Tuesday, March 20, 2007

When you first start dating your great love, there is a great suspended period of time. There is laughter and energy swirling about you and your betroved. You can feel the energy in the air. Life is magnetic, and time stands still. You can create change by the sheer joy within your relationship. You are giddy, your senses are more in tune, your being is a bit more aware: you are invigorated. Everything is new, or revisited in a polished gleaming, light. Everything is clean, everything is a bit manic. Everything is somehow more alive and vivid, tantalizingly, sensational. You are invincable.

So, when your love, your great love, asks for you to go and have a dinner with some of his nearest and dearest friends you may jump with zealousness at the notion of breaking bread and sipping wine with the past. You will share your great fortune, you can share your loves' spark. You can take on the past. You have a cheat sheet, as your love knows his friends and can give you an abbreviation of what they are 'about'. You can cut to the chase and get over the small 'howdy do's' and jump right into a ready made friendships at hand.

But my cheat sheet was intimidating. I was to meet only some of the Friends. Friends who seemed to have gone through some unstated battle together. Somehow living through their twenties and surviving, is some marker for battlescars and friendship. I really had not contemplated what was in store, for a young lass, bonding with men who had such a clasp of sentimentality amongst them.

These men filled to the rim with sentimental claptrap have given themselves a monniker. A monniker which can cause a young damsel, such as myself to take pause, their nickname being 'The Louts'. A monniker which was only revealed as I embarked on our journey.

Now for me, at the time, Louts conjoured up an image of belching old men; farting old men, wearing lumberjack shirts and having cigarettes with ashes, draped from their lips. These Louts in my head, had an image of baggy pants which are soiled by a light sprinkling of ash, and the obligatory cardigan with moth holes and a few missing buttons. Not really part of the young, hip, culture that we, my love and I were a part of.

I was caught up in our work culture, I was caught up in our moments of playing pool, dancing til dawn with my roomates, I was caught up with him and me. The way we were in our immediate surroundings. We would work late and stay out late and then have breakfast at a funky diner together. We did not need rest. We had love. And we had stolen moments as he worked across the hall from me. We had endless moments of spontaneity which left a sense of adventure lurking in the air.

But now We were now going to embark on a road trip to meet his ole Lout friends. We were going to take our love out of the confines of what we knew. We were going to try and fit ourselves in with part of our old worlds, our old friends who knew nothing of this energy. And do the 'old' really respect the young?

We were going to meet his old friends for dinner.The friends who have made an effort through the years to keep in touch. The friends in which spontaneity no longer happens for. The friends whose lives are outside my sphere. The friends who are planning a dinner to get to know their friend's new love. Or maybe it is just another word for interrogation of me? Will permission be granted for me to enter the inner sanctum of Loutdom or the beer pit.

So equipped with a cheat sheet of names and maybe a quick antidote of what summed up the people, the men, at the dinner we picked up our first Lout en route to dinner. He was young? He was handsome? He was tall and fit, he was a charismatic, lawyer who worked for the Crown, his name was Jason. He did not seem like my ideal of what a Lout could be but maybe looks can be deceiving? Maybe he had a cardigan under his jacket? He was happy to see us, and was equally accommodating to having his 6" 2 body stuffed into the back of BoyWonder's 240SX.

The conversation, we had going north was fun and this friend of BoyWonder's had put me at ease with his easy banter. We are all laughing and enjoying the moment of a crisp, new friendship and he is helping me along with my cheatsheet.

When we arrive at our destination I am feeling a bit more at ease after conquoring my first Lout. It did seem like a gauntlet. Three Louts not including my date BoyWonder or Jason. There was Pierre LaRound, who was only called 'Laround' by friends. He was a short, man with large girth with pants pulled up to his armpits, a sight that all had warned me about. He had a booming voice and was the head of the geography department in his high school. And he seemed to use the word 'Fuck' as an adjective, a verb, an adverb, pronoun and a noun sometimes all in the same sentence. I often wondered throughout the evening how he could teach a class without his explanatives. There was LaRound's athletic, quiet girlfriend Jane, a biology teacher at the same high school as Laround, who ran marathons with no difficulty at all. She was athletic, stern, strong and very quiet to the gruff, and extremely loud, LaRound.

