Two of my very best friends were born on the same day, April 2nd. It makes keeping track of special dates pretty easy, but it also makes this day a special one for me too, as I get to see not one but two people who are incredibly important to me get showered with love and praise that they most rightfully deserve.
Over the years, I have actually done a good job of never doubling down on birthday stuff for them. Part of the reason I haven’t is because these two gals are two of my best friends, but they actually have very little in common. One, Lindsay, is one of my oldest friends. We met in the seventh grade and have been pretty inseparable ever since. The other, Stephanie, was my roommate throughout college and I just saw her last weekend during a mini-USC reunion. I couldn’t ask for two better friends and I couldn’t possibly adequately describe them in a single blog post. Instead, I thought I would tell a story about each of them that reminds me of them and makes me smile, hoping that it might do the same for them on their special day.
I’ve spoken of Lindsay on here before and our love for “The Chipmunk Adventure”. But, in honor of her 31st, I think today I will tell a story about 31 flavors, aka Baskin-Robbins. At first glance, my very slight childhood friend may not seem like she can eat all that much. She is about my height, but easily weighs 25 pounds less than I do, so I can see how people make that mistake.
Be warned though, Lindsay needs to be fed and fed frequently. My senior of college, she drove my car out to Los Angeles with me. We had to stop every four hours to feed this child, and I am not talking grabbing her a granola bar at the gas station. No, we stopped at Wendy’s and I ordered a chicken sandwich and a water. Lindsay sits down with a double cheeseburger and a Biggie sized fry and asks, “Is that all you’re getting?” I tell her yes and she informs me not only will she be eating every bite of what she ordered, but she intends to head to the gas station and get a Snickers bar before we hit the road again.
We both have our sweet teeth, that is for sure. We also both hail from some pretty redneck roots, which means our stomachs have the ability to expand when we smell a bargain. All you can eat buffet you say? Just hand me that stack of seven plates, I’ll be needing all of them.
Therefore, when we were in our college years and heard of Baskin-Robbins offering a free scoop night, we scrapped any existing plans and made a beeline to the nearest ice cream parlor. Once we got there, we saw that there wasn’t much to the process. Stand in line, get a cone. No ID check, no coupon, nothing. Which got us thinking…and while we thought, we finished our ice cream, and promptly decided…we needed more of where that came from.
Over the course of the next two hours or so, we proceeded to hit up all seven Baskin Robbins in the city of Lexington, Kentucky. At no point did we consider skipping one or not eating the entire cone either, oh no. We ate seven scoops of ice cream each, because these were the days before our metabolism up and died and, dammit, we made the most of them for a couple of years thanks to the generosity of one ice cream company.
While I don’t think I will hit up every Ben and Jerry’s in Las Vegas, next Tuesday I do plan on raising a cone and perhaps pouring some out for my dear homey, who won’t be close enough to celebrate Free Scoop Day.
As for Stephanie, well, she can get a little hangry too, but my story is her is less about food and more about my theory that she is secretly Amish. Steph claims to be from the South Chicago suburb of Flossmoor, but I still think that is a giant front, for my friend came to college with virtually no knowledge or understanding of contemporary pop culture whatsoever. As a graduation gift, I typed up and bound a small booklet for her called “100 Movies You Need to See in Order to Be Culturally Competent”, where I offered her explanations of why she needs to see movies like “The Godfather”, “Jaws”, and “Gone with the Wind”. To this day, I doubt she has seen more than 20 of them, but she still holds on to it and even scribbles down titles in the margins of other movies that have come across her radar.
It wasn’t just movies Stephanie didn’t know though. I always joked she didn’t know how to watch TV, because she would pop popcorn, turn out all the lights, and refuse to let anyone speak so we could watch the reality gem “Temptation Island”. She hated the mall and didn’t know how to wander around and window shop. She would beeline straight to the store she needed, then immediately left.
Perhaps it was this unwillingness to really look around the mall that led to one of my favorite exchanges between the two of us ever:
Me: “Hey Steph, I am running to the mall, do you need anything?”
Stephanie: “Yeah, we could use a new dish drying rack and a loaf of bread.”
What I love most about Stephanie is that some things never change. Just a few weeks ago she texted me to inform me her husband Matt told her he was running to the hardware store. She asked him if he could grab some lime Jello while he was there.
In many ways these girls have stayed the same amazing gals I knew when I was younger, but in other ways they have grown up and wowed me with their accomplishments. I often feel like they are my babysitters or big sisters, offering me sage advice on life that I don’t really have to offer in return. But, I can offer silly stories, an endless rant of inside jokes, and years of years of friendship that I hope will be followed by years and years more to come.
Happy birthday Stephanie and Lindsay!