Monday, January 5, 2009

The art of living joyfully...

I've got this friend.
Let's call her Lee, for want of a better name. ( well actually, her name is Lee-Ann but I'm trying to retain her anonymity here) She's also known as Old Chook, Lee-Lou-Belle, The perfume bottle woman and a whole host of other names as well.
But we'll stick to Lee for the purpose of this post, so no one will guess who she is, okay? Okay.
At least she won't guess.

Lee's, ummm... different. She's an old bikie chick - which is "biker chick" to you northern hemisphere-ers.
She's skinny as a rail and she eats the most unimaginable diet I've ever heard of. See, she eats chocolate.
That's it.
Chocolate and coffee.
Mostly chocolate, because too much caffeine is bad for you.

The first few times I met her, I knew she was a bit different, and I thought that maybe it had something to do with the large lump or growth in her cheek. You know... maybe some disease that caused her to walk all wonky, slur her words, have huge purple swollen hands and have this huge sticky-out bulge inside her left cheek.

Until I found out that the cheek thing was just a hunk of chocolate.

The chocolate doesn't cause her to walk funny or to slur her words (but to be honest, a lump of chocolate it doesn't help much when you're trying to understand her either.) but it's the after effects of the stroke she had when her youngest was born 30 years ago, that causes those things.

She dresses like a bag lady, but I have to be honest and say that if anyone could pull off wearing a hot pink bra with a brown singlet and a size 6, short gray halter-neck maternity dress, my old Red-Hat granny bonnet on her head, with fuzzy white socks, old lady clunky shoes and legs that haven't seen a razor in 30 years, it's Lee.
I would never be caught dead in some of the things that she wears, but somehow Lee just has a way of making you want to try wearin' that stuff. Because it looks cool.
She's cool.

She drops around for a visit and says she was "just in the neighborhood". Which is a lie, because we live no where near each other and she has no other reason but me to even be in this part of town. But it always makes me feel good... you know?
Besides, there's no talking on the phone for Lee and I, because her voice is...ODD. So it's basically talking face-to-face, or nuthin' at all. Her voice is all raspy, whispery and shaky from the stroke... and when she rings me on the phone in an emergency, I always have to call her husband and ask him to translate. In person, it's fine. On the phone ? Well, it's another matter entirely. She sounds like Donald Duck with a speech impediment... and on quaaludes, to boot..

When she comes around, I'll make her a cup off coffee, which I can only half fill and have to carry out the back for her. Because she's so clumsy with her swollen purple hands, with fingers that look like bloated sausages - that she can still spill even half a cup of coffee, leaving nothin' but dregs - before it even gets out the door. Or even to her lips.
And while we're chatting, she gets so worked up and excited, that her false teeth keep popping out, so she just shoves 'em back in with the hand that's precariously holding the coffee cup... and keeps on a-yackin' and wipin' at the coffee stains that she keeps sloshing down the front of her clothes.

She brought me a small box of chocolates last week, telling me that she had gotten 2 beautiful expensive boxes of chocolate for Christmas and a cheap one... so she brought me this cheap one. And then she proceeds to eat it most of it herself and when she leaves, she puts what's left, back in her purse.
But that's Lee. And I don't mind at all.

I've gotten on to her bazillions of times about her diet ...and I've told her she needs to start eating healthier foods and more variety. Eat some grains. Eat some greens, or maybe some fruit or meat. Even a few eggs would do you a world of good.
Because as good as chocolate is - and we all know that it's good - well, it certainly isn't a healthy diet if you're not eating anything else.

"Lee, you need to go to the doctor and have a check-up, because your "Nuthin' but Chocolate" diet isn't any good for you."
So, because she loves me, she goes to the doctor... who proceeds to tell her that her blood sugar is perfect. Her heart and her blood pressure is perfect. All her blood work is perfect.
He tells her, "Lee what ever it is you're doing... keep up the good work."

Lee should have died 30 years ago. But her spirit and her joy for life and her children - and now her grandson, has kept her battling and conquering, long after most other people would have given up.

