When my good friend asked me if I wanted to be her plus one to hear her speak at a live storytelling event that revolved around the theme of “Summer Lovin’,” I said yes, of course! I’ll do a lot to support my friends, and this seemed pretty painless in the scheme of things. It was to be held at Wildfang’s downtown location, a place I’ve spent a good amount of time. So again, why not?! The day came, and is anyone else like me? You make plans, and then, on the night of, you try to think of any reason to get out of them? No? Okay, I guess I’m a dick. But while I might’ve sent a complainy text or two to a friend who shared my curmudgeonly attitude, flake out I would not. We marched over to Wildfang and boy, do I feel like a dick for even sort of dreading it.
The night started out strong with a tearjerker right off the bat. The first speaker was a former Texas housewife turned heroin addict turned First Congregational Church business manager. Following her was a veteran with PTSD whose idol is Ronda Rousey. Then came an absolute wealth of history and knowledge in the form of Miss Hattie Kelley, a 93-year-old who lived through the Great Depression with her brother and sister, and spoke about a woman’s right to choose.
She was also one of the first women to join the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve in 1943, and spends a great deal of her time with a man 20 years her junior, who drives her to appointments in his cherry-red convertible. She promised that this love is in no way sexual, but that no one has ever made her laugh harder. She reminded us there are so many different types of love out there and we should be grateful for all of them. She told us not to live our lives in fear and to do something good for someone every day.
My friend finally got up on stage and did great. Her takeaway for a summer lovin’ was a realization she had well into her 30s: Always say yes. Practice handstands no matter how old you are, and it’s never too late for exploration with a group of friends.