Since retirement, this woman from Ima has taken very few vacations, but that changed recently when Mrs. Kathryn Stephenson invited me to spend a week with her in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Being with such a special friend on Thanksgiving surely made that an outstanding day--a real holiday for a change. She took me to dinner so we didn't have to think of cooking and could just spend our time enjoying the traditional feast. Although we were surrounded by strangers, we felt very comfortable because the people were so friendly. In fact, we commented frequently during my stay about the friendly people in the area and about the helpful employees in each place we entered. In other words, we felt right at home even if we were miles away from Quay County.
Although Kathryn isn't quite as active as she used to be, she is still ready for adventures when she feels okay. For instance, she wanted to go to a grocery story, a major pleasure of hers, and we found one near her home. I had hoped they would have a wheel chair so we could get around without tiring her too much. Well, they had battery-powered chairs instead, something she had never ridden in or driven.
A man explained how to use it, and away she went at top speed, leaving me in her dust as she used to because she walked much faster than 1. Before I had a thought, I yelled, "Whoa," and created quite a stir among the onlookers. That caused both of us to break into fits of laughter, and those around us to join in. We managed to race around that store in nothing flat and found most of the items she wanted. Of course, I kept saying, "Whoa," throughout the race because I am no longer very good at trotting. Both of us had a unique experience that day. I had a feeling that I really was the woman from Ima and was having a few problems dealing with the big city. We had a similar experience at a larger store on another day, and I even wound up driving the chair back to the store--a novel experience compared to a walk in the canyons.
The quiet days in her home were the most pleasant because we could just relax and talk or not talk. Her wonderful sense of humor was on the surface at all times, resulting in our spending much time enjoying long periods of laughter, the kind that only old friends can appreciate. To be able to relax in the comfort of her home was indeed special because I rarely relax in other people's homes. We both enjoyed the company of Polly, her grand dog, who stayed with us all week and kept us alert to her needs.
The most outstanding event occurred when Kathryn played the piano for a while one afternoon. Because she no longer sees very clearly, she can't read music and was apologetic because of that. Well, she made that house rock as she played from memory. As I sat watching her sitting so straight and poised at her piano, I was overwhelmed by memories of the past and felt honored that she chose to play for me.
Those of us from rural areas know the meaning of real friendship and know we are privileged to have such friends. I surely was fortunate to be able to spend those days with her and to hear more stories about her past. Although she was a "city" girl from San Jon, and I a country girl from Ima, we speak the same language and had many similar experiences throughout our lives. We agreed wholeheartedly that we have both had great lives and that we are fortunate to have become so close during these later years. I just hope your Thanksgiving holidays were as blessed as were ours!
Lynn Moncus is a a long time Tucumcari resident. Contact her at 575-461-1952.