Yesterday, a Wednesday, I was where I usually am on Wednesday morning, with four good friends who refer to themselves informally as the Wednesday girls. One of them mentioned that she had read and enjoyed my blog but was disappointed to see that I did not mention any of them by name. This led to a discussion on privacy and getting their permission before throwing their names out there where anyone could read about them, make judgments, or even sue them for assumed slights or defamations of character. We came to a consensus that no one could sue us for gossip because we do not gossip. It is our belief that it is not gossip if it is the truth. We only slightly embellish true stories to make them more interesting, even those stories about people we do not hold in particularly high regard.
After much deliberation, we decided it would be fun to appear in any of my blogs under aliases. Maybe pseudonyms would be a better designation as alias sounds criminal. Each lady, in turn, threw out some possibilities for herself and the others. One gal immediately chose the name, Wendy. Maybe I should spell that Windy. You see, Wendy/Windy has Pulmonary Hypertension meaning that she is on oxygen 24/7 as young people are wont to say these days. Yes, she is one of those people you see with the clear plastic tubes that trail down her front to some form of oxygen tank. Hers is hand held in a stylish black container. The other end of the tubing divides under her chin and loops around the back of her ears and across her face to end in two prongs that pffft air into her nostrils at regular intervals. We can tell when she is getting low when her lips and/or her fingernails begin to turn blue. That happened yesterday because we laughed so much, and laughing sucks up more oxygen that ordinary conversation. We asked if we should call her Almost Windy and sent her on her way to get her next tank. One of the girls told her she hoped we wouldn’t come out later and find her gasping on the sidewalk, trying to call for help. You have to love someone a lot to be able to tease them about the really serious stuff.
One of the girls chose the name Lucy which we jumped immediately to Lucy Goosey as being more fitting. It fit, but we settled on Lucy Scarlet because she has a husband who calls her Scarlet. This gal talks about her husband quite often, and it isn’t always complimentary. To hear her tell it, he was placed in her life by some cosmic force to make her existence as challenging as possible. He often pushes her to do some project for him that he finds urgent while she see it as only marginally important. Her reply to these requests is usually, “I get to that later.”
His come back, “All right, Scarlet.”
She came to one of our Wednesdays with a grim look on her face and said, “I’m a widow.”
You could have heard a pin drop as we tried to take in how her husband could have died without us knowing it. Then the outspoken one of us said, Oh, Lucy Scarlet. How? When?”
She shot back, “Tomorrow. I’m going to kill that bastard.”
We still collapse with laughter when someone brings that up.
Pasty is the name we agreed upon for another of the bunch because for her entire life as long as her own grandmother was living, that is how the grandmother wrote her nickname. I have often pondered how an otherwise articulate lady could misspell her grandchild’s name. Pasty has the birthday cards and little notes from her late grandmother to prove that this was the case. I doubt that any name could be farther from the truth. Pasty implies something colorless and nearly lifeless. She’s probably the most forceful member of the group. She has no problem stating her opinions and can usually back them up with an arsenal of facts. She and her husband have built several successful business mostly on determination and hard work and finds time to attend just about every event her seven active grandchildren take part in. She gives her whole heart to her family, but she is no pushover. She expects good behavior and has no problem letting them know when they are not towing the line. Pasty is a big Cardinals’ fan and she knows her stats. Anyone in St. Louis can tell you that Cardinal fans are not colorless.
The fourth member of the group has been dubbed Tallulah. She isn’t Southern; but she likes down home cooking, firemen( her late husband was one), country music and NASCAR racing. She’s fierce in her loyalties; and what she loves, she loves passionately. One of those things is sewing. Tallulah has made hundreds(yes, I said hundreds) of crib quilts for Crisis Nursery, Children’s Home Society, The Linus Project and foster children. She has made almost as many Teddy bears and even more shorts and pants outfits for kids in need.
For teenagers, she makes quillows which are twin size quilts that fold up and tuck into a self-pocket on the back making them a pillow when not being used to cover up.
Tallulah is dramatic sometimes. She’s the one most likely to tear up over a sad story, get angry over injustice or express her beliefs with ardor. So, while she isn’t from the South, she is a Tallulah.
As for myself, the group said that I should be called Charlotte as in Hush, Hush, Sweet… That’s their not-so-gentle hint that I sometimes talk too much. Go figure.
Early on, I said that we informally go by the Wednesday Girls but we also know ourselves as the WSB. Wednesday morning belongs to us. We get together at 9:00 a.m. at one of our homes. We solve all of the world’s problems then go to lunch. We really do solve the world’s problems, but no one listens to us. That doesn’t stop us from coming up with good, mother-based logical solutions that cut right to the heart of the matter.
One day, Pasty’s sister asked Pasty to give up her Wednesday to do something for her. It was neither urgent nor necessary. When Pasty refused, her sister demanded to know what it was that she was doing that was so important. Pasty told the truth(we all try to do that as a matter of principal). We don’t DO anything on Wednesdays. To which her sister declared, “Well, aren’t you a bunch of selfish bitches.”
She said this about Windy who works with the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, learning all she can to protect her health, mentoring new members learning to cope with this disease and still has time for her great husband, children and grandchildren. She also use to help Talullah with those quilts as well, and I’ve already told you what Tallulah does. Pasty feeds her whole family once or twice a week, babysits at the drop of a hat, is the official worrier for all of us; and when her sister made this asinine remark, was spending three days and nights a week taking care of their legally blind, elderly father. Lucy Scarlet has uses her considerable photographic skills, gratis to make photo collages for military families and to celebrate special anniversaries for families and friends. She also has a handicapped grandchild she has worked tirelessly to help reach his full potential. All her love for this intellectually challenged little boy shines in her eyes and bubbles up in her voice.
Another friend of mine gave me a coffee mug not long ago. On the side is a sketch of a harried woman and the words: Stop me before I volunteer again! Enough said.
So we are the Wednesday Selfish Bitches. WSB. We are selfish with our Wednesdays. As Pasty says, “Because of this time, I feel better on Wednesday than any other day of the week.
One thing I don’t have to ponder at all is this: These women are a gift from God to each other. Because that is so, those Wednesday mornings are sacred, and the tables we sit around are on holy ground.