Then there was a friend who's knickname was Frog. He was a 'old school', rich boy. He was a tall developer who had a charming Kennedyesk smile in his finest preppy clothes. He had a twin bother whose nickname was Monkey, who was not available for my interrogation as he was living in London. Tatler magazine had just done a writeup on them, these two animal monnikered Louts, as the most diserable, handsome, bachelors at the time. This gave the friends, the Louts, endless fodder for muddslinging as the night carried on.

Last but not least there was a friend named Hydra who was the fastest ,rising, young, star in the United Nations. A man who boasted of his knowledge to always carry extra shirts in a knapsack to parties, as when he danced, he sweat though his clothes. Hydra informed me, that the best party was hosted by my BoyWonder in which Hydra changed his shirt seven times through the course of the night. Apparently that party had become a legend in its own rite.

The night of interrogation was fun and electric. There was endless laughter and great quips back and forth.There was a great sense of the past but even more was a promise of a future. There was talks of foreign policy, there was talk of injustices, just as there were talks of victories and the amazing spirit of the human soul. It was a night of past jokes, and future jibes. But mostly, it was about a commadery of friends/Louts who had seen much together but much more was promised in their future. And a future of introducing me to the other seventeen Louts who could not make the evening due to geography.

And when we left we were feeling elated.

And as we hugged and kissed goodbye we promised to do it again soon.

And then Jason, BoyWonder and I filed into the 240SX. We talked and laughed and sang to The White Album in the rain when 'it' happened.

We were in a rush as we were to go to another party the three of us. Another meeting of the minds...

But 'it 'happened.

My BoyWonder said' Great! An accident.'

It was raining out.

I said 'Oh' with disappointment and turned down the music.

But then, I noticed something after about a minute...

I rolled down the window... and stuck my head out.

Wait a minute.
There are no emergency lights?
There are no cops?
There is no ambulance.

I get out of the car and rush to the accident.

I pass twenty cars until I get to the front.

And there 'it' is; the accident.

A wrecked car and a truck.

I then see two teenagers embedded on the shoulder of the road. I run to both to make certain they are breathing. They are about 6 feet from each other. Neither one is moving. But both are breathing.

I reassure them that everything is going to be okay and I am just going to get help.

I then rush back in a clear voice and say loudly with conviction.

Does anyone have a cellphone?
Can anyone call for help.
Call 911!
Can anyone call for help?
Does anyone know first aid. I am looking for one more person to help.
I address every car on the way back to BoyWonder.

And then I reach our car. I lean in. I know BoyWonder does not know first aide so I say 'there has been an accident and no cops or ambulance yet.'

Jason, do you know first aid?
I need your help.
And with that he gets out of the back seat and runs with me to the boys.I explain that one of them is scalped and the other one could have broken his back. I'll take the back victim if you are okay with the blood?

And with that, the two of us attended these teens on the road.

It was raining and I was using my cape to shield the boy I was with. I made certain to block his view of his friend for I feared that shock could take over if he saw him. He was a country boy who had just visited my city. I quickly asked him a barrage of question about the city, what he saw, what he liked: anything but what had just happened.

I talked and talked with this boy. I watched BoyWonder who kept far back so that Jason and I could do our work. I could see him looking at the totalled car and tried to figure out how these boys ended up on the side of the shoulder. I could see him doing the physics when finally help arrived.

The police and the ambulance arrived at the same time. They asked who was the worst off and I pointed over to Jason.

The cops were fantastic.They came over to my victim and asked him his name. And if it would be okay to call his parents. And reaffirmed to him that he was going to be okay.

My sixteen year old guy, Marshall, the boy who had just been to the big city, the boy who went about ninety miles an hour out the back window, and had been so brave, started to cry upon hearing that he could' talk with his Mommy'. I told him that his mom would be waiting for him at the hospital. And it was going to be fine. And with that the second ambulance arrived, taking Marshall away.

