We had a garage sale in 2004, shortly before I moved to Florida. We made $6.
On Dyngus Day in St. Pete, Florida. April 2010.
Back in April my best friend Ro flew down to Florida to spend her spring break with me.
The visit was so succulent and memorable and FUN that the second I dropped Ro off at the airport (to return to Buffalo) I began bawling.
But before she left, I interviewed her. I intended to post the interview back in April, but I’ve been busy, stressed and cranky, which is unfortunate because during her stay I felt weightless. Young. Just reading over this thing makes me giggle — something I could use a little more of lately.
Rose and I have been friends since 7th grade. To fully understand the kind of friendship we have you’d have to see our high school yearbooks. Every June before summer vacation we’d exchange yearbooks and fill three full pages each with memories.
If we were handed yearbooks as adults, Rose and I would still fill three pages each every year.
And we live 1,300 miles apart.
Ro is getting married next Saturday at a beautiful old church in South Buffalo. I’m her matron of honor. The conversation below touches on that and everything from pussy willows to swim caps to that time in 8th grade when we apparently didn’t speak to each other.
Dear Ro: I’m sitting at the Tampa Airport, waiting to board my flight to Buffalo. I’m so excited to see you get married that my restless leg syndrome is keeping the man next to me awake.
What’s on your mind at this current moment?
“Trying to find the picture of the dress I’m wearing for my shower.”
Would you ever consider wearing a jumpsuit or a romper to your shower?
“Yes, I can wear anything I want to my shower. It’s my one chance to be ridiculous. I’m kidding. You should write that I’m kidding”
Is there a particular shower gift you’re anticipating or really want?
“No, not at all. I’m anticipating not getting a tandem bicycle. Yeah, no. There’s nothing I really want because the things on my registry would be good to have, but they’re probably not necessary.”
Your mom was going to get you a tandem. Why did she nix the idea?
“Well, as you well know, it’s difficult to live with people who do not share the same level of fitness energy as you do, so I thought it would cause many fights. It felt like I would predominately ride the tandem bike single.”
Was she crushed that you didn’t want it?
“I think she’s relieved that she didn’t waste $800 on a bike no one would ride.”
Do you think Tom is going to cry on your wedding day?
(Thinks about this for a long time.) “I don’t think its a bad sign if he doesn’t. I think it’s romantic if he does. Realistically though, no. He’s not going to cry. He’ll probably have four Bud Lights in the parking lot and he’ll be calm.”
Why aren’t you having your boxer, Madden, as your ring bearer?
“Boxers are not allowed in Catholic churches.”
He couldn’t buy his way in with Milk-Bones?
“Ooo, no. My church is a national landmark.”
I heard it accepts pugs.
(Ro shakes her head. Gives up.)
OK. So tell me about your dress.You’ve kept it a secret from me. Can you reveal one detail?
I feel jipped.
“As you know it’s strapless. I would not have worn a scuba suit for eight days for nothing.”
(Note: Scuba suit is our nickname for Ro’s 1940s pin-up bathing suit. She insisted on wearing it during her stay in Florida because it’s strapless and she doesn’t want tan lines on her wedding day.)
You look like a pinup model in that suit. I love you in that scuba suit.
“The scuba suit is more like a girdle, don’t you think?”
I think you’ve taken a liking to it.
“Not until I saw those pictures last night. No one should sit in a scuba suit.”
Do you think you’ll wear it in Mexico?
“Yeah, maybe I will.”
(Note: Ro has since wisely changed her honeymoon destination from Mexico to a cottage on the coast of Maine. Atta girl.)
“Oh Heidi! I just remembered. They sell swim caps at Kohl’s. Nike ones.”
How much are they?
“Are swim caps one size fits all?”
One size fits most, unless of course you’re a mongoloid.
“Heidi! Mongoloids have the same size head as regular people.” .
Really? I always thought it was a condition. Mongoloidism, a big-headed disease.
“Do your readers know I work with special ed kids?”
Do you find me offensive sometimes?
“No, I don’t find you offensive at all. Sometimes you use questionably offensive language, but you mean well.”
Do you often go out for Dyngus Day?
