on knitting and healing and other stuff

Special Kay

Posted by Janis on February 18, 2008

special-k.jpgToday is my oldest and dearest friend’s birthday. Kay and I have been friends for more than 30 years, having cemented our acquaintance over bleeding fingers, stuffing Kleenex flowers in chicken wire on the Latin Club float for the JCHS Homecoming Parade 1974.

I’m not even sure Kay herself knows all the ways she’s influenced my life and who I am today, but her influence has been profound. Her intellectual curiosity has always spurred me on to challenge myself to learn more, about anything really — from foreign languages to cooking to knitting to cars. Yes, cars — Kay just emailed me a blog post about a ’72 Capri, asking, “Wasn’t this Corey’s [my brother’s] car?” Kay’s father is Chinese, so hanging out at her house meant learning to eat with chopsticks way before the average Jefferson City person, not to mention yukking it up over the impossible English translations in Chinese cookbooks — Roasted Milk Egg Towers, anyone?

Her sense of humor is keen and her memory practically photographic, so she’s the perfect person to riff on Monty Python sketches with — or Mel Brooks movies or “Fawlty Towers” — or the most recent selection from Netflix. Kay’s not all retro, oh no — the girl keeps up.

A few years ago, we went to “Sing-along Sound of Music” together, and who else could have created costumes that won us 3rd place against such tough competition as a couple dressed as a mountain range (as in “Climb Ev’ry”) and a plethora of cross-dressing nuns? Only Kay would have thought of AND created a series of “Favorite Things” costume pieces: the schnitzel with noodles necklace made of Fimo schnitzels and strung with real noodles I still have and treasure.

We took up pipe-smoking for a brief moment one summer, trying to be as cool as a French AFS student I was enamoured of at the time. Our mothers put the kabosh on that little activity, once they realized we were seriously shopping for pipes at the K-Mart. We double-pierced our ears way before it was really popular, but we did it with self-piercers. (Now that’s like having a blood pact in and of itself.) Kay came to rescue me when a relationship blew up in my face when I was living and acting in Omaha, Nebraska. I was her maid of honor and she was mine. She named her second daughter after me, which is about the coolest thing that has ever happened to me. In recent years we have supported each other through some pretty horrific times, and though I wish we hadn’t had to, I don’t know what would have become of me if she hadn’t been there.

Happy Birthday, Kay — you are the specialest Kay there could ever be. Lots of X’s and O’s to you…

(In the photo above, Kay is on the right, I’m on the left. I know, I know — the eyebrows! The perm! It was 1979 or something… One of my favorite things is when people think we’re sisters (Kay’s just the sister with better taste in eyebrows and hair).


3 Responses to “Special Kay”

  1. Here’s to good friends! Both of you are very lucky to have each other in your lives. There’s just no replacing someone who has that history with you!

  2. Geraldine said

    What a beautiful pic! You are both just gorgeous, love that era for photos, so special. Glad I stopped by.

  3. Janis said

    Thanks for the kind words, Marie and Geraldine.

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