Our threesome, piled back into the car and sombrily drove to the next party which we were expected at. We arrived three hours late and left within the hour as we were in no mood after what we just had undertaken.

It took three weeks for the blood to be washed clean from Jason's hands just as long as our scalped victim was in the hospital. Marshall was the worst off as he did not break his back but did shatter his pelvis. He ended up being in hospital for four months. We learned all this through our dinner friends, for as luck would have it, they, Laround and Jane, were their school teachers.

We learned that the driver of the car, was a girlfriend of Marshall's and that she was charged with theft as she stole her sister's car to take her friends to the city. We learned that she and her girlfriend were annoyed that the boys had fallen asleep in the back of the car. We learned that they tried to teach the boys a lesson by playing chicken with a truck. We learned had the boys had worn their seatbelts they would have died as the volocity in which the car hit the truck and the spinning would have snapped them in two with just a lap belt. The boy who was scalped went through the small side window and Marshall through the much larger backwindow.

It was my introduction to Jason and some of the Louts. And it was a story that had us bound together with a noticable battle scar.

17 years later, spontaniety no longer exists in my world. Everything is planned. And I can not remember the last time I really wanted to play pool. But the Louts are still in our lives, wherever in the world they are, as they write me and keep me a breast of their lives. Our home is the beacon for when one returns from an adventure and they all gather to regail in the triumphs of those who were abroad and those who stayed behind. And I am sorry to say that baggy pants, nor a cardigan has yet to appear. But I suppose in time they will.

And as I pause and reflect, I am so glad, that I had the folly of trusting love, my BoyWonder and the cheat sheet. I suppose being young, foolish, and in love does have its bonuses.


Domestic Chicky said...

A little part of me cries each time I read one of your posts. Your writing is the main reason, I suspect. You have an uncanny ability to transport me from my desk to, in this case, a country road, and to make me feel the feelings you experienced at the time. You have a gift, and I thank you for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Pendullum- You are such a wonderful storyteller. You should put your stories together into a book of short stories. I can't believe some of the things you have done and lived through, you are an amazing person.

Thanks for sharing with us.

wayabetty said...

I always wanted more after reading your posts. The other commenters are absolutely right, you are such a great storyteller!

I hope those boys will be ok. I've been reflecting a lot about my old friends lately too. You are the catalyst for my future post about old/new friends. Thanks Pend!

Shopping Diva said...

I didn't realize I hold my breath while read your posts until just now. If your posts were longer, I think I would pass out. Thanks for sharing another amazing story. Now I am dying to know if the teachers got married?!?

Lawyer Mama said...

Holy crap! OK, I'm calming myself down now.

I was so caught up in your story of meeting new people and forging bonds and then WHAMMO! I was on the edge of my seat, desperate to hear that those boys were all right.

Undercover Angel said...

You had me on the edge of my seat. Those poor boys, and that awful girl who was driving... I hope the girls understood that they were at fault for what happened, and what could have happened to the boys...

The whole thing about the seat belts concerns me. I've always felt safe with one on...maybe I'd be safer without it...

Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Andie D. said...

I always got nervous when I had to meet my hub's old friends. It was a little like two different realities coming together. I love that you and the louts were able to bond and still stay in touch.

That accident? Wow. Something I'm sure you'll always remember. Through your writing I'll remember it too.

Awesome Mom said...

What a lovely group of friends. I am a bit envious of people that are able to maintain long term friendships like that. I moved a lot growing up so I have had the habit of finding friends where I can and then growing apart just as quickly.

M said...

So great once again. And I was holding my breath too!

Sayre said...

Great story, Pend. I already knew most of my love's friends, as we all worked together - it was the ex-girlfriends and ex-wife that was always a little strange. However, we all got over it. We actually take vacations with the ex-wife and her family. A little odd, I know.

That accident? You and Jason are bonded for life with that. It's a good thing you stayed with the BoyWonder Lout so that you can keep ALL the Louts in your life.

urban-urchin said...

I love reading your posts Pen- love them.

