Day 360 of 365 Days of Silver ~~ So Thankful for My Friend Linnea

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“Nothing come from nothing
Nothing ever could
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good….”
~~ The Sound of Music

It all started with a beckoning finger. And a pair of pants.

And so started one of the best and most important friendships of my life.

I don’t know if people remember, but there was this jean fashion that the rock group Def Leppard made popular. The were torn in multiple horizontal slashes down the front and the back. They were a total bitch to get on because your feet kept sticking through the wrong holes, in and how with fabric that was supposed to go in the front going in the back and visa versa. So you had to have someone help you get them on. They would weave their hand up through the mess, grab your foot, and then pull it down and through. It was hilarious but oh it looked so sexy. I was in my early thirties and in good shape and I looked pretty good in the ones I made.

So I was at this convention and I feel this little tap on my shoulder and I turn around to see this vivacious lady and she is doing the old beckoning finger movement and she says, “Come here little boy, I have just what you need.”

I looked at her, then my buddy, back at her, then my buddy. Did I go with her? Who was she? What did she have? Was this a come on? Did she know I was gay?

My friend shrugged and told me to go with her.

So I followed her across the atrium, where many hucksters/dealers were selling all kinds of stuff, and when we got to her booth I saw it was all clothes and stuff. She reached into a rack and….

….pulled out a jeans jacked that was shredded all down the back.

My eyes went wide! I gasped! All wonderings of who this lady was vanished in an instant.

“Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!” And then the fear. How much did she want? Could I afford it? “How much do you want?” I asked.

She shrugged. “Five bucks okay?”

What? Five dollars? For that jacket?? “That’s all? Are you sure?”

She grinned a grin that was almost evil…but too fun to truly be so. “It belonged to an ex. He was a creep. He left it at my place.”

I grinned back. I could get behind that. “Sold!”

And as I said before, so started one of the best and most important friendships of my life.

If there were ever a real life Lucy and Ethel, it’s us, although we switch roles.

Linnea is amazing. She’s beautiful, she’s classy, she is sexy as hell, she’s fun, she’s trouble (the best kind), she’s talented, she throws the best parties, she’s an inspiration…. All this and more.

She’s been there for me through thick and thin. She was there when I found out my ex was cheating and held my hand many a time and was thrilled for me when I split up with him and was a ear for me, and she never ever repeated anything I told her. AND when I did leave him, she was an example. I thought to myself, “What would Linnea do?” What she would do was keep her mouth shut, keep her business to herself, and not bad mouth the ex no matter how much he might have “deserved” it. That is what I did. And I never asked anyone to choose! My ex on the other hand spread all kinds of vicious horrible stories about me.

And all our friends, most of his included, chose me.

For years my husband and I had a incredible Halloween party. Two hundred people could show up. I learned most of my tricks from Linnea on how to throw a good party and then through her, figured out even more.

We have played Easter rabbits at a big party. That is a funny story too long to tell here, but I will say we had to dress out in the woods and thought we were all alone and just as we dropped trou, a family came down the path. Embarrassing and so funny!

Have I mentioned that Linnea throws the most incredible parties ever? The last decade she has been doing a Chinese New Year’s party which is beyond description. Of course she goes with the theme and that (in one evening) goes from the sacred and serious to the absurd and hilarious. There was the blow up the monkey contest and sumu wrestling and of course we are encouraged to wear costumes and there are prizes prizes prizes. Generous prizes. The year of the rabbit she put out a Playboy calendar with her sexy friends as the montly mondels and I got to help with that! I helped photograph a lot of the ladies and it was so much fun. She promises that her last CNY party—the year of the Cock (LOL!)—will be the best ever!

Linnea always matches. She has the most fabulous outfits in the world and from skirts to tops to gloves to boots to belts to hats to purses to clutches to coin purses to lighters, everything goes together. Why she will find exact same patterns spread out over years worth of time and see that hat is the exact leopard print as a belt and gloves she has. She can remember! And all leopard prints are not the same!

It’s inspiring! As I’ve said already, she’s inspiring.

Like my friend Greg from Men’s Festival, she’s always in the know of the new cocktail (or the revised cocktail from the twenties or something) that all the cool kids are drinking. I like ordering the cool drink. Right now it’s the Moscow Mule and it’s citrus vodka and ginger beer served in a frigid cold brass mug. There have been many cool drinks in the past and Linnea taught me how fabulous a G&T can be in the spring and summer—so refreshing. The secret is lot of ice and lots of lime.

Trips, even day trips, with Linnea are a blast. Always fun. Always an adventure waiting to happen.

She is generosity personified.

To tie her generous nature and adventure together…. One year for my birthday she got me seats to see the mind-blowing group called Pink Martini. I was so excited, they are one of my favorites of all time. She told me she wasn’t able to get floor tickets. I didn’t care. We started off at a martini bar to celebrate and had pink ones, and the were surprised to find out that the bar had a free ride to go to the theater we needed to go (we all fall into these things when we’re together). Then we get there and ask the theatre guide for help and we start walking toward the stage. What? I wondered. And we kept going. At about the fifteenth row a couple I know—very well off calls to me and I stop and we hug and the guide clears this throat and I say I have to leave and….we keep going. To the third row! The third row! The concert was every single thing I could have hoped for and more. The more being….

1) I was singing along and then the people around us started singing along and at intermission thanked us because they wanted to sing along but were afraid it would be rude and….
2) The entire band was waiting in the lobby and we got to get all their autographs and that was a lot of autographs!

Then we got a ride back to the bar and had more martinis!

This is just one of the many many many adventures I’ve had with my dear friend Linnea.

Linnea can sing. OMGosh can she sing! I know she could have been a professional and famous but she chose a life-life instead. But that doesn’t mean she can’t sing! Almost every year at this convention we go to, she does a huge (and I mean huge) production number with singers and dancers and costumes and everything. I’ve even got to be in a few. It’s like being famous for one night. Ahhhhhhh, so much fun!

Have I mentioned that she has done parties for me? At least one surprise party and then she hosted one of the BIG ones for me. It was incredible.

She gets the tab far too often. Or more than 50% of the bill. That’s the way she is.

Generosity personified.

Of course she has inspired a character. You can find her in my story Uninvited in the four-author anthology Bones. I am very proud of that story.

We’ve been there for each other a lot. At least I hope I’ve been there for her. She has been through a few illnesses that I don’t feel I can’t bandy about (she’s also private) and I hope I was able to be there in some small way for her. She sure has been there for me. Through the fear that I might have been infected with HIV (I wasn’t), a horrible breakup that changed my life, illnesses and getting married.

She sang at my wedding. She sang, At Last and it was unbelievable and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

I love Linnea without reservation. I hope one day that she and I will take some magical trip together. To some other country. Something incredible together.

And I hope one day, in some old folks home, we are still doing production numbers together showing that we will be singing and dancing and entertaining until the very edge.

Lucy and Ethel.

Or is it Ethel and Lucy?

Who knows?

All I know is that there must be a God. Because it’s the only explanation for having such a wonderful friend. As the Sound of Music says, “I must have done something good….”

Today I am extremely grateful to call the amazing woman Linnea, “friend.”

Namasté,
B.G. Thomas

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