“No. Yesterday was my second Dyngus Day experience.”
How did it rate?
“Well, my first Dyngus Day took place at the American Legion in Lackawanna, which I usually love, but the night was just so-so.”
“It’s dark. It’s not home to real veterans. It’s open to the public and the beer wasn’t exceptionally cold.”
And yesterday’s Dyngus Day?
“It was fine. I just wished I’d done a polka.”
Explain Dyngus Day for the folks who have no idea what we’re talking about.
“Dyngus Day is the Polish equivalent to St. Patrick’s Day. Traditionally you wear red and white and the women hit men with pussy willows and the men spray women with squirt guns. You should also include a picture of the bathroom wall at the bar we went to.”
Why do you think Dyngus Day hasn’t been embraced by people everywhere?
“Well, I’m from Buffalo, which is the Dyngus Day capital of the world. To be honest, I don’t know the answer to your question since I myself am not Polish.”
But your future hubby is.
Does he have any trouble changing light bulbs?
“Not especially, no.”
Does it take many of his family members to change one light bulb?
“Tom is a very handy man, so he’s never called on his Polish family to change one.”
What would you do if your wedding dress got lost in the mail?
(Long pause.) “I’ve got to really think about this. (Another long pause.) Would I be able to run to Lord & Taylor and buy something off the rack?”
“Maybe for sentimental purposes I would wear the T-shirt I wore the night I met Tom. And my best jeans. Maybe.”
“Dear Santa, I can explain.”
That’s what it says on it?
Where the hell did you get it from?
“Kohl’s, I think.”
You love Kohl’s.
“Yes I do.”
This shirt sounds like something my mom would wear in the 1990s, when all those big sassy Betty Boop and Tweety Bird shirts were popular.
“I met Tom Dec. 20, so it was very appropriate for the season.”
It would be very appropriate for a July 10 wedding.
“Christmas in July.”
I would still cry if I saw you walking down the aisle in a Santa T-shirt.
“I think the bag piping will have that effect on people.”
What are they gonna play? Amazing Grace?
(Aghast.) “Here Comes the Bride.”
Oh right. The wedding march. My wedding march was an original number by Joe Bardi.
“Your pug is really snoring.”
It means he’s content.
Hey, are you worried old people will have to turn down their hearing aids during the piping?
“Oh I don’t care! I’ve been very accommodating as far as this wedding goes. Hell, I was going to let my coworker pick 10 songs for the band to play.”
So the bag pipes are something you wont bend on?
“Well, Tom doesn’t really like the bag pipe idea that much, but that’s what we Irish people do.”
Did you ever imagine when we met in 7th grade, that I would be your matron of honor?
“7th grade, maybe. 8th grade, no. In 8th grade we didn’t get along, but by 9th grade anything was possible.”
Man, you have an elephant’s memory!
“It’s my super power.”
I don’t remember us not talking in 8th grade.
“I only remember because of Roman Peekus’ science class.”
What was the reason? Was I a beeotch or something?
“I don’t remember.”
What kind of ice cream are you going to order at the creamery tonight?
“Something different than I got the other day. Nothing with fudge. Nothing with peanut sauce. Possibly something fruity. Then again, I did really like that thin mint ice cream.”
You already know what I’m getting.
“Plain vanilla and peanut butter sauce.”
Right on. You ready to walk?
“Yes, very ready. I think you should make a note to your readers that this has been an excellent week of fun in the sun for me. I’ve seen three manatees, four dolphins, burned many calories and did plenty of sweet dancing.”
What about that nice young lifeguard whom we saw apply sunscreen to a flabby old woman?
“Oh that dear lifeguard!”
And it’s been a week of firsts!
I grew my first strawberry.
“And we split it into thirds!”
If PK doesn’t come to claim her third, I want you to have it.
“Oh no. I want Joe to have it.”
“Or anything that comes out of the earth.”
I’ve been thinking about that Dear Santa T-shirt. What does it mean?
“Dear Santa, I can explain.”
Yeah. I don’t understand.
(Rolls eyes.) “Like explaining why you’ve been bad…”
I apparently don’t get humorous T-shirts.