I have no worries at all about her ever reading any of this, because she's one of those people who will concentrate fully on whatever it is she likes to do, but when it comes to the other stuff, she's absolutely hopeless. She buys stuff all the time on eBay, but when a seller sends her a message, she always has to come around here, so that I can show her how to reply.
Reading blogs about people she doesn't even know? Nope. Reading my blog, just because she loves me? Nope again. She just couldn't care less. Oh, she would if I asked her to, but I know what her likes and limitations are, and I work with 'em.

Lee is one of those people who just naturally teaches you love and tolerance. Who shows you how to be the best friend you can be - by example. Who opens you to the beauty of just loving someone for who they are inside and not letting the external part influence you in any way. Who opens you to all the possibilities of living joyfully, no matter how hard things can be.

When she leaves my house, I always get a big, squeezey, "rocking-back-and-forth" bear-hug and she always tells me how much she cherishes me.

Lee Lou-Belle-Kadiddlehopper... I cherish you too.


Andrea said...

What a dear and wonderful person to have in your life. I loved this post. :)

Neas Nuttiness said...

Okay - is this person FOR REAL?

I think I need a picture for proof!

How in the heck can anyone live on chocolate and coffee? I don't drink coffee, but to be able to live on chocolate (oh, and maybe bacon), well that would be just pure bliss.

By-the-way, do you think that those food sniffing dogs at the airport can smell Crisco?

Kathy said...

I am still laughing over this one. I can't imagine living on only chocolate and coffee. And do you really believe the doctor said whatever you're doing keep it up? sounds a little fictional. LOL

Tatersmama said...

Lol...Yes, she's real. :o)
Lee is one of those people that you just can't ask for her honest opinion, if you really don't want to hear it..because she WILL give it to you! She's got no "filtering ability" and will come out with what's on her mind... just like a little child would. She can NOT tell a lie, even if it hurts someones feelings.
So when she says she cherishes me... I KNOW that's what's truly in her heart - and it makes me feel blessed!! And when she says I'm fat - I know she means that too!

For the shape she's in and with the physical limitations she has, she really IS in pretty good health - and it's amazing.
In all the years I've known her, I've never seen her eat anything but chocolate, or something chocolate coated - like profiteroles.
Maybe I should make her some choc-coated veggies or something?
I'll be sure to get pics the next time she's around. ;-)

Lib... does this mean you're coming for a visit?!?!

Angelena said...

hmm chocolate and coffee? I think I could go for a diet like that! I have a Lee like that in my life too, she is a hoot! Very blunt and to the point and she usually says what everyone else is thinking - just to embarrassed to say outloud.

Funny post!!

Neas Nuttiness said...

I'm there, as soon as you send me the tickets!
Have any of your "parents" pitched a fit yet?

Out Back said...

What a sweet post!

I tend to accept people as they are, whereas other people would judge them strange or wierd and not even stop to talk to them.

She is lucky to have you for a friend and you are lucky in return.

I am so over chocolate at the moment, have eaten so much over Christmas it isn't funny. My SIL made a giant bowl of homemade Christmas chocolate and it is sitting in my fridge waiting for me to eat it ALL! Don't think I could stick to a coffee and chocolate diet.


Narelle Nettelbeck said...

I think it's wonderful that you have your Lee in your life! What a great sounding lady - maybe a little odd but who isn't really?

Your post made be smile and get a little teary too!

Have a great day :)

Sherri said...

Katie did you ever meet Buggy Bill when you went to visit Josh and Bec? He's my

Robynn said...

Feeling awfully raw and sentimental tonight, TM, so thank you for sharing two beautiful hearts - yours and Lee's. Thank you for giving me a glimpse of her from a writer's heart. How easily we overlook the Lee's of the world. How great that you didn't.

calista said...

Lee sounds like a great friend and a he-larious person to be around!

The W.O.W. factor said...

Oh how sweet your words are Tater! She would no doubt give you and even bigger wobbly bear hug if she read this!
A wonderful tribute to true unconditional friendship!
I love it!!!!

Tatersmama said...

Lee is coming around today, so if she'll agree to posing prettily and to having it posted, I'll share a pic. :o)


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