Saturday, February 23, 2008

My Best Friend Forever CP is 60

Today is my BFF's birthday. She is 60. And I'm not getting to celebrate with her. I live in Arkansas, and she lives in South Texas. She and her sister-in-law are going to Houston today. They will board a ship tomorrow and sail off into the sunset. They are going on a seven day cruise down to the Caymans and all other ports tropical.

But I sent her the best gift a friend could. I sent her 'the rock'. We've been passing this rock back and forth for eleven years. And it's not just any rock. It's actually a ballast stone. What is a ballast stone, you ask? In the early days of this country, when we were producing all the products that the King wanted, and we still belonged to England and were lovingly called 'the colonies', ships were sent to gather the cotton, tobacco, and any other products we produced. They didn't want to bring anything, just take. So they wanted to send over empty ships to plunder the sweat of our brow, but you can't send an empty ship out, because it would have nothing to hold it in the water.

England gathered stones to load into the cargo holds for ballast--thus the name. I think they have no short supply and to this day, probably don't miss any of them. When they got to the ports they dumped those stones into the harbor. They did this all along the eastern coast. There began to be huge, enormous piles of the stones and just as our ancestors did with everything else, they found a use for them.

We were in Savannah in the summer of 97 for a few days to see the azaleas bloom, and I had heard about the stones. There had been a feature story on tv about some reclaiming of old buildings down on the river that had been turned into living quarters and the program showed an old cotton warehouse that some folks had turned into a lovely home.

This is why I decided that I wanted a ballast stone to bring home as a souvenir of my trip. We had discussed trying to find one, but being the cautious person my BFF is, she kept saying we'd get in trouble if we 'stole' one of their precious stones. Here's what we found out about these stones. They built streets out of them and all along the harbour, there were ballast stone streets. They built ballast stone buildings out of them. In other words, they were everywhere, and none of them were huge. I guess they had to be mostly the size that men could easily hand along to fill the ships.

On our second day, we had ridden the trolleys all over the city had shopped many of the shops, taken a few tours, and as most older women would be, we were tired. We were staying at the Radison down on the river where our rooms had balconies that opened onto a huge atrium that had a wall of glass that allowed you to see the river walk and stay comfortable. Down in the atrium late that afternoon, we heard music and my BFF went down to investigate. She soon called the room and told me to come on down.

When I got down, there were people visiting and she had met a young man who was there to recruit high school athletes for his jr college team. We have laughed about whether we picked him up, or if he picked us up. I think he was away from home and it was better to hang out with a couple of old gals rather than to be faced with other temptations, if you know what I mean.

He was an absolute hoot. He walked up and down the river walk with us, entertained us and most importantly, he managed to find me a rock. The only problem was, then we had to carry it. It didn't weigh much, but you couldn't just walk around carrying a rock. First of all you would look ridiculous, and second, if it was against the law to take them, we were in violation of the law. My BFF kept saying she wasn't putting that rock in her suitcase, she wasn't getting caught with it, but we kept carrying it along with us. This young man whose name I can't even recall, not only carried the rock, but he played along with us. He bought a paper in which to wrap it, and managed to find a bag we could put it into. Then we talked to people as we walked(it's like one big party on the river walk at night there). He would hand it to someone and ask them to hold it for a second, then we would die laughing at the look on their faces when it was much heavier than they expected it to be(well, you had to be there, ok).

Well, I brought the rock home, and sometime after, I mailed it to my BFF. We have since passed the rock back and forth, and get a big laugh out of it every time it goes back and forth. So I sent it to her, and she now has to take care of it and explain why she has a rock sitting around.

Everyone should not only have a BFF, but one with whom they share funny times that have made funny stories. We took lots of pictures, but hardly ever get them out, but we have vivid memories of the trip when we talk about and touch the rock. It's kinda like we've been there all over again.

I guess now, we need to be talking about who gets to be buried with it.

1 comment:

Tara said...

When one of you dies, I'm going to saw that thing in half so you can both be buried with it.

You two and that, my, my...

*/code I added/* */ code I added/*