By: Lydia Scott
My dearest and oldest friend, Diana (who is cringing as she reads me calling her “oldest,” but she’s younger than I am, so that makes it okay, right?), lives in Florida now. She and her little family come up to Columbia a LOT to visit with family and for events. They were coming up the first weekend of March, and she decided it was time to see her old dear friends that we grew up with in our little hometown of Blythewood, SC.
We grew up in Blythewood waaaaaaaaaaayyyyy back when it had just gotten its infamous one stop light, and that, my friends, was the excitement du jour! We had Wilson’s Mercantile (I think that was the name), which was a real, old-fashioned general store with creaky old wood floors. The owner, Mr. Wilson, had a ready smile and a tab you could put your groceries on and pay later. Mama would often take me by Wilson’s on a hot summer day so I could get an Orange Push-Up. Good grief, those were good to slurp down while sitting on the hot vinyl car seats, windows down, famously hot Columbia wind in my face, trying to finish my Push-Up faster than it melted. We all went to school together, knew our neighbors, spent all day (and sometimes part of the evening) outside, and came home either when we heard our moms calling for us, or it got too dark to see. This was how small town friends were made.
A Little Puddin’, A Few Friends, and Some Detention Slips Nowadays, we stay in touch on a daily basis through social media. It’s odd how social media both disconnects us and brings us together, isn’t it? So, Diana put out an event for us Blythewood friends to get together for a mini-reunion luncheon. And where better to have our little reunion than at the newly opened Blythewood restaurant that one of these wonderful friends scrimped, saved, and sweated to start all by herself last summer: Eve’s Southern Gourmet Restaurant and Catering (check out the restaurant’s Facebook page). We’d all been drooling over the yummy country food specials we kept seeing her talk about, and Eve herself was totally thrilled to open at lunch on Saturday especially for us. She and her sweet staff fixed up what was an absolutely delicious buffet of pulled pork with her secret sauces, roasted herbed chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad and banana puddin’. Yeah…wish you’d been there, dontcha? I’m still having dreams about my plate full of pulled pork and tater salad, yum!!
Anyway, let me stop fixating on the food (but seriously…go to Eve’s and see for yourself!). We had several of our elementary and middle school classmates make it for our luncheon, as well as three of our teachers! They promised not to divulge too many of our grades or detention visits, right ladies? What a treat to get to sit down to a country lunch prepared by one of our friends in her own restaurant, and enjoy catching up with not only some of our sweet classmates, but some of our teachers, too! It’s funny all the things that each person remembers, but in a different way from what you remember. We talked about how some of us had recently visited the hallways of our elementary school and marveled at how tiny it had become, or at least, compared to how we remembered it as little first graders. Those hallways seemed huge when we were six years old!
Poses and Smiles
We chatted about our families, our jobs, our health issues and triumphs. We lamented the absence of some of our friends who couldn’t make it to the luncheon, even though they wanted to so badly (we love you Becky and Pam!) We laughed as we posed for pictures and tried to find the most flattering light and positions, we hugged, and we all drove away in smiles. There’s something about a small, country town that just makes you want to keep those friends close to your heart. It brings back a touch of the joy and innocence you felt every day when you saw their smiling faces.
That’s what friends are for, right? Smiles? Must be, because mine have brought me endless smiles, and for that I will always love them!