MUSHY'S MOOCHINGS: REMEMBERING "EST'A BONO"

Monday, February 22, 2010

REMEMBERING "EST'A BONO"

I recently found an old friend on Facebook, and I began combing through the “Mushy’s Moochings” archives looking for something I thought I had posted about our friends Steve and Jenny. However, I must have overlooked the great stories from my time in “The Land of Oz”! Maybe it’s because they hurt so much.

It was Jenny that I was fortunate to locate one night while doing searches for old friends and lost loves! Jenny and Steve are no longer together, but the time I spent with Steve, and later with Jenny after their marriage, were some of the best times of my life.

Steve and I went through a divorce at the same time back in the late 70s, and we supported each other through the sad withdrawal period that always occurs after such a traumatic event. We wrote poems/songs; very sad stuff, sometimes defiant things, and shared them with each other. At the time we worked in the same office, so we spent a lot of time swapping what we had written and laughing out loud at the rhymes and digs we made. It was good therapy and it took us all the way to the wedding alter again; each promising that we had learned our lessons and swearing we would get it right this time.

However, there were many nights and weekends before either of us got to that kind of happiness again. We spent the weekends listening to the music of the Allman Brothers, Black Oak Arkansas, Bob Seger, Foreigner, the Nuge, the Eagles, and he introduced me to Lynyrd Skynyrd. For that last item alone, I owe him much!

We were the original “party hardy” boys, running the dance scene in our open collared polyester shirts and gold chains! We could boogie with the best of’em and we heard disco music in our brains as we walked the halls and streets at work!

I lived in Harriman and Steve in Oliver Springs, which was separated by the blurriest ten miles of rolling blacktop in East Tennessee. The road got a little straighter every time I leaned into the steering wheel of my ’78 Trans Am, with “Smell That Smell” blaring from my tape deck. However, the stereo couldn’t quite overpower the headers and companion “cherry bombs”! The “Black Max” knew its way home – it must have, because I always made it when, God knows, I shouldn’t have!

Often times, I would wake up on Steve’s couch, so I just headed for work in the same clothes. Up until about noon, I’d swear I’d never do it again, but after lunch a “second wind” came over me and I was down for more craziness that night.

Steve and I spent quiet time too. We would sip our drink and discuss our feelings. We both hurt, and we both had family issues, but our common interests bonded us into a brotherly relationship.

We always shared our new “gals” with each other too. We would put on parties with loud music, lots of friends, more girls than guys, and we would sneak time to ask the other what they thought of the “new girl”! We even had a rating system, just like in the movie “Semi-Though”. One of my favorites was “never says no, even in a comma!”

If the girl didn’t measure up, we would be honest in our appraisal, and we would move on!

When we had dates, we would often call the other one at home and say something stupid like, “When things get going, throw the phone over in the bed,” or we would ask, “What are you doing…a little RALO?(short for: rip a little off)

It was wonderful to have a friend with which you could share you innermost thoughts. I knew him and he knew me…we could even finish each other’s sentences. We were tight…best buds.

Steve met Jenny and immediately he was happier than I had seen him in a long time. She was younger than he was, but she understood the inside jokes, the music, and best of all, she understood Steve. She also understood our need for each other. I guess that’s why we did so many things together.

Needless to say, Jenny got my approval. She even went along with the silly phone calls I used to make to her. She worked at an insurance agency and I’d call, with Steve listening and about to bust a gut, and say, in my best hillbilly voice, “Uh, yeah, I gots some hogs, they’s real good’uns ya know, and I was wonderin’ if’en you all sold hog insurance? She passed my test by turning it around on me!

I met Judy…or found her again after sixteen years! I fell for her “Betty Davis Eyes” all over again, and soon she was at the parties, and getting Steve’s blessing. I think she sealed the deal the night she walked bare-footed into the “Time Out Deli” in Oak Ridge! What a woman Steve and I remarked!

There is actually more to her than that, but that’s all I can say here!

One weekend, we got a suite in Pigeon Forge, complete with kitchen and Jacuzzi tub. The photo above was taken that weekend – me with the two girls and him with the two girls in bed. We also splashed water out of the tub more than once and had a ball! We could be ourselves – wild and free!

But something happened along the way, and several years ago I lost my best friend, and why I’m not sure. The best I can figure it was a big blow to Steve when he lost his job at Oak Ridge. After that, I saw him less and less, until one day he as much said, “I’ll call you when I want to see you again.

To say that hurt me is an understatement. It hurts and haunts me to this day. I may never know…and frankly, I suppose it doesn’t really matter now. Steve and Jenny are no longer together, so the times could never be the same.

However, I’ve promised Jenny that Judy and I will meet her for breakfast or dinner one day soon. I’m going to try and not discuss the past or fish for the reasons why. I just want to sit and enjoy her company once more and remember "Est'a Bono" (a name he game his alter-ego). He can’t take away my memories of him.