You can tell a lot by the company a man keeps, my mother always told me and it's true.

What lovely friends, and how fortuntious that you three were able to be comfort to some young boys in dire straits.

kim said...

Yep they are all right ...you are a fantastic story teller Pen *hugs*
What a night! things like that tend to cement relationships. They are lucky to have such a neat lady in their lives .. and those boys are lucky you happened to be passing by!

chelle said...

That was an amazing story. I too was swept away content with the story of meeting your love's dearest friends. I was surprised to read on, heartbroken for the young boys yet relieved that you were there to help.

* (asterisk) said...

Wow, what a fascinating and traumatic and rewarding tale, P.

I need a coffee now!

kim said...

Oh.my.God. I am awed by your ability to carry your reader from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other.

You are an amazing person.

mamatulip said...

Every time, Pend, every time I read you, I get chills.

Every time.

Catch said...

There you go again....you just manage to charm all of us with your style! The car wreck was the last thing I expected! Thank goodness you had the presence of mind to take over the situation...but then that doesnt really suprise me Pen...I suspect you are a very put together woman who can handle herself under any circumstances. And you do have a gift for telling a story Pen...no doubt about it!

Incidentally, my brother who was a Leiutenient in the Ohio State Patrol was a frat boy who loved to party in college, His nickname was TOAD.... He was the Post Commander at a nearby post for quite a few years, took his job very seriously and was well respected. So imagine the look on his staffs face when one of his old college buddies came into the post looking for him and ask if TOAD was there???? LOL..they said WHO???? He said Toad W_ _ _ _. They said well thats the Lt last name but his name is not TOAD!!! LMAO. I never did know what TOAD stood for but boys will be boys so who knows????

Anonymous said...

That is a great story...Wait, the writing is what makes it great. It is a heartwarming and sad story but the writing. Oh. I am in awe.

Mrs. T said...

Great story, as always.

Mandy said...

Just poppin over to catch up, and wow, what a story. You are a gifted writer. Wish I could write like that. I need to come over more often!

Lady M said...

You are an amazing storyteller. I'm glad the Louts are still in your life.

Attila The Mom said...

Wow. Incredible. Just incredible.

Pattie said...

What an incredible story. Those boys were lucky you and Boy Wonder and a Lout were there to help them out.
You know, you have such amazing stories, and you are a gifted writer. You should consider publishing them!

strauss said...

What an amazing experience. As always, your stories transport me and lose me in the action. You ahve an amazing ability. Thanks for sharing, once again.

Catherine said...

Woman, this blog isn't big enough for the amount of talent contained within it. Your life experiences totally hold me hostage for the amount of time it takes to read them. You deserve to be paid for this, Pend!

bananas62 said...

you know you'd be on the best seller list if you did publish a book!!!! I love your tales!

As for the louts? How could they not love you!? It says alot about a person who maintains friendships for so many years!

Mamacita Tina said...

What a series of events. Your writing made me feel the full spectrum of emotions that you experienced on that night.

Tuesday Girl said...

You are a great writer. thank you for that story.

Open Grove Claudia said...

WOW! You are wonder woman. Are you sure you're not Diana Prince? You are a blessing on the road side - and to me.

Chana said...

I rarely have the ability to read a long post...perhpas b/c writing skills are lacking in most blogs I am forced to visit. However, yours was riveting and kept my interest. BTW--thanks for visiting Atlas. He is sleeping on the couch and only lifted the lid over his blue eye when I told him, but I know he's grateful.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I'm like chana. I usually don't read long posts, but I read this one top to bottom. Compelling and poignant. Nice.

I like your blog. Have a great weekend.

Sandra said...

You are such a gifted writer I don't even have the words to tell you how much I adore everything you write.


Especially this.

Slackermommy said...

Wow, what a life changing event and you tell it with such great detail that I felt like I was there. Thanks for sharing. I'm so thankful those boys ended up being okay.

Jill said...

What a story! I remember coming across a scene just like that before the ambulances arrived. There were already a dozen people who had stopped and ambulences were on the way, so we kept going instead of getting in the way. The scene of the injured kids in the road is burned in my brain forever. Kudos to you for being there and knowing what to do.

scribbit said...

