Well, that was the week that was. I was going to go frolicking down memory lane for one reason, and then had to change course.
Having written for this erudite publication for 19 years, you may have done the math, so to speak, to realize my dear Sir and I have just celebrated our 20th anniversary – and what lovely romps down memory lane I have of that era.
However, as life ebbs and flows around us, in the middle of celebrations came the very sad news that my longest-standing friend in the world has indeed ebbed from our midst, and so Sir, I know you will understand that I have to memorialize my oldest mate, in lieu of my best one – i.e. you.
Ted and I have been friends since we were 3, so our friendship longevity indeed surpasses all others, and I mourn his loss, along with the eight million, four hundred and fifty-three thousand friends he’s made in his relatively short but thrill-packed life.
His early years were spent on his parents’ impressive sheep station some 600 miles west of Sydney, where 100,000 sheep gleefully bleated over 200,000 acres of two-penny’s worth of naff all, on the edge of the desert – and what a glorious property it was.
Ted’s earliest schooling was by School of the Air – a very early version of CB radio where teachers would guide their charges through their ABCs and 123s via radio, so remote was the farm. His parents very wisely decided their brood of five needed more schooling, and so bought a house in Sydney – directly opposite mine – and that’s where the friendship started.
From romping barefoot in the creek, to creating forts in secret hidey holes, we became soulmates despite his term-long absences at boarding school. We grew up together in a way. We learned, oh so sophisticatedly, to drink coffee (white with one and a half for him, white with one for me – no racial slur intended, it’s just the way we Aussies describe “coffee with cream”), to smoke our faces off, and to make Rice-A-Riso (Rice-a-Roni to we Yanks) in preparation for our binge watching “A Country Practice” and “Laugh-In.”
Seventeen attendances at the live performance of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” through several viewings of “Hair” – literally and figuratively – and everything we could possibly see of Dame Edna Everage, a.k.a. Barry Humphreys – we were inseparable.
He magically arranged for me to take a summer-time job washing dishes for his high school’s officers’ training course – similar to ROTC – and there I met my first real love.
Although the miles have separated us more and more – he in Hong Kong, me in Oz or here – he flew in especially for my darling daughter – Madam’s – wedding, and he and his gorgeous partner, Espen, have visited us many times in Kansas City.
Ted lived his life with the “here for a good time, not a long time” attitude, and God bless his little cotton socks, but he did it with great panache and style.
As I tearfully write, he is now organizing the party of a lifetime with St. Peter, and expressing several opinions to Margaret Thatcher, Chairman Mao, Stalin, Lenin and Einstein.
Rest-in-party, darling Ted – we will miss you.
Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.