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Monday, July 14, 2014

Short Story: Florence and Estelle's First Encounter

This post marks our blog's 190th post since we've started back in 2011. Why the significance? If you believe in numerology, this weekend we also celebrated a dear friend, mentor and adopted Grandma's 90th birthday. I met Florence some 20 plus years ago when I started dating our food blogger, Brian Brown. I would come to be very close with her over the years. She is not just a friend, but family to The Brown, Bohan and Mayer families. At every wedding, graduation and holiday gathering--Florence is there along side her best friend of 80 plus years, Brian's Grandma Estelle. To commemorate Florence's 90th birthday--I've penned a short narrative called: "Florence and Estelle's First Encounter." What follows is a fictional account of the duo meeting for the very first time in Nebraska.

From left to right: Brian, Grandma Estelle, Becky & Florence
at The Brown's recent 20th Anniversary party.
It’s 1924, and like any Nebraska summer-time, makes for longer day light hours to converse with friends and family. This July the sun still lay across the horizon with rays sparkling off of silos filled with what is gold in these parts, wheat. On this late afternoon a Studebaker barrels down the dirt road—kicking up pebbles and other debris all the way. The car is going fast, but not too fast; since, precious cargo rides inside. The final destination The Mitchells, who happened to be best friends of The Fransems. It was a special occasion, The Mitchell kids will be meeting new baby, Florence, for the very first time.

The Studebaker pulls up and as the dust clears all the doors open, but one. The children all pile out and roar to The Mitchells with excitement. The matriarch of The Fransem family gets out, brushes the dust from her skirt, as she makes her way around the car. She grabs the warm door handle and opens the car door discovering where newborn Florence lay in a basket.

With eyes glistening, she softly says, “Well there my precious is.”

Baby Florence responds with a flash of a smile and huge happy shriek.

Florence’s mom whisks her out of the basket and with the basket now in the other hand makes her way over to the picnic goers. Along the way kids in various ages race over to her and begin jumping up at her like wild dogs clambering to get a look at the newest addition of The Fransem household.

“She sternly barks back to the kids—calm down—you’ll all get your turn to say 'Hi' to Florence!”

One child in the party is not in the group; one-year-old Estelle. She lays on a quilt steps away from the picnic table with her feet and arms flaying in the air. Her eyes glued on the white puffy cloud floating by up, up, high in the Nebraska sky!

Florence’s mom makes it safely to the others with little baby Florence in hand. Of course upon her arrival, “Aww’s and oooh’s!” are uttered off the lips of adults and kids in attendance. “Let me see the darling!” says a rather robust woman with wire framed glasses. In a swoop Florence is passed around from person-to-person for 20 minuets until someone yells, “It’s super time!” Those three words being said for a second drowns out the cicadas signing from the trees nearby.

A phantom breeze carries the smells of sweet corn, steak, pork, macaroni and cheese from the picnic to where Estelle lays.

Florence’s mom takes Florence from a stocky man in a crisp short-sleeved plaid shirt and blue coveralls and walks over to where one-year-old Estelle lays. She gently lays Florence on the quilt as she says, “Estelle meet your new best friend, Florence.”

No words could be more true. This first encounter indeed would not be the duos final. Both intertwined in each others lives like the fabric of time itself. Their friendship would span decades. Both would remain best friends, their husbands in count would also be best buddies, too. Their kids would grow up knowing each other. They would live through splendor the birth of their children, grandchildren and heartache the loss of their husbands together. Indeed, this would be the start to a beautiful friendship.

(Editor's note: Happy 90th Birthday Flocey! I presented a very special version to Flocey on her special day. Hope you liked the story too? It will be included in a short story book that I'm putting the finishing touches on now. If you're intrigued with Estelle's and Florence's 80 plus year friendship? A bibligropthy of sorts--to chronicle their many adventures together--is in the works too. So, stay tuned.)
-population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
© 2014 population-we, LLC 
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