Friends, they are kind to each others hopes, they cherish each others dreams.♥
I want to tell you a story about my artist girlfriend Margot Datz (that’s her cute self), but first, so that this story makes sense, I have to tell you about a strange thing between Joe and me. Not scary strange, just normal strange. I’m telling you, but don’t tell anyone, OK? I wouldn’t want people to get the right idea about us. ♥
It’s just that we have certain words; and when we say them, we look intently into each other’s eyes in total concentration. They are not words of love, they actually make no sense at all and have nothing to do with anything. They just attract us somehow; there’s something about how these words feel coming out our lips or from the back of our throats; we like the sound of them. One of them is “pork.” See? I told you, nothing to do with anything. But we say it with a Boston accent, poahk. We say it, both at the same time, like a round of Row-Row-Row Your Boat, hearing the p; then the oa, then the k; ’til we’re sick of it, which luckily, doesn’t take long. We do it because that word, the way we say it, sounds funny and makes us laugh.
Family humor always sounds strange to the outside world, but it’s a kind of love-glue to the family who thinks it’s funny. ♥ A little club.
The other thing we like to say is “Kicking Bird,” which comes from the movie Dances with Wolves. Kicking Bird was the medicine man who was step-father to Stands with a Fist, the character played by Mary McDonnell, who was raised by the Sioux, remember?
The way she said “Kicking Bird,” sort of stuttering when trying to remember a language she hadn’t used for a long time, just stuck in our brain (we only have one brain between us, as this little story is proving). We came out of the movie theater, repeating “kicking bird” all the way home. We tried to say it the way she did, so the “k’s”s kind of stick in the throat; we pronounce “bird” with our tongues up to the roof of our mouths, so it comes out as “buurd.” So it’s kick, kickkk, kicking burrrd. Try it. See what I mean?
These words come up in our conversation every so often, particularly when we’re out on our walk; and when I say, “What do you want for dinner?” Joe will answer, “Poahk,” and off we go to the land of poahk; from there, it’s an easy slide into Kicking Buurd.
One afternoon, over tea at our kitchen table, I mentioned this story to my girlfriend Margot, and pretty soon she was into it. “Poahk,” she said, over and over, and “Kick. king. buurrd. k-k-kicking burrrd.” She got it, we laughed. And that was pretty much it; as you can imagine, it wasn’t mentioned again, not being a subject that comes up a lot.
Many months after telling Margot about this, she and I had a plan to go together to an Island-Artist’s meeting, downtown at Five Corners, where the old Ocean Club restaurant
used to be; an open room, with high ceilings, a row of tall, many-paned windows on two long walls, like on an old sun porch.
The wooden floor was set up with rows of folding chairs in a half circle, facing the windows, with a small table in the middle for the speaker; she’s speaking when we arrive, without a microphone; each chair has an island artist in it; everyone is quiet and listening intently.
I know some of these people, but not all; a serious meeting about artists’ interests is taking place; we are late, of course. We tiptoe to two chairs in the back, as unobtrusively as possible, conscious of every chair scrape and creaking-metal seat noise we make.
Settling in, getting quiet, looking around the circle, I see lots of people I know, and some I think I recognize, but can’t remember from where — in particular, across the room, there’s a woman who is so familiar to me, I feel like I know her, but I can’t figure out who she is. It’s driving me crazy, I can’t remember.
I lean in, and working my way through Margot’s hair, I put my mouth up directly to her ear, and whisper very quietly so as not to disturb anyone, “See the girl over there?” I nod in the direction of this person. “Who is she?”
Margot glances across the room, then gets back around to my ear and whispers, “Which one?”
“The one next to Jenna, with the long feather thing in her hair.”
Margot’s eyes cut across the room in the stranger’s direction, she ponders for a moment, and leans back toward me, nodding. She knows!
I’m relieved, thank goodness for Margot; I won’t have to think about this anymore, she’s my hero!
Her lips come to my ear; she whispers, barely audible, “Her name is . . . (wait for it) . . . K-kick-ing Burrrd.”
Well, that does it for me. I burst out laughing, she does too, and we can’t stop, we are crying with laughter. I try to gain control, but instead, I’m shaking in my chair, making snorting noises, which sends Margot off; we can’t even look at each other; we realize quickly that we have to leave.
Yes, we had definitely delighted them long enough; we had no choice but to miss this meeting, but I’m pretty sure that the meeting did not miss us!
This is Margot last week, when I dropped in to see her at work on her newest project, a mural she’s doing at the Steamship Authority in Oak Bluffs. She is an artist and author beloved by her community, beloved by her friends, and beloved by her many readers. You may recognize her from her wonderful book, A Survival Guide for Landlocked Mermaids. (I don’t know how many of these we have left, but if you are going to want one, just let me know and we’ll order more!)
Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was very sad and lonely, and Margot came in, almost on a white horse, and rescued me. I will never forget it.
I am a very lucky person. I am blessed with amazingly talented, smart, generous, creative, and loving girlfriends, sisters of the heart, kindred spirits, who I love very much. ♥