Fabulous friend weekend

I just got back to Minneapolis from my weekend trip to Chicago for my friend’s wedding. I have an hour to kill before picking up my daughter so I’ve stopped at Caribou Coffee to use their wi-fi and see if I can whip out a blog post. I have no illusion that I will be able to do justice to the absolute amazingness of my weekend but hopefully I can share with you a little bit of how fabulous my friends are and how much they mean to me.

I’ve known about this wedding for almost a year. I knew from the first mention of it that would be making the trip to Chicago for the occasion. I have been friends with the bride for over a decade. Despite living in separate cities the entire time we have maintain and very close and meaningful friendship. We would visit each other regularly and spent many, many hours on the phone discussing everything under the sun with heavy doses of politics, philosophy and relationships. When it came to relationships, we had endless material to draw upon having both been through our share of dissatisfying and toxic relationships.

The relationship conversations have died out over the past several years as she has been seeing her now husband. It was clear to me that she had finally found someone who could appreciate her beauty and passion while fulfilling and complimenting her. I couldn’t be happier for her and I look forward to continuing our friendship and she embarks on this chapter of her life. 

Still, all the joy and anticipation that this occasion brought me would not be enough to get me to plan ahead. Even my RSVP required a reminder message from the bride. As the date approached the option to book one of the hotel rooms reserved for wedding guests faded, as did the option for an affordable plane or even bus ticket. I was left with no option but to drive and no idea where I was going to stay once I got to Chicago.

Out of desperation, yet with a heavy dose of hubris, I sent following message to all the people I knew living in the Chicago area.

Dear Chicago area friends,

I’m going to be in Chicago this weekend for a wedding (Sunday afternoon). I’ll be pulling in Friday or Saturday and leaving sometime Monday. Please let me know your availability and if you have a couch I can crash on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. This may seem last minute for something that I have known about for six months but that’s how I roll. I’m amazing, you are amazing, I know we can make this work!

Much Love, LeFreak

I received one response from one person who was going to be busy but would spread the word. I may be amazing but it was becoming clear that I am not so amazing that anyone is going to stop their amazing life just because I am coming to town; perhaps not even long enough to read a facebook message. That’s just reality folks.

I also sent a message to a friend I made while playing a show in Winona, MN a little over a year ago. We’ve only hung out a couple times since then but we relate so naturally that I feel like we became instant best friends. If there was any chance I could see her it would be worth a detour through Winona.

As it turned out she was available although she was no longer living in Winona. She was living on her parent’s farm about 40 minutes from Winona.  That sounded perfect to me. This city boy could certainly use a little time on the farm. I got that and so much more.

The next morning I made us breakfast and headed on my way to Chicago. I still had no idea where I was going to stay and my confidence that it would all work out was wavering. I pulled off the road in Madison to make phone calls to see if I could figure something out. I was starting to think that I would have to find a cheap motel somewhere in Wisconsin to spend the night.

After a few unsuccessful calls I did find someone who would be thrilled to have a visit from me. It actually turned out to be the best of all possible options. To my delight I learned that she was living with another dear friend of mine whom I hadn’t seen in far too long. As an added bonus, they live about 20 minutes from the wedding location and even closer to another musician friend of mine. I had brunch with him Sunday morning.

I could have arranged other transportation to the wedding but I chose to drive. I’m sure that if I had been able to drink more I would have found plenty of fun trouble to get into but that was not what I wanted. All I wanted was to see my friend get married and then get back to my friends who had so kindly given me safe harbor.

My plan was to drive back to Minnesota on Memorial Day for a barbeque at my parent’s house, but I wasn’t done seeing out of town friends. I realized that if I drove due west from Chicago on Highway 30 I would run into Ames, IA and the home of one of my oldest and dearest friends. How could I resist? 

I think Felix da Minivan thought it was a good idea too. My van had been giving me some brake problems over the weekend but nothing that day. Also the power drivers-side window, which stopped working just as I entered the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway, was working perfectly again. Furthermore, I got the best gas mileage I’ve ever recorded.

Now back in Minneapolis I still want to see friends. Even before going home I stopped by a friends house for a visit. I had meant to see her last week but the week vanished before I got a chance.

At every turn this weekend I was met with open arms and hospitality. I was given food, shelter, love and acceptance. I received gifts as well. I returned home with two new hats, a pair of shoes, two t-shirts, a velvet jumpsuit, “Death in Venice” by Thomas Mann, four bottles of hard cider and a purple stuffed monkey.

What have I done to deserve this kindness and generosity? I have nothing to offer except me but perhaps there is value in that. Perhaps me, just being me, is something worth being.

That is my hope. That is my dream. My goal is to get to a point where I can spend all my days just being me, traveling the country, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I want nothing more than to share all that I have to give and receive all that the world has to offer.

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About lefreakshow
A walking contradiction attempting to make sense of this crazy world though the power of creation, exploration and communication.

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