I agree with Becky about your storytelling abilities.

Thanks for another great post.

jen said...

gorgeous, sister. truly. it's like a sweet summer night of remembering...your pieces touch some of mine.

terrific story.

Amber said...

You are so awesome at relaying stories! I chuckled at your cheat sheet (because I could relate) and felt panic when you came upon the accident. Hopefully everything turns out well with those boys; how fortunate you came upon the scene to help them!
P.S. I had NO IDEA about Aubrey. Interesting!

ablondeblogger said...

Pen, you have such a classy, engaging way of writing. What an amazing story. You're much braver than I would've been in that situation.

Mrs. Chicky said...

You never fail to amaze me with your storytelling, Pend. I could almost feel the rain.

Day said...

Thank you for stopping by humble blog. I will add yours to my bloglines so I can keep up and enjoy some fine reading.

Yes, my cupcakes sold...fast.

Ruth Dynamite said...

You are gifted, my friend.

I read your posts with many gasps, my hands always covering my mouth. Thank you.

Mama Drama Jenny said...


As someone who has lost many friends in car accidents I want to thank you. Knowing there are people like you out there willing to help a stranger makes the world feel a little warmer.

Nikki said...

Yeah, it's the battlescars that make us beautiful.

loopymamain06 said...

Thank-you for checking out my blog, and wow, in reciprecating, found yours to be exciting, intelligent, and prolific, thank-you again, and i will be reading you more often.
a loopy mama in Michigan aka loopysandqueen

BV said...

Men have some of the strongest bonds with each other.

I'm sorry you had to go throught that, babe!

Her Bad Mother said...

Oh. My god.

MY hands are shaking.

Gina said...

Thank you for sharing that experience with us. I can't imagine what that must have been like... oh, wait, I can because you tell it so well!

Deb said...

I am so glad you visited me thus causing me to check out your site...You are an amazing writer, what a fabulous story! Thanks for bringing me here!

mom of nymphs said...

Just wanted to write that I enjoyed reading your blog and the pictures were beautiful!

Pendullum said...

DOMESTIC CHICKY & BECKY:Thank you so much!!!

WAYABETTY: It was a very long road of recovery... And I can not wait to read your post!

SHOPPING DIVA: The couple did get married and have two kids... I have so many stories about them... it will keep my blog going should I hit a lull....

LAWYERMAMA: It was pretty eary and very scary as it was a time before cellphones were so common...and we were in suspended animation waiting for help to arrive...

UNDERCOVER ANGEL: The girls in the front walked away without a scratch andthey were wearing their seatbelts... It is just that the boys in the back would only have been able to wear a lapbelt and this is what would have been the danger as the intensity in which they hit the cargo truck and how quickly the car spun around hitting the truck repeatly they, the boys would have been snapped in two.

ANDIE: Sotrue... Two different realities is a great way of putting it.

AWESOME MOM:So glad ou finally made it one my site...
Wow! What a 'new' pic... She means business!!!

M: Thanks honey!

SAYRE: That is just crazy... I can not believe you woman...There is a whole post in that comment!!!
And as for Jason...He has seen so much since then... He worked for the RedCross in Serajevo trackingprisoners of war...and educationg childen onthe dangers of landmines...He has since moved on and is working at the UN as well prosecuting war criminals... He has seen so much since then... and so much that causes my heart to truly ache...

URBAN URCHIN: Your mother is right...

KIM:You always have me blushing!

CHELLE:It was such a weird night...and even weirder with how long it took for the blood to washoff of Jason's hands...I started to think of MacBeth...


KIM: So are you!

MAMATULIP: Thanks honey!

CATCH: Ahhh...Shucks!
And I was laughing out loud about your story of TOAD...Amazing how they get these nicknames and have no rhyme or reason why!

JANET aka WONDERMOM: Thanks honey!

MRS T: Thanks!

MANDY: Thank you so glad I found you through Betty.I really enjoy your posts as well!

