly went up in flames.
People, it was nothing short of a raging fireball, right there on my dining room table. We all gasped, and I made plans to grab my baby boy, and the little video tapes we had made of his first bath and his first time eating baby food with a spoon, and our beloved hound dog, and also my most favorite LaVyrle Spencer novel in hardback. I was ready to flee the house before it was completely engulfed in fire.
And Elaine popped right out of her seat and flapped her arms like a Distinguished Elder in The Chicken Fest. She smacked the small inferno with the hem of her shirt, over and over, before she finally managed to put it all out by smothering the flames with her dessert plate.
She was our fast-thinking, quick-acting hero.
And really? Nothing, other than the Bounty paper towel, had been burned. All was well. No one was dying of smoke inhalation. We had no third-degree burns to treat with ointment. The insurance company didn’t need to be called. Even my table cloth, where the fire had taken place, was perfectly intact and bore not a single sign of the catastrophe.
And, after realizing that all was well, indeed, the ten of us girls burst out laughing in mass hysteria. We laughed until our sides hurt. We laughed until tears poured down our faces. We laughed until we couldn’t breathe properly. I, personally, laughed until I snorted and wheezed, which are always good things to let my friends hear once in a while.
And that was exactly the moment when I realized that Elaine was a keeper, and that I loved her dearly. I’d barely known her for two weeks, and she’d saved my house from a raging fire. She was a genuine doll of a person.
And last night just reconfirmed my thoughts about her in my mind, because, after reading my blog post about how I am now the not-so-very-much-proud owner of a small lip wrinkle, Elaine texted me and said, “Darling, it’s NOT a wrinkle. It’s a dimple. You’re using the wrong vocabulary words to describe what you have.”
I have never loved Elaine more than I did last night. Last night even exceeded the day she saved my home from the raging fireball.
So, people, please! Call it a DIMPLE.
Goodness knows I am! I have fully rejected the term lip wrinkle. I have struck that phrase from my dictionary.
I have a new dimple! And I couldn’t be happier about it.