My friend Julie

Published 4:05 pm Thursday, February 3, 2022

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I always knew my friend, Julie, was a great mother.


She’s the kind of southern woman who sails through life largely nonplussed, no hysterics, no scaffolding erected around mole hills. It was a joy to listen to the background noise of creative escapades she spent with her young son, as she picked up the phone, “We’re in cardboard boxes, playing pirates.” Complete with homemade Jolly Roger flags and hats.

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When she brought the boy for a visit to the farm I had prepared by creating a scavenger hunt for him, mainly to keep him occupied, so Julie and I could have a good old chin-wag over coffee at the kitchen table, while casting an eye over him as he pursued the hunt on foot through the field and woods. At one point, determined to make a shortcut, her son scrambled over the fence and somehow the hem of his jeans got caught on the fence post, leaving him hanging upside down like a bat, arms flailing, face crimson with effort.


Without a beat, Julie then glanced at me, casually took a sip of coffee and said, “Did I mention that he’s in Mensa?”


As the years marched forward it was entirely clear he was indeed a bright young man who has reached the height of a sequoia and now sprouts a thick beard. Not only has he landed a terrific job, but a wonderful wife.


And the moment she was given the green light to spread the news, Julie included me within her circle of friends to relay that a grand baby was on the way. The announcement had been made by her son and daughter-in-law over Christmas, when they placed beneath the tree a gift wrapped ornament which was engraved “To Grandma and Pops.” And beneath, carefully folded, was a copy of the ultrasound.


“Why would they give us this?” asked her husband, Ken, holding the bauble in his hand.


“Sugar,” as only Julie can say without sounding preposterous, “Look at the little piece of paper.”


Unfolding the ultrasound image, her hubs, still frowning, queried, “Why would they give us a satellite image of a hurricane?”


Wiping tears of laughter from my eyes during that phone conversation, I said, “Oh, Julie, I can’t believe you’re going to be a—what? Nana Julie? Mee-maw? What the heck are you?”


“Grandma,” she said firmly. “None of that other silliness. Just grandma.”


We talked about the delivery date and whether it was to be a boy or girl.


“It’s a girl. But, you know, I don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl,” she said magnanimously, while leading me down the garden path. “As long as it’s sarcastic.”


You’re going to be the best grandma, Jules.