LADY M:Thaks and I am glad they are in my life as well. They keep me on my toes.

ATTILA THE MOM:Thanks Honey...

PATTIE; At some point I think I may try... I have just started blogging and itisstarting to give me confidence that I may have a voice out there that someone besides my family would like to hear.

STRAUSS:Thank you.

CATHERINE:And I am honoured that you think so! So when is the book out? You published author you!!!!

BANANAS62: You made me cry!


TUESDAY GIRL: Thank you very much!

OPEN GROVECLAUDIA:Wonderwoman?Me? ohhh Pashawww!!

CHANA:Thank you, and Atlas looks like a true personality!!!

BOBBARAMA: Thank you and I hope you had a great weekend!

SANDRA: Thank you.It means a great deal coming from you as I am one of your biggest fans. You wee one of my first bloggers that I lurked until I had enough courage to post a comment.

SLACKERMOMMY: I often wonder what ever became of them.

JILL:It was amazing how everyone froze. As I did pass 20 cars! I am certain each and every one of them,were in shock....

SCRIBBIT: Thanks. Still thinking of you and the fire... So sad about the church.

JEN: What a beautiful, beautiful comment and I thank you for it!

AMBER: I think the cheat sheet is a must... And Glad I could be of some Hollywood trivia assistance...

ABLONDEBLOGGER:I think you would have been the same. You are one strong womanand I feel honoured to have 'met' you in cyberspace.

MRS. CHICKY: Thanks honey!

DAY: I knew they would!

RUTH DYNAMITE: Coming from one ofthe BEST author's out in blogland a true honour has been given. Thanks Ruth!

MAMA DRAMA JENNY: I am so sorry for your losses. I have lost a few to car accidents as well.
It is so scary how fast they can happen. And all that could be lost!

NIKKI:and I have many, so lookout Vogue magazine here I come!

LOOPYMAMAIN06: Welcome and I will be visiting you again!

BV: that which makes us stronger...

HER BAD MOTHER:Sorry, but it did turn out okay in the end.

GINA: Thank you!!!!!!

DEB: thank you for dropping by. I will be back to yours for certain!

MOMof NYMPHS: thank you

Stepping Over the Junk said...

Wow. You are such a beautiful writer. You really express the true essence of this experience and the boys and your friends. A true capture of the past and how it relates to now.

I am generally sipping my tea while reading your posts...a nice thing for a lazy afternoon.

Not said...

Great story telling! Thanks for stopping by my place.

Jodi said...

wow! R U a nurse? I would faint at the sight of all that blood and whatnot. Good for you! Sounds like you were in the right place at the right time. Thank goodness you hadn't drank a bunch of beer or you wouldn't have been able to help.

As always awesome story.

amusing said...

It's so nice to learn that sometimes friends manage to stay connected over years and years. I love that you are still a "center" for them to return to. So many of us don't have that gift.

Pendullum said...

STEPPINGOVERJUNK: I think of you daily as I sip on the delicious teas you recommended and imagine someday ofsitting together and sharing a few pots of it together...

NOT:Thank you for the visit...I'll be over shortly!

JODI: No,I am not a nurse...But I was certainly at the right place at the right time!

AMUSING:Thank you that was a truly kind comment.

Rock the Cradle said...

I am always amazed when I come over here to read. I love knowing that there is a big possibility I'll have goosebumps by the end of your stories.

And there they are.

I remember that vital time so well, when every moment seemed supercharged, and to sleep was to miss out on life. And YOUR time...just astonishing, and so rich.

Thank you, thank you.

Pendullum said...

ROCKTHECRADLE: Thank you Sweetie..

MommyWithAttitude said...

Wow. What a powerful story. I can tell by reading your posts that you probably have a serenity about you that was very comforting to Marshall.

Pendullum said...

MOMMYWITHATTITUDE: You are too kind.

Kevin Charnas said...

Oh Pend...wow...

See why I wasn't surprised that received the award? So beautifully written. And like you, I didn't see it coming. I'm glad that those boys had you and Jason. And I'm proud of you.