UPDATE - Jenny has sent along her memories of our times too! Please read the comments!

7 comments:

BRUNO said...

I've ran into this very same "thing", with a friend years ago, as well. I never could figure what "happened", either. Just like flippin' a switch. Sometimes it bugs me even today, occasionally.

I LOVED your line:"He can't take away my memories of him."

That's just---classic. As it should be.

I guess it's part of "growing-up", eh?

Glad that hasn't stopped yet...!

FHB said...

I enjoyed readin' that. Like old times.

I wish I'd had a friend like that. I guess one or two tried, but it never happened. I tried to talk down and dirty, relationship shit with a guy I consider my best friend, but he wouldn't go there. Jim just said he had no advise to give me.

When we were both single, I guess I wasn't ready for it. Now that he's married, I guess he doesn't want to go there. I guess now it's too late. That's life.

I loved readin' about your good times though, as always. Gives me a chance to live vicariously. The pictures are great. You're a lucky man, but you know that.

It's tough that valued friendships end like that. Who knows why. You've just got to be secure in the knowledge that you didn't do anything to drive him off. It's sad, but that's life. Who knows. Maybe he'll get on FB and that'll lead to some change.

Mushy said...

I knew Jenny would have to add to this and I'm so thrilled...she's a peach, and has a lot better memory than me!

From:
Jenny
...
To: Paul
Ok Paul...you knew I would have to chime in. The time that Steve and I spent with you and Judy were some of the best times of my life. The weekend in Gatlinburg wasn't the only time we carried on like this. How about water skiing on Watts Bar at dusk when none of us should have been allowed to walk let alone ski. Come to think of it, you and I were the only ones that knew how to ski. Do ya think they mighta' been tryin' to drown us? I guess I was the biggest idiot. I let you drive the boat when I skied. Nothin' like a good ole Watts Bar enema!

We spent many weekends at your pool from around noon till well after mid-night enjoying a few cold beverages, talking and laughing till we cried. We also enjoyed some wonderful meals together. I still have your smoked sausage and Velveeta recipe (hand-written by you). Maybe, I can get you to autograph it sometime?

I'm not really sure what happened to you and Steve either. He never really told me. However, I still love you and Judy. I think of you every time I hear the Rolling Stones play "I Miss You", 'cause I really do. Still waiting on another good meal with you and Judy. I'm gonna' hold ya to it!

P.S. I'd call you all and throw the phone in the bed but it's pretty quiet around here these days. No RALO going on here.
Thanks for the memories. Hope we can make some more. Jenny

Jenny

Mushy said...

DeeDee Justice Holmes commented on your link:

"(I am posting here because I too couldn't get my comments to post on his blog.)Thanks to my sister I was introduced to the Mashburns. We also enjoyed many an evening mellowing out listening to music at the Edwards' or partying at the Mashburn's pool. Nathan & Paul have a similar sense of humor. Nate still remembers going hunting with Paul only to get confronted by an angry man toting a gun. Glad you all kept your humor to yourselves that day. Keep writing your blog Paul, they bring up many fond memories for a lot of people."

Mushy said...

PAUL,
I OCCASIONALLY LOOK UP YOUR BLOG SITE TO SEE WHAT YOU'VE BEEN UP TO AND TODAY, I READ YOUR STORY ABOUT YOUR OLE' BUDDY, STEVE EDWARDS. THE NAME AND FACE LOOKED FAMILIAR, AND I AM PRETTY SURE HE IS THE SAME STEVE EDWARDS THAT I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH AT HIWASSEE JR COLLEGE IN 64 AND 65. WE WERE NOT CLOSE FRIENDS, BUT I REMEMBER PLAYING SOME BASKETBALL WITH HIM AND OTHERS AT THE GYM AT HIWASSEE. BEST I CAN RECALL, HE WAS A REALLY NICE GUY, AND I HATE TO HEAR THAT HE HAS HAD PROBLEMS. I AM PRETTY SURE IT IS THE SAME ONE, BECAUSE THE STEVE AT SCHOOL WAS ALSO FROM OLIVER SPRINGS. LET ME KNOW IF YOU HEAR ANYTHING FROM HIM OR FIND OUT WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO HIM.
OTHER THAN THAT, HOW'S IT HANGIN'? ARE YOU KEEPING THE HARRIMAN HOOLIGANS ON THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW. JUDY DOIN OK? TELL HER HI. FROM YOU SITE, IT APPEARS THAT YOU MOSTLY EAT, DRINK, TRAVEL AND HAVE FUN. WHAT A COUNTRY? EH??

TAKE CARE,
MICK

Suldog said...

This really is good stuff, Mushy. And the comments, too!

Coincidentally, I was contacted, during this past week, by some old bandmates I haven't seen in over 30 years! We're trying to work out a reunion of some sort. Hope we can.

Mushy said...

Sul...that would be wonderful! If you do any jamming, try to video some of it!