The first day of second grade at Logan Elementary, when I was still an undersized, silly and scrawny mama’s baby who pretended almost every day to have a stomachache so that I could stay at home, I met Shelley Henry (now Shelley Wallin). Shelley was taller and tougher than me (as was everyone else at Logan Elementary), even though she was only starting first grade, and she was ultimately cooler. She showed up for the first day of school with a cast on her arm, which only made her cooler and tougher still. Shelley was already tragically hip in the first grade. And I was a total dweeb.
She backed me up against a wall with that arm in a cast and demanded that I say my name. “Bunny Tewwy,” I told her. She demanded again, and I failed again to get it right, and there may have been some crying and a bit of yelling from Mrs. Smith, the third-grade teacher on recess duty that day. But the next day, Shelley became my friend. And by junior high, although we were a grade apart, we were inseparable. And yes, for those of you who are worrying about it, by third grade I could pronounce my “R’s”, although there are people who still call me, affectionately, Bunny Tewwy.
Having Shelley as my friend was a life-changing experience for a lot of reasons. She was fun and smart and beautiful and had no fear and we led one another on a number of crazy adventures, all of which I can’t discuss in this post simply because she’s now a teacher at Logan High. But one of the greatest advantages of being Shelley’s friend was that I also got to be, for all pratical terms, a member of her family. I slept at her house several nights a week. I ate lots of meals at the Henry’s table, and, just like a sibling, Anna Lee always made me help with the cleanup.
All of which meant that I got to be pals with Shelley’s sister, Glena, and eventually, when she finally grew out of her gawky stage, with their cousin, Sabrina. Sabrina is eight years younger than me, and in elementary school she was this incredibly gangly kid wearing headgear and braces and glasses thicker than coke bottles. Glena and Shelley and I used to allow her to ride around in the back of their 1976 Camaro ONLY if she ducked her head when we drove past a car full of boys.
While Glena and I were picking prom dresses, Sabrina was hanging in the background, hoping we’d be at least civil enough to allow her to be present for the corsage-pinning and the picture-taking with the dates. Thank goodness she grew out of her gawkiness (she’s a freaking swan now) and we grew out of our high school girl-nastiness.
Which leads me, in a very roundabout way, to my story of how much I love Pick Up Sticks Jewelry Company (www.pickupsticks.net). Glena and Sabrina are my lifelong Logan friends and I’d walk on glass or hot coals for them, but more than that, they are my family. We have an extended history that involves riding in the back of pickups and skiing behind fast boats and dancing with questionable cowboys and being up to our noses in swimming pools and playing with Great Danes and Poodles and Dalmatians and spending nights in trailer parks and seedy bars in Hell’s Kitchen and about a thousand other things. They are like sisters to me, just like Shelley is, and they have, by following their hearts, created Pick Up Sticks, a business that is successful and that feeds both their souls every day. They somehow found a way to do exactly the thing that each of them does well, and I am so proud of them for doing what came naturally that I hardly have words for it. They are New Mexico artists and business women who found their niche and have created a product that is gorgeous at the same time that they’ve made money doing it. Good money. Really good money. They are our own Quay County success story.
Yes, I did say that I hardly have words for how proud I am. But if you know me, you know I’m always reaching into some distant place and trying to locate a word that fits. Now that you have the background and I have your attention, I’m going to cut this one short and post it. The second installment of how much I love Pick Up Sticks is coming soon. Almost immediately!